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Lesson 2 from: The Adventure Workshop

Alex Strohl

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(camera shutters) Rolling. Gear. (gentle music) The number one question I get is what camera do you shoot with? So, I shoot with many cameras, just because I like to try them, but my main workhorse is the 5D Mark IV from Canon. When I have the luxury of being close to a vehicle or being close to a base, I'll take the 1D X Mark II. I don't take it on like backpacking trips because I think it's bulky and heavy for me. So I take this guy. When it comes to lenses, my favorite lens is actually the 241.4 from Canon again. Just because I can shoot after dark and blue hour and there's more on that later. Second is the 16-35 III, series three, that I have on 80% of the day. When it gets dark, I put this one on. But this one is really, I'm nostalgic about this one. Then there's a 100-400 that I've been using a lot lately. And it gets me super close to my subject and also allows me to see things different ways. Like a lone tree in a forest or it just flattens mountain scenes. And this one, wh...

en I have to do commercial work, 24-70 II. It's handy because I can cover a lot of ground with just one lens and it's very fast. So I don't have to be switching lenses. It's just a super efficient lens. If I only have to have one it would probably be this one, or this one, actually just this one. One more thing is that I'm not very easy on my cameras. They're all a bit, I mean this one is one month old. I just changed it because I've used the other one too much and it's a bit scratched everywhere and it's got already a scratch on the screen. Anyways, they're tools and they should be treated that way. So these are all my toys, they all fit in this bag. I like to be pretty nomadic when it comes to gear. I don't have a fancy gear room with lights and shelves, it all fits in here. All right so memory cards and storage. Pretty straightforward. I just keep them all in this Pelican case, it's waterproof, dustproof, everything-proof. I have Lexars 128-gigs, the fastest card I could get UDMA 7. I like to carry many of them, 'cause sometimes one can fail. So it's good to have them ready or a friend needs one, you never know. Now when I'm gonna shoot on the road, I have a pretty simple but safe storage system. I use this small SanDisk. Actually, I'm pretty proud of this trick. I use these SanDisk SSD drives because I can have one on my keys with me at all times and one in my backpack or hotel room or wherever I am, with the backups. So if somebody steals my backpack where this is in, I still have the images with me. If somebody steals me, my backpack still has the images, 'cause this one is in it. So they're never at the same place together. Now this is at the end of the day, usually an assistant will dump them into this other drive, which is a LaCie Thunderbolt drive. And lastly, I'll keep all the images on the memory cards anyways, so I have at least three backups going on all the time. Because I lost images in the past, it's not a beautiful thing, it kinda sucks. So now I'm extra safe with it. So make sure you get good storage. Now for aerial photography and drones, if I can shoot from a helicopter, I'll probably shoot this one for the hely, fast shutter speed, good ISO tolerance, handles the cold well, just a beast. When I don't have the helicopter, which is pretty often, I used a drone. So in this case, I use the Phantom 4, from DJI. Pretty straightforward, it's got a few scratches, 'cause it's just a tool right? So when it comes to the Phantom 4 Pro, I like to have at least three batteries wherever I go. Unless I'm going to the back country and I may take two. And if I'm camping and it's cold outside, I'll pop the battery out, put it in my sleeping bag, so it works the next morning and I can use it for sunrise, instead of being stuck waiting for it to warm up. It's super important to access to vantage points. So this is my camera for the ground, I use the drone for the air, and I like to use this big guy for underwater. Because it's a whole new world and actually, last January, Andrea and I went to the Turks and Cacaos, which is an island in the Caribbean and I was a little concerned because there was no mountains, it's just very flat. And I was concerned about the photos I was gonna be able to make. So I bought this thing, the AquaTech Elite 5D casing. And I just took it for a spin, I went swimming with it and just pre-diving through some corals and I was blown away by how much of a different world it was. And I remember saying to Andrea, like, we could live here. I could just do the whole thing of work, underwater. So if you don't have one of these, consider it, it's super fun. So these can be quite expensive. I think this is $1500. So if you don't want to spend that much, which I totally understand, just get a splash bag. There's some for $80 on Amazon and when you get it, put some, just like some kitchen paper in it, close it, put it in the bathtub, see if it doesn't leak first. If it's good, then put your camera in it and just go swimming. So batteries, I love having a lot of batteries. There's a few ones here but, do you have that box? So I think there's 10 batteries in here. I don't want to show off, kind of showing off. I have an obsession with batteries. I lose about 10 to 15 batteries per year, because people borrow them and you never see them again. And that's all right. So I like to have a ton of batteries and keep them fresh, 'cause they lose their life pretty quickly. I think they last for a year or two, with me at least. You want the box back? So I get a question a lot, and it's, what is the best camera for a beginner? And I have an answer. It's the best one you can afford. Let's say you have an $800 budget, it's pretty good. You get this, T7i, a flip screen, love all the switches, super light, sturdy, it's great. I put a pancake on this one, a 24, which becomes a 40, and I just take it hiking. It's all you need. And Canon may not like this, but you should buy used cameras if you're on a budget. They're almost as good as the new ones and they won't set you back as far on your budget. Also, spend all your money on the lens. Don't worry about the body, just get a decent body, but get a good lens and just one. For about three years of my career, I shot everything on a 35 millimeter 1.4, everything. That's all I had, that's all I traveled with and it was a great limitation because it forces you to move, run forward, backward, it's good training. What's a good lens to put on your starter camera? Once you have your body and you have a couple hundred bucks, I would get a 50 millimeter 1.8, just to practice a portrait at a depth and field and just play around with your friends. And get a wide one, 10-18, for example, just so you can practice composition. It's harder to frame on a very wide angle. So that would be my starter kit, T7i for example, a 50, a 10-18 and you can roll like that for years before you're limited by the gear. Radios, I love radios because they just make everything easy. You can talk to people far away. I mean, you know what a radio does. I just use these Motorola ones 'cause they're weatherproof. Channel six is the best channel, because it's my favorite number, so channel six. So travel gear. Everywhere I go, I take my laptop so I can edit on the field, do emails. This is my lifesaver on long flights. They're just noise-canceling headphones. They're pretty comfortable and they just keep me in my bubble on the whole plane ride. So noise-canceling, you get there more rested and then you can get to work. This is where I keep my passport, paperwork, my phone charger, always keep it charged. And I have a cable with me all the time in here. Oh and the most important kit in your travel kit is this. You gotta travel in style and be able to sleep. So this is the best thing I bought this year, my sleeping mask. It is, it's so dark in here, it's like a dark hole. It's a brand called Bucky that makes them. Very good to have. And lastly, the backpack, it's a Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW. So I use it for two things. One is that I can fit two bodies and many lenses in it when I go somewhere. I usually have two, one for the assistant and one for me. I can frame my skis here and I can go skiing with this bag. It's not for camping, it's not for multi-day, just for a good day pack. And it's waterproof everywhere. The second reason why I like to use it is because it pisses off all the flight attendants because it never fits in any of the small jets here. So the only inconvenience is that, but I just put it under the seat in front of me. That's it really, love this bag. Camping gear, outdoor gear, I love this part. The first thing I have, first aid kit, obvious to say, if you get hurt you need to have one. In the U.S., Canada, bear spray. I usually have a binder attached to it and I clip it to my backpack. Now for sleeping, this is a comfort feature, but having some hand warmers that I can just put in my socks, it's cold in the winter. So for sleeping, I got three bags, winter, summer, spring and fall. So this one is the zero degree, for winter. Suitable for a night at minus 18 Celsius. It's a Sonic, it's down, it's made by NEMO. It compresses to about eight to ten liters, so pretty small in a backpack. It's good to keep them in bags like this when you're storing them, so that the feathers don't get all compressed, so big bag for storage, very important. This is my summer bag, another NEMO bag. And this one has a few years of use. It's about 30 for a night, minus one Celsius, it's called an Upturn. And I like the NEMO bags because they have a spoon shape. So they're not mummies, so it's more comfortable for the summer, you can just sleep and be comfy. So that's summer. And this is the fall bag or spring, in between seasons. It's NEMO again and it's a 15 degrees, it's called an Upturn as well. And I keep it compressed, because I just came back from a trip. But pretty small right? It just works well in the fall. It's called an Upturn, yep 15 Fahrenheit, minus nine Celsius. So when you see these ratings, they're not comfort ratings, they're like survival ratings. So I always like to go real high on them. It means 15 Fahrenheit, I'd be wearing a down jacket if it's minus 15 and I'm wearing this bag. So the ratings, take them with a grain of salt. And always bring a warmer bag than you need, instead of a cooler bag. Now for, in terms of mats, I bring this inflatable pad from Cedar Summit. It's called the Comfort Plus insulated, so it's for the winter. And I'm not paid to advertise any products, but this thing is the most comfortable pad I've ever had. It's like a waffle design and it takes like maybe four blows to inflate, it doesn't take any space. A little heavy but for the comfort you get. I would not take it on Alpine routes or anything, but for hiking and camping, the best. Just a pillow from NEC actually, Canadian. Compresses very nicely and then you can just blow it up and have a good sleep. This is another pad I use for the winter. So I usually use it with the other pad here, the Cedar Summit, so I double them. If I'm camping in the snow, I'm gonna use this one on the bottom and the put the air pad on top so I'm pretty comfortable. If you only have one, probably bring one of these and forget about the air pad. But if you have two. So food, my favorite topic after photography. When I go into the back country, I like to eat well. I think it's not an excuse that you're outside of your house to have shitty food. So I make sure to bring some cheese, always, some Manchego cheese, some Parmesan, some cheese that handles the temperature well, if it's hot or cold. Prosciutto if I can, some bread if I can, a baguette would be nice. It just makes the day better at the end, sharing a baguette with some friends. And apples or pears. When it comes to making coffee, very important, I just use an air press. This one's a bit banged up, because it's traveled a lot. Bring an air press with metal filters. I have the mini Porlex grinder that can adjust. Put some beans in it. So I usually bring the beans whole and I just grind them on the spot for each cup. Boil my water in this gigantic MSR WindBurner. So I used to use a Jetboil, that was like the small one, but it just became a little bit too much of a process, so I just bought the 1.8 liter MSR. Which boils a ton of water for everybody. So there's like two or three friends, you can just take one of these, instead of each taking a Jetboil with you and you can share weight. Pretty straightforward. It's called the WindBurner because it's got these big walls and it boils water, even in like a hurricane. You do need a lighter though. This is metal bowl. I got it with some insulation, so my food stays warm, even in the winter. And you close it, if you got to do something in the meantime, and come back to your food. Hand wash, important to have that in the woods. For food, if I can't bring something that I can cook, I'll just get these bags from Good To-Go. This is a Pad Thai and Bibimbap. And they are pretty amazing, my favorite one is, I think, the Thai Fried Rice, that is not here. And I'll just bring some sporks, some plastic sporks. I get a lot of them, because they break often. They also make a titanium one that's pretty cool. And super important, bring a good knife. I just love to have the Opinel knives, because they're French and I'm from France. One last thing on fuel. There's lots of fuel brands out there. So far, I found that the MSR is the most solid one for like winter. Some are cheaper but they might not work for you in the winter and you're gonna get to the top of a mountain and you can't eat. So I just don't take any chances. Jackets, so I love jackets and when it comes to taking them on hikes and back country trips, I usually take two, a down and a shell. In the winter, I take a thicker down, for the summer I take a very slim down, unless I'm going very high. I'll just show you how I pack them. It's not a international secret, but you might like it. Just roll like that and then just have it in the hood and then you can put it in your bag. So if your down jacket has a pocket it folds into, that's good, I just happen to lose them a lot. So I just fold them the same way I fold my shells, into the hood or into one pocket. You just gotta compress them real nice, and that's it. So usually these two are at the bottom of my bag, in order, here and here at the bottom. Because I'm probably gonna use the shell before the down. Gloves, I've looked at a lot of gloves, I've tried a lot of gloves. I'm gonna tell you what works for me is these North Face Summit Series gloves, because they have a leather palm and they're insulated. They work in every season for me and I've had these for three years and they've seen a lot of stuff and they're in pretty good shape. So hats off to North Face. One last thing, this is my hiking day pack. It's from and I think it's 28 liters. And I love it because it folds flat, so I can put it at the bottom of my suitcase, everywhere I go, it doesn't take any space, waterproof, and it's even a dry bag. You can zip it up top here, like a dry bag. So technically, you can go underwater. I usually take it on my kayak and just have it on the front. And another thing I use is a Peak Design clip on the left strap, because I'm right-handed. And I can just click the camera into it and start walking. I don't have to stop. And sometimes when the camera's in my bag I miss some shots because I'm weighing if I should take the photo or not. So this, no excuses. One thing I like about this bag is that I can strap my drone to it. I don't think it's manufacturer recommended, but I do it anyways, because it's very convenient, doesn't take much space, so I'll just go like that. Tie it here and this doesn't move. And make sure you pack the blades with you, there have been a couple times where I haven't taken the blades. This is why I love this bag, because I can have jackets, camera, water, some food, the drone, the remote it goes inside. I also keep a headlamp in it, all the time, because you never know when the day's gonna finish. This one's from Black Diamond, it's fairly new. I usually get the brightest I can get. And I also keep a battery with me all the time and some tissues. So that's it for my day pack. I'm going to give you a little studio tour. This is where most of the work happens, it's the coffee room. I mean none of the work happens here, really, we just come here and sit down and make coffee. But this is probably one of my most prized possessions. I'm very proud of this thing. It's a work in progress. It took me about, maybe three months to make a decent coffee. But yeah, it's a La Marzocco espresso machine. So anyways, I've been getting into coffee a lot lately. And this is where I tinker for most of the day. No real work gets done, we just sit down and people can come. It's a gathering space. I use it as a creative room too. I have a ton of magazines, actually Sidetracked is my favorite magazine. But yeah, I just stock a bunch of magazines and whenever I'm in a, I don't know, in a creative hole, I just come here and have a coffee and look at some magazines and see photos and read about stories. There's another huge pile of magazines here that will take about two lifetimes to go through. But it's there. And I also have some prints that people can leave with. We've got a grinder, some people who are not as fun want to have tea, so there's tea too, for them. Bob. This is really the diet of the office, it's all you eat, lunch, breakfast, chips. I think that really settles this room. We can go to the studio. So here's the workroom. Sadly, this is where most of the time is spent. People think that I live this lifestyle of jet setting. What I'm saying is that for every photo you see, there's about, I don't know, there's tons of hours here, before that photo happens. And that's the part we don't see, so that's why I want to do this workshop is to show you that part. So this is Joe's desk, Joe is my new intern, who's filming right now, hi Joe. This is, sort of the guest desk, intern desk. This is my little desk with my favorite things. This I love. It has me organize my day. It sounds a little dumb and we all need like techniques I think. I'm pretty lazy inside, so I always have a bunch of techniques to trick my mind into working. So this is one of them, it's just a technique. So when I come here, I usually come at nine, ten, depends. I come here, before I get into this computer, usually the screen's black, it's off. I come here, grab this, grab a pen, and walk into the coffee room you just saw, and I sit down and think, what is it that I want to achieve today? What is the most important thing I want to achieve? If that would make me happy, just to achieve that one thing, then I'm gonna write it down and then I'm gonna think about the rest of the things that are not as important. I'm gonna write them down and once I've done that distraction-free I come back and then execute. So that's my favorite tool. And then I love having notebooks, just to draw stuff or write ideas. This is a pile, I keep piles here. So this pile is for the accountant, Shannon, bookkeeper. So she comes in, grabs this, leaves. Don't know what this is, don't wanna know what this is, it's numbers, she takes it. This is for Joe. This is thank you cards that I send to friends and people I meet. I think it's very important to send thank you cards. Yeah, you know, this is for like Helga and the Hildebrand crew, it's a hotel we stayed at in Iceland and they treated us very well. So I just wrote a little thank you card. The bottom line is, yeah, say thank you, send thank you cards. They don't cost you much and I love receiving thank you cards, so I'm assuming people like to receive them as well. This is a quick version of my weekday. So I love routines so this is a version of my, it's an old version of my schedule. I don't need to look at it anymore, I just have it as a reminder to stick to it. If it's not on my schedule, it doesn't exist and it doesn't happen. So I need to have these reminders. My RAID, I just upgraded it to 16 terabytes, for people who wanna know about numbers. 16 terabytes, it's almost full again. This RAID goes to this computer, this computer backs up to Backblaze, which is online backup system. There's a fiber internet connection here, so it backs up reasonably quick. Just terabytes and terabytes all the time. People ask me if I have a gear room, I don't have a gear room. I like to be, I'm pretty nomadic. Even this office, Andrea did all the decoration, I just don't really care what is in the walls or she puts plants, which is good. But if it was up to me, there would just be a desk here and that's it. I don't wanna settle too much in places, I feel a little nomadic. And I don't keep all my gear in a nice room with high ceilings and nice lights. It's always where it needs to be, in my backpack, ready to go. This is it.

Ratings and Reviews

David Corrochano

There's a lot of useful information on how to start up your bussiness or your carreer as a photographer. Great advices, he shows his personal workflow, from the beggining of a shooting till the end. That was what I was looking for. The editing process maybe could be reduced in only one chapter. Worth it.

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