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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Moto Foto

Trekking far from the pavement is in every nature photographer’s blood. Using a motorcycle to do it can be the perfect “viewfinder.”

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Tenba Shootout
These pouches or body bags (there are many names for them) are, in many cases, our preferred choice. As just one example, they combine well with Wolfman Luggage and, more particularly, the Enduro bags for smaller bikes.

Tank bags or handlebar/number-plate bags afford some of the best placement for both convenience and protection—in the latter case, the handlebars and the tank or frame structure tend to protect the bags in the event of a tip-over or washout. Another pannier manufacturer, Moto-Sport Panniers, makes a line of Dirt Bagz, which are soft bags for the bike, and Baja and Bavaria Panniers, which are hard-sided motorcycle luggage lines. The hard-sided cases add significantly more protection, obviously.

Flashpoint F-1128
For carrying a camera at the ready, here are a few ideas. OP/TECH makes a Stabilizer Strap that works in conjunction with your camera’s shoulder strap to keep the camera from swinging by holding it against your chest while you ride. There are a variety of chest pouches from Lowepro, Tamrac and others, but a newcomer with some interesting design features is Clik Elite, which has a Medium SLR Chestpack.

Steady Support
There are too many good tripods that can be useful on a motorcycling adventure for us to mention in these few pages, so we’re including just a few possible examples. With weight and size being a factor, the Gitzo Traveler GT-1550T carbon-fiber tripod with Gitzo G1077M ballhead will keep your camera steady and take up a relatively small amount of space when not in use. Folding down to 14 inches, it can fit in a 17-inch pannier, yet expand its five sections to reach a maximum height of 57.5 inches with the center column extended. Estimated Street Price: $699 (tripod and head).

Zing STD SLR Cove
A more budget-minded possibility is the Flashpoint F-1128 carbon-fiber tripod. While larger than the Traveler, it’s also considerably less expensive. At this price point, the Flashpoint is very serviceable and you won’t mind knocking it around on rocky-road adventures. The Slik PRO 814 CF is a carbon-fiber tripod that you might consider; it supports up to 12 pounds and extends from 19.3 to 63.18 inches. Another budget-minded and minimalist choice is the Slik Sprint Mini. Smaller than the Gitzo and less expensive than the Flashpoint, it’s an example of a tripod at the bottom of the D-SLR size range, but one that’s useful for this kind of travel photography.

LensCoat LensCover
The Novoflex MagicBall is a unique ballhead with a low profile and an open design that makes it easy to pack in a pannier or clean off debris if you carry it outside of your luggage as you ride into the hills.

Riders can be an impatient sort, always pushing the wind, so a quick release between camera and tripod is useful for stop-and-go photos. There are too many quick releases to mention here, as virtually every tripod company makes its own proprietary versions. Really Right Stuff is well known to OP readers as maker of ballheads and quick-release plates, among other support gear. Its Quick-Release B350D Body Mounting Plate is robust and gets the job done.


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