• Conor MacNeill, also known as the Fella, is a travel & landscape photographer.  His biggest passions always was traveling and exploring which actually brought him to photography. Now he does both with a focus on landscapes, cityscapes, and sometimes astrophotography or even Deep Space.  

    Conor's philosophy extends beyond photography; he's also on a mission to greet every street dog he encounters, adding a heartwarming touch to his travels. Filmed at the Pro Hangout in North Macedonia, Conor reveals his minimalist approach to travel photography, showcasing how he navigates the globe with a compact, yet powerful photography kit.

    Traveling Minimalistic: Conor’s approach  

    After a trip in Kosovo Conor visited us at the Pro Hangout in North Macedonia and walked us through his travel kit


    "I am not just here because of the photography and meeting everyone, I am also here to say hi to all the street dogs! "

    His Tilopa houses only his Small Pro Insert with one Nikon Z9Body with a Battery grip and 2 Lenses, a Lens Hood, a Filter case, a Tripod, a few receipts, a memory card case, and clothes. Throughout his traveling and multiple packing occasions, he learned packing light tailored for him without compromising. Conscious decisions about what to bring is his blueprint. Think about what you really need.  

    Which one is more important to you specifically – weight or variety of gear?  

    In the past, Conor had multiple Batteries with him for his Camera. For these, he had also different compartments in his pack arranged so he could know which Batteries were full or which were used. By now he is only using his Camera with the Built-in Battery Grip which gives him enough Power supply throughout the day. At night he just plugs the Camera in with USB C and charges it like this. 

    This Workflow also allows him to save weight and space on Batteries, chargers, etc. He reduced it to the most needed items.  

    Tilopa 50 L on the ground with the Small Pro Camera Insert, 2 Large Accessory pouches, and the Dust Cover

    Efficient Packing 

    A look in his pack shows 4 parts of Cubes/pouches. Conor also repurposes some accessories like the dust cover as laundry bags in which the f-stop packs come shipped in, minimizing waste, and maximizing utility. He also gives the Accessory Pouches Large a different function to transport his clothing and keep it organized. Everyday items like socks, shirts, and undergarments are neatly packed away. The rest of his pack is very straightforward as well. Mesh pouches hold receipts and SIM cards or other items he needs when traveling for business while larger compartments hold his Gym Kit or a Jacket.  

    Heavier items, such as camera gear, at the bottom for optimal weight distribution. His laptop stays in the Laptop sleeve with an additional protective Case as well so he can take it out at airports and carry it around.  

    Camera Gear Setup 

    A well-padded laptop sleeve keeps my device secure, while a custom camera insert houses my essential photography equipment. Conor is selecting a compact kit tailored to my travel needs, including a large camera with a built-in grip and a versatile lens selection. USB-C charging capability further benefits my setup, reducing the need for multiple batteries. Having his items in different Compartments allows him to change, swap, and rearrange or similar quickly.

    If Conor needs to take out the Camera Insert due to having to check in the Camera pack or he just needs to change it over in a different pack he folds up the flap of the insert, zips it up, and can carry it easily through the airport. Photos below show Conor with the Small Pro Camera Insert closed up - as he jokes with a camera Suitcase

    Tripod Attachment Management 

    Handling tripods can be cumbersome, especially during travel. With Gatekeeper straps, he fastens the tripod to the outside of the bag. The Bottom Gatekeeper strap over all three keeps the legs secure and the Top strap through two legs to secure it from slipping down. 

    In case Conor is planning to travel with small planes he makes his packs look more compact by removing the ball head and placing both the Head and the Tripod in his Camera bag next to the Insert. The Tripod without the Ball head perfectly fits in his Tilopa from the Height still, so a conscious decision on a tripod height or being able to remove a ball head is part of his strategy. For him, this is ideal for navigating through airports or tight spaces.  

    “As a conscious traveler, I strive to minimize waste and maximize utility. Making conscious choices that can enhance my travel experience!” 

    Connect with Conor : https://thefella.com

    Nick's gear bag opens to reveal the main compartment, carefully organized to accommodate his primary camera system. His packing reflect Nick's commitment to professionalism and preparedness, vital qualities for any serious photographer or filmmaker. 

    Organization, not just for convenience ..

    ...but as a vital component of a professional workflow. 

    With a nod to the unpredictability of industry Nick’s bag is not just a collection of gear; it is his safety net, ensuring that no matter the circumstances, he can always deliver. 

    Gear Selection and Flexibility

    Nick relies on a range of gear depending on the project at hand. For smaller jobs, he opts for Nikon gear, keeping the load light and efficient. However, for larger shoots, he needs to utilize a mix of equipment, including drones, gimbals, and multiple camera bodies, such as RED cameras.
    He takes advantage of the modular setup, utilizing interchangeable camera inserts (ICUs) often also pre-packed for specific applications. This allows for quick transitions between different types of shoots in between different packs. On the other side, he also stores the gear in the Camera insert at home in the Camera Units and just shoves in the pack what he needs.

    "For me, it is the best way of keeping my gear organized when I'm not traveling. I just have things stored in Inserts at home like this, also ready to be put in a pack."

    One of the most draining tasks next to shooting is to carry all you need with you from place to place. Arriving tired on set or just getting worn out throughout the day are two things Nick tries to prevent as best he can.
    All the f-stop packs have a "comfort weight" as we call it and recommendations for carrying gear safely and comfortably, but what if you just need more? 

    Weight from not only the camera gear but also batteries, cables, hard drives, computer, and accessories quickly adds up. Nick has a high tolerance for the weight he can carry – so his comfort weight may not be the same as for someone else of the same build. A lot of factors come in here like condition, muscles, resilience, etc. Some say Nick is a packhorse when it comes to carrying gear - We call that dedication!

    The first thing he does is to make sure he selects the right pack for the right needs. Every pack is purpose-built, and the f-stop pack up from 50 L has thicker padding to provide more carry comfort for heavier packs, longer trips, etc. His go-to pack is the Tilopa 50 L due to the compact weight distribution which allows him to carry everything as close to his weight center as possible. If he would need more room, he takes the Shinn 80 L.

    Organizational Strategy

    Central to Nick’s workflow is the organization of his gear.

    When packing, he rather takes the time he needs than pack in a rush. It needs to fit and fulfill his needs so smart arrangements will save him time, having to repack, and avoid any frustrations. When packing the Inserts for specific jobs, he just takes all dividers out and rearranges gear how it fits best.

    Another big focus when arranging his gear is distributing the weight as evenly as possible and ensuring easy and fast access to essential items.

    "I've always taken the approach that I can work harder and carry more as long as it's going to give me the best results. But I need to balance that with not being tired and wearing myself out or being slow. I need to be able to be agile. I need to have the gear that I need and not take too much whilst also having enough that I'm not left lacking."

    My biggest tip for packing

    Be creative Arrange the gear in how it works best for you specifically. 

    “I've been packing these bags for some time, and I find that the more creative I am and the more I allow myself to experiment and take my time instead of rushing, the better the outcome. Having redundancy in gear, even if it makes the pack slightly heavier, is far more important to me than the weight of my pack alone. Obviously, carrying weight safely is crucial, which is why I ensure everything is secured at the bottom. But as long as I'm packing safely and taking care of myself, avoiding arriving on set tired, I find it to be incredibly valuable.”

    Nick Leavesley

    Main Compartment: Configuration

    At the center lies his workhorse camera, a state-of-the-art RED model paired with two more Camera Bodies and lenses alongside a drone in this setup.  He makes sure he is equipped to tackle any photographic challenge and be flexible and versatile for whatever he gets his teeth hooked in. To complement his RED setup, Nick also includes a compact DSLR as a backup camera, ensuring redundancy in case of equipment failure or unexpected contingencies. 

    Heavy equipment like the RED Brain camera, together with the V-Log and also the monitor adaptor for the RED 7-inch touch screen, is placed at the bottom to prevent any long-term warping of the camera insert and maintain balance during transport. He finds it's nice to be able to just put it pre-assembled straight in the bag. It saves me from having to assemble everything.

    Nick is all about adaptability and preparedness. Through investment in versatile gear and a flexible organizational system, he avoids stress and saves time, so he can handle a broad spectrum of projects. Every aspect of his setup is designed to maximize efficiency and creativity in the field. Not needing to worry about where things are or having to repack his pack to stay organized is highly valuable for him and keeps him focused on what in front of him. 

    Items such as a drone (DJI Mavic 3 Pro or DJI Air 2), lenses, sound equipment, and accessories are strategically positioned for convenience and efficiency. He carries the Drone in a Protective wrap and due to the depth of the Insert can place another Lens stacked on top (in this case a 200 mm)

    Adjacent to the main camera setup, Nick's gear bag houses an array of essential accessories He brings small accessories and cables in dedicated pouches and compartments to prevent loss and ensure easy access.

    A robust V-lock battery pack ensures uninterrupted power supply throughout long shooting sessions, while a specially designed adaptor allows seamless integration of a seven-inch touchscreen monitor, enhancing monitoring and playback capabilities on set. Nick's dedication to detail extends to the placement of smaller accessories such as backup cables, chargers, and adapter plates for quick retrieval when needed. This organization not only maximizes efficiency during shoots but also minimizes the risk of misplacing or losing valuable equipment in the field.

    He also always carries a variety of Gatekeeper Straps, allowing him to attach miscellaneous items outside the pack. Sometimes, he attaches a lens (in a case), a tripod, ropes, etc. One or two small carabiners are always found hooked in the gatekeeper attachment points.

    "You never know when you're going to want to clip something to your bag, whether that's a water bottle or just a random kind of bag or something that needs to be carried. Sometimes I also use these gatekeepers to carry longer lenses, so if I'm doing any telephoto stuff, these will be perfect. I always go overkill on how many gatekeepers I need because on shoots, I often change this setup live. It's nice to be able to have the flexibility and plenty of gatekeepers to do that.

    Must haves: Additional Accessories

    • Carabiners - you never know what you need to attach and need the extra room! ( even if you have already gatekeeper straps) Just being able to clip a water bottle or anything else is great
    • Backups of Quick releases or adapters are indispensable for monitors, allowing for easy mounting to a camera—essential during video shoots. Similarly, magic arms prove useful for various mounting needs. You never know when you're going to need to mount something to a camera, especially when you're doing video.
    • Power bank to power the phone or also the computer 
    • The Ignite DJI power plate is a key piece of gear; all his REDs are powered by V-mount batteries ( TV fifties ) due to their reliability, quick charging, and longevity. This setup is especially efficient when using two batteries on an Ignite DJI hammerhead, providing power outputs for charging a laptop or powering the RED and other accessories. This setup is invaluable for running a follow focus, a Teradek, or a wireless transmission system, with the ability to power these devices from the same source.
    • Drones are a staple in Nick's bag, as clients frequently request aerial shots. Having a drone readily available enables Nick to meet these demands effectively. It's nice to be able to offer that
    • A backup camera: is essential to ensure continuity in shooting even if the primary camera fails. Whether a compact mirrorless or a simple point-and-shoot, having a backup can save the day.
    • An SD card tool: is a must-have for Nick, typically tethered to his belt loop or kept in his pocket for quick access. This tool is invaluable for swiftly removing stuck cards or when time is of the essence.
    • A variety of adapters! Micro B USB adaptors and a plentiful supply of USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 and 4 cables ensure compatibility with various devices, which is crucial for maintaining workflow flexibility. extension cable for the monitor on the RED, ensuring he's prepared to build out his camera setup in any configuration needed. 
    • Having a thumb drive on keys or a USB-C to A cable is always handy for quick data transfers to clients or devices. You never know what you're going to need to give a client or how quickly 
    • Never leave a charger in checked luggage: Understand the unpredictability of travel. Keeping a charger for the main batteries in carry-on luggage averts potential issues if checked bags are lost or delayed.
      "Suddenly you realize that your pack is lost and then don't have a charger. So having just a single charger for the main batteries you're using just gets you a whole load of problems."

    Mobile Editing Suite: Workstation Essentials

    At the top of Nick's gear bag lies his mobile editing workstation. Nick always tries to bring a powerful laptop at all times. Currently, he is using the 16-inch M1 MacBook Pro. 

    In a dedicated compartment within his gear bag, Nick stores a variety of hard drives and memory cards essential for data management and backup. Portable SSDs provide redundant storage solutions, safeguarding project files against loss or corruption. Spare cables are readily available for connectivity and data transfer. Data management remains a top priority, with redundant storage solutions and backup drives ensuring critical files are consistently safeguarded. 

    “I try and tailor my workflow around USB-C. I think it's a great format and allows a lot of flexibility and all of the computers I use can take USB-C. But I do need to make sure that I have cables in place so that if a client doesn't, I can give them a USB cable. 

    Data Management: Safeguarding Projects

    To store data securely and have all necessary resources at your disposal. At the end of the day, clients are paying a lot of money. He therefore maintains a few in-progress hard drives and hot spares ready, just in case of failures or the need for backups. When working in a team or with multiple bags Nick makes it a practice to distribute a project across two bags, mitigating the risk of total loss due to damage or if someone loses a bag. In challenging shooting environments stress levels can be high and distractions frequent. So you need to calculate this in.

    “Given my frequent juggling of multiple projects, the ability to store five or six projects simultaneously is essential. This is particularly vital when working with RED cameras. TB quickly add up!”

    In addition to video, Nick also captures stills, organizing hard drives by year or project. These drives contain not only the images but also the Lightroom catalogs. He maintains a separate directory for RAW files from Capture One at the top of each drive. Additionally, Nick always packs a few backup micro SD cards, which are easy to overlook but essential. For instances where a client needs a quick photo directly from the camera or a device, I ensure an SD card to lightning cable is on hand for immediate file transfer, facilitating instant sharing of quality images.

    The importance of having all data backed up and securely stored can not be overstated. Losing data is not an option; thus, whether through cloud backups or multiple hard drives, safeguarding data is imperative. 

    Nick's favorite packing hack

    The front pocket! This is one of my favorite parts of the Tilopa because it allows me to store my batteries in a very efficient way, especially the V-mounts. It's deep enough that I can store two of them stacked sideways, effectively fitting almost double the number of batteries in this space. At home, I might even have up to eight V-mounts neatly packed in this top section.

    The Full Gear list:
    Nick's Hybrid Filmmaking Set-up 

    Connect with Nick . https://www.instagram.com/beyondnick/

    f-stop Ambassador Alexandre Gendron visited us in Portugal during our Pro Hangout. While he was with us, he walked us through his travel setup, using his AJNA 37L DuraDiamond®. Read more below about the tips and tricks that make his life as a working professional easier!  

    Photos in the Video: by Richard Bord, Droneshots: by Leo Domingos, Video and edit : f-stop LLC by Lena Oberhofer 

    "When it comes to packing and organizing for any photo shoot, whether it is real estate, adventure, or travel photography, I believe in thorough preparation and attention to detail. Firstly, I have my checklists for all the necessary equipment, depending on what I will be shooting. This ensures I have my key equipment, such as camera body, lenses, tripod, spare batteries, memory cards, and any other specific gear required for the shoot.

    I prioritize lightweight and versatile gear for adventure and travel photography that can withstand various weather conditions and rugged environments. In terms of physical organization, I use my f-stop AJNA for shorter trips, or my Tilopa for longer journeys with the Medium Slope - Camera Insert to safely store and transport my gear. This ensures everything is easily accessible and protected from any potential damage." - Alex Gendron

    ALEX'S PACKING TIPS

    To organize and prep for a shoot, I have three top tips and tricks that could enhance your travel experience.  

    ALEX'S KIT

    Alex's equipment consists of the Ajna 37 L DuraDiamond® (Magma Red) along with the Medium Slope Camera Insert. 
    He shoots with the Canon EOS R5 and R7 bodies, the Canon RF 15-35mm f2.8, Canon RF 24-70mm f2.8, Canon RF 100mm macro f2.8 and the Canon RF 100-500mm f4.5-7.1 lenses. 
    The additional gear he carries when needed includes his Binoculars for wildlife (vortex 10x42), a Drone (DJI Air 2s and DJI Air 3), and a tripod which is attached to the outside of the pack. For overnight trips, he uses an insulated mattress (thermarest Neoair Xtherm) and a sleeping bag. In our video, Alex has brought his travel kit, consisting of the Canon EOS R5 with the Canon RF 24-70mm and the Canon RF 15-35mm.  
    He uses the f-stop Filter Case with his K&F Filter kit ( ND and Graduated ND filters) and sees his Navin Pouch DuraDiamond® as a must-have for hiking.  

    Alex also uses the Tilopa 50L and occasionally the Sukha 70L along with his Pro Large Camera Insert. His main setup is the Pro Small Camera Insert or the Medium Slope - Camera Insert paired with either his Ajna 37L or his Tilopa 50L backpacks. 

    About f-stop Ambassador Alex Gendron

    As a professional photographer for more than ten years, Alexandre has a taste for adventure and the great outdoors. In 2013, he left Paris for Australia, where he honed his skills as a photographer.  

    Seeking new challenges and adventure, he returned to Europe in 2016 by bicycle. He cycled 14000 km and travelled a further 8000 km, mostly on sailing boats, hitch-hiking from marinas and boat yards, to Vietnam where he ended his bike trip and trained to become a yoga teacher. He then travelled through France, Italy and Switzerland by van, before returning home.

    He now teaches photography and explores the natural spaces of the Annecy region. His work has a refined style that often emanates a mystical ambience.

    Alex's Recap from the f-stop Pro Hangout Portugal

    https://www.instagram.com/agphotofr/

    About Life on the Dāsh

    Everything is constantly moving and changing. When you are always transitioning from one assignment to the next, life can be hectic. Saving space, distributing weight, and planning ahead for a day in the field are all essential considerations when you are on the go. Join us as our Ambassadors share tips and tricks they have learned over years of traveling, with Life on the Dāsh.


    In outdoor sports photography, being prepared is not just about skill, creativity and having the right gear. It's also as much about your level of organization and how you pack. Join us as we explore the world of Pro Photographer and f-stop Ambassador Frien Harald Wisthaler, as he navigates the demanding and exhilarating world of the Ski-Cross World Cup in Ineichen. 

    Nestled in the Dolomites, Harald's home in Italy (South Tyrol) offers the perfect canvas for his 15-year photographic journey. His latest challenge?  Only capturing the high-speed action and raw emotion at the Ski-Cross World Cup. 

    The Gear:
    The toolkit at Harald's disposal is as diverse as the sport itself. With his Mirrorless Nikon camera bodies, his range of lenses from wide-angle to super telephoto lens sets, alongside protective gear and outdoor wear, he geared up for a vast range of shooting situations. But it's not just about having the right gear; it's about knowing how to pack it. Harald emphasizes the importance of being consistently organized, but also flexible, often changing the equipment he packs based on the day's conditions and location scouting insights.  

    Proper Preparation: Harald told us that his number 1 tip is to not only make yourself familiar with your camera and lenses but also get to know the features of your bags. Look at all pockets and ask yourself why these are there and for what scenario you can use them for yourself! Make the gear yours and really get to know the equipment you're working with. This will help you work smarter and faster in almost every aspect when you're in the field and will make dealing with issues and obstacles a breeze. 

    OV German - Turn on the Captions for English translation

    Overcoming On-Site Challenges

    In the fast-paced world of sports photography, being prepared and flexible is just as important as having a keen eye for the shot. At the Ski-Cross World-cup, Harald faces unique challenges. His Office is situated just next to the ski slope, which for him has its pros and cons: He is always right in the middle of everything, no matter what.  

    To shoot an event like this effectively, you must always be ready to go, constantly aware of the schedules and factoring in the time you need to get up and down the slopes; and of course, adjust to the weather. When the race starts, everything is finished in 50 minutes. Choosing the right spot to bed in is crucial. Getting the shots you need requires strategic planning and sometimes a bit of luck. You need to be aware that moving positions during races is often not feasible and you cannot cross the race areas, so choose your position based on your goals.  

    Be Prepared

    Harald's passion for photography stems from far more than simply clicking the shutter.  The journey to each shoot is just as important to him. Whether it's World Cup events or serene mountain vistas, Harald knows that each adventure starts with a well-packed bag. Harald swears by his f-stop Tilopa DuraDiamond® 50l pack, a reliable companion on all his escapades.

    The key, he says, is consistency and preparedness. He packs the same way every time depending on the situation, ensuring he can find everything in a flash - be it his trusty 50mm lens or a crucial first aid kit. By keeping his pack consistently organized, ensuring he can quickly grab the right lens for the shot without a second thought. His advice? Keep your setup routine and familiar, so you're always ready, regardless of the conditions or the rush. 

    Pack Like a Pro: 5 Core Principles

    1. Adaptive Gear Choices Based on Location Scouting: Prior to each shoot, Harald conducts thorough location scouting. Based on these observations, he adapts his equipment to his needs. Sometimes that means making last-minute changes between wide-angle and telephoto lenses to suit the specific needs of the shooting environment. 
    2. Strategic Use of Accessory Pouches: Harald utilizes accessory pouches as a methodical approach to organization. He assigns specific items like batteries and memory cards to designated pouches. This strategic placement allows for efficient retrieval, especially in time sensitive scenarios. 
    3. Be Ready for the Elements: Acknowledging the unpredictability of outdoor environments, Harald prepares for a range of conditions. His gear includes protective items like rain covers for wet weather and thermal clothing for colder climates. This ensures both he and his equipment are shielded from the elements. 
    4. Be Consistent With Your Organization: Harald maintains a consistent setup for his pack, which is crucial for high-pressure shoots. This consistency in organization means he knows exactly where each piece of equipment is, from camera bodies to lenses. Reducing the time spent searching for items in the field means he can focus on getting the shot.
    5. Pack for Diverse Photographic Conditions: Emphasizing the need for versatility, Harald packs equipment that can handle a variety of conditions. His approach involves selecting the right gear for the job, also ensuring that he has backup gear and essentials like lens cleaners and protective covers. 

    A Strategy for Every Shoot: Whether travelling by car or tackling unpredictable terrain on foot, Harald appreciates the versatility of his f-stop Camera Inserts. They allow him to switch lenses, gear and setups quickly, adapting to changing scenes and moments. This flexibility is crucial, especially when pre-event scouting isn't an option. He usually brings a second Camera Insert with him in the car filled with potential other lenses he might need. Depending on what the location offers, he has the option to adapt and get the best outcomes.

    The Gear

    Harald utilizes a variety of equipment when he is out in the field. On this shoot he brought following gear with him:

    Learned Wisdom: The devil is in the details – or in this case, in the packing. Harald keeps his bag organized the same way regardless of the shoot, which makes adapting on the go a breeze. His approach is to make every slot and pocket useful to him! He also has a few more tricks up his sleeve. Also, he’s a firm believer in packing the little extras that you might not need. You never know when that ‘just in case’ item becomes a lifesaver.   

    The Final Day

    On the final day, the weather closed in. Ineichen offers a stunning mountainous backdrop, but with snow coming in, Harald had to adjust his approach. Instead of isolating individual participants with his telephoto lenses, he adapted to shooting on a wider field of view. He then incorporated long exposure to highlight the dumping of snow and the speed of the race. Finding a darker background and panning his camera with the subject helped Harald make the most of the situation and produce his usual exceptional standard of work.  


    Stay flexible, stay responsive, and prepared to adapt at a moment's notice.

    Harald Wisthaler

    How would you carry all of your camera gear plus a lot of camping gear? You might do what f-stop Ambassador Pia Steen does when she wants to pack camera gear and camping gear. She loads up her Shinn 80L DuraDiamond® with everything from cine setups to long lenses.

    “If I sometimes just need that little extra space I have it and don't need to worry” 

    Intro

    One of Pia’s passions is landscape photography which requires a lot of planning, time, and patience. Pia is often on multiple day tours and workshops. So she needs a pack with the capacity to carry EVERYTHING for several days, including clothing, a jacket, a sleeping bag, a camping stove, food, etc.  Then, when planning short hikes away from camp and plan, Pia unpacks, reorganizes and just takes the essentials for that day’s hike.

    Nature has always been an important and big part of her life. Pia has used f-stop for over a decade and uses multiple Packs - each one for a different purpose! However, the Shinn is a pack she regularly chooses over her Tilopa 50L DuraDiamond® for trips or excursions.  . 

    Pia Steen with the Packing Cell Kit and Camping Kit
    Pia Steen with the Packing Cell Kit and Camping Kit next to her the Shinn DuraDiamond

    One of Pia's mottos to get the best light is "Better to be two hours too early than just two minutes late". She has been using f-stop for more than 10 years now and her newest addition is the Shinn 80L DuraDiamond® ⁠
    Today, she brings all with her that she would need to wait for the perfect light. She pulls out her stove and boils water to make some tea while watching the day’s light develop.

    “The emotionality of every moment is like a breath of life. Creating a memory from that ephemeral is a gift.” ​ 

    Pia’s Kit

    The Shinn 80L DuraDiamond® might be designed to accommodate cinema gear, but its biggest strength is its versatility, which Pia takes full advantage of. She utilizes the Shinn’s spacious capacity and all-day comfort on her multi-day hikes and workshops. "Better to be two hours too early, than just two minutes late" she laughs.

    Often running multi-day tours and workshops, Pia needs a pack with the capacity to carry everything for several days. This often includes a change of clothing, a jacket, a sleeping bag, a camping stove, and food, all packed alongside her photography gear.

    The usual ”Landscape Outdoor Kit":

    For her multi-day trips or Landscape Photography where she is expecting to carry more than usual, she is using the Shinn 80L Duradiamond® to give her enough space for a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, Bivy Tent, food, etc. 
    On this occasion she used the Shinn 80 L along with the Slope Medium Camera Insert which gives her additional room to fill with camping Gear from Stove, Gas, and cups in her Packing Cell KitAside from this, she brought a small box of Cookies (or other snacks) Tripod ( attached to the front of the pack with Gatekeepers), Gloves, a Down Jacket, Memory Cards, a Card Reader, a Cleaning Kit, Batteries and an f-stop Accessory Pouch Small and Accessory Pouch Medium.

    f-stop Shinn 80L DuraDiamond®  camera backpack and the f-stop Pro Small Camera Insert
    Pia with the Shinn 80L DuraDiamond® with the Slope Medium Camera Insert 

    Tip's from Pia: 

    The Shinn DuraDiamond 80 L with the XLarge Insert and the Medium Slope on the side
    the Shinn 80L DuraDiamond® filled with the Pro XLarge Camera Insert and the Medium Slope Camera Insert next to the bag. See more f-stop Camera Inserts

    Whether you pack a Shinn 80L DuraDiamond® like Pia or a smaller Mountain Series backpack, you will find multiple attachment points across the entire Mountain Series range. ⁠ One of the things that Pia loves about her Shinn and our other Mountain Series packs is the multiple attachment points, which can be used to carry and attach larger items such as sleeping bags and tents to the packs. 

    Join us as our Ambassadors share tips and tricks they have learned over years of traveling, with Life on the Dāsh, and check out how fellow Ambassadors get organized.

    Pablo Durana - Filmmaker, Climber and Gear Junkie - Did you ever wonder how to pack for climbing and filming on a 1,000m/3,200ft sheer rock wall? You need a passion for climbing, and you need the right camera gear. You also need the accessories required to keep everything organized. f-stop ICON Pablo Durana made exactly such a climb, and he had to rely on very sturdy gear. His pack and camera are essential tools for his work, so they need to measure up to his high standards! 

    Meet Pablo

    First of - let us tell you a bit about Pablo.- Pablo seems happiest when it's remote and conditions are miserable. Usually it’s very hard to find him at home since he is on projects all the time. But adventure isn't the only driving element for the trilingual Colombian native. He also focuses much of his energy on social justice issues. Pablo is a director of photography with high attention for audio and also an experienced FAA Certified drone pilot. 

    "Documentaries have an incredible ability to educate and to inspire," and it's another big reason he became a cinematographer. Pablo has covered a wide range of absolutely amazing projects. If you want to learn more about him and his work check out his Ambassador Profile.

    The Gear

    His trusted Shinn 80 L DuraDiamond® Adventure and Cine Camera Backpack does the heavy lifting protecting his CINE gear, cameras, lenses and everything else he needs. Aside from his Shinn he uses a variety of Accessories. Even his old Satori ( the "old" version of the Tilopa DuraDiamond®) is still in use! Its about 8 years old by now and his gear has to take up with his extrem adventures. One of his favorite accessories is the Navin DuraDiamond® Camera pouch which he usually carries on the hip for quick access to his camera, or drone! When Pablo goes out shooting there needs to be a lot of room to attach things and additionally all of the gear for Pablo has to be pretty rugged and take a lot of beating!

    Pablo on "El Gigante"

    Check out the video below for some special behind the scenes footage showing how f-stop ambassador Pablo Durana managed his gear. Climbing the wall on "El Gigante" required careful attention to every detail, and Pablo used f-stop accessories to organize his gear. 

    An Afternoon with Pablo

    "Sure! I'll be home the next 3 days. I just need to do some gardening," Pablo replied when Lena first reached out to meet up. Feeling lucky to catch him between projects, Lena, our Visual Storyteller in Residence, headed over to his home to meet him right away.

    Well, "gardening" turned out to be climbing high in the pine trees around his home. Pablo lives in an area under threat from wildfires in northern California, so "gardening" for Pablo means climbing trees to cut out dry limbs and protect his house from fires. As a pro climber, Pablo made this look quite easy. Instead of his usual load of camera gear, he climbed with a chainsaw. He even helped the neighbours trim their trees. 


    The wildfires spread widely and quickly in California this past year. You can still see the remains of the distruction with burned trees through the Lake Tahoe area serving as a silent reminder of the danger. The last fires came to within a few meters of his home, and could have lost everything. So, cutting out dead limbs (fuel for a fire) was a necessary safety measure.

    When you would visit Pablo and when he's at home between projects, Pablo enjoys a quick ride to a nearby little river to take a swim. That’s actually what he recommends to everyone who visits. There is a beautiful little meadow in walking distance or a short bike ride. The meadow is his little hidden gem. The walk is short, but Pablo rides his bike when he just wants a quick dip. In the summer, he enjoys moving outside to sleep or just to hang out in the "meditation tent." Waking up to bird songs or seeing the shadows of some squirrels or chipmunks on the walls of his tent brings a smile to his face. Being outside and having a close relation with nature is really important to him .

    A little Gear Talk with Pablo

    Lena and Pablo spent most of their time together in "gear talk." Pablo has been a loyal advocate for f-stop for many years. He got his first f-stop bag, a Satori, about 2009. The Satori was a previous version of today's Tilopa DuraDiamond® 50L bag. Pablo took his bag to Mt. Kilimanjaro and still uses it today. That pack has seen a lot of different places through the years, and since it is Pablo using it, the bag had to take quite a beating. With the extreme adventures Pablo loves, his equipment needs to keep up with him and function in the extreme environments from the deepest caves to the highest peaks.

    Pablo also needs functional and high-quality accessories. The Navin Welded pouch is one of his favourite little pouches. With the New DuraDiamond® material, it is much stronger and resistant to environmental extremes. You definitely can see his Navin is well used. Pablo has taken it to the deepest caves humans have explored, it even went on his expedition to El Gigante - video below!.

    Pablo still has his first SHINN, one of the orginal editions of that pack in malibu blue (which is no longer available). He took it to Antarctica - among other places. When asked when he got it, he answered, “Oh gosh, I still can’t even remember.”

    Since he usually carries a large quantity of camera and outdoor equipment with him, his travel bag of choice is the Tilopa 50 L DuraDiamond® with a Large Camera Bag Insert. He packs the main body with his film camera, the more delicate lenses, additional hard drives, and he adds his Laptop in the Laptop sleeve in the back panel of the Tilopa. Other equipment you can find in Pablo's pack when he flies is a walkie talkie, all sorts of lithium batteries, and other essentials he needs close at hand like documents. Pablo prefers the Tilopa 50L over the Ajna 37L for air travel, because he definitely needs the extra room he gets with the Tilopa. Pablo tries to keep the Tilopa 50 L as compact and slim as possible, so the front pocket is almost empty with only documents inside. But when he is shooting, he definitely uses the outside pockets of the pack.

    We asked Pablo what benefits do you get from f-stop bags that you can't find in other bags? He told us, "These packs are burly, comfortable and efficient. Period."

    Pablo uses his f-stop accessories and pack components in a wide variety of ways. For instance, he uses the hip belt attachment options to carry "El Mosquito" which he carries in a Navin (yes - he named his foldable wing drone!). On the other side of his hip belt, he frequently attaches his medium accessory pouch which he calls his "Media Pouch." His media pouch serves as a catch-all for his media requirements and accessories. It's convenient for Pablo, because on a project, he can simply hand the pouch off to a digital imaging technician for editing or to upload files, etc. Other f-stop accessories Pablo repurposes are lens barrels. He uses one for his time-lapse head. 

    Pablo's most important rule is “label everything.” When working on big productions, some creatives might have the same gear pr gear gets lost in all of the activity. So Pablo advises everyone to put their name on everything. (He definitely spoke from experience.)

    “When you’re traveling everything needs to have its specific spot or you start loosing things or as well you are searching for hours for something." - Pablo Durana

    Something small light and sturdy

    A Day Out With Alex Hansen can be either a backcountry trip or a one hour hike for fun. Lena, f-stop Visual Storyteller in Residence, got to meet Alex between projects in Boulder, Colorado for such a quick hike. Alex has been working on some exciting projects, too. Alex and fellow photgrgapher, Matt Meisenheimer, recently went on a cinematic tour in Hawaii. Some video from that amazing trip is below! 

    Alex Hansen's drive for photography excellence and adventure stems from time spent in the world’s biggest mountain ranges. Alex’s goal is to distill the beauty in the subtle moments we so often experience while out in nature. From extending ridgelines, to carved out river basins, he has a passion for capturing these places in a raw and emotional way.

    When choosing the right pack Alex focuses on packing as light as possible.

    His choice for a quick hike where he doesn't need much with him is his Navin DuraDiamond® Welded Camera Pouch. For longer hikes or Back Country trips he brings the Ajna 37 L DuraDiamond®

    Springtime in Boulder - Colorado

    In May 2022, Alex and Lena (on here 5-week journey around the US) got a chance to meet up in Boulder, Colorado. After a meet and greet for lunch, they went to Lena's car to make the drive to a location Alex spotted for a short hike. Alex noticed the back tire of Lena's Jeep was a little light on air. Okay, so maybe not just light on air. It was flat.

    Turned out there was a hole in the tire, and it had to be changed. Alex ended up helping Lena for the next 2 hours in the middle of the city. The tricky part was to find a working jack and finding the tire tool in the car. They managed to find a replacement tire and get the flat changed, but the delay force a change in plans. So, they agreed on a quick hike the following day before Alex had to leave for a project in Peru.

    Alex is familiar with The Flat Iron, and it was a short hike from the parking area. He just "scrambled up on one of them the other day." Hiking with Alex is quite relaxed. He always smiles and has jokes on the side. A lot of photographers would probably shy away from going out shooting in the middle of the day, but for Alex it's more about the joy of spending some time out and enjoying taking photos. "If the light is super harsh you can just focus more on the details around you and take the sky out of the frame" as he phrases it. "Basically we are out here to have fun! And that's probably one of the most important things that I try to think about and consider. Often times have to take ourselves very serious while working as a photographer - But the days in the afternoon where you can just go out and shoot, have fun and not necessarily care about the outcome is really nice. I try to force myself to do that more often - even if its just an hour in the middle of the day. It helps to keep the joy there for photography and just have fun and thats quite important!"


    When you're out shooting with him, you'll notice that he is looking through the viewfinder quite a lot.. Either you see him shooting or he is actually checking images and reviewing them. "The colors and depth are much more detailed as compared to reviewing images on the screen." he mumbles while reviewing through the viewfinder His number one tip though is "Don't review your images while walking on rocky terrain! It could end bad for you or your camera ," he says and grins.

    Alex Hansen in Interview on a Hike out with Lena Oberhofer  with the Navin DuraDiamond® Alex's favorite camera pouch for short Hikes

    Matt and Alex on tour - Life on the Edge | Kauai 

    Recently Matt Meisenheimer and Alexander Hansen were on on a backcountry hike in Hawaii. This trip was quite fitting since both of them work at Backcountry Journeys. Kauai's Na Pali Coast, where mountains meet the sea, it is one of the most dramatic and beautiful coastlines in the world. Matt captured the mood high up in the national park with his drone and camera while Alex got some photos of Matt, too. It was perfect to have two talented creatives in a place like this. Both of them beautifly matched in the scenery with the f-stop cypress green Ajna 37L and the Tilopa 50L. 


    Make sure to check out the video below produced by Matt Meisenheimer of their trip featuring Alex Hansen as he explores and photographs the coastline at sunset.

    A Brief Summary of Gear

    Wherever Alex goes he brings gear suited to his trip or project.

    For the hike out in Hawaii, or overall longer backcountry trips, Alex brings the Ajna 37 L DuraDiamond®. He uses the bag to carry water, cameras, lenses, some snacks, and additional clothes. 

    His friend and collague Matt Meisenheimer's set up looked a bit different with his Tilopa 50 L DuraDiamond®. Compared to Alex, Matt preferes a bit more room for his gear - a drone, microphones, and camera gear - and the thicker shoulder strap padding

    For an hour hike the Navin DuraDiamond® Welded pouch is Alex's all time favorite bag. Just one camera body and attached lens and off he goes. Since he doesn't like to carry anything in his pockets he also puts his creditcard or key in the top Zipper. Weight is essential for him, therefore he thinks through what he packs and which pack to bring as little gear as possible. With the Navin he is on the lightest side possible - but still has enough Battery life and storage with the Battery grip on his Camera and 2 SD card slots for the whole day. 

    The only thing is that he missed during the quick hike out with Lena was a water bottle and some "safety" snacks. "Lena was like - let's go up that hill or lets go down that hill - now my stomach is starting to grumble". He says while in interview. Next time they are out he'll probably bring the Ajna! 

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