Today is going to be all about gear.
Over the years i been wasting money trying to find the best gear to make my life more practical when i am traveling. All the way from backpacks, passing through cutlery and finishing up in small card reader/adapters.
On my last trip to Porto Covo, i realized that it is possible to carry very minimal gear and still be able to achieve great results. For this small list i will not include Cameras, Drone and my travel Tripod. I am focusing on the smaller gadgets and it should be no surprise by now that i am carrying at least the Fuji X100T every time i go somewhere new.
1 - Mobile Phone
I guess this is a obvious one but maybe not for the reasons you thing. Very rarely i use the phone to make a photo. Is not about the image quality. I prefer to use one of the real cameras. I use the phone mostly as a personal computer or a very small tablet. At the moment i been using the Xiaomi Red Mi 5 and the Motorola G5. Yes i do own two phones but let me explain why. The Motorola is a really good phone which i loved using but i needed more storage and dual sim. I was considering buying a tablet but i found the Xiaomi for the same budget. Not only has dual sim but also 32G of storage and more processing power. Another reason that i decided to buy a new phone was that i want to travel and be able to edit the RAW files. One problem i always had with the Motorola, whenever i used Lightroom Mobile it crashed often. Since i switched to the Xiaomi i stopped having that problem and now i have the storage to backup files and not worry about filling it with music. Having this option saves the hustle of carrying my laptop everywhere i go. With that said i didn't get rid of the Motorola. I found that, for some reason, the drone is more stable when i am flying with it. Don't ask me why.
In Porto Covo i was able to edit and publish a few photos on the spot using the next gadget and the phone.
Value for Money, both of the phones are amazing. The Motorola with a few limitations but for the same price, now you have more options.
Xiaomi Red Mi 5 - https://goo.gl/XJEubP
Motorola G5 - https://goo.gl/nRBoCt
2 - OTG Card Reader/Adapter
This was an amazing find. Not 100% sure when this tech got compatible with the phones but i remember a few years ago, while on a job talking about this with a tech guy and he was explaining me that, at that time, i would have to root the phone to be able to use external card readers with the phone. For a while now i been waiting/looking for something like this. Even last year before going to Thailand i was looking at a device that would allow me to transfer the files to it and then to the phone. That was not good enough for me. I wanted something that would let me transfer the RAW files directly to the phone so i could do some post processing. Could i do it with out it? Sure. If i um using a Micro SD card on a SD adapter and then take the phone apart and insert the Micro SD on the Phone... Did i mention that i messed up at least two cards doing this? Having this adapter is a time saver and is more reliable. Going back to my trip to Porto Covo, while resting and enjoying the ocean view i was also backing up all the photos, editing and publishing a few i want to share right away.
It is very inexpensive and if there is one gadget that i think you should have from this list, whether you are a photographer or not, this is it.
Temium Smart Reader 4-em-1 Micro USB - https://goo.gl/ykGRji
3 - Power Bank
It should come as no surprise that without power we can't do anything. You know what a power bank is and you know how useful it is. They are getting better and cheaper, is just a matter of finding the one that suites you the best. Right now i have a 10000mAh but i do want more power and if it could be rechargeable with solar energy it would be perfect. For now i am sticking with the one i have.
I know what you are going to say: Can't you just download an APP for this? Yes. And i won't say you are not right. But i love this kind of watches. Ignore all the fitness features and for a hiking, landscape, travel photographer having one of these is a must. It allows you track your hike without relaying on the phone, the GPS connection is more reliable even in remote locations, you can upload trails to it, geotagging, and all the fitness features if you are not a photographer :) I find myself using it every time i go somewhere new, if not for anything else to have a record of the hike i took. For me is more convenient then an app. I am weird like that. The only down side to the watch i own, Tom Tom Runner 3, is the power cable. It has a very specific connection and if i forget about it, i am screwed.
Tom Tom Runner 3 - https://goo.gl/ZXFQ3G
5 - Gorilla Pod
I been lusting for one of these for a while now. This is not a new tech and i used to have a cheap version of a Gorilla Pod that was not reliable and broke after using it a few times. If you are looking at one and find a cheaper option, don't buy it. Go for the real one. The build quality is solid and it will last. I know that if i don't want to carry my travel tripod i can take the Gorilla Pod and do stable long exposures with it anywhere i need to. I can clamp to one of the legs of my travel tripod, set the Fuji on time-lapse with the cheap ass not so good image quality wide lens converter, and do a "artistic" time-lapse, or use it as a selfie stick.
I do have to be honest. I only bought it because i lost my small Manfrotto table tripod so it was a good excuse to buy the Gorilla Pod.
Jobi Gorilla Pod - https://goo.gl/TNf3p6
5+1 - Phone Tripod Adapter
I know that nowadays most people use their phones to capture photos. With that in mind a good gadget to have that is not expensive that can be useful is an holder for your phone that can be attached to your small tripod. They come in all shape and sizes so, as the power bank, is just finding one that suits you the best.
Manfrotto Phone Holder - https://goo.gl/vYKkSc
And there it is. I hope i helped you with some of the gadgets that i been using more often and that make my life easier and allow me to be more creative when i am on trip. If you know about any other gear please let me know. Althought i can't get all of the gadgets, i love knowing about new stuff coming out.