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Shooting On the GO!! MindShift 18L Backpack!! by Tim Rock

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Truk Lagoon kayakers, Chuuk, Micronesia

 Using a New Product on the go!!

   I have a great job!! I go scuba diving and snorkeling with a camera and visit wartime shipwrecks, big manta rays, sharks and whales and go to exotic destinations, normally with warm, clear tropical waters.

   All of the photos I take above and below the sea are usually taken in remote places and usually in tropical environments. Most of my photos are created for magazine articles. I write/shoot for a number of Pacific Rim magazines, many in-flight mags of various airlines and for magazines and newspapers worldwide. 

Manta Ray, Yap Divers, Yap, Micronesia

   While the fun part of the job is truly diving and doing underwater photography, most editors prefer to have a nice mix of underwater images and "above" water images as well. They want to see the various cultures, the special geographic features and the unique sites of the places I travel to. They like the fact that I can also include underwater in the mix, giving the photo editor a chance to add a splash of color and something that is not seen at inland locales.


Ukelele player in a hammock, Jeep Island, Chuuk, Micronesia

   So when I saw the new MindShift BACKLIGHT® 18L being offered from the folks at ThinkTank, I thought this could be a perfect fit for my newest camera transformation, which is going to mirrorless cameras. In switching from DSLR, I still had interchangeable lenses but much smaller bodies and lenses with mirrorless. This would be good for the body (my poor old body) and mind as the cameras are definitely lighter.


                                  MindShift BACKLIGHT® 18L

   When it came, I was amazed at just how much this little backpack could hold. I started to fill it up to see what would fit. I had my Lumix G9 "above" water camera, a Lumix GH4 (both have a power packs attached) 5 lenses, an OSMO from DJI, 2 GoPros, filters, batteries, chargers, cords, a couple of spare hard drives and my 13" MacBook Pro and 10" iPad plus mouse and chargers and some magazines and a water bottle and small tripod. Pretty good for travel. It fits very comfortably to the body once you get the straps adjusted and is extremely light even with all that gear. It weighs next to nothing with no gear in it, yet it is amazingly well made with lots of pockets and pouches for travel and fieldwork.

   One of the features, that I, quite honestly, didn't think I would use much, is the ability to keep the backpack around your waist and swivel it around the grab the proper camera for the job, do a quick lens change, grab a filter, etc. The backpack mainly loads from a zippered door that accesses the padded back. The zipper allows you to open things up and get to your gear without dropping the entire pack.

Backlight open and accessible

   You just toss off the shoulder straps and swing it around to the front, unzip and grab what you need.  When I first tried it at home, it was a bit awkward. But after a couple strap adjustments on my Chuuk, Micronesia, assignment, I started using it as intended frequently. One assignment required quite a bit of walking to various WWII historical sites in the Truk Lagoon. I didn't have to take off the pack when I got to where we needed to shoot. This was pretty handy as we were under some time constraints. The waistband is thick and comfortable when being used this way.


Easy access to video and still gear with the BackLight 18L


 Shoreline at the Blue Lagoon Resort in Chuuk, Micronesia


Komodo Dragon - Indonesia

   In the last 5 months since I got the BackLight 18L I have traveled to Truk Lagoon in Micronesia twice, once to Yap in Micronesia, once to Bali and also to Komodo in Indonesia, Manila in the Philippines and I have used it at my home base in Guam in the Mariana Islands. It doesn't take up much room in the overhead plane bins, even on small jets, and easily slides under a seat. I use a ThinkTank Roller for my underwater housing and strobes and video lights. Between the two products, I am totally set and even have extra room for some clothes and iPod or two.

Sea Anemone - Fujikawa Maru, Breadfruit pounder, Truck inside Hoki Maru all taken in Truk Lagoon, Chuuk, Micronesia

   I have been able to configure the BackLight to carry my Mavic drone and camera gear and have also used it for domed housings for the GoPro. It is quite versatile. If you are using mirrorless, this is all you will need for travel and fieldwork. It also works very handily with DSLRs. I have been having a great time using it in boats, on ships, in planes, on hikes, in the field and even as a storage unit at home. ThinkTank is a company founded by Pro photographers for Pro and Amateur photographers. These guys use what they invent and they do a great job of coming up with new and reliable equipment. I highly recommend a perusal of the ThinkTank site. Use my links here for offers of free products and free shipping.

To see this MindShift BACKLIGHT® 18L and other ThinkTank and MindShift products,


Free $50 Gift with a ThinkTank or MindShift purchase




All of our designs are created or based on Images by internationally published ocean photojournalist Tim Rock. Check our popular leggings and other Ocean Dreams apparel.






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