Travel Photography: On Assignment with Dave Williams in Iceland!

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Dave Williams is a travel photographer from London, England, who has recently put the Platypod Ultra through its paces in Iceland whilst there working for commissions and shooting stock.

Dave took a big step on this trip in January 2018 and took the Playtpod, the world’s most compact tripod system, rather than a conventional tripod. The need for a stable base in order to make a high quality photo is paramount when shooting in order to recoup costs and push into profit, and a bad image can be enough to make the difference between coming out in the black or in the red. Let’s take a look at how Dave got on!

"The decision to take the Platypod rather than a tripod was tough – when packing I considered whether to take a tripod as well for safety. In hindsight, I definitely made the right choice! The Ultra was just what I needed both for practicality and functionality. My bag had a ball head and the Platypd Ultra rather than a whole tripod, affording me extra space to carry:

  • Nikon D810
  • Nikon D750
  • 14-24mm lens
  • 24-70mm lens
  • 70-200mm lens
  • DJI Mavic
  • DJI Osmo

I started day one by shooting a newly discovered ice cave, named Anacond, for Arctic Adventures. The brief was simple – we have a new cave, go shoot it for our marketing. The conditions outside the cave were of course quite bright, but inside the cave it can reach almost pitch black conditions with just the occasional glimmer of blue light shining through the thick ice of the Europes largest glacier - Vatnajokull. Overcoming this to show the cave in its best light required a stable platform, and so the Platypod came out. The spiked, adjustable feet meant that there was plenty of friction and no slip, allowing me to set up with no problem at all and capture what I needed both on the ice outside the cave and on the gravel surface in certain areas inside." 

"The feet came into play again when shooting a waterfall, which I can only describe as 63°31'43.2"N 19°28'50.1"W. The entire area, owing to the presence of what I’m fairly certain is quantifiably described as a metric hella ton of water alongside temperatures of around -9c (15f), was coated in ice, and I mean sheer ice. The shot I got nearly killed me – and I’m not joking. A rather sizable icicle fell from the rock face about 30 feet above me and landed right next to me, smashing into pieces with the sound of an almighty crack as it did so. You can read more about that over on my blog, but I digress. And I shouldn’t say that because it merely points out the fact that I’m digressing! Those spiked feet were perfect for those ice-rick conditions and allowed me to capture a shot of that foss (Icelandic for waterfall) which is likely to end up on the wall in my office."

"Here’s the thing that really got me. With my 70-200 lens mounted on my D810, balanced by supporting the 2.5kg (5.3 pounds) on the lens mount, the Platypod Ultra was sound as seen here in the picture at Svinafellsjokull. 

My trip was such great fun, packed with awesome views, and my gamble at leaving the tripod at home was totally worth it! My pack was light and I always had a stable shooting surface."