Photography for the Rest of Us: Going Mobile
I love traveling and taking landscape photos. But I can't say I enjoy carrying all the extra weight of my camera gears. This might sound paradoxical, but let’s be honest, as an enthusiast I don’t make any money out of this hobby, so the extra weight is really just a masochistic self-punishment that makes me feel good about myself for carrying gear like a NatGeo photographer on assignment (yes, I’m that delusional).
Whoever says they actually enjoy carrying that extra several pounds of camera gear is a liar or have some deep seeded personal issues
Also, unless I’m backpacking or hiking, I don’t like people knowing that I’m carrying thousands of dollars worth of gear on me. And not to mention the laptop.
Being able to edit on the road is great: you get the photos right away, you can post and share quality pics to your friends and all 15 Instagram followers faster, and you get to backup your pictures. But a laptop takes so much space, weighs a ton (especially when you’re still running an eight-years old 15" Macbook Pro), and camera bags with laptop compartments tend to be very bulky.
So when we decided to go to Cuba last winter break, I decided to try to be as lightweight as possible. Leaving behind my already relatively light carry of a Fuji X-Pro2, 3 Fujinon lenses, filters, batteries, etc.
Instead, this is all I carried:
- Fuji X70 (full disclosure: totally an impulse ebay purchase)
- 1 extra battery + mini USB cable to charge
- Tamrac Zipshot UL (another impulse buy when it was on sale for $10)
- iPad Air
In total, the whole thing doesn’t weigh more than a 2-3 pounds and easily fits in a messenger bag. And you know what, it works just fine. The X70 looked like a point-and-shoot and didn’t really distinguish me from other tourists, while it still takes great pictures on an APS-C sensor.
And while I mostly shot JPEG (blah blah do you even shoot RAW, bro? I’m on vacation!), I can still take RAW when I need to for landscape shots.
And with Lightroom Mobile installed on the iPad, I was able to edit nearly just like I would on my laptop, and it even syncs up to the cloud so you can pick up your workflow on your laptop once you’re connected to the web.
So here’s what my workflow end-up looking like:
1. Sit at a nice coffee shop, order a good cup of coffee (or beer)
2. Plug in the SD Card reader with the memory card inside to the iPad
3. Import photos (RAW and JPEG!)
4. Edit in Lightroom Mobile
5. Save photos that I’d like to share immediately to the iPad Upload to Instagram / Facebook / Smugmug account using the native apps
6. Order another cup of coffee (or beer)
And for pictures that I need more heavy editing, I would just look into the synced folder in my Lightroom library and continue editing. Which to be honest, other than sharpening and HDR/Pano photomerge, you can do everything else on the mobile and it’s more fun actually.
If there is one thing I would improve, maybe it would be to get a portable harddrive with a built-in SD card reader to back-up files on the road.
Of course, I’m not saying this would work for everyone, but I think for majority of us enthusiast, IG celebs, and delusional-NatGeo-wannabes this would work just fine.
And this isn't any kind of endorsement for Fuji or Apple products, but I do honestly believe that lightness and mobility is the direction where photography will be in the next few years. Cameras now already have built-in wifi to transfer files, and mobile editing apps are quickly catching up to to its desktop forerunners. And the upside for us consumers? We might just be able to fit all our gear and travel essentials to just one carry-on-luggage.
Here are some other examples of the photos I took and edited on the road:
Or follow the BLOG link up top for other travel stories and write-ups.
Here's a link to Elia Locardi's editing workflow using Lightroom Mobile if you haven't tried this feature yet. A little lengthy but very in-depth.