featured image 29 Mar 2016

Versatility In A Bag

As I mentioned in my previous blog about the Rainforest Medium Backpack, bags are exceptionally important and choosing the right one takes time and research. One of the aspects that you have to look at is your lifestyle and what “type” of photographer you are as well as the photography you will be doing on that specific day / shoot.

National Geographic Medium Messenger 01

Today, I’ll be reviewing the Rainforest Medium Messenger Bag, probably the most versatile camera bag I have reviewed so far. Like all the National Geographic Rain Forest Collections bags, the materials are of the highest quality and the external colours are inspired by the beautiful lush greens and browns of the Rain Forest while the internal finishing’s are inspired by the by forests local inhabitants.

One of the reasons why I choose the Messenger bag to review was the fact that it didn’t look like a camera bag. It has a sense of sophistication to it and something that I would take with me when I went to meetings, to meet a friend for a quick cuppa or delicious lunch.

National Geographic Medium Messenger 09

As you can see here, the Manfrotto Protection System can unclip if you need the bag for something other than carrying your camera around.

There is laptop compartment but it is only for 13 inch laptops, unfortunately for me I have a 15 inch. But I did use the laptop compartment for my tablet and my diary aka “my life”. The bag has a removable camera insert with Manfrotto Protection System. There is no dedicated tripod connection, but I used the outer sleeve to pop in my Manfrotto Monopod.

National Geographic Medium Messenger 10

My Manfrotto Monopod, sits perfectly in the outer sleeve of the bag.

Putting the bag to the test:

I was fortunate enough to be asked to photograph the inaugural Plett On The Rocks Jazz Festival, a two-day music festival, perfect opportunity to test out the Messenger Bag. I had never photographed a concert before, so deciding what to pack was always going to be a challenge.  I decided on two lenses my Nikon 50mm 1.8 and the Nikon 24 -85mm 2.4, packed in extra batteries and my Nikon D750. I was super nervous leaving my 14 – 24mm and Nikon Speedlight Flash, but I believe that what I packed would be sufficient enough for what I was asked to photograph. It was an epic experience photographing this concert, there was no need for my flash, the stage had perfect lightening,

National Geographic Medium Messenger 02

PJ Powers busy getting the crowd off their feet with her inspiring song, “A world in Union”. A goosebumps moment for me!

During this two day festival (it was a busy time!), I also photographed a 60th Wedding Anniversary at the Plett Park Hotel, I managed to pack in my Speedlight Flash too, even though I didn’t need it.

I was also the second photographer to a Wedding at the Beacon Island Hotel on the Sunday morning, packed exactly the same equipment that I had for the Plett On The Jazz Festival.

National Geographic Medium Messenger 03

I have been lucky to photograph many brides, but Kim probably has one of most beautiful and natural smiles. It was an honour to be the 2nd at this wedding.

This bag also accompanied me to a sunrise mission in my “backyard”, Keurboomstrand! Although it is not always advisable to take your bag to the beach, the sand gets in everywhere and is such a pain to get rid of. I was uhmm-ing and ahhh-ing about wanting to go down, which made me late! But my decision was made and  I slung the bag over my neck and shoulder and ran along the beach to the “blow hole”.

Keurboomstrand, my playground.

Keurboomstrand, my playground.

Got the cover of a local newspaper the CXpress.

Got the cover of a local newspaper the CXpress.

A sister moment during the "Bedeking".

A sister moment during the “Bedeking”.

Lira, showing some serious attitude and swag during her performance at the Plett Jazz On The Rocks Festival.

Lira, showing some serious attitude and swag during her performance at the Plett Jazz On The Rocks Festival.

When you celebrate a 60th Wedding Anniversary, you have beautiful grand kids and this little poppet, was just too Nunu!

When you celebrate a 60th Wedding Anniversary, you have beautiful grand kids and this little poppet, was just too Nunu!

What’s in my bag:

Camera Nikon D750
Lenses 2 – Nikon 24 – 85mm and Nikon 50mm
Flash Nikon Speedlight SB-910
Laptop Tablet
Tripod / Monopod Manfrotto Monopod
Camera Accessories 2 x Kenko ND Filters, Tirgger, Batteries, Memory Cards
Personal Accessories Diary, Sun Lotion and Cap

 

Let’s talk bag specifications:

Camera Medium DSLR / Mirrorless
Lenses 2
Tripod Connection No
Rain Protection Cover No
Personal Storage Yes
Zips or Velcro Zips
Material Canvas and Cotton
Unisex Bag Yes

 

Bag Summary:  The bag oozes “natural sophistication” and the materials used are of fine quality. Versatile, perfect for quick shoots (family, maternity, events, sunrise etc). The bag doesn’t look like a camera bag and can be taken to meetings. The bag is very easy to carry, either over your shoulder using the sling or using the carry handle.


This day with me


featured-image 15 Mar 2016

Adventuring in the Tsitsikamma

I jumped with joy when Manfrotto asked me to review their newly launched National Geographic Rain Forest Collection. I cannot express how important a camera bag is to a photographer, it is probably as important as your camera and lenses. It is quite difficult to put a smile on your dial and be creative at the same time when your back is in pain.

When I opened the link to the National Geographic Rain Forest Collection, I fell in love with all 5 bags! However, this review is about the Rainforest Medium Backpack.

This bag is beautiful to look at. The external colour is inspired by the beautiful lush greens and browns of the Rain Forest while internal linings are inspired by the forests local inhabitants.

I had been planning a three day trip to Tsitsikamma and I knew right then and there that this would be the ideal place to test this backpack. Our grueling adventures included Segways through the pine and indigenous forests, zip lining above waterfalls and hiking in the Tsitsikamma National Park.

The main reason for choosing this bag was the fact it was a “Rucksack” and I know I would continue to use it on other hiking expeditions and InstaWalks. Having a laptop compartment was on my wish list for a long time and now I have discarded lugging another bag around with me, bonus!

Rainforest Backpack (1)

We arrived in Tsitsikamma late afternoon and after we unpacked and settled in, we decided to take a walk around the Storm’s River Village, hoping to catch a few last sun rays of the day.

Rainforest Backpack (2)

The next day we had planned to go Ziplining over natural waterfalls but, unfortunately, I was not allowed to take my camera bag with me as we are in harness and attached to a cable, so for safety reasons I had to leave my bag. Even without the bag I had a great time, screaming like a little girl from one Zipline to another.

Our next planned adventure was a 2 hour Segway ride through the Pine Plantations and Indigenous Forests, this is where the fun started!  As we played around in the “training area”, it started to rain. But it was exceptionally hot and humid quite uncommon for this area and I thought to myself “this is thunder and lightning weather” again, not common in this area. Like really what’s the chances right?

Rainforest Backpack (3)

Not even 30 minutes into our ride, the rain started getting steady, but it made for some magical sites in the forest and we all felt it was safe to continue. One of the highlights of the trip is a visit to the “Big Tree” the estimated age of the tree is approximately 1000 years old and still going strong! The rain stopped and started through most of the trip but about 90 minutes into the trip, all chaos broke out.

Rainforest Backpack (4)

We were deep in the indigenous forest when the sky lit up with amazing lightning and then was followed by a deep rumble of thunder and soon after came the downpour. We all looked at each other, our camera equipment was first and foremost in our minds. I was not sure about the waterproof capabilities of my bag as it is made from canvas and does not have a rain protector cover, but with the camera compartment at the bottom and in a separated compartment, I felt really safe.

SHP_0438

I don’t think the bag could handle Monsoon rains or if it is left out in the open. When we got back, everything was dry, expect the outside (of course). It did help that we were protected by the forest coverage and not riding around in the open.

Rainforest Backpack (5)

After a crazy exhausting day, we planned an early morning sunrise at the Tsitsikamma National Park. Get up time 04h30. We had to get special entry into the Park, as it is only open from 07h00 to day visitors. I have never seen a sunrise photo in the park and I wasn’t even sure if we would be lucky enough to see one. She didn’t disappoint!

Rainforest Backpack (6)

After witnessing this spectacular site we hiked to the Storm’s River Suspension Bridge, an iconic bridge along the Garden Route.

Rainforest Backpack (7)

The view from above is spectacular.

Rainforest Backpack (8)

Crossing the bridge is always such fun!

Rainforest Backpack (9)

Looking back into the gorge.

Rainforest Backpack (10)

Segway-ing again through the forest before we headed back home.

Bag Summary: The bag is “hiker stylish” and the material used are of fine quality. Perfect for a day hike where you can add extra personal accessories. The bag’s back padding is soft and sturdy, making for comfortable carrying.

What’s in my bag:

Camera Nikon D750
Lenses 3 – Nikon 14-24mm, Nikon 24 – 85mm and Nikon 50mm
Flash Nikon Speedlight SB-910
Laptop Yes with charger
Tripod Yes
Camera Accessories 2 x Kenko ND Filters, Tirgger, Batteries, Memory Cards
Personal Accessories Rain Jacket, Snacks, Water, Mosquito Repellent, Sun lotion

 

Let’s talk bag specifications:

Camera Medium DSLR / Mirrorless
Lenses 3
Tripod Connection Yes
Rain Protection Cover No
Personal Storage Yes
Zips or Velcro Zips
Material Canvas and Cotton
Unisex Bag Yes

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This day with me