Paul Clarke’s Great Circular European Railway Challenge (GCERC)

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GCERC Train photo

Copyright: Paul Clarke 2013

With over a year’s planning under their belt, Photographer Paul Clarke and a group of friends embarked on the Great Circular European Railway Challenge (GCERC). Travelling from London around Europe and back to London from 6 to 23 July 2013.

GCERC Journey MapCopyright: Paul Clarke 2013 Great Circular European Railway Challenge (GCERC)

Paul has set up a picture gallery for each day of their travels which you can see here:

A large part of Paul’s planning was what camera gear he could actually take with him and how to carry it.

Paul says: What was the most flexible set-up I could bring, capable of everything that could be thrown in front of it from deep inside the Arctic Circle, the rough end of east European cities, the hot plains of Spain and everything in between? And how would I actually carry it? Weight, speed of access, and security mattered here.

Here’s a list of the gear Paul eventually decided upon for his journey:

Canon 5D MkIII full frame SLR
Canon G15 (fixed lens, zoom equivalent of 28-140mm)

50mm f/1.4 prime
16-35L Mk II f/2.8 zoom
70-200L MkII f/2.8 zoom
2x extender (MkIII) (to turn the telephoto into a proper big 400mm beast where required)
580EXII speedlite flash

Laptop & processing:
Alienware G14 laptop and Wacom A5 graphics tablet. Big and heavy, and the wrong choice for this trip. In future, a 4GB RAM thin ultrabook of some kind will do. I use the Alienware because it’s ultra fast for crunching pics on location at events. Here, time is not my enemy.

The bits:
Spare memory cards, USB3 card reader, 2 USB-microUSB cables, multi-purpose cable (USB-miniUSB/microUSB/iPhone), 4 AA batteries for flash, 2 spare 5D batteries, chargers for 5D and G15 batteries, mini USB brick, 2 euro AC socket adapters, AC-USB converter, spare phone battery.

So, for carrying the gear around, Paul sought advice from fellow photographer Tracy Howl – which resulted in Paul using the Think Tank Photo belt and pouch system. He used the Lens Changer 75 Pop Down v2, the Skin Body Bag and the Hubba Hubba Hiney pouches on the Pro Speed Belt v2 to carry his camera gear around for comfort, speed of access and peace of mind knowing his valuable gear was attached to him!

You can see Paul’s full camera gear planning article here:
GCERC camera kit

The GCERC group have put together a website which gives extensive coverage of their GCERC journey, including the route travelled, places visited, costs and links to all their blogs and super features from enroute: Great Circular European Railway Challenge (GCERC) – the disOrient Express. London to everywhere and back, via everywhere!

GCERC gcerc410

Copyright: Great Circular European Railway Challenge (GCERC) 2013

To see more of Paul’s work you can see his website here:


SWPP Societies 2013 Convention

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The SWPP Societies 2013 trade show is almost upon us!

Trade Show Dates and Opening Times
11-13 January 2013 – 10:00-17:00

New Venue Hilton London Metropole

For full information on the Societies’ 2013 Convention including tickets explained, seminar schedules, Big L Challenge, hotel layout plus more, please see the Societies’ 2013 Convention website: http://www.swpp.co.uk/convention/

The SWPP 2013 show will be offering a broad range of learning opportunities designed to expand the proficiency of photographers and brings together a rich selection of talent within the photographic industry:

Masterclass Schedule

Location Seminars

Superclass Schedule


Trade Show Exhibitor List

Snapperstuff will be exhibiting at the SWPP 2013 Trade show – Hilton London Metropole, 11-13 January, 10:00-17:00, King Suite, Stand K52, K53, K54!

We are proud to now represent the following brands, which we’ll have on display for you to check out:


LumiQuest LogoLightech Logo

FLM LogoGreen Clean Logo


Think Tank Photo: NEW Modular Components & Guide (part 2)

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Following part 1, we thought you’d like to find out more about the new features of the version 2 Modular Components:

All the pouches now come with a grab handle, most have an elasticated front pocket and you can convert them into shoulder bags with the new Keep It Up™ strap!


Keep It Up™ – is a shoulder strap which attaches to any of the new pouches thus turning a pouch into a shoulder bag, or it can be attached to any of the belts in the Think Tank Photo range to provide extra support.

Hubba Hubba Hiney™ – bum bag (…AKA an attractive female bum bag!) can fit a 70-200 f2.8 lens horizontally, or is ideal for smaller lenses or 4/3rds gear as it comes with dividers and a shoulder strap.

Stuff It™ – organiser pouch with pockets for accessories and personal items or compact zoom cameras. Snapperstuff’s Peter can fit all this in his Stuff It™: Canon G9, glasses, wallet and even an iPhone!

Little Stuff It™ – compact pouch for a point and shoot camera, mobile phone or small accessories.

Strobe Stuff™ – pouch for DSLR flashes / strobes with attached diffuser. This padded belt pouch has enough space to accommodate pro-size DSLR flashes. Either the SB-900, 580EXII, or smaller flashes fits with a standard diffuser fitted. The front pocket fits an external battery pack with a cable pass-through to keep it attached to the flash. Includes pockets for gels or spare batteries.

To work out which pouch is the right size for your gear have a look at this pdf guide:

Modular Component V2 Guide

To see more of the new Modular Component range take a look here: NEW MODULAR COMPONENTS

Think Tank Photo: NEW Modular Components & Guide (part 1)

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Think Tank Photo launched their new range of Modular Components at the end of last year, and we were very excited to give them their first major showing at Focus on Imaging 2012.

You can see the full new range by clicking here:
NEW Modular Components.

As well as the individual items two sets are available – a Modular™ Component V2 Set and a Modular™ Skin V2 Set – and the price of these will provide you with savings in comparison to buying each item in the set individually.

Modular™ Component V2 Set

Modular™ Skin V2 Set

What is a modular component system and who uses it?

Think Tank Photo’s Modular Component System Guide gives some excellent advice on their integrated workflow system for professional photographers worldwide.

It covers: key features of the Modular, Skin and Multimedia components, storage vs. active shooting, set ups for different categories of photography, how to choose the correct belt, harness or components for you.

You can download a PDF of it here:

Please note that while the Modular Component references in this guide are those of version 1 products, the replacement version 2 products will provide you with the same quality that you expect from Think Tank Photo, but with some added features and some new sizes!

Part 2 to follow next week…

Focus on Imaging 2012 here we come…

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With just two days to go, Focus on Imaging is nearly upon us!

Dates: Sunday 4 March – Wednesday 7 March

Opening times: – 10am to 6pm (Sun-Tues) 5pm (Wed)

Snapperstuff will be on stand L3, Hall 10

and we have lots of exciting new stuff to show you…

We are excited to announce that we are Green Clean’s new UK & Ireland Distributor.

…cleaning solutions for your Cameras, Optics, Computers, Office and much more…

ioShutter – the exciting new shutter release cable which allows you to control your DSLR from your

iPhone, iTouch, or iPad (from Enlight Photo)

Come and see our live demos with our stunning model on stand L3

(click the link to get a sneak preview of our model)


Think Tank Photo – all new Modular Components

Our fantastic team of Photographers will be joined by:
Anneliese Letter (Green Clean) &

James Madelin from Enlight Photo (orbis, frio, ioShutter)

Come and meet our team and see all the stuff in action :0)

Mark Pain in the shot

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Being Ready “Before the moment” ensured Mark Pain was able to capture this extraordinary image:

Tiger's ball heads straight towards Mark's camera


Mail on Sunday photographer Mark Pain stood fast as Tiger Wood’s golf ball headed straight for him during Saturdays play at this years Ryder Cup held at Celtic Manor in Wales back in October.

Tiger Woods, the American world No 1, was partnering Steve Stricker in the fourball against Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher (European Team) at the Ryder Cup. Tiger’s second shot to the 18th was a little wayward and landed in the crowd to the right of the green. The usual funnel opened up so Tiger could see the green and play his third shot in from the area trampled by spectators, a chip onto the green. However, he duffed his third shot, and it didn’t make it to the green, he sent the ball directly towards Mark who was crouched at the feet of the watching spectators.

Its the sort of shot that Tiger hits perfectly 999 times out of a 1000

“Its the sort of shot that Tiger hits perfectly 999 times out of a 1000” says Mark, but not on this occassion. Milliseconds after Tiger struck the ball it hit the lens hood of Mark’s 24-70mm lens and ricocheted into trusty Nikon D3s body before hitting him in the chest rolling onto his Think Tank Speed Changer then falling to the ground and coming to rest at his feet.

Mark tells me that thankfully it didn’t hurt him as the camera took the sting out of the shot, however the glare form Tiger was something else. “He knew he’d hit a bad shot and I wasn’t in the way, but it gave him something to focus on I guess.”

Your shot has had some impressive claims made about it on the internet Mark, I’ve seen quotes about it being “instantly iconic” and “Tiger gives us the best golf shot ever.” Are you surprised how big a shot it became and how fast? “Yes, indeed. It’s amazing CBS News interviewed me live for about 4 minutes and the guy with the cigar in the crowd behind Tiger was flown over to the States to be interviewed on the Today show.”

Has your mobile phone calmed down yet? “Yes it has, it was crazy for a week or so after I took the picture and the Mail on Sunday article was published, it really is amazing how many times it’s listed on Google, its been used on so many other sites and blogs, it’s a shame they don’t pay for usage.”

What about other news or golf magazines? “Yes, I’ve had calls from as far afield as Japan and Brazil that want to use the picture, it really is a globally recognised image and at least the magazines pay. Sports Illustrated used the image over two pages as a magazine opener, which is pretty impressive. Golf Digest ran a nice piece in the US too. There is also a nice little piece in the winter issue of Nikon Pro magazine”

I see that you’ve put the image in question as the splash page on your website, has it increased traffic at all? “Yes it has, but I think that as the picture is on so many sources and my name that people have searched for “markpain.com” and come to the page that way as nobody seems to have hyperlinked it in anyway”

Can you tell me a bit more about how you set up for the shot? “It was a tough call as to which lens to use, the shot was at around 70mm, so I took the 300mm off the D3s and grabbed my 24-70mm out of my Lens Changer 50 so I had 24-70 on one body and the 70-200 on the other. Covering the bases in case we were moved back when Tiger set up. When Tiger hit the shot I kept the camera on him to see his reaction, little did I know that the ball was heading my way and thats how I got the shot! The picture of me moving away and Tiger glaring at me was shot by Matthew Harris who was obviously in a different spot.”

Which belt do you use your Speed Changer on Mark and what other Modular Components do you use? “I’ve got a Speed Belt with my Speed Changer in the middle to the front, I then have a Lens Changer 25 and a Lens Changer 50 which are really brilliant with the zip down extensions they cover most of the lenses I’ll ever need to carry. I also have a Lightening Fast for my flash and some spare batteries and just in case for anything else I have a Whip it Out.

The really really great thing about the system and especially at this years Ryder Cup as the weather was so wet and muddy is the rain covers that come free with each component, I’m certain it saved my kit and kept it working when others were having problems.”

How long have you been using Think Tank gear for Mark? “I guess I’ve had the Speed Belt and the pouches for 3 or 4 years now and of course I’ve got one of the Airport International roller cases which is superb and goes literally everywhere with me.

To be honest all the Think Tank bags do exactly what you need them to do, most of the guys who cover golf pretty much full time all use Think Tank, you can wear it all day and have no problems what so ever and as I said mines 3 or 4 years old and still going really strong.”

Well Mark, congratulations on a brilliant picture, I’m really pleased that you were helped to get the shot because you were able to Be Ready “Before The Moment” with your Think Tank Photo gear, I hope it wins you a few competitions.

Mark Pain is glared at by Tiger Woods - photo Matthew Harris

No image manipulation, no staging, just straight forward top quality sports photography.

For further reading see: Mail on Sunday’s article

See Mark’s website: www.markpain.com

My gear’s too heavy: how can I spread the weight? part 2

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‘The photo kit I have is heavy! It is too heavy to be supported around the neck!’

Wearing camera gear around your neck and over your shoulders for prolonged periods, may cause you aches and pains and eventually damage your neck and, or back…

For times when you need to carry camera equipment on your body a one good solution is to spread the weight across your body using a combination of belt and harness with pouches attached for your camera equipment.

For those of you who need a light weight solution with minimum bulk, the Think Tank Photo belt, harness and pouch system could be what you are looking for.

See: My gear’s too heavy: how can I spread the weight? part 1

Here I am on the Think Tank Photo stand at the PDN Photo Plus Show 2010, New York, USA helping a customer find the right carry solution for his gear:

Photo Plus Show 2010, New York, USA
Photo Plus Show 2010, New York, USA

You may also find that you hunch one of your shoulders to stop your camera slipping off…

…if you do, then you may find the Think Tank Photo Camera Support Straps™ and Camera Strap™ are the solutions for you (in addition to the belt, harness and pouch system):

Camera Strap & Camera Support Straps
Camera Strap™ & Camera Support Straps™
  • The Pixel Racing Harness™ is then clipped onto one of the belts in the Think Tank Photo range: Skin belt™, Pro Speed Belt™ or Steroid Speed Belt™, and your choice of pouches can be added to the belt.
  • The Camera Support Straps™ then clip onto the ‘O’ rings of the Camera Strap™, so you can hang your camera in front of you and adjust the height to suit. This way the weight of the gear is spread across the harness system rather than around your neck.
Camera Support Strap connects to Camera Strap
Camera Support Strap™ connects to Camera Strap™
  • When you add pouches to the belt, and lengthen the Camera Support Straps™ you can then rest the lens in one of the pouches, again helping to spread the weight more around the harness system and your torso, and prevent the camera swinging from side to side when you are trekking.

Below is a summary of the specific products mentioned and links to our Snapperstuff website for more product info:

T017 Pixel Racing Harness™ v2 – can attach to all version 2 belts in the TTP range
Skin Belts™
– webbing belt with no padding
Pro Speed Belts™ – lightly padded belt
Steroid Speed Belts™ – wide padded belt provides extra support
T255 & T256 Camera Strap™ – in black/blue or black/grey
T257 Camera Support Straps™ – (pair of) hang on harness & backpacks & attach Camera Straps to spread weight of camera

Look out for Part 3 coming soon with more suggestions to spread the weight of your gear…

by Helen Atkinson