By Dave Williams,
A Platypod is worth its weight in gold! It’s perhaps a little counterintuitive to say that, however. The beauty of the Platypod is not only in its spot-on design but also in its portability. The tag line they use is ‘the world’s most compact tripod system’ and that has absolutely nailed it. As a travel photographer, that very thing is often high up on my list of considerations - I need to get as much gear as I can in my bag whilst not breaking my back under the weight. Things changed for me on my most recent trip, though. I’m a big, big fan of the Nordic countries and I set off on a mission from my home town, London, UK, all the way to the Atlantic Highway in Norway.
The Atlantic Highway is a 5 mile stretch of road on the coast of Norway running between Vevang and Kårvåg. The coastline is the entrance to the magnificent fjords and the connection to the harsh Atlantic Ocean, connecting a series of archipelagos, islands and outcrops by bridges, causeways and viaducts. These 5 miles are listed in all manner of places as being among the very top roads in the world to drive, but for my planning it was all in perspective to the 1,500 miles or so I would have to ride in order to get there. Never before have I had such a list of warnings and disclaimers at the beginning of a Google Maps route guidance as this:
So, if I was to achieve this I would have to ride and pack smart, so let’s look at that for a second. If I wasn’t careful, my bike, riding empty at 240kg (530 pounds), would be hit with a gargantuan weight. I needed nine days of clothes, toiletries, camping gear, and then my camera gear to boot! It turned out that my left pannier would be dedicated to camera gear and so it now became time to pack smart.
In that left pannier I had to squeeze the following:
- Nikon D810
- Nikkor 12-24
- Nikkor 24-70
- Nikkor 70-200
- DJI Mavic Pro
- The accessories and spares for the above
- Motor oil
So in amongst that it made sense to squeeze in my Platypod Ultra. It takes up no space. It’s so functional and effective, that I can afford to switch out a full-sized tripod and sub in the Platypod. I’ve done it before, several times in fact, but now it became more of a necessary solution to a real problem than a manufactured ‘what if’ scenario. So, let me tell you something...
I’m so glad I did it this time! One of several projects I had running throughout this trip was to write a piece for For The Ride, the magazine of Triumph Motorcycles. With the Platypod Ultra supporting my DSLR and providing the sturdy base I needed, I was able to make some great photos for the publication that really brought what I’d written to life.
The nature of what I was doing meant for the nine days of the trip I was at one with, well, nature! Travelling light whilst at the same time ensuring I had struck a balance and carried all that I needed was a difficult feat but the choice I made to carry the Platypod was absolutely the right one. Quality was not compromised at all, and in fact the biggest challenge I faced was figuring out how to take what is effectively a selfie whilst riding! When I needed the height, there was always a way to achieve it. On occasions, I was aided by the Multi accessory kit, which allowed the Ultra to be strapped up or rooted down. Take a look here at a BTS by the side of a lovely river just outside of Lillehamer.
So, my ride! Throughout the nine days it took to travel some 3,100 miles I was at one with the wind and the sky. I saw stunning vistas, changing with every twist, every turn, and every ridge. Rolling green hills switched out with rugged, jagged rock formations. Endless blue skies became clouds shrouding Nordic peaks. Blazing sun became bitter cold. The ride north was an experience like none other, packed with ups and downs of course. But you only get one go at this game of life and those downs soon become stories to tell in hindsight. Most importantly of all, though, is my decision to travel light and to trust the abilities of the Platypod to quickly and easily achieve what I needed. Take a look:
You can see more about me, including my travel photography and this trip, over at capturewithdave.com