Monarch Bataflae - Kenya to Iceland

Back from Kenya

Andy Biggs is back from Kenya and that means The Monarch Bataflae has successfully completed its maiden voyage! The bag has already logged a little over 20,000 miles (33,000 km) and that's just the beginning! Andy also signed the bag before we got it back (See below). Each person who takes the bag will sign their name and the place(s) they took it. 

Andy Biggs' signature in The Monarch Bataflae

Here's a sample of some of the photos Andy shot while out on safari.  


Where to now?

We're pleased to announce that Joshua Holko will be taking the bag to its next destinations. Joshua and the bag will be journeying from Iceland to Svalbard and then to Greenland. It will take three flights and over 24 hours of travel to reach Iceland from Joshua's home in Australia. Over the next two months the bag will travel across the Icelandic landscape during his midnight sun summer highlands workshop. He will carry it from the city of Reykjavik to the spectacular Jokulsarlon lagoon, onto the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and into the stunning multi-coloured geothermal highlands of Landmannalaugar. After its sojourn through Iceland the bag will travel with Joshua to Longyearbyen in the Svalbard Archipelago (via Oslo) where he will take it aboard the expedition ship M.S Ontario to cruise the Arctic waters around Svalbard in search of Polar Bears and dramatic Arctic landscapes.  It will then board the ice hardened expedition ship Polar Pioneer and cruise the Arctic waters to Greenland to photograph giant icebergs, polar bears, reindeer and carving glaciers. At the northerly most point The  Monarch Bataflae will be only 600 miles from the North Pole. 

Of course we will keep you updated on the bag's wherabouts and share photos of the adventure. You can also follow Joshua Holko's personal feeds: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Blog

Don't forget, once the bag has made it's way around with some of your favorite pros, it's your turn. Apply to take The Monarch Bataflae here

Bataflae Around The World

Andy Biggs with "The Monarch Bataflae"

As the cool fall air breaks free of the summer heat, thousands of cocooned Monarch butterflies ready for their journey of roughly 3000 miles (4,828 km) begin to hatch. Monarch butterflies are said to have the most highly evolved migration pattern of any species of butterfly. Every year the Monarchs that are born in the fall set off from as far north as Canada on a long journey to Mexico. Monarchs are truly a butterfly built for traveling. 

Since its inception, Gura Gear has focused its efforts on photography backpacks for the traveling photographer. The original bag featured a butterfly style opening. After many phases of design, the bag has evolved into what is now the Bataflae. The 26 and 32 liter Bataflae bags still retain the same butterfly style opening capability.

This shouldn't be news to most of you. So what is the point? 

In honor of the obvious influence butterflies have had on our bags, we are sending one bag on a Monarch style adventure to as many corners of the globe as possible. A brand new grey 32L Bataflae which we have appropriately named "The Monarch Bataflae", has started its great journey in the deserts of Africa with professional African wildlife photographer, Andy Biggs (pictured above). You can follow his current travels with the bag on his Google+ page. After an exciting few weeks with Andy, the same bag will be sent to another photo professional (soon to be announced) to be used in another part of the world. After that a couple more photo pros will be taking the bag to other destinations each one signing the inside of the bag to track it's journey.

Then it's your turn!

We want your help to get the bag to as many places in the world as possible. (**Edit June 6 2013: Applications are now open! Click here to apply.) We will open up applications for anyone who wants to take the bag on a trip to wherever it is you go! You will also be able to sign your name inside the bag next to the pros you've always looked up to.

Keep watching this blog and our social channels to see when it's your turn to have a chance to take the bag. Also follow along as each photographer and destination will be highlighted with stories and images from their travels.


Namibia Trip Report - Andy Biggs

Trip Recap

Andy Biggs took a trip to Namibia last year and put the Bataflae to work. More info and pictures here on his blog.

Back in late September I lead a trip to Namibia for Phase One as part of their PODAS series of workshops. My good friend, Bill Atkinson, was the other instructor on the trip, and we had an excellent time together with our travelers. Our trip began and ended in the capital city of Windhoek, and we flew between 3 different locations across the country.

Since I have been to Namibia many times in the past, I tried to put myself in a different creative mind on this trip. My goal was to find new compositions with shorter focal lengths, which isn’t always easy with all of the far away types of shots that Namibia has. I did use my Phase One camera system this time, which limits me on the long end anyway, and it is probably the best camera system for that type of environment: huge huge files from 40, 60 or 80mp digital backs for crisp/detailed images with rich color fidelity.

Our first destination was in the sleepy town of Lüderitz, which is a coastal town that was built to support the diamond mining efforts at the beginning of the last century. While at Lüderitz we were able to photograph the abandoned diamond mining town of Kolmanskop, where I have been many times in the past. This was, however, my first time to visit and photograph with a medium format camera. We spent 2 nights there, and had 2 separate shoots at Kolmanskop on separate days.

Click here to see photos and read more about the trip on Andy’s blog.