BackLight 26L Backpack
takes a trip to the Arctic Circle
with Steve Gosling
Steve Gosling a professional photographer who specialises in producing creative & contemporary landscape images (his ‘signature’ style is moody, atmospheric and minimalist black & white photographs).
Steve’s images have been published internationally as posters & greetings cards and have appeared in advertisements, books, magazines, newspapers & calendars across the world. Prints of his work have been exhibited in venues throughout the UK and have appeared on sets for both theatre and film productions. His work has also won awards in both national and international competitions.
What did Steve fit into the
BackLight 26L Backpack
My Backlight 26L is usually loaded with my Phase One medium format system:
- Phase One A-series camera with IQ350 digital back
- Rodenstock lenses – 23mm, 35mm and 70mm
- A set of Lee graduated and ND filters
- Accessories – batteries, memory cards, head torch, waterproof covers
Steve’s thoughts on the
MindShift Gear Backlight 26L…
Carrying a heavy medium format system camera plus lenses across a variety of terrains in all weathers has led me to search long and hard for the ideal backpack. I never found a solution that really worked for me until I came across the MindShift Gear Rotation 180° Professional. My previous review of that bag can be found here – https://snapperstuff.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/mindshift-gear-rotation-180-professional-deluxe-around-the-world-with-steve-gosling/
My MindShift Gear Rotation 180° Professional has been around the world with me from Europe to the USA to Antarctica and it’s still my favourite backpack. However there are rare occasions when it’s just too large to take on some aeroplanes – it doesn’t fit into the overhead compartments of the smaller planes used by some regional airlines. For example, earlier this year I went to the Lofoten Islands off the coast of Northern Norway and this required 3 flights from the UK to my destination and the last leg was in a plane not much bigger than a local bus (OK a bit of an exaggeration, but it was small!). Knowing how well made the MindShift Gear bags are constructed I looked for an alternative in the range and came across the Backlight 26L. Like the Rotation 180° Pro the outer is of a robust material and the compartments are well padded to protect my kit. It also comes with a rain cover for those times when the elements take a turn for the worse (something I was anticipating in Northern Norway in February). One advantage it has for me and the gear I travel with – it has a dedicated pouch into which I can place my laptop and/or iPad. There’s also an additional compartment in the front to put my gloves, scarf, hat etc.
“In short it’s an ideal backpack
for the outdoor photographer”
Although the MindShift Gear BackLight 26L does not have the rotating belt pack of its larger sibling, it does still enable me to access all of my gear without removing the bag and placing it on the floor. This can be done by swinging the whole bag to the front and accessing the main compartment from the rear (see photo). This is great when I’m working in locations where I don’t want to put the pack down and the rear access means that the back of the bag doesn’t get covered in mud or sand on those occasions when I do put it on the ground.
I have encountered two minor problems with the backpack in use. The first is that any large gear located right at the bottom of the compartment is difficult to access when the backpack is swung to the front. Not a big deal – now I’m aware of this I pack the bag to avoid the issue by locating smaller items at the bottom. The second issue requires some attention from MindShift Gear – the grab handle at the top of the backpack is not as substantial as the one on the Rotation 180° Pro although the bags are capable of carrying similar load weights. I have heard of some cases where the grab handle has failed – thankfully not a problem I’ve experienced but then I don’t just rely on the grab handle when picking up my kit.
With those two provisos I can highly recommend the MindShift Gear Backlight 26L. It’s not replaced my Rotation 180° Pro as my go to backpack but when I need something smaller it fits the bill ideally.
The hairstyle and the philosophy
of a Buddhist monk…
Travelling to a location within the Arctic Circle in February I expected extreme weather conditions – wind, rain, snow & ice. In the days immediately prior to my trip photographer friends of mine were there and experiencing regular snowstorms – fantastic for moody images. I was full of anticipation. Of course I took suitable precautions for me and my gear. In terms of clothing several layers were the order of the day – Merino wool base layers for top & bottom halves, thick socks, liner gloves, waterproof & windproof outer gloves, down filled jackets and a thick waterproof outer layer. Fully dressed I resembled the Michelin man – not a pretty sight but functional.
Sods Law of course determined that we arrived to sunshine and blue skies (still very cold though!) – weather conditions that dominated most of our week there. Holiday weather I call it and not my favourite for atmospheric landscape photography. In years gone by I would have driven myself into a spiral of negativity – wandering around, chuntering to myself about my misfortune, letting the frustration build up to a point where my creativity diminished to zero. But as I’ve got older I’ve acquired both the hairstyle and the philosophy of a Buddhist monk. I’ve learnt to accept that what will be, will be and I can’t change the weather. My approach these days is to adapt, to be flexible and respond to what I find, forgetting any predetermined notions of how I’d like things to be and instead going with the flow. This is better for my creativity, my blood pressure and my sanity!
Click here for more information on the MindShift Gear BackLight 26L
Why not join him on a workshop…
Steve’s next landscape workshop is in in the lovely village of Grasmere centrally located to visit the surrounding lakes and fells. It’s a 5 Day Workshop – 30th October to 3rd November 2017. He is running this alongside Mark Banks. You can see their full programme here: https://www.stevegoslingphotography.co.uk/index.php/workshops/20-5-day-lake-district-workshop
Further information on Steve and his upcoming workshops can be found on his website: www.stevegoslingphotography.co.uk
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