New gallery: The Alps

I’m happy to present you a new gallery, a dedicated gallery for my pictures of the European Alps!

Because I’ve been on a one week roadtrip through the Swiss, French and Italian Alps I also want to present you new pictures which appear in the Alps gallery:

Additions to Iceland gallery

Some months ago I browsed my Iceland picutre folder and finished three more pictures which I uploaded only on social media so far. If you like my work make sure to follow me on social media, I update content more often over there. Please find the respective links in the “About” section.

 

New prints arrived

Some weeks ago I received new prints. It’s a good mix of colourful landscapes and abstract modern architecture prints. I had the idea to create a little abstract b/w square gallery at home, hence the many squares. For that I might have to clean one of the walls first, they are already full of prints, so I might sell some of them later.

The prints on the first image are (top left to right): 2x HD metal alu-dibond, 1x canvas print
The second image shows a print on fabric and the third image shows normal alu-dibon prints.

I placed a recent buy (CD album INTERVALS – The Shape of Colour) next to my prints for size comparison 😉
Thank you WhiteWall for providing such high quality prints, I really love those HD metal alu-dibond prints!

Sirui tripod repairs

Remember the post Finally a new tripod from approx. 3 years ago?

Finally my Sirui M-3204X (nowadays N-3204X) tripod  has shown some wear and it was about time to get it repaired. Nothing actually broke, only the half shells – which are part of the sliding mechanism – in the upper segment were worn out and sliding out the segment was really hard or not possible at all. Sometimes the sement even came off, like shown in the picture on the right.

Actually I wanted to get it repaired already earlier but never was sure whether I would get it b14215410_1032975160154142_1926410967_oack in time for planned photography trips. After I returned from the Faroe Islands a bit more than a week ago I knew that I can spare the tripod for a while because no other photography trips were planned.

What can I say, I sent the tripod in for service and received it back within 4 days only! Fully repaired and covered by the warranty (which is 6 years) coming with a nice letter stating what has been exchanged and repaired. Wow, when I received it back I couldn’t believe that it took not even a week. I’m impressed Sirui! This makes me confident to keep recommending Sirui tripods to other people. The price / value ratio is amazing!

 

The quest to find a new camera bag for long hikes

This was mainly meant for documentation purpose for myself, if anybody reads this and finds it helpful let me know, I’d be happy to hear about it 😉

My approach

On daytrips (e.g. hiking, visiting cities) I’m already using my trustworthy Lowepro 400AW, it’s big and sturdy enough for rough treatment. Recently there have been very exciting offerings by f-stop and MindShift (by Think Tank) which use a very similar concept of accessing your backpack from the back side while it is in front of yourself and not on the ground. I might look into those sometime later, however this blog post is dedicated to my approach for long distance trips or hikes with overnight stays.

Aspensport trekking backpack

Aspensport trekking backpack

Olympus E-System shoulder bag

Olympus E-System shoulder bag

I previously just combined what I had at my disposal, a cheap 70L trekking backpack by Aspensport and an Olympus E-System shoulder bag. I never even tried to fit my camera equipment directly into my trekking backpack, like putting it into a dedicated compartment with clothes for padding, I always liked the idea of having an ICU (internal camera unit) where I can arrange my camera gear properly, it’ll stay in place and it’s perfectly protected from outer impacts. So in this case I just used the shoulder bag as an ICU while keeping the shoulder strap attached, because I want to be able to just pull it out of the backpack and use the comfortable access to my equipment from the top while it hangs in front of me.

Recently both trekking backpack and camera shoulder bag became almost unusable because of some serious wear, I even stitched together seams which already disintegrated. Well, this was the motivation to look for new equipment for the job and hence this blog post, it was mainly meant for documentation purpose for myself 😉

Trekking backpacks

I considered the following requirements:

  • Around 70L of interior volume
  • Comfortable carry system which makes you carry most of the weight on the hips (my previous Aspensport trekking backpack was really bad at this!)
  • Many reasonably placed pockets to store different equipment, also wet pocket
  • Enough and well placed mounting possibilities for hiking poles, camping kitchen equipment, tent, tripod etc.
  • Hydration system (compatible to 3L hydration bladders)

Unfortunately I didn’t do much research on the trekking backpacks. I have known the fabulous f-stop mountain series (e.g. Sukha and Shinn) for quite a while now, but there is on thing which kept me from buying one: availability. Here in Germany a friend of mine had to wait almost 2 months to get one after ordering. Their ICU concept is very nice, however not flexible enough (yet) for me, I want an ICU which can be used as a proper shoulder bag too. This means I want to able to conveniently pull out and put back my camera while standing. I think by offering shoulder straps for their ICUs f-stop might be already on the way to offer something which would be perfect for me, I’m curious and will stay tuned with what they come up with in the future!

During my recent research the Deuter Aircontact Pro 70+15 was one of my first finds and immediately became my first choice, it ticked off all of those requirements, received good reviews and also I trust the good reputation of Deuter among alpinists and mountaineers as a very experienced company with high-quality equipment.

Shoulder bags

Now this was the main part of my research. There are so many shoulder bags on the market, it was really difficult to get a good overview in a short amount of time. For comparison:

And here are the new shoulder bags I considered:

  • AmazonBasics DSLR bag (big)
    • Exterior dimensions (L x W x H):  30,5 x 17,8 x 22,9 cm
    • Interior dimensions (L x W x H):  25,4 x 12,7 x 17,8 cm
    • Weight: 726 g
    • Thoughts:
      • nice overall design and cheap
      • can put my Olympus E-M1 crossways into the bag, with the lens facing downwards
      • compartment for tablets, suitable for filters
      • even offers functionality to mount small tripods
      • but on the big and heavy side
  • AmazonBasics DSLR bag (medium)
    • Exterior dimensions (L x W x H): 29,5 x 12,5 x 20,0 cm
    • Interior dimensions (L x W x H): 26,0 x  9,5  x 17,5 cm
    • Weight: 448 g
    • Thoughts:
      • also nice overall design like the big bag
      • compartment for tablets, suitable for filters
      • a little bit too narrow for big lenses, or bigger equipment
  • Lowepro Adventura 170
    • Exterior dimensions (L x W x H):: 25,5 x 19 x 25 cm
    • Interior dimensions (L x W x H): 22 x 12,5 x 19,5 cm
    • Weight: 400 g
    • Thoughts:
      • nice design and lightweight, but way too deep / high
      • reasonably cheap because it’s a phase-out model, version 2 is already available (see Lowepro Adventura SH 160 II below)
      • can put my Olympus E-M1 crossways into the bag, with the lens facing downwards
      • no compartment suitable for filters but front pocket should be big enough to carry filters
  • Lowepro Adventura SH 160 II
    • Exterior dimensions (L x W x H): 23.5 x 15.6 x 18.2 cm
    • Interior dimensions  (L x W x H): 20.3 x 14.6 x 16.2 cm
    • Weight: 400 g
    • Thoughs:
      • very similar to Lowepro Adventura 170 but more expensive and worse volume / weight value
      • however has no compartment suitable for filters, even front pocket layout very volume inefficient
  • OP/TECH USA 11″ Accessory Pack
    • Exterior Dimensions (L x W x H): 27.9 x 20.3 x 6.4 cm
    • Weight: 272g
    • Thoughts:
      • very nice and lightweight ICU like pack
      • comes with strap mounts and even a shoulder strap
      • also available in other sizes
      • but missing the comfortable access from top compared to usual shoulder bags, can only be accessed by the side while wearing it, I’m scared that equipment might fall out of the bag :/
  • Inca Sapa DSLR shoulder bag
    • Exterior dimensions:  N/A
    • Interior dimensions (L x W x H): 27 x 21 x 11 cm
    • Weight: N/A
    • Thoughts:
      • bendable padding goes around lens compartments (left/right), camera can be put on top of lens compartments, has zipper access on both sides, this is all stuff I got used to with my previous Olympus E-system bag, I worked quite well in comparison to conventional shoulder bags
      • put my Olympus E-M1 crossways into the bag, with the lens facing downwards
      • compartment for tablets, suitable for filters
      • not available in Germany / Europe
  • Think Tank Photo Mirrorless Mover 25i
    • Exterior dimensions (L x W x H): 28 x 15.5 x 12 cm
    • Interior dimensions (L x W x H): 27 x 14 x 10.5 cm
    • Weight: 500g
    • Thoughts:
      • nice overall design and size, but a little bit too long
      • very expensive for a simple shoulder bag
      • compartment for tablets, suitable for filters
      • magnetic closures are a nice idea but I wouildn’t trust them to keep my camera bag closed
  • Tamrac 3446 Rally 6
    • Exterior dimensions (L x W x H): 36 x 17 x 26 cm
    • Interior dimensions (L x W x H): 33 x 12 x 22 cm
    • Weight: 709g
    • Thoughts:
      • bendable padding goes around lens compartments (left/right), camera can be put on top of lens compartments, has zipper access on both sides, this is all stuff I got used to with my previous Olympus E-system bag, it worked quite well in comparison to conventional shoulder bags
      • nice overall design but a little bit too big and too heavy for my needs
      • compartment for tablets, suitable for filters
      • put my Olympus E-M1 into the bag, with the lens facing downwards
  • Crumpler JP5500-001 Jackpack 5500
    • Exterior dimensions (L x W x H): 35 x 21 x 15 cm
    • Interior dimensions (L x W x H): 32 x 20 x 12,5 cm
    • Weight: 0,8kg
    • Thoughts: TBD
  • Mantona ElementsPro 20
    • Exterior dimensions (L x W x H): 19 x 24 x 17 cm
    • Interior dimensions (L x W x H): 17 x 22 x 15 cm
    • Weight: 0,72 kg
    • Thoughts: TBD
  • Think Tank Speed Demon V2.0
    • Exterior dimensions (L x W x H): 30.5 x 21.6 x 20.3 cm
    • Interior dimensions (L x W x H): 23.5 x 17.15 x 12.7 cm
    • Weight: 1,0kg
    • Thoughts: TBD

Final choice / selected bags

Related links

  • http://pratapj.in/custom-made-internal-camera-unit
  • http://www.mountainphotographer.com/panel-loader-backpacks-for-hiking-photographers

I previously selected the Lowepro Adventura 170 bag as the go-to shoulder bag, but once it arrived I noticed that I highly underestimated the depth / height of the bag, which was ridiculous for my needs, hence I sent it back.

Now I ordered the AmazonBasics DSLR bag (medium) bag because it is very close to my old one in terms of size and at the same time it is very inexpensive compared to the ThinkTank shoulder bag, which I also liked.

I guess I’ll keep updating this post and maybe I’ll post a picture later of how I arrange my gear in those bags.

More from Saxon Switzerland

Here are recent additions from Saxon Switzerland to the “Landscapes – Beautiful Germany” section!

These two are dedicated to the delicate life we can see in nature, trees that literally grow out of sandstone. Life is amazing!

Tree of Life

Tree of Life

 

 

 

 

 

Tree of Life 2

Tree of Life 2

Trip to Saxon Switzerland

At the beginning of may I went to Saxon Switzerland with my buddies Alex and Jan with the hope to get some impressions of spring back home. Besides driving to some locations with the car we went on a 3 day hike in the park. We got really lucky with the weather, on the first two mornings we had beautiful layers of fog covering the lower areas of the park and during the day we had warm and sunny weather, perfect for hiking.

I’m already sure to go back there in autumn to get some shots with a different palette of colours.

Here are the first shots I’ll add to the gallery:

Landscape pictures from Japan added to gallery

The gallery “Japan” with the first pictures of the natural beauty of Japan has been added to the “Landscape” section. Enjoy 😉

 

Encounter with a dinosaur

Canon 1Ds Mk2 - Dinosaur from 2005

Canon 1Ds Mk2 – Dinosaur from 2005

During the past 2 days at work I had the pleasure to work with this beast to take some “product photos” of the things I’m working on.  Wow, compared to my Olympus mirror-less camera this is a huge and heavy beast weighing almost 2kg together with the kit zoom lens. I haven’t been using DSLRs for almost 2,5 years now, basically since I sold all of my previous DSLR kit. For sure this thing here is build like a tank and robust as hell, that’s probably also the reason why we still have this old camera from 2005, but it’s so damn heavy if you’re not used to it anymore! At least the past 2 days reminded me why I don’t miss this ancient and heavy technology 😉

I’m also pretty sure this is one of those cameras which cause this peculiar disease called “DSL-ARM”, recently discovered by Olympus! Enjoy the video(s) at this website (side note: dont’ take it too serious ;))
http://www.getolympus.com/dslarm

Recent additions to the “Beautiful Germany” Landscapes category

I almost forgot to also upload the rest of the pictures from 2015 of the  “Beautiful Germany” Landscapes category.  Especially the picture “Gently Touched” has a special meaning for me and remembers me of a good time and days of pure happiness together with an important person in my life. Enjoy!