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The Summer Workshop

Lesson 2 of 8

Gear: Alex's Travel Kit

Alex Strohl

The Summer Workshop

Alex Strohl

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Lesson Info

2. Gear: Alex's Travel Kit

Lesson Info

Gear: Alex's Travel Kit

(camera shutter) Welcome to chapter two, what's in my camera bag. In my previous workshop, I take you through all the gear I have at home and that I take backpacking, but on this one, I take you through my packing decisions when I go on a trip with a plane. In this case, we're in Mexico, so I'm going to show you everything I took here. I try to keep it limited, but packing really sucks, but it's necessary, so I'd rather bring a little too much stuff than not enough because I like to have all the tools and having all this gear allows me to get a wide variety of angles like underwater, aerial with a drone. So let's get started. (upbeat music) (relaxing music) 5D Mark IV, at home, I usually shoot the 1D X because it's sturdier and just nicer to shoot. It feels better in the hand, but when I have to travel on a plane, I always bring this guy. Lighter, does almost all the things that the 1D X does, doesn't do slow-mo if you're filming, doesn't have as good ISO on this one, but more pixels...

. It's a good trade off to not have all the weight with me, so always in my bag, the 5D Mark IV when I travel. 6D Mark II, always in my bag when I travel because of the flip out screen. If I vlog, if I want to film something, film myself, do a time lapse, it's just handy to have this thing so I can have it lower, higher, actually, I always have it on a GorillaPod that is somewhere right there. Yes, so I usually just have it hooked to the GorillaPod like this and neat. 16-35, it's on it 90% of the time because it's super wide and then 35 is pretty good even for portraits, so for its flexibility, it's always on my 5D. It's also 2.8, so I can shoot until pretty late and when it gets too late, I use my 24 1.4 actually, always travels with me. It's not efficient, I could have a 24-70, but I'd rather have my 24 1.4 to shoot the blue hour. We'll talk about that later actually. Big boy, 100-400, I used to have a 70-200, but I thought it wasn't extreme enough, so now, I use this big guy for everything. I go to the extremes, so I use my 16 for the wide stuff and when I want to go tight, I'll put the 100-400. Super cool using it because I start seeing things that I didn't see before. I put it at 400 usually and I start going through the landscape like a sniper almost and I see features I hadn't seen, so for traveling, even though it's huge and heavy and clunky, always with me. New edition, the GoPro. I used to have the GoPro 1 when it came out and I used it a bunch underwater. Then I got an underwater housing for the 5D, so I'd had no use for it until I start using one again in Hawaii a few months ago because I can have it on my head with the little mount I have. It just goes over my head like this and I can go diving and shooting and then I can just film a bunch of BTS, shoot some photos with it candidly. I want to go for a swim, I don't want to bring all my stuff, I just bring this thing and some photos on my feed actually have been shot with this, but I bet you can't tell which ones 'cause they've got 'em pretty good. So, GoPro, so small, I always bring it. One more thing, the backpack. So I don't know if this fits into the frame, good, it fits in the frame, so the Lowepro Whistler AW is a long name, but it's huge. You can a-frame your skis to the side of it, you know, as a teepee. I can fit three lenses, two bodies, a laptop, a charger, books up here, headphones. I keep my battery charger in this section here, usually one is enough. Card reader, Kingston, standard, it's compact flash and SDs. Here's where I keep all my USB-C cables and USB not C, they're all, all in here and they look a little messy, but usually they're a little cleaner. We've just been filming a lot. All the batteries stay here, there's like 10 of them. So camera gear done, now let's talk about technology. This is the fluff man, goes on the 6D or the 5D if I want to get some audio if I'm interviewing somebody, if I'm talking to somebody, or if I'm talking to myself on the camera. I used to have more expensive ones, but I ended up breaking them all the time, like this little plastic mount just broke. So, at least this one when I break it, I can buy a new little mount. That's why, it's from Rode, Rode VideoMicro. Memory cards, Pelican case, waterproof, bomb proof, dust proof, all the proofs, wide assortment of cards, 128 gigs, 64 gigs CFast for the 1D X when I want to shoot slow-mos. One thing I do to know which card is used and not, the other way flipped, this card has been used and is full and needs to be downloaded and this one is fresh, same for these ones, so they're good to go. This one is being used right now and that's an SD I have for the 6D and I have another one of these in the 6D as well and some tiny micro SDs for the drone. I have maybe like four with me, two here, two in the drone box, and one just in my suitcase because I always lose them, they're so tiny. Memory cards, done. Hard drives, a variety of them. These ones and this one, so let me explain. I download all my stuff to this 500 GB SSD and it stays with me all the time, at home or on the road and then I copy everything on this one as well, so I have a carbon copy of these two, so if my backpack gets stolen with this one in, this one is with me, so we're good. If my backpack gets stolen, if I get stolen and this one is in my backpack, but then we've got bigger problems anyways. This one, I dump this in 'cause they're only 500 gigs, so on a long trip, I need to have one of these as a backup. So this is my system always on the road, it's all I need. I can go for a month or two filming and shooting with this. This little piece, brilliant. When I lose my cables or don't have the right cable, it goes from USB old to USB new, I think it's called USB-C, always have one in my backpack and one on my computer. It's saved my life a couple times. Power brick from Incase, charges my iPhone X almost full now, so it's getting old, but I still have it with me. I used to use it a lot, but then with the USB plugs in the planes and I feel that USB everywhere now, so I don't use it as much, but still have it just in case. I always make sure it's full before I go. Last, but not least, these puppies. The Bose QuietComfort something. They're a new purchase and I used to have noise canceling ones from back in the day, I just kept them for years, but these ones, game charger. I think they're called the QuietComfort 3, something like that, but light, Bluetooth in the plane, they allow me to spend a full night of sleep if I'm going somewhere, they've changed my life. That's it with technology, now my travel mates. (relaxing music) The Le Pen, actually Forrest Mankins got me into these and I like them a lot. If you don't know Forrest, he's a photographer and a good friend, so he likes these and now I like them too because they write very well. I always have four with me 'cause I lose them easily. They go with this just moleskin notepads. I use three or four per year, just write ideas and index cards in them, just anything that goes through my mind I want to write it here. A book right now it's Sylvantis Sloan, it's a French writer. He writes about adventure and traveling. This book is about Russia, now we're in Mexico, so when I travel, I try to keep it interesting, so if I go somewhere warm, I'll bring a cold book. If I go somewhere cold, I'll bring a warm book. It just keeps me energized. Yes, this one, I don't think I should put it on because it'd be pretty silly. People tell me it looks like a bra. It has no name, it's called the Bucky. It's an Amazon purchase, impulse buy. I saw it somewhere as the best something travel mask, click bait, but once I got it, it was $12, but the best $12 I've ever spent. I can sleep in a car, in the plane, on the beach, anywhere. Full brightness outside, I can put this on and be darkness, so I'll link to it in the workshop notes, the Bucky. So that's it for travel buddies, now accessories. (relaxing music) The GorillaPod you just saw, handy for everything. I can just clamp it to door frames, sand, everywhere. Black Diamond head lamp, cheap and solid. I've had a lot of hikes that I've finished in the dark without a lamp while traveling, so I have a lot of time to reflect on the needs of a headlamp and how good it is, so I have made it a rule to always have one with me, even though I don't plan to hike, I'll have it with me just in case. There was a flood in Hawaii and there was no light anywhere when we were in Hawaii, so the hotel went dark and I was happy I got this, just always useful. So, my everything backpack, go into the city, this backpack, going hiking, this backpack. I mean, you can do an overnight with this, just one night, but you got to be really light if you go backpacking, otherwise if you're just going to hike, it's perfect. It's from Arc'teryx, it packs completely flat into your suitcase, so no footprint at all and one interesting thing is that I have this Peak Design clip. They have a version too, actually, that I don't have on this one that's better. This is version one, I'd get version two. I always have this here, just slide my camera in it, and the good thing is that this tripod uses the same head and the same plate, so I don't have to switch plates between the cameras. I can go from tripod to backpack quickly. Love this bag, always with me. The underwater housing, my good friend AquaTech. The dome is in here and actually it's about 32 degrees here. It's very hot and I've been filming for a while, so I'm going to have a swim and I can show you how it works. All right, we're at the pool. It's still hot, now I want to take you over this underwater set up. So first things first is the dome. I have an AquaTech PD-85 dome which is massive and I use it for splits, so a split is a photo when you see under the water and over the water, so you see outside and inside and the water's kind of in the middle. It just makes this surreal feeling of the blue water and sky outside. I just love them and having this makes it easier for you instead of a flat port that is just this size. If you have this big port here, it's just easier to get them. There's more surface to play with. So with the dome, I've missed a lot of photos because water drops will stay on it, so I learned this from Ryan Moss who's a big wave cinematographer in Hawaii and a photographer underwater and what Ryan told me is just spit on your dome, before you leave the house, just spit it on it two, three times. Then rub your spit on the dome and let it dry. So you do this at home before going to the ocean or the pool, wherever you're going, do that before leaving and then once you get there, it's nice and dry and then you just screw it on the housing and the water will bead right through. You can also blow your nose on it if you're in the ocean or just use wax from your ears. That's just what the guys in the ocean do and it's worked for me as well. So I won't get into camera settings in here because we're just showing you how it works. We'll do it in the similar take, in another chapter of the workshop. For now, I'll just put it on and show you how it's all secure and works. Let's do it. So this is the AquaTech plate. It's always on the 5D, 90% of the time 'cause I never use tripods on it. The plate's always on, gets nice and easy inside. One thing that's important is to check your seals on the housing. It's these orange seals here and here before you use it, make sure they're good, they're not worn out, or sometimes they just kind of move when you're traveling, so make sure they're tight. Just put the dome in it. Pretty tight you've got to go. All right, this one is secure as well. These domes are super easy to scratch, so I always have this little neoprene cover on them. The key here is to align all the buttons from the housing with the buttons on the camera and even though it's made for it, it's not ideal. So just aim right, 'cause when you're in the water, there's no going back and then you'll be stuck without being able to change the aperture. The one button that's super important for me to line up is the one to switch from still to video on the 5D. I've been in the water sometimes without being able to switch and it's a bit of a pain. Looking good, everything's aligned. I want to test my buttons before going, so it's working, video, still. See, it's good to double check these. Check my seals as well, if the seals look tight, then we're good to go. (water splashing) So, as you see, the water beads right off with the spit technique. There's no drops that stay, so I can shoot right now and be good. Outside, outside, outside, outside. All right, let's continue with the gear. (relaxing music) DJI Phantom 4 Pro, it's got a few scars. It's fallen from the sky a few times. I didn't crash it, it fell by itself, I swear. Two batteries, plus one other drone, so three batteries is, I can do everything with it. That gives me about an hour and 15 of flight time. Blades, I usually have extra blades. I got five here, on a small crash, I mean when it crashes itself, usually the first thing to break is the blade, even if you break just one blade, you're done, so I like to have spare ones in my drone pack and in my suitcase as well. This drone is huge. I could have a Mavic Pro, I could have a Mavic Air, but I don't like compromising on quality. I'd rather bring a huge box in a suitcase rather than compromising on quality. Obviously I could go Inspire 2, but this is just the right footprint for the right quality for me. (relaxing music) My favorite for the end. I could travel the world with this and no camera. Probably couldn't, but this is it, the AeroPress, so if you're not into coffee, you can skip this section because it's going to be boring. If you like coffee, like me, stay. This thing is called the AeroPress and it's $45. It was invented by a guy who invented frisbees, something like that. It packs very small. It's very sturdy, I mean this one's fallen off a cliff and it's only, you know, still works. Minimal cleaning, just rinse it out with water. I like to have paper filters, but you can use metal filters if you're somewhere remote and complicated, but paper for me tastes a little better. If you like your coffee a little more grainy, little texture, then the metal filter is good 'cause it lets more of the coffee through it, but if you like it more pure, like me, paper filters. This is to stir your coffee in the AeroPress. At home, I use chopsticks because they just work better, but this works as well. The grinder, I love this thing, here's the handle. So it packs so small, it's called the Mini Porlex and it's Japanese. Here's the footprint of your grinder. Coffee comes out of here, there's some left and beans go in here. Just put your beans in here. You can adjust your grind somewhere, I forgot. No, no, that's amateur hour, we should know. You can also adjust your grind here if you're doing French Press or AeroPress. It's just so compact that actually, this grinder is so good because you remove the handle, it packs inside the AeroPress. Who invented this? This is my coffee kit in my suitcase or in my backpack if I go into the mountains. Done coffee on the beach. If you like your coffee, just get one of these set ups and your day will be so much better. So this is all my gear, but don't get bogged down by it. You don't need all of this. You just need a basic DSLR with a kit lens to take photos. As long as you master the settings and that you have the right ideas, you'll be good, so don't get bogged down by this. I used to travel the world with a 5D Mark II and a 35 mm lens, nothing else and that's what started my career and that got me a portfolio that's international and got me where I am. So I found that I was missing on some shots that they're nice to have when you're building your story to have the wide and the zoom and an underwater and aerial, it's always better, more complete story, but you don't have to rely on it. You can do everything with this 35 and this camera, for example, or this 18-55 kit lens and this T6i. You know, don't get bogged down. It's easy to look at all this. It's expensive, it's cool, but start small. Find the limits of that and then you go to the bigger stuff. (relaxing music)

Class Description

Summer is the most active time of the year. Everything is more accessible, it’s nice outside, the perfect time to go shoot new work and have fun. Alex Strohl is bringing his course to CreativeLive to get you ready to confidently make the most of your summer.

You’ll learn:

  • Camera gear, tech gear and accessories to pack
  • Setting yourself up for the iconic sunrise and sunset pictures
  • Light, Lenses and Composition
  • Utilizing a drone
  • Underwater techniques
  • Editing techniques in Lightroom and Photoshop

This summer set yourself to have fun, explore creatively and expand your photography portfolio. 

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