My review of

Most of my photographer friends have already heard me rave about these guys, but I wanted to post up a quick review of the service and support I’ve received from over the last year or so. I’d like to state up front that I’m a member of their affiliate program, but that in no way has anything to do with my thoughts on their service.

I was turned on to these guys by a friend last year. I had typically used some other well-known rental shops for all my needs up to that point. Going into UFC 123, I was in need of a couple items and my usual sources were all booked. So, I decided to give BL a try. My immediate thought was “How can these guys be so much cheaper?” I was very skeptical, and thought for sure my card would be charged and I’d never see the gear or it would be in horrible shape. To my surprise, the lenses arrived a day earlier than promised and were in like-new condition. I was hooked! I’ve since used them for 6 or 7 more orders. Nothing crazy, just 2-3 lenses and 1-2 camera bodies each time.

One of the other things love about this company is that I can complete my order online. Before, with other rental companies, I’d always have to call to place an order. Sometimes I’d get someone who didn’t know the gear or just didn’t care, and it always seemed like a hassle. So much so that I passed on renting gear unless I absolutely had to. With BL, you can see their inventory in front of you with all the specs and details, including instruction manuals. If something is out of stock currently, they post an expected availability date. They even have the latest products available before even Canon themselves. Two specific recent examples are when I tried to get the 8-15mm 4.0L fish-eye lens and 400mm 2.8L II lens from Canon’s CPS borrow program. Both were unavailable. However, they are available through

Another cool thing about BL is that they’ve recently partnered with a local camera shop here in Vegas to allow for in-store pickups and returns instead of having to ship the gear. They only charge $20 for the pick-up option, as opposed to $50-75 for shipping. And the store’s location is literally walking distance from my office.

So, if you’re in the market for rental gear, check them out at

Much needed downtime

After a whirlwind tour over the last few weeks, I’ve finally hit a patch of downtime. I’ll be home for a little more than 2 weeks solid before I have to head back out on the road.

I had a great time in Houston for UFC 136, despite getting sick, and I really enjoyed working for the first time with photographer Nick Laham. I believe the collective effort of all our photographers produced one of the best nights we’ve had for photography. Big thanks to Mike Roach and Kari Hubert for a solid set of backstage and atmospheric images. Mike fell in love with the new Canon 8-15mm fish-eye and got some great shots with it.

As is typical these days, I was on the first flight out in the morning after the fights – 6:50 am to Los Angeles and then a two-hour connection before finally arriving back in San Luis Obispo with my wife and kids. We spent the afternoon doing a variety of family shoots at home and at the beach. It was a nice change of pace, and though I was dead tired, I think I came away with some good images. I can’t the majority of them at this time as I don’t want to spoil any potential greeting cards they may grace, but here’s a little teaser. The full gallery will go up at some point on my site.

UFC 136 final presser

My first full day on the ground in Houston had me covering the UFC 136 pre-fight press conference for UFC and Getty Images. Even though it was an hour earlier than normal, it still wasn’t bad for me as the Toyota Center where the presser was hosted is across the street from my hotel. I love it when things work out like this, though it’s very rare.

Not much of note to report from the press conference. Chael Sonnen was rather somber and not talking much, if any, trash today. Quite a change for his usual presser behavior. Brian Stann was all class, as usual. Not much was asked of the four championship headliners on the dais – Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard, Jose Aldo, and Kenny Florian. The pace was pretty fast and before we knew it the guys were facing off. Maynard got right up in Frankie’s face, but Frankie didn’t back down at all. That made for a couple good shots.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the short shoot.

UFC 136 press conference – Images by Joshua Hedges