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  1. #1
    Forum Member Keepright's Avatar
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    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec

    Some photos of my first Tom Bihn bag – the burnt orange Smart Alec. This forum has been a great source of information and perspective as I chose my bag, so thank you for that. Hopefully these can help someone else with their choices – it's a fantastic bag in a great colour combination.

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_p3m0288-jpg

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_p3m0293-jpg

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-dsc_0385-jpg

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_p3m0280-jpg

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_p3m0281-jpg

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_p3m0283-jpg


    The burnt orange is a tough colour to photograph. The one with the color checker chart is as close as I could get it under the conditions, so trust it more than the others if necessary. And if it helps I'm about 5'11" tall.

  2. #2
    Forum Member marytattoo's Avatar
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    Great pics. For as much as the SA is supposed to hold, it doesn't look overwhelming.

  3. #3
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    Absolutely terrific pictures - and thank you for including the color checker. I have never seen a device like that.

  4. #4
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    OMG OMG! Absolutely stunning!

  5. #5
    Forum Member bubmum's Avatar
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    Great pictures of a terrific bag, thank you! :)

  6. #6
    Forum Member Keepright's Avatar
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    Thanks very much for the kind responses.

    @marytattoo, the SA is something of a barrel – able to hold quite a lot when it's filled to its naturally rounded shape, but carrying smaller heavy things seems to flatten it out. The best of both worlds. I think it's going to be my ideal travel size and shape.

    @GoStandard, the color checker is a useful device for photographers because it's a standardized item. Just about anyone who wants to can get one – though they're not cheap – and can compare this photo with the one in their hands to see how the colours have rendered. Looking at mine now I can see that the bright red, just below and to the left of the central "+" mark, is too bright. The yellow to the left of it is also a bit bright, and the lime green diagonally above it should me more green and less yellow. But other monitors will also display these colours differently; I can see differences just between the two monitors connected to my main computer, and my laptop and phone look different as well. There's a reason why I've been leaning toward black and white photography lately…

  7. #7
    Forum Member Keepright's Avatar
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    A few more photos of my Burnt Orange Smart Alec. I have to admit that photographing it has turned out to be something of an addictive challenge, so I'll probably continue on my quixotic quest to finally get the colour right. The camera that I used for these photos has some issues around saturated reds, so that's something that I'll fix next weekend by using a much more normal machine.

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_p3m0281-jpg

    A rare photo of the non-logo side of the Smart Alec.

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_p3m0282-jpg

    Here's the Smart Alec with another bag of a brand that doesn't need exploring at this juncture. I've adjusted the photo as best I can to show both accurately. The non-Tom bag behind the Smart Alec is navy blue instead of black, and its orange is slightly lighter and has more yellow and less red than the TB Burnt Orange. The Smart Alec has a darker undertone that's a little more earthy and a better match for the black body of the bag, if that makes sense, and is a more pleasant colour to live with.

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_p3m0286-jpg

    Here's another effort of mine to get the colour balance right by including a calibrated grey card in the photo – a challenge that's illustrated by the grey in the shadow of the strap being a different colour than the grey on the upper surface of the card. (Blue skies contribute cooler light to shadows.) It's also a good example of why I want to photograph the bag under different light and conditions, because the colour of the glowire really does change. Under bright light it's yellow, as the light passes through the vinyl coating that gives it its colour, but under indoor light it's an orange that's just a couple of steps lighter than the fabric. So it ranges from being a snazzy accent in the day to a more muted detail in the evening… and into a potentially life-saving feature at night.

    Have I mentioned recently how happy I am with this bag? In case it doesn't show, I am.

    I was going to order the black/black SA, which I'm sure is a lovely bag, but I'm so glad that I chose the BOSA instead. I'm not a flashy person – as a photographer I aspire to being called 'nondescript' – but I don't feel like the BOSA draws undue attention despite being ridiculously good-looking. It's simultaneously stylish and overtly functional, with the orange breaking up the visual bulk of the bag and clearly marking it as harmless. I bought this bag for daily use in the city and travelling by bus through the US, and I can already tell that it's going to log many, many miles with me.

  8. #8
    Forum Member imagineez's Avatar
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    I've been eyeing this color combination and your pics are amazing with that yellow glowire! This is an example of a bag that I know I don't have a use for (I'm a former owner of SA in steel dyneema), but that I now want again because of this exact color combo! Maybe in ballistic it would be better for me. Thank you! (I think!)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Volunteer Moderator Ilkyway's Avatar
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    Keepright you are making a great case for Burned Orange here.
    Will you carry photo-gear in it too, or do you have other dedicated bags for that?

    Ilkyway
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  10. #10
    Forum Member 123veo's Avatar
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    I was never really fond of the Smart Alec. Until now. Great pics!

  11. #11
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    The Smart Alec is,hands down, my favorite TB bag. I have it in dyneema, but your photos make me want it in BO. So gorgeous. Thank you for posting the photos.

  12. #12
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Really great photos, Keepright! Thanks for sharing them.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine, Founder's Briefcase, Synapse 19 (day hikes), Guide's Pack (longer day hikes), Yeoman Duffel (winter/emergency stuff for the car), Aeronaut 30 (travel), Night Flight Travel Duffel (camera bag), Moveable Feast + Shop Bags (food)

  13. #13
    Forum Member weirdguy's Avatar
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    Wow (speechless)...
    Amazing photos, @Keepright The bag need to be in one of the future's Sci-Fi Episodes. Or even, Star Trek - I dreamed!

    I really like how @Keepright use the yellow Glowires!
    Last edited by weirdguy; 05-26-2015 at 08:05 PM.
    Solar/Yellow: A45 Navy, CP Black, SA Black, SCB, TT, YSS/Tall, OP/S, PP Navy
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    Olive/Green: A30NWS, SCB, SC, DOP/M, COP/M

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  14. #14
    Forum Member Keepright's Avatar
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    Thanks again, everyone, I appreciate your responses.

    imagineez, sorry about that. But I can certainly think of worse reasons to want a bag, if that's any further help.

    Ilkyway, I do have many dedicated camera bags – about ten, of various styles – but I did buy the Smart Alec specifically for its camera-carrying ability. One of my three mandatory requirements was that I could retrieve and replace my smaller cameras without fully removing the pack, and the SA's side pockets have proven to be perfect for this. My other two must-have abilities are enough carrying capacity to get me through a multi-city bus trip and a way to easily secure jackets and umbrellas to the outside of the pack, so the SA uniquely perfect even among all of the options here.

    123veo, thanks. I like this bag's personality, and how it changes its appearance depending on the angle. From the side, the way someone would see it if we're passing in opposite directions, it will look black with a little orange detail. From behind, if we're walking in the same direction, it's mostly orange with black straps and detailing. Outdoors in the sun it's vibrant with a bright wire accent, but inside it's more muted and reserved. Of course I may be going a little far with this, but I've liked many bags in my time, and I haven't liked any of the others this much.

    Kippiann, from the photos I've seen online the dyneema seem to have more of a flair to it, while the K/BO is a bit more rucksack-y. I doubt anyone would blame you for owning both.

    Darcy, I appreciate that. It was the photo of the three new colours that you posted that convinced me to order the orange – and to do it quickly to beat the rush. I have to say that the other colours also look great, and I hope to see more of them as well.

    weirdguy, Star Trek would be interesting – especially given how often these bags are compared to the Tardis for their ability to hold so much more than they look like they're able to. I would totally watch that episode.

  15. #15
    Forum Member Keepright's Avatar
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    A few more photos.

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_mpr1692-jpg

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_mpr1702-jpg

    Here's the BOSA in open shade, hanging out under a loading dock's roof. It's carrying a padded insert with a couple of heavy lenses on the bottom, which fills out the diameter of the bag, but has nothing in the top. This is about as slouchy as the bag can get – that's not a flattering look for its owner, either, but that's why I like to be the one holding the camera.

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_mpr1722-jpg

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_mpr1725-jpg

    Now the bag has moved to direct sunlight. The Smart Alec tends to fold in on itself when held by its handle, and moving the zipper around this corner takes at least one more hand than I have. If I'm likely to need to get into the main compartment without putting the bag down I will leave the zippers in the middle and slightly gapped, but if there's a chance of rain then I'll zip them both down to the bottom of one side. This second photo also shows the somewhat crudely-done cord pulls that I've added to muffle the zippers. One of my hobbies is recording audio, so silence is always my goal, but the wear on the metal pulls looks so great that I don't want to take them off.

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_mpr1713-jpg

    The open pocket in the bottom of the Smart Alec didn't seem to endear itself to a few of the reviewers that I found, but I really appreciate it. It keeps many of my smaller items away from the main compartment: here it's holding a loose camera in a neoprene pouch, a third-party organizer pouch on a key strap, and a Zebralight flashlight on a tool strap. I chose the 14", which lets it reach the bottom of the bag, but I've tied a simple knot in it to shorten it slightly. I don't use the Annex Clips in my SA – despite living in Toronto's "Annex" neighbourhood – and instead have carabiner clips attached. The yellow S-clip is perfect for tucking away my hat when I'm not wearing it, and the black standard clip holds an emergency Swiss Army knife and another flashlight for quick use as a bag light.

    The colour chart in this photo is also a handy size reference: the plastic frame that makes up one colour panel and hinges are the same size as a passport.

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_mpr1733-jpg

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_mpr1738-jpg

    Here the BOSA goes naked. I wanted to show it in its natural state without the glowire and Gate Keeper straps. It looks a lot more… well, a lot more Orange. I do like having the straps on the top to break up the expanse of colour in addition to their many functional uses. (Plus I really like to be well-accessorized.) The second photo also catches a bit of the sheen that the fabric can occasionally show.

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_mpr1742-jpg

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_mpr1745-jpg

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_mpr1752-jpg

    Now the bag has moved inside to a stairwell with some truly horrible industrial lighting. The top two photos in particular show the glowire as a lighter orange instead of yellow, which is typical for how it looks away from sunlight.

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_mpr1756-jpg

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_mpr1758-jpg

    BOSA: Burnt Orange Smart Alec-_mpr1766-jpg

    And finally here's the bag with the glowire turned on. Despite the apparent brightness of these photos the stairwell is typically dim indoor lighting, bright enough to read by as long as the print isn't too small, but only intended for utility. The glowire is certainly bright enough to catch attention under these conditions, although I wouldn't want to rely on it as an only light when biking; it certainly helps even when tucked into a crouch, as in the last photo, but its profile is too small and too high to be in a driver's eye-line.

    I'll keep this thread updated as I have more photos of it to share, but for now I think I'll need to cover more ground with it to let it accumulate some character. It's a great excuse to get out of the house.

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