Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Twenty kilograms hand bag

When I brought an Ortlieb Rack Pack 89 (XL) to Antartica earlier this month, I had the idea that it would be used to bring the f-stop Satori EXP backpack safely ashore in the rubber boats. But as our landings never included much walking I decided to leave the backpack on the ship and only take the Monster sized Internal Camera Unit. The rack pack is VERY roomy (89 litres) and had plenty of room for the camera gear in addition to Lastolite soft box and reflector, a big Gitzo Tripod with the Acratech GP ballhead, warm mittens, down anorak water bottle etc. The roll closure is great and I much prefer it to any type of zipper as a roll closure is indestructible. The shoulder strap is nice and wide with a padded shoulder piece but the bag really needs to be fully rolled up and secured with the fasteners at the ends for the shoulder strap to be used. That is a disadvantage as it is nice to walk with the bag open for fast access to the gear. I therefore mostly ended up carrying the bag by its handles. This was a bit tiring as the bag often weighed about 20 kilograms. It was nice to be able to put it down anywhere not considering wet snow, penguin shit or pee, and it made for a great giant bean bag giving relatively good support for those low angled shots of penguins. I ended up using the tripod very little and would consider not bringing one on another trip or exchanging it for a ground pod or a skimmer. I have discarded some images due to camera movement that could have been prevented by use of more stable support. Speaking of support, I enjoyed using the Novoflex Pistock-C modified with an Arca Swiss type Sunway quick release clamp for handheld operation with the 200-400/4 lens. I am confident it helped me on the keeper ratio.