Hey folks! We recently partnered up with Chadwick Trentham, the Visual Storyteller at Azusa Pacific University, for an 11 day filming project that took Chadwick and his team over the mountains and through the valleys of California’s Yosemite Nation Park. We set him up with an Evolution backpack and a few ZipShot tripods to use and abuse on the trek, and abuse he did! We’re excited to share with you the visual story of Tamrac in Yosemite and Chadwick’s detailed account of the adventure! Enjoy!
As a storyteller for Azusa Pacific University, my job includes producing films covering a range of topics: alumni, academics, campus events, and student life. That’s a pretty diverse task for a filmmaker—you never know what you might shoot next. One week I’m in the middle of the African bush filming an alumnus, and the next week I’m running alongside APU’s football team as they take the field for a home game (and trying not to get hit). As you can imagine, what I carry my gear in is very important; it has to be able to travel and function well in any situation.
My most recent project took me on an 11-day backpacking trip with students into the Ansel Adams Wilderness in Northern California. I love to hike, so I was excited about this trip. Capturing the beauty of the outdoors would be the easy part. But 11 days on the trail also presented a few challenges. No showers, for instance. No outlets to charge my batteries either, which meant packing in plenty of extra batteries. Packing light? Not really an option.
The biggest challenge was finding a bag that would hold all my gear and keep it dust free, dry, and ready to go at a moment’s notice. The bag also had to fit inside the main compartment of my large backpacking pack, and be easy to use as a daypack. After researching my options, I landed on the Tamrac Evolution 9. It offered all the compartments and pouches I wanted, and looked like it was built for the rugged outdoors, including a rubber bottom to protect it from the dirt. It even came with a rain cover, and how could I say no to that? (That rain cover came in handy.)
It looked sturdy enough to hold all my gear, which included:
2 Canon 60Ds, 2 GoPro Hero2s
Canon 24mm f1.4, 50mm f1.4, 24-105mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8
Tokina 11-16mm f2.8
2 ZipShot tripods with a set of ZipShot quick release plates
Manfroto 190XDB tripod with 701HDV head
Manfrotto 561bhdv1 monopod
Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier
Zoom H1, H4n
The Evolution 9 was a perfect fit. Other than a few strap-ends being a little too long, it met all my needs and kept the gear safe, clean, and dry. I could set it down on the damp ground by a lake and know the gear was well protected. Toward the end of the trip, we got trapped in a three-day rainstorm complete with thunder and hail. As soon as I felt the first raindrop, I put the rain cover over the Evolution bag, put it in side my pack, and put another rain cover over that. When the rain stopped, I took the bag out of my pack and it was completely dry.
The pack also functioned really well for day hikes. On the day we repelled with the students, I needed to shoot from the bottom, so I used the chest and waist straps, put my tripod on the back of the bag, and repelled with all my gear on my back. Dangling about 100 feet off the ground, I knew that pack wasn’t going anywhere. After traveling with this bag, I’m not sure I would trust any other bag company. Tamrac’s lightweight, well-constructed bag met all my expectations. If it can survive 11 days in the wilderness, it can handle just about anything I throw at it.
I also used the ZipShot tripods, a new item for me. I needed a second option for filming but wanted something lightweight. The fact that it’s so light, compact, and can be set up in about a second sold me instantly. I used them almost daily on the trip, including once for an interview when I used my second 60D. It supported the camera’s weight, stabilized quickly, and got the job done. But the ZipShots really shined when I used them with the GoPros for time lapses, filming, and as a pole for a higher shot. They provided perfect support for the weight and were really easy to use with the ZipShot quick release plates. These will be a must have for any future trips.
Visual Storyteller for Azusa Pacific University
©Chadwick Trentham 2012, www.chadwicktrentham.com
For more information on the Evolution Series backpacks, visit: www.tamrac.com
For more information on the ZipShot Tripod, visit: www.zipshottripod.com