The Tool I Use To Create
All right so in the last episode I talked about my process, and my thoughts on choosing gear. And in this episode, I want to talk about what I'm using for gear right now. This is the Canon USR. It's my new camera. And I switched to this camera from the Canon 5D Mark IV which is my favorite photo camera of all time. I love the way the camera works. I love the colors. I love its performance aspect. It's my favorite, but it didn't have a few key things that I really needed to be able to make video, and photo with the same camera. The biggest piece that I really wanted to have was this flip out screen, because it makes it easier to set up composition much faster when I'm kind of running gunning. And it also has an EVF, which is an Electronic View Finder. Which makes it much easier to see what my video exposure is. You couldn't see video exposure on the Canon 5D IV because it's a mirrored camera. This is mirror less. So this is actually a computer screen inside of here showing me what my ac...
tual exposure is. Which is super helpful when I'm shooting video in bright daylight. Most people I think would have just got a video specific camera, and kept their favorite photo camera. But for me, that's not an option. And the reason why is, because I do a ton of back country activity, back country snowboarding, mountain biking, ride motorcycles and backpacking. So I just want one camera in my backpack. Nothing bouncing around. No two cameras bouncing around. I also don't wanna pull two cameras out depending on the activity. I wanna be shooting a photo of something wonderful, and then shoot a video as well. So after a ton of research the Canon USR was the best camera for me. A few of the things I like about it. So the sensor is actually the same sensor as is in my Canon 5D Mark IV. It's I, I don't think the photos are, they're just not quite as good. It's probably a mental thing, but it is the same sensor in here. So you pretty much get the same performance out of it for low light. And for most of the other things, that's, that's really great for me. And it does fit my actual lenses that I already had. So I didn't have to buy, or sell, and then buy a new lens set up. It's this, this little adapter ring, and I got the control ring adapter. So this, it fixes the biggest complaint I had about the USR. Which is that to do the ISO on this, that the buttons are so tiny. I've got, I don't know, my wife calls them dynamite fingers. I'm not very delicate. Let's put it that way. And this, these tiny little buttons suck when it's cold. So this turns that tiny little button, you can program this to be the ISO. And it actually turns it into the ISO in one button, which is not even what the mark four did that did it in two buttons. You'd have to hit the ISO, then the dial. So this is actually faster switching ISO, and it fits right on every Canon EF lens. And as far as I can tell, and as far as I've been told there is no loss in, in visual quality. Okay, so as I mentioned earlier. The EVF is really great, and the screen is really great. It's also got this neat function where I've programmed this button here to go full brightness on the LCD. Which is super handy to not run your battery down, but you can actually have bright screen in daylight and you can really see like a actual projection of what your exposure is gonna be. You know, that's really hard to tell when you can't see what the screen is doing with reflection, and everything when it's bright out. So those are some of my favorites. What I'm using for lenses is my favorite lens. And I've got this really janky hood, because that's my style. I've broken the hood multiple times, but I've never broken the lens. This is my favorite lens. It's the Canon 24 to 70, 2.8. I think it's the series two. It is razor, razor sharp. And I know razor sharp isn't all things, but it's really hard to make your photos sharp if they're not. It's much easier to make them look, you know vintage, or less sharp, or soft in post. So I always wanna start with super sharp, and this lens, every time I've ever taken a photo with it. I'm never like oh man, that just was blurry, or sharper. The focus is fast. It's dead on. This just my favorite lens. And then I know that a lot of people shoot primes, and they say, oh just move, whatever. But for me again, I don't wanna carry a lot of primes. And every time I feel like I carry a prime. I wish that I could zoom in a little bit, or whatever. And then I get back, and I crop the image in. But that just never has the same feel. So for me, super useful to be able to zoom in from 24 to 70. You can shoot portraits with it. You can shoot landscapes, and you can shoot some tight end stuff. You know, it's nice. Like you can even, if you get close enough, don't recommend it with grizzly bears. You can shoot some wildlife with this thing. So oftentimes when I go hiking, I'll just take this one lens. 24 is not really big enough to like do vlog video with, but it is doable. It's just not great. So I feel like it's the all around versatile lens. That's why most people, I think hate it. This is the Toyota of lenses. And if you know land cruisers then you know what I mean. All right so the next lens that I really like, and that I use a lot is this Canon 16 to 35. This is kind of my road warrior. I got this lens a long time ago. The first year that I started doing photography. And this is actually the series two very cheap, and affordable lens right now. Because it's on its way out. They did the series three, and now they have the RF lenses for the R series of cameras. So this lens, even new, I think is I think it's under 900 bucks. This is the only lens that I had for the first two years that I shot photography. So I would shoot commercial jobs on it. I would shoot up my landscape. I'd shoot everything. Sixteen is great for vlogging. Which I didn't do back in the day, but I did shoot landscapes in mountainous terrain. So if you live somewhere where the land is gently sloping let's say you're, you know, on the coast of France, or maybe you live in Iowa, this is probably not your lens. But if you live anywhere where there's mountainous stuff, or let's say if you're in New York, and you wanna get the top of the buildings. This is super versatile. It does zoom into 35. It's not my favorite focal length for portraits, but it is doable. So this lens is also very versatile. And what I mostly like about it is that it's light, it's small, and it is bomb proof. I've broken this lens once actually. I tend to push my limits with gear, because I wanna know where those limits are. And I stuck the camera in the lens on the butt bag of a motorcycle, and drove across Mongolia, and it broke. To me that's like it should break, right? So this is a very tough lens, and yeah. I feel like it's versatile. If you want to only pick one lens, that's affordable. Then I'd, I almost recommend this one over the 24 to 70, which is a little more expensive. Okay, so for every other lens decision. I don't buy the lenses. At least not at first. I rent them, and I really recommend that you rent lenses, because it's affordable. If you get a job you just factor that into the price. So, you know if you get a 2,500 dollar job just factor into the price that you're gonna have of that go to a lens rental. Obviously you're gonna want to rent them ahead of time. So that you can, you know get used to how they work, what they look like all the settings, and buttons. But it's such a good idea to rent. And the best lenses that I always come back to and always rent over and over again are the cannon 70 to 200. Which is, you know, just a big brother to the 24 to 70. It really is nice for portraits, and some tight end stuff when you're shooting in environmental projects. So you're like out in the mountains, and you want to kind of shoot like close ups of maybe it's a shoot project. You can really nail in some really cool closeups without having to have your model, like stop and come close and get, you know, next to you, and do something unnatural. They can just be doing what they're doing, and you can nail some really closeups. I like that lens for that. However, it's never long enough that lens. I don't know why, but 200 just doesn't ever push in as far as I want. Especially when you're shooting wildlife. So for that, my favorite lens is the Sigma 150 to 600. And I think they have, they have like a fashion, and a sports version. I don't know if it's called fashion. I think it is. The sports version is solid. I think it's like 1800 bucks, but you can rent it. Because they're kind of ubiquitous. I think you can rent them from like lens rentals. Don't quote me on this. But I think it's like 80 bucks for seven days, and 600 millimeters. It's just so fun. And that lens is sharp, has great stabilization. So we know, the longer you get your focal length, the more vibrations you're gonna show up in it. So it's really just a great lens. It's long, it's heavy, all of the things, but if you need a long lens. If you're going somewhere, that's kind of flat. Like I said before, where the 16 to 35 won't work. It compresses the landscape, and makes everything look so much more interesting. So rent those two lenses. Try them out. Maybe you wanna buy one. I don't, because I use them so rarely. But they're fun and they kind of give you a new perspective. Refresh your photography, which is great. I know that's why everybody wants to buy new stuff. Is to find new perspectives. Yeah. You don't need that. Just rent it, feel refreshed. And then come back to your other more basic lenses that kind of are your work horses. And you'll feel like oh, these are cool too. And you'll really have an appreciation without spending 2,000 dollars on a lens. All right so this is my primary carry photo bag. It's the peak design 30 liter. I think they call it the everyday bag. It's a photo bag. Don't get it wrong. If you had this for your everyday stuff you're a photographer who got a better camera bag for outdoors, or something and you wanted to use this for your everyday. This is just a camera bag. All right so inside, its got these kind of dividers, which are not very padded. That's my style, by the way. Not very padded. I don't want extra padding. But you can make it modular. You can like flip them out. You can move them there. They're like Velcroed in here so you can make it fit. I do it for my lens, my camera kind of in the middle, because it's a little more delicate than just one lens. And then I usually put my drone in the top. What I like about it is that. Its got pockets, but everything is super accessible just by unzipping. So my primary. So in here. I've got a little micro tool. I have my camera batteries, and then I put my cards in here. So this is like the first bag, or the first side I open. All my cameras face this way so I can pull them out this side. And you can carry more cameras in here. But I usually, like I said, only carry one and an extra lens. So that's perfect for me. The other side, if you flip it over is exactly the same. It's just got the other the bottom side. So for some reason something falls down, and you can't grab it. The other side you can do it, but it's also got this other zippered pocket, which I access less often. Put my polarized filter in there when I need that. And then I have usually my GoPro, and GoPro batteries, and some little like clingy bits for my camera on the rare occasion that I'm cleaning it. I like these zippers a lot. They're, I don't think they're waterproof, but they're water sealed. They always work. When you grab them, you can go hard on them. Which I do. And they don't break. I mean, I'd go really hard. I would expect this bag is almost two years old now. I would've expected these to tear by now, but whatever material Peak Design makes them out of. It doesn't tear. Great feature on this. It's got grab handles on both sides. On the top. Which is handy so you can grab it anyway. And then also on the top, there's kind of this, they call a hidden laptop compartment. And I can put my laptop stuff in there. But when I'm doing more back country stuff, always, always, always, there's a headlamp in one of my bags. Sometimes there's two headlamps, because it seems that whomever I'm with always forgets to bring one, and I always have an extra. So I do have two headlamps. Those always live. They just live in my camera bag. Because I don't like to stop, and go home because it's gonna get dark. I like to stop and go home, because I got all the photos, and video that I wanted. The top compartment has this cool magnet thing. So its also a magnet, but its got like this hook on here, and its got all of these different settings. So it kind of like this is in its smallest configuration. But if you really wedge like a sweatshirt, your drone, you know, maybe something else in there. It can go on this top one. You can kind of make it just, just overflowed, but it's still solid. And because its got a magnet on there, it grabs and then its spring loaded, and it. I've never had this thing just pop open. Even if I set the bag down, it doesn't pop open. Again really well designed. The bag itself is sort of waterproof. I've taken it back country skiing. It does not do back country skiing. That's the Achilles heel of a bag designed for somebody who rides their fixie bike around San Francisco. Is that it doesn't do back country skiing very well. You can hike, and go far with it. I've done 20 mile hikes with it. It doesn't rub my shoulders anything weird, but it certainly is not what most people call comfortable. This chest strap is marginal at best, but it's designed. The primary design of this bag is to kind of get out of your way when you're in transit. And that is probably why I love it the most is because like you can take this strap. Connect it back here. So it's kind of out of the way it's not dangling. These shoulder straps can just be just grab down and tighten up. And then it actually does have a hip strap. That's like hidden in these side pockets. So it comes out through the side here. It's kind of a pain in the butt to get it out, but it's also super out of the way. when you need it out of the way. Going back to these side pockets, they're flexible. So you actually carry my tripod in here. I carry water bottles in here. Just anything, it's big enough to have. I have this Algae water bottle fits perfect in there. No extra strap being needed. The elastic is two years old still working great. Now I think so it is modular, and out of the way. That's my favorite function of it. Probably my second favorite function is even though it is sleek, and looks a little bit like urban. It has all these extra straps where you can like X up, and put whatever you want on your back. And so like its got these kind of stealth little loops here. You hook these, these straps to it in an X formation, throw something on the back. It's got a strap in the side pocket, and you can strap it to this also stealth loop here, and throw something on the side. I use this to attach my tripod. You can overload this bag. It might be 30 liters, but you can put 50 liters of stuff on here if you're willing for it to be outside, and kind of dangling. Now the coolest part about Peak Design is they always like should have neat features. This, this little, like it's not even a pocket. It's just designed to hide these. And you just stuff them up in there. No fanciness needed, but there's a magnet here. So when it's done it's like that, and you just, that stuff's not gonna be falling out, dangling around, catching on, you know. Like doors when you go to the airport. So that's my backpack. The only other thing that I always use on this backpack, and really goes on any backpack that I use. Is the Peak Design clip. This is V1. A lot of people don't like it, because it gets a little bit like stiff. And it's heavier than V3, or V, or V2. But it's the one I have. And that's kind of my strategy is just use what I have until I feel like I can't anymore. So I always use that. But this transfers to any backpack that I have. Yeah. So that's my photo bag setup. I'm sure there's better ones out there for certain uses. But for what I do this is the one I use the most. Oh my Delica. Delica there you are. This is. This here is the Delica. It is. I think the highest rated, or at least the most rated tripod on Amazon. I looked just the other day to make sure I wasn't blowing smoke. And it has 3000 reviews on it. And its got a four star rating. So it's 47 dollars on Amazon right now. I got this tripod four years ago. And I've beat the living snot out of it. It's got some broken bits. I've had to replace this bolt, and now it's like jagged, and cuts me often. But it doesn't like stay out anymore. Like just closes by itself. It's not the best functioning tripod anymore when they're new, they're great. But it does everything I want out of a tripod almost. And since I use a tripod just for video, and shooting Astro. I don't really wanna spend 600 dollars for the peak design one. I'd love to have one, but I don't wanna spend the 600 dollars for the peak design one. I will say that this tripod when it comes it has the worst head on it. It's not even a Ball Head. So I paid 13 dollars for an upgraded. I don't even know what the brand is. It's like an Amazon Brand Ball Head. Which is nice. When you go around to fix it. I put the Arca Swiss. That's what it is. So it's an Arca Swiss Head. And all of my stuff is Arca Swiss, and it all fits on the Peak Design clip. So it fits on here. It fits on here. I don't wanna mess around. I don't wanna unscrew things. I just want it to all work. So that's the Delica. I'd recommend you get that if you're just starting out. Obviously if you use a lot of tripod, and do other things. You're gonna wanna upgrade, but I have not wanted upgrade in four years. The next thing that I use. This is the Mavic 2 Pro. I know that just came out with the Mavic Air 2, or something like that. This has a larger sensor size. I think they call it a one inch sensor. This drone is actually tough. It flies well in wind. Again I don't wanna baby my drone. This thing barely lives in a case. I just wanna fly it. Get good video. Good photos. So I think. This drone is not as good as the camera was for stills on the Phantom 4 Pro. Which you never see anybody use anymore. I like that camera better for stills, but this does just as good a video and the size it's so much smaller. So this goes a lot of places with me that the Phantom 4 Pro would not have gone. Flies easy. It's good. I've crashed it only twice, and it survived. So happy with that. The next thing that I take video with rarely is this Hero 7. The stabilization is insane. Dynamic range sucks because it's so small. I don't know. They just can't. It's not great. But it's super useful for getting an additional perspective. And since these things are so cheap. I think like 300 bucks. This pretty much lives in my bag. And I can throw it on a chest mount. Throw it on a head mount, or just hold it. Throw it under water. Whatever. So this one is nice to get an additional video perspective. I almost never take photos with these. People who take photos with these. I think are editing wizards. Because I don't know how to do it. They're difficult. Final piece of my camera gear that always goes everywhere with me is this little Rode VideoMicro. So I had a different mic before. This is just the dead cat keeps the wind off of it. The mic I had before had a battery in it. And I would turn it on, and I would leave it on, and the battery would run out. Or I would start recording, plug it in, forget to turn it on, and I would have a clip with no audio. So to me that's unacceptable. I'd rather have a little bit less good audio. And I think this might be a little bit less than say your 2, 300 dollar Rode. But this is like under a hundred dollars. Super low pro and it's flexible. So like when you throw your camera in your bag you don't have to take it off. And it's always on. So this goes everywhere with me. Usually lives on top of my camera. It's so small too that I can shoot photos with my eye on the view finder view. And it doesn't, it doesn't hit my eye. It doesn't get in the way. So this is the one that for me. I actually have two of these, because I just like always have one in case I forget one, or something. One lives in my bag, and then one is always in the camera. And they're so small that I can do that. So that's pretty much my gear set up. All right. So for my software, and my computer needs. I use a MacBook Pro 13 inch, or at least I did. I just got an iMac. And I used that for five, five long years. It was not great for video. It was okay for photos until I windexed the screen. And so now it just looks dirty all the time. But I still used it, and you could still make photos. And I bet if you look at any of my photos, you would not be able to tell that I was staring at a horrible, small MacBook. Why I used the MacBook is, because I just, for me, the apple software just works a lot better with what I want. It's just easier. And so I don't wanna spend any time learning software, or optimizing computers, or anything like that. I wanna spend time creating. So everything in that department is designed to just make it easier and faster. That's why I switched to the iMac is I wanted more power, because I do a lot more video editing now. And that was a good decision. I spend less time there. So what I use for software is Adobe products. I use Photoshop and light room. And I'll go through my work folder. I use Adobe Photoshop and light room, and I'll go through my workflow process there. But for video, I use Final Cut Pro. I don't use an Adobe product. And for me. I started out on Adobe Premier, and then I switched over to Final Cut Pro. And the reason I did is, because I feel like the learning curve was a lot less. And then I could get better video results with my low skill at the beginning. And now I just love it. It's fast, it's easy. And it actually is faster on a Mac, because of the way that Apple designed it to work in tandem with their computers. So not exactly sure what the technical specifications are that make that happen, but it does work well for me. So that's all of my setup. That's my gear. That's what I use for computers. It's not my actually outdoor gear. I'm always trying new things there. And it's really not important for your freelance career. I don't think, but I can talk a little bit more about that. Maybe a different time. What I wanted to focus on here is that what I use is very minimalistic. I didn't list an entire gear closet, because I don't have an entire gear closet. I like to keep it really simple. I want it to be fast and easy to use. I wanna roll up to a scene. Shoot that scene with photo and video. Pull it outta my backpack. Minimal setup time. Shoot it. Then move on with my life. I want it to feel like I'm in the moment, and not like I'm on this huge production. Because I wanna look back at that photo, and remember that moment. So it's kind of like a personal thing to me, and that's kind of what shapes my work. So my gear is designed to make that moment real. And I'm not buying a bunch of gear that I don't need, or that's hard to use. Yeah. So that's kind of the philosophy there.