Written & Photographed by Jody Tiongco
It’s 4am, Christian Pena has already begun his day. As the sun slowly rises beyond the horizon the light “patting” sounds of his soles create a rhythm as he jogs through the cool Texas morning. After hours of running to mentally and physically prepare himself for his upcoming marathon he runs home to get ready for class. His mind is going a trillion miles a second… After class he heads straight to work. As his shift comes to an end his day is far from over. Now it’s time to brainstorm for his upcoming projects… Sounds crazy? Nope, just an average day for a not so average person.
Christian is a young man with many skills and talents itching to unleash his creativity where the whole world is an ocean of ideas. Imagine standing there and your eye catches a random stranger with a uniquely designed watch threaded together with a paracord band. Curiosity strikes and you can’t help but ask this random stranger where he got his watch from, but to your surprise the man responds, “I made it.” [Bam!] gears start clicking and creativity strikes. That’s exactly what happened to Christian on one serendipitous day. He loved the way the paracord strap was made, and the fact that he could make one himself was even better. He mashed the idea of the paracord along with his love for photography so he decided to create his own paracord camera wrist strap.
After 6 months of developing and planning “4D Love of Straps” was born. An independent brand created by one talented individual. The name is just as simple as it sounds, 4D (For the) love of straps. Christian eventually plans on forming alliances with other like-minded artists, and acquire business relationships with companies with similar interests and goals.
To my surprise I received the straps shortly after ordering them. I received two different designs; a simple “loop through” strap, and a more “intricate” metal link strap. Upon opening the package the straps themselves visually and physically felt solid in my hands. The quality was all there. The great thing about handmade products is that the maker has the item in their hands so they can see if there are any visual or physical imperfections that needs to be addressed.
Before I attached my camera to one of the straps I tugged the ropes with both hands and I tried to pull them apart. The ropes didn’t budge or unravel. Once it felt safe to attach my camera I went ahead and did a drop test. I attached both straps to my Canon 5D MKIII and my Canon G16 and dropped the cameras. Neither of them broke the straps. I tried the test again with my 5D, however, this time I attached my battery grip with two batteries, loaded two memory cards, attached my 24-70mm L lens, and a 580EX II speed light flash. The setup was fairly heavy. I looped my wrist through the strap with my camera attached to the other end. I let the camera go, and again the strap held strong. The only thing I damaged was my arm, lol. Overall I give these products high marks for the quality and design. I recommend these straps for the photographer that’s always in motion. Whether you’re a street photographer or an event photographer these straps would be beneficial for you and the safety of your camera.
As Christian’s company continues to grow he plans to sponsor photographers all around the world with his straps, as well as, hosting meet ups with other photographers to meet and share their ideas and talents. His long term goal is to invest in a warehouse where he can produce his products and build a fun environment with his staff and eventually expand into producing apparel as well.
Christian says that all of this couldn’t have happened without his love for his family, food, photography… and running. To check out some of his latest designs and for more information on purchasing his handmade wrist straps check out his Instagram account: @4DLoveOfStraps [Website: www.4dloveofstraps.com].