Words by Peter Treadway
Edited by Eryka Bagwell
As a UK based, destination wedding and travel photographer who frequently wanders abroad for his work, making efficient use of luggage space and weight are paramount for me. Whenever I start to prepare my kit a couple of days before jumping on a plane, I always have to carefully balance the amount of equipment I require for a full wedding shoot against what I can physically get away with carrying on board. The lack of even a moderate luggage allowance, in Europe at least, used to be the preserve of only the ultra-low cost carriers. However, almost weekly now I seem to hear of a new major airline imposing charges for the most basic of services, with luggage size and weight usually being the first things to have an additional fee levied. This had always created an issue for me with one item in my bag in particular….. a tripod.
I’ll be honest and say I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with tripods and find them somewhat of a necessary evil. If I can ever get away without having to take a tripod anywhere, I definitely will. They’re heavy, cumbersome and usually take a while to put up and mount your camera to. However, in trying to maximize opportunities and time, I also try to shoot as much travel photography as I can whilst I’m out of the UK shooting an international wedding. Given the fact that a lot of my travel photography work involves long exposures though, you’ll understand why some form of steady base for my camera is imperative.
This is where my Platypod Max and Ultra come in and they have been a huge benefit to me on more than a few occasions. Whether I need a sturdy base to hold my off-camera flash at a wedding, or somewhere static to rest my camera while I take a 5-10 minute long exposure, my Platypod Max has never let me down even with a large, front heavy 70-200mm lens attached to my camera. No matter how weight or space conscious I need to be with my luggage, there’s a Platypod that fits right in, taking hardly any room at all. If I’m really pushed for saving a few extra grams, then my Platypod Ultra works just as well wherever I need it and is half the size of the Max.
The proof of this is the image I captured of the Samuel Beckett Bridge, which spans the River Liffey in Dublin, Ireland. I had flown from London to Dublin to shoot a wedding there and unfortunately had no choice but to use Europe’s most budget airline. This company would charge for oxygen use if they could get away with it and, as such, I had to be extra tight on my packing. Max was my trusty travel companion then and, as you can see, he was more than able to cope with the weight of my Full Frame Nikon D810, a heavy 14-24mm lens and the added weight of a 15 stop ND filter system up front. Despite all of this, my camera stood rock solid on the quayside for the 5 minute long exposure and I couldn’t have been happier with the resultant shot.