The #TravellingUltra is well on its way around the world, having just arrived in Los Angeles with J.R. Maddox. Since the concept of a travelling Platypod began it’s had an awesome journey, and for my leg of the world tour I took it with me to beautiful Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, for a South American adventure.
The Platypod is most famous for its compact size and this characteristic was perfect for me when I decided to trek up to Padra De Gavea. I’ll show you why I did this trek in just a moment, but let me tell you about what it actually involved. The mountain sits within the Tijuca National Park, which is in fact a rainforest. If you’ve never been in a rainforest, it’s exactly what you expect it to be! It’s hot, it’s wet, and it’s noisy. There are sounds coming from all directions of all the exotic animals – chirps and cheeps, squeals, whoops, and the occasional rustle and tap! At one point I noticed some motion in the canopy above me and when I looked up I was shocked to see a monkey staring back at me. We both took a moment to size each other up and soon enough the monkey figured it was no match for a sweaty Englishman and disappeared off into the rainforest.
The incline was pretty insane, and at points it was so steep I ended up sliding backwards if I had nothing rooted to the ground which I could hold onto. There was ducking and diving to avoid the tangle of roots and I was slapped in the face by massive, thick leaves too many times to count, but having walked up the mountain for a couple of hours I found exactly what I was looking for – the southern face of the mountain is a sheer cliff face, and at one point the rock recedes and creates a kind-of cave offering a stunning view out to the east along the ocean. Rather than lugging a heavy tripod up the mountain through that rainforest I opted to carry the Travelling Ultra instead, and here’s what I got.
The Platypod once again proved its worth – it’s a light yet rock-solid platform, and a perfect replacement for a tripod. I loved having the Travelling Ultra with me in Brazil, and in fact I take my own Platypod Ultra everywhere I go. Whilst in Brazil I put the Ultra through its paces in a ‘No Tripods Allowed’ situation when I visited the Royal Portuguese Reading Rooms. The Platypod is just great for these situations where we need stability but tripods are banned, and the Travelling Ultra pulled it off just as I had anticipated. I was able to shoot the Library without even so much as an inquisitive glance from security. What tends to happen is security or the staff will take a look over and you’ll notice the moment they realise that what they’re looking at isn’t a tripod and therefore doesn’t breach the rules, but in this case I was just free to shoot away.
My time in Rio de Janeiro with the #TravellingUltra was awesome, I had such a great time using it on this trip, and having seen what’s been done with it by Gilmar Smith and Cathy Baitson, I can’t wait to see where it goes next!