The main type of photography I do is taking images inside derelict places and abandoned structures. More often than not these places can be a challenge to access and manoeuvre in, especially when you need to carry lots of equipment. Recently I have been filming my photography adventures on my GoPro to give a bit more insight into the buildings I explore, but also to add video content to future blogs on some creative photography projects with some behind the scenes footage.
To add a little extra creativity to the work I do, especially in derelict buildings, I like to bring some light painting into the scene. I noticed this started to give me a few small issues. Mainly how to carry both photography equipment and video recording equipment such as action cameras together, but at the same time keep it separate, organised and well protected. I like to move around these places freely and in an unrestricted way, so carrying lots of different packs is not an option for me. Then I came across the Manfrotto Off Road Series Stunt Backpack and Stunt Roll organiser. Problem solved!
The Stunt backpack is a very sleek and tough piece of kit. With hip belt, chest strap and rigid shell lid this pack can be put through some challenging obstacles while remaining securely fitted. The front butterfly opening on the pack means quick and easy access to the bags main compartment where plenty of storage and pockets are available for all of your gadgets, as well as two separate removable pouches that are designed for storing compact camera systems and action cameras individually and in an organised fashion. Very useful when setting up equipment in a dark environment. Everything to hand in an instant. One very cool and useful feature of the pack is the attachments that give the bag the ability to hold action cameras for you leaving your hands free to work. The Stunt backpack comes with a dedicated GoPro connection on the strap and a pole connection, perfect for filming on the go and getting you first person point of view shot so people can see the adventure in front of you. With a host of other well thought out features such as storage and attachments for a hydration system and concealed pockets this pack is a great companion on your pursuits.
Alongside the Stunt Backpack I use the Stunt roll organiser. This brilliant little roller keeps all of your action camera accessories and needs together in one tidy well protected set up while having enough storage space to carry up to three action camera at once. This for me has been a revelation while using my GoPro to film my projects. Very quick and easy to get out and set up my equipment and quickly pack it down and away while moving from location to location with the minimum of fuss. As an added bonus the Stunt Roll Organiser fits perfectly inside the Stunt Backpack helping to keep my two sets of equipment separate but together in the same place and well organised all in one secure setup.
To sum up, both these products are excellent at doing everything you want them to do. Protect your gear while keeping it organised with the ease of use so the only thing you need to worry about is concentrating on the job at hand. The Stunt Backpack as a standalone item is great for fast paced active shooting and carrying you essential gear, but if you need that little extra capacity to carry more filming equipment the Stunt Roll Organiser is awesome. These products really do live up to the Offroad name. Durable and well organised so you can take your adventures off the beaten track into tough environments and still produce the work you set out to do with ease.
My latest adventure saw me fulfilling one of my photography dreams. I was fortunate enough to have three days photographing and exploring the exclusion zone of Chernobyl. Thirty years ago this year Chernobyl was the setting of one of the worst nuclear disasters in modern history. An explosion at reactor four of the power plant was to cause the entire town and surrounding villages to be evacuated. Today the entire area is still abandoned and completely derelict. As an urban explorer and landscape photographer Chernobyl is considered one of the holy grails of urbex photography. To witness the way nature is reclaiming the land and seeing the decaying signs of this once thriving community caused by the disaster is an experience I will never forget.
To take full advantage of my three day window in the exclusion zone to photograph every element and key image I wanted having the right kit for the job was essential. My choice was two main Nikon bodies, two new Sigma art series lenses, a tele photo and prime lens. To accompany this I also had a Go Pro, batteries, filters, remote trigger and of course a sturdy Manfrotto tripod. All this awesome and expensive equipment had to be carried in a durable, robust and well organised bag. For me the choice was the Manfrotto street bag. The street bag is perfectly designed for the fast paced urban environment. This was my first time using this style of bag and I wasn’t disappointed. I tend to use large backcountry style multi day packs, but for this trip I needed a bag more adapted to manoeuvring in and out of buildings and tight spots, as well as slipping through woodland and getting in and out of transport.
The street bag has a sleek design and slim profile and, to my surprise, a very generous internal storage capacity. The padding and partition system in the street bag has been carefully designed to maximise protection where needed without causing unnecessary bulk and weight. With plenty of compartments and adjustable sections every piece of kit can fit in a place and be securely stowed away. There is even room for a laptop in the rear compartment. The side pockets double up as a tripod and bottle holder thanks to a detachable strap. The materials and construction of this bag have been very well thought out to maximise capacity and ensure easy accessibility. Not only has the street bag been made to a high standard, it is also a good looking and well styled piece of kit.
This bag doubled as a day bag for my flights and stowed away easily on the plane and in our van, as well as acting as a multiday pack in some very challenging urban environments. Even though I potentially over loaded the bag the street bag took all the challenges I threw at it with no problems. The tapered straps are extremely comfortable even in the hot humid weather we had.
To summarise, this bag may have been conceived to be a stylish day to day street bag for the modern day urban lifestyle, which it does perfectly, but I think this is such a well-designed and versatile bag it would be at home in any explorer’s or adventure photographer’s collection. I’ve been so impressed with the street bag it is now my go-to bag for all my urban photography projects. A very cool looking all-rounder. A big thumbs up from me.