It has been a goal of mine to improve my workflow on the road. Traveling and taking a large 15″ laptop on the road can be a drag, literally. Especially with a bag full of camera gear. So here is my new workflow and solution for traveling light while being even more productive with photo and video edits. From camera to lenses to editing. Sort of a “What’s in my camera bag” blog post…
- Ipad Pro 10.5
- Affinity Photo
- Adobe Lightroom Mobil
- 2 x SD Card Readers
- Sony a6500
- 16-35mm and 70-200mm Lenses
- DJI Mavic Pro
- Nisi 100mm Filter System
- Sirui N-1205 x Tripod
- Manfrotto Advanced Travel Backpack
iPad Pro 10.5
I have always loved the process of editing on the go be it through simple apps on a smart phone or on my previous Samsung tablet. But never felt like it was a complete solution to edit to my preferred finished piece unless I finished the edit on my laptop, which can be a pain to carry if you are travelling to remote locations and want to edit and upload on the go. But then Apple announced the new and improved Ipad Pro 10.5 and I saw the demo of the Affinity app. I was sold and so was my previous tablet. I suddenly had the power of a laptop with the apps to back it up. Now Affinity Photo, Lightroom Mobile, Snapseed and LumaFusion for video editing are the perfect solution for me on the road and unless I have to do some serious accurate composite work I use the old beast of a laptop but I can now safely leave that at home when travelling to remote locations. A saving of maybe 2kg on my back.
When I saw the demonstration for the Affinity photo app at the launch of the iPad Pro I thought to myself FINALLY!! There is now a photoshop quality app that can do a near desktop quality job for photo and image manipulation. I have always used Lightroom and Snapseed but even together these two apps had been very limited and obviously lacking the options for near desktop type editing.
Adobe Lightroom Mobile
Using the Adobe Lightroom Mobile app on an android tablet had been a bit frustrating at times because the IoS app would get updates at first, at least it was that way for a bit. Then there is the limiting nature of the Lightroom Mobile app in general… up until July 2017 that is. Wow is all I can say! The new updates for the Adobe Lightroom Mobile app have far exceeded my expectations. The new app editing on the iPad Pro 10.5 is a pure joy with the selective edits and the ability to paint on selective edits anywhere on a photo, very mich like the desktop version of Lightroom. In fact the new mobile app is so close to the desktop version it now even takes precedence over Affinity Photo. I now make 60% of my edits in Lightroom before flicking over to Affinity to finish any finer details that need tweaking.
Here is a short video of an edit done using the iPad Pro 10.5 and the Lightroom Mobile and Affinity Apps
iMovie has been a somewhat handy app to have but falls short in terms of editing and producing quality videos on the go. Once again as the iPad Pro 10.5 is released a new app emerges to compensate for the short comings of iMovie and other video editing apps on the market. The LumaFusion app is a beast and developed by professional video editors for professional video editors. This app is near desktop editing quality with enough editing options (including multiple video and audio layers) to develop fantastic videos without having to break out the laptop. With the ability to directly connect to cloud accounts, or directly import from the camera roll, LumaFusion is the perfect mix of editing, transitions, titles, colour grading and sharping, slow down or speeding up clips to copy and paste settings to match across all clips. It is the perfect accompaniment to Premiere Pro for continuing on with edits on the desktop for larger projects or completing in LumaFusion for uploading to whichever account you like. The below video was entirely edited on the iPad Pro with the LumaFusion app.
2 x SD Card Readers
There is a downside to using apple products and that is there is some compatibility issues. It has always been an issue getting files from A to B when working with Apple. I use Sony camera products and as it turns out the iPad or Apple software (I am not totally sure why) does not like to import the sony 4K videos straight from the Lightning to SD card reader. They just don’t show up on the list of files to import. It has no issues reading the RAW photo files that the camera produces. So after some research I found an alternative card reader that has no restrictions called the iReader. This allows me to bring in my 4k video files straight from the camera to edit using Lumafusion. It is a small hastle having to bring two card readers with me on the go but they are small and lightweight so no issues there.
I have been a fan of the Sony mirrorless system for some time, ditching my DSLR setup for the more compact and lightweight Sony a6000. Now I have sold the earlier model a6000 for the new features of the a6500. The upgrade in video quality, stabilisation, touch screen and overall performance was enough for me to upgrade. Eventually I will go full frame but at this stage all my needs are covered by the Sony a6500. My only wish is that I could bypass the need for card readers altogether and be able to transfer RAW files directly with the play memories app. That would be a handy little feature.
Sony Lenses 16-35mm F4 and 70-200mm F4
My go to kit for absolute necessity. If I am travelling light and I have a hike these two lenses are my ultimate go to for wide and zoom. The quality of the 16-35mm F4 and the 70-200mm F4 are simply amazing and for half the price of the faster 2.8 G master lenses I feel the quality difference is not enough to justify the expense… at this stage. Maybe in the future.
DJI Mavic Pro
I have been using the DJI branded drones for 3 years now and started out on the phantom system, which was amazing and compact but still too bulky to sometimes justify having to bring in another backpack just for the drone by itself. Then along came the Mavic Pro. This drone is simply amazing for it’s size and weight and the quality 4K image so for me it was the perfect balance of quality footage and photos for the size and weight. A no brainer that fits in a small satchel or a camera backpack with my camera gear for travel and remote location photography.
Nisi Filter 100mm System
For a long time my go to filters were Cokin. But I found they were of poor quality and gave a lot of colour tinting to my images. The plastic filter holder and the filters themselves broke or scratched and I never took them out again for a long time. I managed to swing by with post processing. While I love the post processing process I also love to get as much as I can done in camera. So I took the plunge once again after researching and finding the Lee filter to be insanely expensive I settled on the equal quality and far less expensive Nisi 100mm Filter System. My go to filters a the soft grad 3 stop, ND 6 stop, ND 10 stop, reverse grad 3 stop, hard grad 3 stop and natural night for the long exposure night shots.
Sirui N-1205x Tripod and G-10kx Ball head
It is all about the balance between weight and the features. For me a tripod has to have great variations in terms of flexibility in use but also be incredibly lightweight to carry along with your camera gear. I did a lot of research and settled on the Sirui N-1205x carbon fibre tripod, which is incredibly light at under 1 kg and to accompany that I picked up the Sirui G-10kx ball head, which is a good match for a light weight Sony mirrorless camera like the a6500.
Manfrotto Advanced Travel Backpack
And what do I use to pack all this into. The very handy and durable Manfrotto Advanced Travel backpack. It is the right size, perfect weight and handles everything on my list with ease while allowing me to get to those remote locations to get the shot. It even has a compartment for my compact carbon fiber Sirui tripod or occasionally the compartment is used to carry water bottles for those long hikes. The side compartment makes it easy to grab the camera if needed for a quick opportunity photo or to change a lens if needed. It fits my gear including the Mavic Pro drone.