• David Malacrida has been working as a media content creator since 2009. He notably worked 6 years as a photo editor for Downdays magazine and 3 years as a content creator at Like That, an event-creating agency based in Annecy and active in the French mountains. At the same time, 10 years of independent work are emerging for many clients such as tourist offices, ski resorts, outdoor brands, film productions, etc.

    The COVID-19 pandemic, like global warming, has forced us all to change our old habits and to take a new look at our immediate surroundings. In today’s world, looking for adventure in your own backyard makes so much sense. In June 2020, I proposed a movie project based on a local expedition. 10 days in the mountains featuring riders and production crew with the goal to explore an outstanding area and make the best of it.

    Alone at my office, I’m preparing everything to make our daily first crew job easier : packing the backpacks. For the filmers and me, packing one week of needs and the camera gear is a real challenge and it’s taking around 4 hours and some hard choices to nail it. For the food, we use the dust bag of f-stop in which the pack is delivered and attach through the straps. For the clothes, we roll everything in our biggest jacket and strap it on the the bag. Using straps and gatekeeper to create an original piece of art weighing around 30 kilos and trying to carry it at the office is already hilarious and scary… 

    on the photo below - Pierre with his 70 L Sukha

    The departure day started with 500 meters on the flat to join the train by such a desperate conclusion : "our bags are way too heavy" - and a good point : "We should be strong enough to carry them two days." This departure day is also the first day of shooting with the question of : «  how to be able to use the camera while carrying the backpack Pierre and Jake decided to have another small pocket in front of them and I choose the shoulder attach. Still every occasion to put the backpack down is restful as painful such the bag is pleasant ton see on ground and hard to put back on the back. 

    3 hours of train and stuck down couloirs later we join the rest of the crew and head up to the mountain by car. Ready to put the skis on. At the end of the day, resting at the shelter we are so glad to made it, to hike 600m high and around 7km length with our houses on shoulders helping and supporting each other and creating a real groupe by the difficulties. 

    The next morning we leave the shelter two dry food meals and 3 energetic bars lighter ( which sadly makes no difference…) and head up to our final basecamp spot. 
    The difference to the first hiking day ? A 45° steep icy face to ski down and quite a contest of who’s the best sliding snail, ( I think I lost ), and the incredible feeling of letting the backpack on the ground and taking stuffs out that we will not have to carry in the future. 

    I’m waking up for the first time in the place I dreamed about and the view is gorgeous, the memories from our first outstanding sunset is still very strong in my head. I can’t believe it will be our daily life. I can’t believe 7 others people followed me in that adventure to share more than thinking and skiing, but a slice of life. 
    on the photos below - Pierre with his 70 L Sukha

    From now our schedule is simple : We decide every morning what we want to ride and shoot, go ahead, come back with the footage at the camp eat and laugh and go to sleep. Of course there would be way more to describe here but there is a movie about it. Check it out below.

    On the producing team side, the pleasure to get back our normal weight camera bag ( around 10 kilos ) is a real pleasure and I think we didn’t even feel it the first morning leaving the camp. Without 10 kilos of food, the laptop for one, the battery tank for another, our workflow came back fast. 

    The last day, after taking the time to enjoy the landscape and catch the last piece of memories around the camp we clean the place as if only tracks on snow could tell we were here and say hello back to our  « just less » heavy friends for the trip back. 4 hours later, drinking beers together, I’m thankful as sad to see this adventure ends.   

    on the photos below - Jake with his 70 L Sukha

    In every adventure and in this one in particular, the backpack is one of the key point and definitely your best friend. Without sherpas, we had to think from the beginning the opposite way with the question : « What can we carry? » and not « What do we need?» and if it took 4 hours to pack, it took days to decide what to take and organise this adventure. It was way more than just a heavy back pack story of course but this part was definitely the only hard one we had to deal with so let’s get bad ass and keep the focus on that point… 

    THE F-STOP AND CAMERA GEAR USED:

    DAVID 

    • Sony A7R4
    • Sony 16-35mm F-2.8
    • Sony 24-70mm F-2.8
    • Sony 70-200mm F-4
    • Cards pockets
    • 6 batteries
    • f-stop Sukha pack

    JAKE

    • Sony a7s3
    • Sony a7c
    • 6 batteries
    • Canon 24 -105 f4
    • Samyung 35mm 1.8
    • Zeiss 18mm 2.8
    • Batteries charger 
    • Mavic 2 pro
    • 3 batteries
    • Nd filters
    • f-stop Sukha pack

    PIERRE

    • Sony A7s3
    • Sony 16-35mm F-2.8
    • Sony 24-70 2.8
    • Canon 70-200mm f4
    • Feisol tripod
    • Macbook Pro 15
    • 2 Lacie 5 Tb hard drive
    • f-stop Sukha pack

    Until now I have been using different kind of bags for different causes. But I wasn’t really satisfied with them, because all of them had some cons. So, I have been thinking and looking out for a better solution for myself, especially for every day usage.

    Timo was born on the island of Saaremaa, the largest island in Estonia, which, among other things, is well known for hosting one of the greatest rallies in Estonia, For the last 6 years, Timo has been working as a freelance photographer and he loves being able to experience the variety of light

    My thoughts were heard when I got a phone call from f-stop founder Druid who offered me to try out their premium all day work bag - Dyota 20.
    Firstly I had no expectations and hopes. I just wanted to test the bag in real life. I’m a person who does a lot during each day, so that means I have to carry quite a number of things with me. It’s not only the camera and lenses. It’s also my laptop, gym clothes, books, water bottle, accessories, another set of clothing and etc. As you can see the list is long, especially potentially for a bag for every day usage. So after I received the bag, the first thing I did was the act of trying to fit the above mentioned things into Dyota 20. And to my surprise it managed to fit everything. That’s a good starting point.

    The other positives which stood out for me from the first touch were these:

    The bag fits a lot and at the same time it isn´t huge in size. Thats a cool bonus. You can take it easily everywhere you go,

    f.e to a train, airplane, bus, car, scooter, bike and etc. That also means it’s a good choice for many different kind of people from sportsmen to professionals who work in a bank. It offers a unique experience and at the same time it’s simple to use and practical. I would say it’s like an Iphone: it offers high quality every day using experience. Once you have tried it you don’t really go back where you came from. When the sky opens and rainfall starts you don’t have to worry. Go out and take the bag with you. The build quality and the material used are more than great. All your things will be dry. If you have to wear the bag for a long time, not to worry. Tested it and because of the good thought which has been put into the development of this bag, the weight distribution is great. Your back and shoulders won’t be aching after hours of wearing it.It also has enough storage for the little accessories like keys, wallets, tablet and etc. And those are cleverly hidden away. That means you don’t have to fill your pockets with all this stuff. Store them in the bag and you are good to go.

    The top panel is foldable and easy to access. A great bonus when you need something. It also has innovative magnet sealing system. A great little peace of innovation! The side of the bag is also easily accessible and there is the inner ICU unit for camera equipment. It only takes few seconds to access the camera and you are ready to shoot. These are just some examples of the possibilities this bag offers. After using it for few weeks I’m really happy to have found something which I can use for years. No matter where I go or what I do on daily basis this is the bag for my needs. The Dyota 20 is a game changer which suits everyone from nurses to government officials.

    Jon Glassberg is a professional climber for twenty years and has traveled the world climbing rocks up to 5.14 and V14. His authentic view of climbing and the Outdoor Industry grew from simple beginnings as a committed climber. In the past decade, his focus has shifted from the rock to the camera as a director who captures the heart and soul of cutting-edge climbing. Through dedication and consistency, he has grown his company, Louder Than Eleven, into one of the Outdoor Industry’s most trusted production houses. Jon works with pro athletes on their level and has directed a variety of award-winning features and international campaigns for The North Face, Mountain Hardwear, 37.5 Technology, Marmot, Black Diamond, La Sportiva, Petzl, USA Climbing, Outdoor Research, and Spyder. Jon shoots from precarious places where most filmmakers don’t have the skills to go. He captures commercial quality images in both the vertical and horizontal worlds.

    Jon enjoys hanging from the side of El Capitan capturing free ascents 3000 ft off the valley floor, climbing in the Rocky Mountains, and traveling to the corners of the earth to capture rare moments in sport. He likes to follow personalities and develop deep, authentic stories about talented people doing the coolest stuff out there.

    Jon Glassberg 

    This is my camera kit for capturing documentary video from a high angle climbing position on a big wall or single pitch climbing scenario with a climbing team. I have used this kit to capture great audio and video with climbers all over the world from high altitude big walls in Peru to El Capitan in Yosemite to single pitch climbs outside my home in Boulder, Colorado. This kit has been awesome for capturing cinematic documentary footage of climbers in a wide range of environments and shooting conditions you might face on a wall.

    I designed this kit for reliability, functionality, ease of use, and versatility. I typically bring up the Canon C200 and the CN-E 18-80mm Lens, operating handheld to stay light and fast. I'll throw in the additional lenses and monopod if I want something specific or cinematic and have the time to set it up and capture higher production value. The goal is to be light and fast but also capture high-quality video in 4k RAW with great audio despite being in challenging environments that are stressful and ever-changing.

    Camera Kit:

    I choose the Canon C200 MK II because of the 4k RAW 60fps Cinema Raw Light image capture and how simple it is to use with the Canon 18 - 80mm Zoom Lens. Auto focus on that lens and pro audio from the shotgun mic is totally seamless and easy to use in stressful shooting scenarios. The batteries last forever and the ergonomics of the eyecup or the LCD screen for varied shooting scenarios is awesome. The face recognition and built in ND filters make this camera so easy to use, you can focus on framing and staying alive rather than fussing with settings all day long.

    Lens Kit:

    When I am going light and fast I bring just the Canon 18-80mm. It is a total workhorse and can handle 90% of all shooting scenarios in my experience. If I need to shoot wider, Ill grab the 11-24mm, and if I can get far enough away like on a big wall or a mountain, Ill pop on the 100-400mm to get some long lens angles. Typically this is too heavy for big wall shooting but it can be really fun to have. I also will toss in the 50mm f/1.2 for close ups, details, or pop up interviews on the wall.

    Media Kit:

    Having enough media to capture hours of RAW 4k at 60fps is expensive but I have gotten by with 6 total 256 CFast cards for big wall shooting while having either SD cards for backup or for proxy dual record to make post production easier and faster. Its also night to have a crush proof card wallet that can be tethered to keep it from flying away when you are swapping cards.

    Sound Kit:

    I have found that the Rode NTG3B provides incredible audio right into the camera and can often be all you need.  

    I have used this mic extensively ion big walls and easily captures sound from climbers 100ft away talking or breathing while climbing. I will also throw a Lectrosonic PDR on the climber and run the mic through the shirt and into the helmet to capture intimate audio without to much weight. The PDR battery life lasts forever and gives incredible audio that can be synced to video in post. I also bring headphones for pop up interviews or to monitor audio but the in camera audio monitors are pretty easy to check now and again just to make sure you are getting something with the shotgun.

    Monopod and Head Kit:

    I use a monopod on the wall for creative moves or to shoot long pitches of climbing action. Typically the monopod is solid enough for long lens work and also provides an additional stabilization point for capturing cinematic video without too much handheld shaking. Sub in the tripod for ground work but we are mostly talking high angle cinematography here so I don’t bring it up on the wall but always have it at the base.

    Camera Bag:

    The Canon C200, lenses, audio equipment, climbing equipment, monopod, and accessories all fit pretty nicely in the f-stop Sukha Bag.  

    I typically keep the camera in the bag completely built out and ready to pull out and shoot with. The XL ICU can be set up with ICU gates to keep your accessories from flying out when you open the bag in the vertical environment. I have found that you can haul the bag pretty easily with a sling threaded between the carry loop and backpack straps and it hauls pretty much upright. I try and keep the bag from hitting the wall when I haul it since the fabric gets chewed up pretty fast from abrasion. I can stick the monopod in the side sleeve and the belay seat in the front pouch and keep everything “inside the bag” so that it doesn’t catch when I haul it. It even has room for food, water, a layer or two of clothing and anything else you might like on the wall. Accessories usually go in the top zip pouch to keep from falling out.

    Accessories:

    I bring a circular polarizer on the wall to balance the wall and the sky or the wall and the base of the climb that are typically blown out. I also bring along a radio to communicate with the climbers or a second shooter, producer, or assistants.

    Climbing and Rigging Kit:

    My rigging kit is designed to be light and fast for simple climbing situations. Ascending and descending static rope and hanging from a position for a long time to capture climbing action. I like to wear pants to keep abrasion down, La Sportiva TX3 approach shoes for a stable base for jugging and bring extra layers to stay warm when hanging around for a while. I keep my kit light and small so I can stay organized and not get bogged down with unnecessary gear. I also haul my camera bag once I reach my shoot location, I don’t jug the rope with the bag. I can do a tutorial on how to jug, get in position, and rig for shooting in other tutorial.

    As soon as this COVID thing is all over, I will be continuing to shoot the feature doc I am working on about pro climber Emily Harrington and I will also dive back into commercial work with the clients I do work for and keep climbing as often as I can!

    Jeff is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, philosophy undergraduate, international multimedia journalism MA (China Cohort), and professional wanderer with over 12 years of living in countries in Africa, Asia, and S. America. Although his background is in multimedia journalism and documentary photography, his specialty over the last few years has been mostly documentary brand storytelling for Trek Bikes.
    Jeff Kennel 

    When I started at Americares they already had some Nikon gear for stills and 2 FS5II cameras for video. I’d been shooting Canon for stills and Sony for video for a long time, but had to switch to Nikon due to what they had already invested, which was a pain at first with the muscle memory, but I’ve almost completely retrained my brain and fingers now. I ended up upgrading to the D850 and added some better lenses. For video, we have 2 FS5II cameras, but they are a bit large for our type of shooting, so they stay in the studio for in-house local shoots.

    The new Nikon Z6 just came out and it seemed similar to the Sony A7s I was used to shooting video with. It was small, lightweight, and with the Atomos Ninja, it produces an amazing image in N-Log. So far I’m really happy with it. Also if one of these cameras goes down, the other can fill in. They both shoot great quality motion and stills. We work in around 90 countries and often in disaster zones (post-earthquake, hurricane, flood, etc), so I need my kit to be pretty light and mobile. I have separate gear for video and photo, with some things overlapping or serving as backups. I often can only bring one backpack on relief helicopters, etc., so the bag and my gear need to be light and reliable. I’m also carrying all my gear for the whole day and throwing it in and out of all types of vehicles, so it needs to have good support and protection.

    I am able to pack all this plus a few changes of clothes in my Sukha bag and Pro Large ICU. If I’m shooting from one location and I need to bring a drone or extra lights and it isn’t a disaster zone, I pack Airport Roller bag as well. I put the tripod and light stand in the front outside pocket. In the side pockets I put flip flops or shoes, sometimes the lightstand and in the top pocket I put things I need to get quickly, like a rain cover, rain jacket, hat, scarf, etc.

    Joshua Snow is a Moab, UT based ex-engineer turned fine art Nature photographer, who specializes in creating ethereal and dramatic imagery and teaching advanced capture and processing techniques in his immersive photography workshops all over the US and world! Most of Joshes' time spent domestically is wandering around in his hand build travel van with all of the creature comforts of home with his partner and two rescue pups. In addition to f-stop, Josh represents Nisi Filters, Gnarbox, Lume Cube and Data Color as a brand ambassador and works closely with Really Right Stuff tripods as a beta tester and writer. 

    Joshua Snow 

    I am a long time Nikon user and fanatic and my gear arsenal is comprised of a Nikon D850, D810, 2x 14-24’s, 24-70 and 70-300 Vr. Over the years I have curated this arsenal for purpose, versatility, and practicality. The Nikon D850 is a powerhouse with features that have helped shape the way I compose images.The D810 is a faithful backup in the untimely event the 850 fails, which knock on wood, has never happened.

    The lenses are staples in my bag and since a majority of what I shoot is captured with a wide-angle it's imperative I have a lens that is capable of focusing very closely, is sharp and versatile for landscapes and night scenes. The 24-70 covers a lot of situations as well and allows me the versatility of capturing scenes in different ways, creating focal length blends for unique takes on popular locations and more. The 70-300 although not Nikon's sharpest tele-zoom lens is very light and since it doesn’t get as much use as the others, weight is important, and it's certainly sharp enough.

    Joshua Snow 

    All of my essential gear squeezes into an XL ICU inside my Tilopa with a little room left over for filters, remotes, flashlights, a GPS, lens cloths, hand warmers,  a water bladder and a few other odds and ends I like to keep with me.The side pockets don't get much use since I typically have a tripod or two strapped to the side of the bag, but the top pouch and internal upper compartment share the load of these odds and ends and some snacks. Almost everything I carry with me aids in my photography, whether its snacks to keep me energized, a multi-tool to remove cactus barbs from getting a little too close, or hand warmers to keep my fingers, toes or even lens warm when shooting in high altitude or cold locations. I always keep my GPS/satellite messenger clipped to me in the event of an emergency, or to just keep in touch with my better half when I'm In the backcountry

    Joshua Snow 

    I am always itching to get on the road when I am home in Moab, Ut for short periods to catch up on website and business work, each time getting a little less attached to a brick and mortar place to live. I love being on the road, wandering and exploring areas I either have visited or new places I've yet to visit. I am greatly inspired by the idea of waking up somewhere stunning and different each day, pushing open the van door with mountains and stunning beauty just feet away.

                                   You can find Joshua's work on his websiteInstagram and Facebook.

    Packing for a day out on the ice isn’t like packing for your typical day out shooting as there are a couple of extra things to consider before you head out the door. First off I am often hanging from a climb from above so it's important to not only have all the gear I need to shoot in a highly accessible location but it also needs to be safe enough that I won't drop it. In addition to the logistics of the actual shoot, I also need to bring my climbing gear along. These climbs often require the team to hike in on long approaches and so this also requires me to bring adequate food and water for a day out climbing. Logistically this seems like it could be a nightmare but with the use of f-stop packs and the proper ICU’s I have got this pretty dialed in.

    Tyler Weber 

    First off, I start with my f-stop Ajna bag, I love this bag for so many reasons. First, it's carry-on compatible, I know that’s completely unrelated directly to climbing but this makes for peace of mind when traveling to and from locations, that I don’t have to switch things from one system to another. It really makes for an all in one solution to carrying my camera gear. Second, and most important in this case is the features and the durability of the Ajna. 

    This pack's exterior has attachments for my ice tools that's something you just don't see with a regular camera bag. It's also super tough and weather resistant.  The last thing I want to do is be worrying about where to put my camera bag down.The Ajna often ends up in a puddle or under a dripping seep of water and I have yet to encounter any moisture inside the bag itself and this without a rain cover.

    Tyler Weber 

    Next off is my f-stop Navin. If there’s ever a situation where I am on difficult or highly technical climbs I will go with one camera and one lens and the Navin will get clipped to my climbing harness. This is a lightweight setup that allows me to continue shooting even in the most challenging of situations. When it boils down to ICU’s I usually choose two options and my decision on what ICU to put in the bag goes something like this. If the day of climbing is going to be technically intensive and I need more gear than usual I will opt for the small ICU and only bring one camera body and one lens. But if the day is logistically easy I will pack the medium slope ICU. This allows me to bring two camera bodies and three camera lenses.

    When it comes to packing my bag for a typical day out climbing and shooting I bring two bodies, the Fuji XT-3 and the Fuji XT-2. For lenses, I bring the 10-24 f4, 18-55, and 50-140. This allows me to cover all focal lengths without carrying too much bulk. In addition to the basic kit, I also bring 8 extra batteries, a satellite messenger for, for emergencies, extra gloves, and a few hot packs and some warm tea and food for the day. For climbing gear and rigging, I bring my harness, protection in the form of ice screws, and quickdraws, various lengths of slings and webbing and a handful of locking and non-locking carabiners. I also pack my helmet, ice tools, and crampons.

    In the ICU itself, I pack all the camera equipment. I have the 10-24 on one camera body and the 50-140 2.8 on the other and the 18-55 sits secured with velcro straps off to the side so I don’t have to worry about dropping it. On top of this, I pack my climbing gear, crampons first because they go on last and then harness, I usually keep most of the climbing gear on my harness as it makes it faster to get going once we reach the climb. Last to go in on top is my helmet as it's the first thing that goes on once we have reached our climb. It's essential to be organized when shooting in these environments, the more ready you are the less you have to worry about the logistics of photography and the more you can focus on climbing and shooting safely.

    f-stop Ambassador Jongmo Seo is a photographer who’s specialty is shooting the views from skyscrapers in Seoul with time-lapse skills. Moreover, he loves adventures outside of the city like backpacking and winter sports. He's using the Shinn, Dyota 20, and Ajna packs. Most of the time he's using the Shinn for shooting time-lapses which is his most favorite backpack since he needs lots of gear for time-lapse videos. This time he's going to talk about f-stop Shinn.

    Jongmo Seo 

    The Shinn is designed with Master Cine ICU and specifically designed to haul big camera setups. The combination of the pack with the Master Cine ICU gives the ultimate supersized camera bag for serious shooters hauling large video rigs and super-telephoto setups. Beside the Master Cine ICU, I own different sizes of ICUs and use them according to the gear that I need for the shootings. Also, I customize the internal dividers inside the ICU depending on the gear I carry.

    Here is the gear that I mostly carry inside the Shinn with Master Cine ICU:
    Camera: Sony A7r4 and two Sony A7r3 and Lenses: Laowa12mm, FE16-35GM, SIGAM ART 24-70mm, FE35mm, FE55mm, FE70-200GM, SEL200-600 G. 

    Jongmo Seo 

    On top of the ICU, I carry accessories to stay organized. These are the accessories that I carry:
    Large Accessory Pouch- Three Lens support systems, Medium Accessory Pouch for Batteries, Memory cards, Remotes, Filters, electronic horizontal meter, then Packing cell kit for my jacket jacket and compressible clothes,Three tripods attached to the pack GITZO 3542L, 3542XLS, 5563GS. In the rest of the free space inside the pack, I put some foods or clothes for hiking or shooting.

    In addition to Master Cine ICU, I also carry Large Pro ICU separately. ICUs are good in the packs but on top of that, ICUs are also good as themselves. I pack some camping stuff in the Large Pro ICU and put it in the car separately. Compared to my previous packs it keeps me more organized and bigger space for gear, also different sizes of ICUs and the system of ICU itself helps me to customize the packing space as I need. Shinn is the backpack that you’re looking for those people who have lots of gear for big projects.

    Nic Alegre grew up in East Hampton, New York and is an award-winning photographer for Teton Gravity Research. After graduating from Villanova University in 2008, Nic lived and worked in Manhattan for a few years before he followed his instincts west and spent a number of years in both Whistler, British Columbia, and North Lake Tahoe, California before landing in Jackson Hole Wyoming as the first lead photographer in TGR's 25-year history. In December 2018, he won Powder Magazine's Photo of the Year at the 19th annual Powder Awards in Breckenridge, Colorado and has been nominated four times since 2015. Last year, he was a finalist twice for the 2019 Red Bull Illume Photo Competition - RAW Category.

    Nic Alegre 

    I shoot Nikon D5, D4, and D850 bodies and Nikon lenses. I generally carry a single body in my Tilopa pack with a combination of between 4-6 lenses. When on assignment in Alaska and shooting dynamic and quickly changing action scenes hanging from a helicopter, I will carry two bodies at the same time that are usually mounted with 70-200mm f2.8 and a 24-70mm 2.8 Nikon lens. In some instances, I will switch out the 24-70mm for a 14-24mm 2.8 wide and keep a 2x teleconverter on me to attach to the long lens if the situation calls for it.The other lenses usually in my quiver are 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.4 and a 300mm 2.8. I never use a tripod to shoot because of how much I move.

    Nic Alegre 

    I learned from pro's using Nikon and began shooting with their second-hand gear and never looked back. Nikon glass is the best in my opinion and the camera bodies have been battle axes for me. The environments I typically work in are harsh, wet, cold and dramatic and the Nikon gear, much like my f-stop bag, have proven that they can weather the storm in my expedition oriented shooting assignments.

    Timo Anis is a photographer who at the moment is focused on motorsport races, but he also shoots some wedding and portrait photography. In the motorsport field, he's one of the few FIA's World Rally Championship photographers who are following the championship in every continent it goes. His travels take him from Sweden to Australia and Chile. As you can see, that itself provides a great layout for images and gives him a lot of opportunities in his work. His 2020 season started with a legendary event in Southern France with an iconic Rallye Monte Carlo. We had the chance to talk with Timo about the event and the gear that he took with him.

    f-stop: You cover a lot of motorsport events, can you please tell us something the WRC Rallye Monte Carlo and what makes it different than others?

    Timo Anis 

    One of the oldest, toughest and most demanding events in the world rally championship calendar. What makes it so difficult? These are the roads and the climate in the mountains. It could be raining or snowing. There can be fog or sunshine. You could have the rain at the start and snow on the top of the super special stage. Which tires one should use? This is a big question for everyone! One never takes anything for granted in Monte Carlo rally. You can only learn and take the experience with you along the process. For sure this isn't an event where you can go flat out from start to finish. One has to be wise, and know when to take it more steady.         

    f-stop: What do you usually carry with you, and what are your essential pieces of non-camera gear that always go in your bag?                                  

    Timo Anis 

    On a daily basis, I'm using two Nikon d850 bodies. Those will go along with my Nikkor 70-200 latest lens and Sigma art series prime lenses. All together I have 3 of those (24, 35 and 85 mm). Now and then I use my Nikkor 16 mm fisheye. If I need/want to light up my subjects I use my two Nikon SB 910 flashguns.    Until now these have been helping me to produce my work. As I'm working simultaneously with two bodies I need some transmitters. For that, I have some PocketWizard's in my bag. For the remote, I tend to use some carbon lightweight tripod. As the gear that I'm wearing is quite heavy I need to think about my body. For that, I'm using Blackrapid's camera straps system. It distributes the equipment's weight quite nicely and there isn't too much pressure on my lower back. There are different products on the market in that field, but I haven't found anything better, to be honest!

    Here's an interesting fact for you. You know all the dust and dirt which flies around when motorsport events are happening.  Well, how do you secure your gear? Here's my secret: I use women stocking for it. The thickest you can get. For sure it's the best option on the market at this very moment, at least for me! As for the non-camera gear I always take my portable Lacie 2 GB hard drive, Blackrapid straps and some extra filters with me. For the gravel events where dust is an issue I always take some brush with me to keep the gear clean. I always take some lens cleaning clothing with me. It's the experience.  One of the most important aspects of shooting outdoors is your clothing. Like in Monte Carlo rally: you can have temperatures from -10 up to +15. So it's not easy to choose your clothing. I always go a bit lighter and with layers. Then I'm able to change things when the weather changes. As I need to walk a lot, sometimes more than 10 km in a single day, so I need to make sure my body can breathe!                           

    f-stop: Why did you select this gear?                                                                                                                                                                                        

    Timo Anis 

    As I have been a Nikon user for year's everything has happened very naturally for me.  The biggest change for me in recent years has been the fact that I changed all my other lenses for Sigma's art Series primes ones. I have been really impressed by the image quality they do and really pleased with the overall experience. With the gear I have, I can basically shoot anything I wish. I could say only my imagination is the limit. To give you an example: I can shoot motorsport, portrait work, corporate events and etc with all that gear easily.

    f-stop: Where do you put all of that gear?   

    Timo Anis 

    I'm currently using f-stop Ajna photo bag. For me, this is the perfect bag. It takes all I need for a shoot, even when it lasts more than a week. One of the major pluses about this bag is also a fact that it is suitable as cabin luggage across the globe. That's a very important factor for me, as I need to travel a lot. All the camera gear, lenses, and transmitters are going into the ICU unit within the bag. For the large pocket which is outside the bag, I tend to put my Blackrapid straps, all the adapters, and wires and etc. Into the top compartment, I tend to put my hard drive, headphones and my kindle. I like to read, but books can be big in their size, so for that, a kindle is a perfect solution!             

    f-stop: What is next for you?                                                                                                                                                                                                        

    Timo Anis 

    I have some portrait work planned to shoot in the next week. Regarding WRC, the next rally will be held in Sweden. This will be run as a winter event and on the roads covered by snow and solid ice. The cars will be using studded tires and it will be a very high-speed event. One of the fastest events in the calendar. 

      Follow Timo's adventures on InstagramFacebook, and his website. 

    f-stop Ambassador Ishaan Bhataiya recently came back from the 2020 Dakar Rally which was the 42nd edition of the event and the first edition held in Saudi Arabia. The event started in Jeddah on 5 January and finished in Al-Qiddiya on 17 January after 12 stages of the competition. He was the first Indian photographer to shoot the grueling Dakar Rally in 2019 and also various rounds of the FIM Cross Country Rally Championship. He has worked with every automobile publication in the country, creating various editorial features and has finally made a foray into the world of advertising. We had the chance to catch up with him after the 2020 Dakar Rally, and talk more about how he prepared for this amazing event. 

    f-stop: This is not your first time shooting the Dakar Rally, can you tell us more about what do you usually take with you for this kind of assignment?

    Ishaan Bhataiya 

    I’d carry 3 camera bodies, with 3 lenses ranging from super-telephoto to telephoto to an extreme wide-angle one. Three memory card cases with identical Sandisk 32GB Extreme Pro CF cards for each body. Batteries would generally all be charged the night before, so you don’t really need to carry one with you, unless you’ve had a hard night of partying and you know you have 4 spare batteries fully charged, so you’ll swap them out in the morning when you leave the car. That sorts out all your shooting needs. Apart from this, I'd have a Camelbak with about 2-3litres of water, energy bars, some candies, sunglasses, a few layers and a jacket depending on the weather conditions and a few buff’s and such stuff to wrap around your neck and then later to cover your nose when one of the mammoth trucks pass by blowing tons of dust in the air (thankfully though, not in the dunes). 

    f-stop: What are the challenges that you faced during this event?                                                                                                                                        

    Ishaan Bhataiya 

    Action Sports, specifically shooting a rally out in the desert does not give you the comfort of having a marked place for all your gear in close proximity. Yes, there is the car that you come in, but it also has 2 other photographers. The main aim is for all three of us to move in different directions, to get different images and not end up with the same shots/composition as the other. Once the stage is live and the first rider crosses you, it’s going to be a continuous chain of bikes, quads, ssv’s, cars and trucks one after the other, and the only significant break you’d get would be between the bikes and the cars, or between the fast and the really slow competitors. In such a case, it's definitely not feasible to leave your place of shooting, to go back to the car to pick up those extra memory cards, or water or even an extra battery/lens.  So, it all has to be on you at all times.                                         

    f-stop: You mentioned that you carry 3 bodies and 3 lenses with you at all times, can you tell us why?                                                                          

    Ishaan Bhataiya 

    Typically a rider/driver stays within shooting range for some seconds on an average, with 3 bodies with 3 different lenses, you maximize your possibility of making different shots of that rider and you normally choose places to shoot accordingly. 

    f-stop: Can you walk us through your gear and tell us what did you carry inside of your Tilopa, and also tell us why did you pick this specific set of gear? What else do you carry in the pockets?  

    Ishaan Bhataiya 

     I had 2xCanon 1Dx Mark2, Canon 7D Mark2, Canon 10-18mm, LP-E19 Battery Charger, External Flash and Trigger, Tamron 150-600mm Sport G2, Canon 17-40mm, Sigma 18-35mm, Sandisk Extreme Pro CF Cards, ADATA SSD, ADATA External HDD, Large Accessory Pouch, Canon 70-200mm, Sandisk Extreme Pro CF Cards x2, Sandisk Memory Card Reader, Passport, Notepad, Red Bull, Blackrapid Sport Breathe, Dakar 2020 Accreditation, Pen Drive, iPad, MacBook Pro, Wacom Intuos, Polaroid Filters, Polaroid Sunglasses, SIM cards, iPhone X Pelican Case. Almost all of the camera equipment goes into the XL ICU inside my Tilopa, accessories like filters, camera straps, hoods, lights would go into the Large ICU inside a hard-case. The side pockets normally are pretty empty, I’d stock an extra Ortholite sole for my shoes and some extra buffs, scarves in the other pocket. But usually, I keep them quite empty, cause the car has only limited space for all the bags, and you’d like a tall bag, not a fat one.                                                                                                                           

    I selected this gear cause typical to shooting action sports are really challenging environments and locations which could take a toll on the cameras. With top-of-the-line camera bodies, you negate that risk cause they’re sturdily built with super-strong magnesium alloy bodies and weather-sealed lenses. Multiple bodies so that changing lenses would not be a thing I’d be concerned with, cause in such sandy and dusty conditions changing lenses is just a nightmare and you’d end up with more damage than Good sometimes. The top (outside) pocket would have an extra phone, a notepad, pen, earphones, microfibre cloth, keys, zip ties, and maybe some batteries or things I need to store for the time being and also an iPad. The inside pocket would normally have more important things like my passport, documents, Identifications cards, SIM cards, pen drives, another note pad, dog tags, lens cleaning solution and cloth, stickers.

    f-stop: Now when the Dakar Rally is finished, what's next for you?                                                                                                                                      

    Ishaan Bhataiya 

    India is going through an interesting phase with all the politics and laws being passed in the country. Jammu and Kashmir have always been at the top of the list of states being affected by these actions, so much so, that there was a 145 days+ internet shutdown in J&K. Amidst all of this the Kashmiri youth are finding their solace, 'mental peace' and spending their time productively by going out and skiing on the pristine slopes of the Himalayas in Gulmarg, and I've been told that they're rather good at it, so I'm heading down to Kashmir to shoot this Skiing story in about a week. Post that would be some more supercross, track racing and digital campaigns leading up to the Auto Expo in March.                                                                                                                                                                        

                                             Follow Ishaan's adventures on Instagram and Facebook.                           

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