Camera gear I use to record myself and document my work

Camera gear I use to record myself and document my work

I've talked about the importance of documenting your work before. I believe that documenting and sharing your processes and workflows can only help you to improve them.

One the mediums I choose to document and share my work is video. I've been uploading video content to YouTube for a few years now, and I've learned quite a few things on the way.

I will be sharing some advice, tips and tricks in the next few days. Today, we'll talk about the camera gear I use to make those videos.

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My 4 Tripods

I have 4 tripods. I'll use one or another depending on the situation and the camera I'm using.

Disclaimer: I'm not associated with any of these brands and I bought all of these tripods with my own money.

Phone Tripod

I bought this one at a physical store in Chicago (Camera Store Company) and I don't know the brand or model. This is the tripod I use with my GoPro, and I love it! Much better than my old Gorilla Pod.

I can't find it anywhere online, so I'll recommend this Manfrotto for your phone, GoPro or small compact camera: Manfrotto Tripod for phones.

Fotopro FY-583

This ought to be my favorite tripod ever. Designed for phones and very light cameras, the build quality is pretty bad and it's not that stable. These are compromises you have to make when you want the lightest and most compact tripod.

Before this one, I was using a Gorilla Pod, which I found unusuable to record myself operating the camera. It's just too short and the low angles were pretty weird.

The Fotopro changed all of that, and I believe that my videos are so much better because of this. I can show footage of me operating the camera now, as well as footage from the environment I am in.

The only option I had before I found out about this tripod was to use a "real" tripod. I bring a lot of stuff with me (vlogging gear, analog camera, digital camera, lenses, film backs, drone, filters...) so a second tripod wasn't an option at all.

I've used it for stills as well. It's a tripod you can bring with you even if you aren't planning on going on a shoot. It's a "just in case" tripod.

Fotopro FY-583

IMPORTANT: I just found out about a newer version of this tripod, taller and more stable, designed for heavier cameras. I will be checking out soon! I might have to change my recommendation for best vlogging tripod.

Fotopro FY-483

Manfrotto BeFree

This Manfrotto was my first "serious" tripod. It's a travel tripod so the main goal here is to keep it light, while still offering stability and good quality.

I bought it for my digital camera, and when I bought the Bronica I thought I'd have to buy a bigger tripod. Turns out, it works just fine with the beast. I used it for a year and a half in several National Parks and cities, in every weather condition, and it's just amazing.

I love it so much that my current BeFree is the third copy I own, after losing the first one and destroying the second.

Manfrotto BeFree

Manfrotto 055XPRO3

This tripod is incredible. The ball head alone is worth every penny, it's a true marvel. You can do very cool stuff with the center column, which can give you those angles you need for product photography.

I used it as my only tripod for stills for a few months, but I soon realized that it wasn't the best option for hikes and long outings. That's why I bought my thrid BeFree a couple of months ago.

Probably not the best option as your only tripod, but it won't let you down if you decide to go for it. Really, really good tripod.

Manfrotto 055XPRO3

"Wildlife" photography fail with the Bronica

I woke up to thick fog, so I quickly grabbed my bag and ran outside. I had no plans and somehow ended up trying to make images of storks. After a failed attempt with the Bronica, I went back to the location and finally made an image I love. I also shoot power lines, of course.

When is an image made?

The moment we press the shutter is hardly the moment an image is made.

It's not until we have a final image, either on paper or on a screen, that we can say we have made an image. That's the moment an image is born.

Winter photography: travel before the storm, photograph the storm

 

One of the most beautiful drives I’ve done.

 

Winter is my favorite season for photography. There's just one problem, though: the weather.

Over the years, I've gotten caught in several snowstorms (and even worse, ice storms) all over British Columbia, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, California, South Dakota and of course, in the Midwest.

The trip through Northern California was the scariest one, I lost control of the car twice due to ice. That was the last time I drove through a snowstorm, putting yourself in danger for an image is not worth it. How do we do it, then?

This day, I had to drive 40 miles on frozen dirt roads to get to the closest town.

Travel before the storm.

That's what I did in South Dakota: I drove more than 1,000 miles in between two big storms and once the second one hit, I was ready and on location.

Photograph the storm.

It was mid-April when the blizzard came. Temperatures dropped to single digits (F) and the storm dumped almost a foot of snow. There was no one else around and no way to get to the Badlands after they closed the highway.

Winter wonderland.

I got one of my favorite images ever that day, and I had a winter wonderland waiting for me the next morning. Best of all, I was able to drive in and out of the park safely.

That's my advice for winter photography: avoid the road on severe weather conditions, be on location beforehand. If that's not possible and you still insist on making the drive, please make sure that you and your car are ready for the worst conditions.

Photography doesn't start with a camera

While it's totally possible to get a camera and then find a subject to photograph, it's definitely much easier to find something you are passionate about and then start capturing it.

If you gave me a camera 10 years ago, I wouldn't have known what to do with it.

Instead, photography came naturally to me when I discovered my passion for the outdoors after moving to the Pacific Northwest.

A camera is a tool to capture what we see. I didn't see anything 10 years ago. I do now.