Every year the March-May period is the beginning of a photographic challenge for me that leads me to the Alps to capture any sort of spring awakening.
Sometimes it’s the flowers that are the protagonists and other times the subject of my photos is the snow, which melts and leaves space on the lakes where I can find reflections of mountain tops in the hope of finding the right light during the cold spring sunrises.
The best way to tackle this challenge is to have my kit with me at all times; along with my wide-angle lenses I need to add something that’s narrower, like a macro or versatile zoom lenses, special purpose lens are essential for all those situations where light and shadows make it difficult for me to take the shots I want. But even what I wear has to be versatile given that these are the months where the greatest change in temperature takes place and considering the altitude and times when I carry out my work.
So, what’s better than a spacious and comfortable Manfrotto backpack?
I chose the Manfrotto Pro Light 3N1-35 PL and I must say that after several months of using it on excursions I have yet to find anything wrong with it. Finally, after years of climbing in the mountains, I have a backpack that is comfortable, spacious and well designed to include all the equipment that I mentioned above, both logically and practically.
I published a more detailed review of this backpack some time ago on this blog.
With regards to the blossoming and thawing season, I can only suggest you get up very early in the morning and arrive at dawn, so you can enjoy all the color nuances that nature has to give when the transition from darkness to daybreak takes place. Be scrupulous when planning to locate your lake because that magic moment can disappear in just a few minutes.
On the other hand when it comes to flowers it’s counterproductive to start shooting too early, you’ll find them closed, like a theater curtain that has yet to open. There are many flowers blossoming such as crocuses, soldanelle, dandelions and daisies; as the sun’s heat moves the snow up higher in the mountains many wonderful surprises enrich the meadows and pastures of our beautiful Alps.
I sincerely hope you all take some great shots, and I also hope to keep you company with my 2015 photos!!
I look forward to seeing you at one of my workshops, photo days or photo trips. (www.sysaworld.com).
When I tackle mountain hiking I am fully aware that having a comfortable backpack on my shoulders will be essential if I really want to enjoy my trip.
My backpack choice for my daily outings and the Photo Day events that I hold for the Clickalps photo agency is a Manfrotto Pro Light 3N1-35 PL.
The product has been studied in minute detail, the finishings are excellent to say the least and despite its seemingly small size it can hold everything you need for a day trip.
One of the numerous occasions where I had a chance to use it was during the Workshop held amongst the beautiful Swiss landscapes where the Red Train Bernina Express passes through; one of those situations where you really need to travel comfortably but at the same time you also have to have various equipment at hand, from a wide-angle to a telephoto lens for capturing details.
What really struck me the most, and that I was able to appreciate, are its multiple openings and the ergonomics that it makes it stand out; these are characteristics that blend in well with my needs as an instructor and photographer. And as such, I’m specialized in landscape photography, whether it be classical scenery photos, postcards or calendars. But I also like taking some reportage photos, as you can see from the shots being presented here and collected during these photo-outings.
I usually carried the camera around my neck for the entire trip but seeing as how the upper pocket is so convenient I decided, when hiking or moving from one place to another, to put it in this compartment. This pocket also conveniently holds my wide-angle “second lens’ (in my case a tilt shift lens) or for example a packed lunch. There’s also a pocket inside this compartment that is watertight and transparent; this is where I place my batteries, memory cards and remote control. I feel that everything should be perfectly organized and ready to be used.
The central compartment, on the other hand, is the heart of the backpack. Since it’s the most spacious, it’s where I put all the other various lenses that I carry with me. Three more lenses easily fit in here as well, including a set of filters and various accessories for managing light and shadows. The excellent distribution of the compartments holds the lenses securely thus avoiding risky impacts that are typical in this kind of activity, like when I find myself in rough trails or in the midst of unstable situations like walking on fresh snow.
In addition to this we can also place other accessories in it, without any space problems, such as a head torch, a hand warmer, gloves and a hat. We must always keep in mind that the weather conditions can quickly change in the mountains so we have to be ready at all times to overcome unfavorable situations. What’s really interesting about this spacious compartment is that you can open it either completely or partially; this is useful when, for example, you want take out a lens from the side.
Two zipper pockets, located at the front of the backpack, allow you to insert the circular filters with their hard case. And finally the two side zippers, similar in size, are ideal for having at hand other objects. It’s very important in my line of work to have zippers in place of buttons or Velcro openings. This is so that snow, for example, cannot enter the compartments. And I never tire of saying that the quick use of equipment can sometimes make a big difference. For example, when the subject is moving fast like a train and one doesn’t have too much time to reason.
The backpack wouldn’t be complete without an innovative system that allows you to attach your tripod firmly by an upper buckle and a lower pocket that holds its legs. This pocket, which can be removed and placed inside the backpack, shows just how comfortable and well designed the backpack is for photographers.
Last, but not least, is the back section of the backpack, which was originally developed for a laptop, but it can also be used, for example, as a compartment for placing some clothes.
So if you’re having doubts about which backpack to buy, do like I did, you won’t regret it!
I look forward to seeing you at one my workshops, on a photo day event or on the photo trips.