During my rehabilitation from a knee injury along with the strengthening of the ligaments around my knee I have been focussing on losing weight and developing efficiency in my gear selections.
I have also been reconsidering the type of hiking I am undertaking, and for the time being my focus is on:
1. Hiking for fun.
2. Distance is not important, but location is.
3. Carrying minimal gear.
4. Taking photos and improving my photographic skills.
Over the coming weeks I intend to update my gear selection for my future trips, most of which will either be along the coasts, or in the forests of either Denmark or Sweden.
The first of these posts is about Camera gear and tripods. I wrote a post about Camera Tripods a little while ago and with the impending demise of my Velbon Vpod Tripod, I have had to reconsider my options.
I am currently using an Olympus OMD EM 5 II, with either 12 mm F2. or a 45 mm F1.8 and occasionally the Olympus 12-40 mm 1:2.8 Pro lens. Using the 12-40 mm lens the weight of this setup is 926 grams, not lightest but the system gives me the flexibility and the image quality I desire.
During my recent trips I have been carrying a Pedco Ultrapod II, which I use as a standalone tripod, or alternatively I can attach the Ultrapod to my walking pole (currently Cascade Carbon Quick Lock poles see footnote) thereby using the pole as a Monopod. I have been happy with this arrangement as it allows me to have a stable support when taking photographs. The set up is shown below.
And in action on a cold foggy afternoon at Kattegat.
I have been very happy with this arrangement, as it requires minimal fuss to set up, and with the use of a micro quick release plate along with the Neewer Fish Bone Style Mini Quick Release mounted on the Ultrapod I can easily attach or detach the camera. (weight of Ultrapod II and Fishbone quick release 170 grams).
However, there are times when I would prefer to use a tripod and this is where the TrailPix comes in. After some tentative steps with it, I have come to realise that the Trailpix can provide a stable and secure mount for a camera.
Using some spare walking pole parts for the “third leg” the extra weight of the pole and trail pix comes to approximately 280 grams, a similar weight to the Velbon VPod. In my experiences to date this set up seems to tick all the right boxes, i.e. it is light, stable and easy to use.
The only downside of the setup is if I want to use the Tripod once the shelter (using the poles) is set up. However, this only a minor inconvenience and requires a little more planning.
Carrying the camera, previously I have used a Zpacks Multipack, slung from a shoulder strap and connected to the hip belt, however, I felt there were times when I was not prepared to fiddle to get the camera out of the bag. On other occasions by the time I had the camera out, the bird had left the scene.
Enter, the Peak Design Capture Pro, I had been aware of this attachment for a while, but was sceptical of the “apparent weight” hanging off the shoulder strap. I have been impressed, carrying the camera in this position is comfortable and it does not “swing around” whilst hiking. I also feel more willing to grab the camera and take a photo because it was easier to access.
Recently, I became aware of the Peak Designs Shell a lightweight cover designed for use when the camera is being carried on the shoulder strap. It is made of a soft-shell fabric and is said to be weatherproof. The ease with which the camera can be removed or placed inside the cover is impressive.
Have I saved any weight? marginally, however, more importantly it has enabled me to take more pictures by having everything easily accessible.
*I will explain in a later post why I have temporarily stopped using Pacer Poles.