Today's guest is Ian Millar, the founder of Shimoda. Shimoda is an adventure camera bag company designed as a reaction to real-world adventures rather than those imagined from a comfortable office environment.
Ian has decades of experience in the adventure photography community, represents the culmination of all his experiences and utilizes the most advanced materials and technologies available to minimize the pain, fatigue and suffering that comes with foul mountain conditions. Shimoda products are a direct reflection and reaction to the outdoor lifestyle that adventure and travel photographers crave.
Shimoda's next bag, the Explore V2, is releasing on Kickstarter on June 30, 2021! Check it out!
Shimoda team member Ian mentions as a great storyteller is George Karbus @georgekarbus.
“The bags carry both the photographer and the gear out there. They are built to take care of you and get you home.”
Some of the Nuggets from Today's Episode"I always say that I grew up in Whistler just because that's kind of where I learned about the important things in life and got away from the toxic things in life... Patience, resilience, determination, and a good camera bag. Those are my tent poles of life. ..Of course, there are those other things of be a good person and be honest and stuff."
"It's not necessarily take every opportunity that comes your way, but the more experiences you have stacked up, the more you will be ready for. If you want to go and do something big, whatever it is...all of those big events in your life take a handful of small events to get you ready for that big event. So the more experience you have, the better."
"It's really hard to keep yourself in the zone, but the more you can keep yourself in the zone, the better... Somebody asks you to do a trip, and you can't handle it with a camera bag; it's going to ruin the trip for everyone, especially if you are the cameraman. Always be in the zone for things and ready. It's the way I try to live, it doesn't always work out that way, but I try my best."
"A person's voice has to come through."
Shimoda's name comes from the town Ian was in when he had the first few phone calls to establish the company with some friends from North America. Shimoda is a surf town on the Japanese pacific coast that is somewhat touristy but a chill, cool place to hang, according to Ian.
On Creating Shimoda
"At sunset, we'd go for an hour's drive and take photos of the local mountains," he said. "I ended up getting this photo of a famous spot down the coast, and, while it doesn't exactly look like it now, that photo ended up becoming our logo."
Ian knew there was a type of photography backpack he'd always wanted to make, and so he went hard to work creating the Explore V1. When it was done, he knew he'd created the bag he wanted. He was out skiing a colossal run to test the bag out and completely forgot he was carrying gear.
"I rode it non-stop, happened to stomp the landing, no hands, nothing, and when I got to the bottom I radioed my friend, and I just realized 'Oh ya, I've got my camera bag on,' and I was like, oh ya, I think this camera bag works."
After a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, Shimoda built a bag made for active adventurers.
"My thing was always; the photographer needs to be as good as the athlete or at least close," Ian said. "You can't have a giant block camera bag on your back that's moving all over the place while you're riding or climbing. You really need something that allows you to keep up with everyone."
That helped guide the creation of the Action X Series, launched in 2020.
"Anyone who grew up like I did. Exploring and being in the mountains. It's a very Whistler type bag because there are so many people there creating, and you're just embedded in the mountains there. No matter what you want to do there, you have to go and climb a mountain... It's a natural evolution (from Explore V1) that was building a bag for myself. That type of creator that's aggressive, likes the photography, isn't soft, no holds barred, just goes for it."
Now they are launching the Explore V2 with features explicitly geared at travel and landscape photographers. Those who move a little slower than the mountain adventure athletes that the Action X is geared at.
You can follow along with Robert’s adventures on Instagram @RobertMasseyPhotography.