Iceland 2017 – The gritty details!

Iceland 2017 Load out

Hey everyone! I’m back from Iceland and as usual I learned a lot and had a blast. With that said there are a lot of questions that come up when ever I do a photographic excursion and this trip was no different. The questions started even before I left about the equipment I was taking and in some cases why I wasn’t taking more? As promised here is the list of gear I took based on the load out pic above.

  1. Targus laptop rolling backpack. I initially bought this for Photoshop World so that I would have to carry my heavy backpack back and forth. For the Iceland trip it served as a secondary equipment bag.
  2. Thinktank Streetwalker Backpack. I love this camera bag because it not only holds my camera gear, but also my iPad Pro and MacBook Pro.
  3. Klear micro fiber cleaning cloths.
  4. WD My Passport Wireless 2TB HD. This drive is a lifesaver as it allows you to backup your SD cards without having to use a computer. It has a lithium ION rechargeable battery and you can just plug your SD cards in and they automatically copy to the drive.
  5. Klear wet pack screen cleaning pads.
  6. SkyRoam contract free WiFi Hotspot
  7. Platypod Max camera tripod without being a tripod.
  8. Rode SmartLav+ microphone for doing live streaming and interviews.
  9. Arkon Smartphone Tripod for capturing 360° and iPhone videos in general
  10. Gitzo Traveler Carbon Fiber Tripod
  11. Nikon cable release for capturing long exposures without having to touch the camera.
  12. DxO ONE 24MP DSLR quality camera for iPhone.
  13. Mevo Live Streaming 4K Camera.
  14. Insta360 nano 360° still, video camera and live streaming camera.
  15. Ricoh Theta S 360° still and video camera.
  16. FlatHat Drone collapsable landing pad.
  17. Nikon 14-24mm Wide Angle Lens
  18. Nikon D810 DSLR 36MP full frame camera
  19. Nikon 28-300mm Zoom lens
  20.  DJI Mavic Pro 4K Drone
  21. Anker Solar 15W USB charger.
  22. Monster 4 port AC travel power strip
  23. OREI 2 in 1 USA to Europe Adapter Plug
  24. Anker backup batteries for charing USB devices.
  25. Vovomay Hardshell Shoulder Waterproof Suitcase Bag For DJI Mavic Pro
  26. iPad Pro 12.9″ 256GB WiFi-4G Gold
  27. Apple Pencil for iPad Pro and case.
  28. MacBook Pro 15″ Retina 2014 with custom Gelaskin.
  29. PlugBug USB port for Apple wall charger.
  30. iPod touch 32GB
  31. Apple AirPods, but my Blackpods arrived the day I left.
  32. Coast Head Light dual color.
  33. Anker PowerLine+ Lightning cables.
  34. Camera Rain Protection.
  35. di-GPS for my Nikon DSLR

See the whole story below…

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5 Ways to Keep Your Mobile Devices Charged When You Travel

As I head out this week on another Iceland adventure I started to layout the gear that I plan on taking. I’m excited to document this trip with my new DJI Mavic Pro drone, but as usual I will have my iPhone 7 Plus, iPad Pro and 360° cameras. All of these devices need to be charged. For the Mavic it’s not much of an issue as I have multiple batteries, but for the smaller devices with built-in batteries I need to be able to charge them when I’m not near an outlet. That’s why I’ve standardized on Anker batteries (and cables). I put this short video together highlighting my three favorite batteries:

5 Ways to Keep Your Mobile Devices Charged When You Travel

I use the Anker PowerCore 20100 as the battery that’s always in my bag. This ultra high capacity battery can charge my smartphone and tablet multiple times before needing to be recharged. I can usually get a few days of use out of it before needing to recharge the battery itself. So if I forget to charge it at night it’s not the end of the world. Next up…

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A Great Speaker for your Amazon Echo Dot

Echo Dot

Amazon sells four (five if you count the new “Look”)  versions of the Amazon Echo. Three of them, the Echo, the Echo Tap and the Echo Dot are really geared towards obeying your voice commands and playing music. The Echo and Tap have decent built-in speakers, but the Echo Dot is really an Echo with a much smaller speaker. Of course this means that Dot can be sold at a much more attractive $49 price point (currently on sale for $39) and that makes it a no brainer for people look to add Alexa to other rooms. Yes the Dot does have a speaker, but this speaker is really not great for music playback. While you can attach any speaker via the AUX out jack or Bluetooth, it means that it will take up more space having two devices instead of one. Luckily there is a really good speaker that has been designed to be a perfect match for the Echo Dot.

The VAUX is a perfect match to your Echo Dot

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The Whole House Music System I Always Wanted – Bose SoundTouch

Have you ever bought something with one use in mind and then later you realized that you could use it for another purpose too? That’s exactly what happened to me when I bought my Bose SoundTouch 300 Soundbar. I was looking for a 5.1 WIRELESS surround sound system. I’m a fan of Bose gear and when my neighbor told me that Bose had just the system I was looking for I ordered it on the spot. Yes there are other wireless systems out there and I even had one. I had a Vizio soundbar with wireless subwoofer. However, with the Vizio soundbar the satellite speakers plugged into the subwoofer. In my family room I don’t have a back wall to run wires. Therefore the Vizio system presented a wiring challenge. The Bose SoundTouch 300 is actually sold piece by piece or you can buy the whole setup. You can just buy the soundbar. You can add on the wireless subwoofer (Acoustimass). You can add on the rear speakers. They are all wireless. Each speaker needs to be plugged into an AC outlet for power, but they don’t need to be wired to the soundbar or any central point. This was exactly what I was looking for. I am completely happy with the performance of the Bose SoundTouch 300.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that you could add additional SoundTouch speakers for music in every room

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Awesome NEW Backlit Keyboard for Lightroom Users

I finally got a chance to put my new Lightroom USB Backlit Keyboard to use. Editors Keys has been making dedicated application keyboards and keyboard covers for years. I typically go for the keyboard covers for my MacBook Pro, but when I’m at my desk I had been using a full size Apple USB keyboard. The Apple keyboard is not backlit. I use Lightroom everyday. So if there was a application keyboard to choose for me it would be Lightroom (or Photoshop).

You have to see the Lightroom keyboard in action!

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The Best Lightning Cables for the Money – Anker Powerline II Dura Review

On the left is an Apple Lightning cable, in the middle is the new Anker Powerline II Dura and on the right is a NewerTech Lightning cable.

If you use an iPhone, iPad or iPod then chances are you’ve worn out the supplied Apple Lightning cable. They usually wear out around the connectors, exposing wires or simply failing to work anymore. I stopped buying Apple branded cables for this reason. I tried other brands, but they all seem to fail at one point or another. Some wouldn’t even give error messages indicating that the cables weren’t completely compatible. Sigh.

Anker makes the BEST Lightning cables for the money! Continue Reading »

My New PITAKA Minimalist iPhone 7 Plus Case Excites me and Scares me

I would say that probably 99% of the smartphone users I know have their devices in a case. Usually your case choice (or lack there of) says a lot about you. You’ll see cases that are thick and protective, decorative and pretty and very thin offering basic scratch protection.

What’s the point of having a super thin phone if you’re going to put it a thick heavy case?

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Nest Cam Outdoor Review

Nest Cam Outdoor mounted

I’ve been buying wifi and ethernet enabled home security cams for years. The first ones I got were made by Panasonic and while the resolution was crappy compared to today’s solutions, they had some nice features such as pan/tilt and even a weatherproof version. I bought the Dropcam when it first hit the scene and it not only worked in 720p HD, but it offered a cloud DVR service. This meant that even if the camera was stolen, the captured video wouldn’t be lost because it was tucked away neatly online for access after the fact. Dropcam was bought out by Google and rebranded Nest Cam. The current indoor Nest Cam has a better camera at 1080p. Checking in your home while you’re away is great. However, these cameras were all designed to work inside, not outside. In most cases people simply place them up against a window to capture what’s going on outside. That works but has its challenges (usually the reflection from the glass can be a pain). Google solved this problem by shipping the Nest Cam Outdoor model.

Nest Cam Outdoor is designed to be placed outside

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Let’s go to Iceland this summer!

Iceland lagoon

Last year I got an incredible opportunity to spend part of my sabbatical in Iceland. See the story here. Of course when I got back many of my friends, fans and family asked “Why didn’t you take me with you?” “Next time, take me with you.” “Do you need an assistant?” Well here’s your chance to go with me this year. The good folks over at focusonnature.is are dedicating one of their amazing tours to me and a small group of photographers that want to tag along. It’s rare that I travel to the same place on vacation two years in a row, but in this case I’m willing to take one for the team 🙂 You can get the details here.

6 Days of Pure Icelandic Photographic Adventure

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