3 am. I thought I had escaped the jetlag this time. I couldn’t have been more wronger. 🙂
So I used a different rig this time; while shooting in Bangladesh I left my Think Tank Steroid Belt, Digital Holsters, and Pixel Racing Harness in my room and took (1) my Think Tank Streetwalker Hardrive backpack and (2) my Think Tank Belly Dancer with Skins.
The Hardrive fits like a glove into my larger Stormcase – in fact two would fit side by side in there so perfectly you’d think it was made just for them. The Harddrive was packed with my location lighting kit – a bunch of Pocket Wizards, a couple strobes, some gels, David Honl lighting accesories, etc. – and miscellaneous bits like my Pogo printer. That bag came with me on the field daily with an extra 5D body in it and my laptop inside.
The Belly Dancer was rigged with a Double Wide Skin in the front and a Chimp Cage Skin on both the left and the right. The Double carried my 70-200/2.8L, my 85/1.2L, and my 17-40/4.0L, and the other two contained a mix of passports, granola bars, money, cell phone, Pogo printer, Hoodman Screen Loupe (which I really no longer use now that the screen on the 5D Mk2 is so bright. I swear you could burn your retinas out with that thing.) and other goodies like bandanas and lens cloths.
So. The Harddrive. I love it. Very comfortable, holds a boat-load of gear, and like all Think Tank stuff it’s really bomb-proof so I felt fine letting an assistant or helpful by-stander carry it for me – which they do in places like Bangladesh. I swear you have to fight them off with bare-hands or a big stick if you don’t want them to carry your stuff. For this kind of gig this was a much more comfortable back to haul around than the Airport Addicted or Airport Security (The Airport Security and the Urban Disguise 60 were my carry on bags – jeez, I have alot of bags. I think I have an addiction…)
The Belly Dancer rig was great and for shoots where I only use one body, I see this replacing my other belt/harness/holster rig. It was easy to get into and out of once I learned the trick, which is important because with as much heavy glass in it as I had, it had to come off. And I spend alot of time lying on my belly so it ended up hung from trees and lying on the ground beside me.
If I could change two things about the Belly Dancer rig I have now it would be this:
First, the flap on the Double Wide opens the wrong way. I have no idea how it could open any other way, but as it is now the flap doesn’t stay open when I am changing lenses and that frustrates me when I’m tired and all I want to do is change my lens quickly and get the stinkin’ shot. Like I said, no idea how I would change this, but I’d try.
Second, the velcro that attaches the Skin pouch itself to the belt – I’d add small Fastex-type buckles. When I squat the velcro has a tendency to unhook and you only have to hear your lens bag with $5000 worth of glass in it hit the ground once before you want to prevent it from ever, ever happening again. So I clipped it on with a couple small carabiners and while I the velcro came undone a few more times it never fell of again. An easy fix, and not a big deal, I’m just saying look out for it if you pack these things to bustin’.
I loved having my gear right up front and accessible, that’s the weak spot with my other rig. It’s also much easier now to get in and out of a vehicle without having to take the whole thing off. I usually took it off anyways, but I didn’t have to if it was just a quick change of location. Having this kind of system works brilliantly if you need to use a motorcycle to get around too.
Anyways, a bit of a bag geek-out session and I know not all of you get yer crank turned by this, but when you’re out in the field working long days all you really want is for your gear not to get in the way and make things any harder than they have to be. The Think Tank stuff just does that for me.
The photo is me walking through the rice paddies to a location. Belly Dancer, Skins, Streetwalker Harddrive. Photo credit goes to my producer Gary who makes sure I come back (1) alive, (2) with the shots, and (3) with images to prove I was there.