Field Report: TTP Streetwalker and Belly Dancer.

In Uncategorized by David13 Comments

bellydancer-bangladesh

3 am. I thought I had escaped the jetlag this time. I couldn’t have been more wronger. ๐Ÿ™‚

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.ย  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.ย  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.

Comments

  1. Thanks a bunch for your field report ๐Ÿ™‚

    The one thing I do miss though: is it comfortable to use both a backpack and the belly dancer on the same time? It looks pretty crowded on your shoulders ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. Author

    Jeroen – Thanks for bringing that up. I was surprised how comfortable it was, in fact. I couldn’t have done that with my pixel racing harness, but the Belly Dancer harness is much lighter – the whole rig was pretty comfy especially given how much weight it all contained. Would I want to hike the West Coast Trail with this rig? No. But for schlepping gear around from location to location and having it accessible, this was a great combination.

  3. That’s the exact same combination I started using on my trip to Asia (with a different Skin layout). It worked brilliantly. In fact, the Streetwalker is so comfortable that I sometimes forgot that I even had it on.

    I haven’t had a problem with skins coming loose, but I think that I’ll now take extra precautions.

  4. Hey David, hopefully you haven’t covered this before, but what do you bring when you’re on holiday with the wife and you want to travel light while enjoying the scenery? I know if I was carrying that much gear, my wife would never stop complaining!

  5. David,
    I too use the skin system with the Belly Dancer harness, and I think I may have a solution for one of your problems, maybe 2…I notice that you wear your harness pretty low; I have gotten into the habit of wearing mine a bit higher on my belly so when I crouch, the bags (I wear 4 on my BD) are high enough that they do not hit my thighs. I have also run rearing it with incredible stability, and even wore it to cover the Montreal marathon while riding a bike! This should take care of the Velcro loosening up on you.
    As far as the flap goes, I have 3 methods of using it:
    1) Ultra Secure: Velcro and bungee cords done up,
    2) Secure but quick: Use either the bungee cords with the Silencers (velcro blockers) engaged, or the opposite way, use the velcro and skip the bungees,
    or 3) Ultra quick: No velcro, no bungees!

    Hope this helps,
    CHeers,
    Tim

  6. Author

    Hey Jeff – I’ve been using something like this for the last year+ and I love it. Especially in the heat when I don’t want a vest or a hot backpack – this is about the best rig I’ve found. In the heat and humidity there’s not much you can do except suck it up! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Author

    LOL – Yeah, occasionally. I’ve actually designed one I’m working on getting made. I find them really useful, but it’s been a while. The belt systems are fantastic alternatives and hold much more gear. Still, I suspect you’re right about the vest looking better on a younger man ๐Ÿ™‚ (still bald and funny-looking though!)

  8. I am taking the family to Disney World for vacation (for the first time) and I will be bringing my Canon 50D with the battery pack. I was thinking about just going light and only taking one lens (either 16-35 2.8, or 24-70 2.8) and a 580EXII flash. Which lens do you recommend, and what bag would be the smallest and most convenient for that situation?

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