I was lucky to visit Las Vegas in 2016. I found the city just as crazy as it was sold to me for years on TV shows and other American movies. I arrived there by plane, and the sight of this city coming from nowhere in the middle of the desert was completely surreal.
You see, cities are often placed in logical areas, where first populations had access to resources like fertilized land and water. Vegas doesn’t tick the boxes. It wasn’t meant to be, yet here it is, in all its extravagance.
I visited Venice in December last year, and I had a similar feeling. Not that the city wasn’t meant to be: Venice is built on islands of a lagoon which provided protection for the city and important commerce opportunities. This time, the surreal feeling came from the constructions. You see, most of the city is built on stilts. One of the churches near San Marco’s place is built on 1 million wooden stilts. The church is magnificent and decorated with tons of marble.
If Las Vegas could be built in the modern ages by bringing water and resources in the middle of the desert, I still have a hard time to imagine people over a thousand years ago building a magical city on wooden stilts, that is still up to this day.
Venice is sinking in the lagoon, slowly enough so that you should be able to visit it before you die, provided global warming hasn’t drowned it before. Also, starting next summer, there will be a tax for all tourists entering the city. The ancient city is slowly but surely turning into an open-air museum, but the trip is well worth the money, believe me!
They say the best camera is the one you have with you.
A year ago I got into mobile photography. Having a pretty decent camera on my smartphone with ‘pro’ options, I started to watch tutorials on mobile photography and photography in general. I leveled up my Instagram game too and I have now proudly reached the 1000 followers milestone.
People start to ask me how I did it and what I use to enhance my smartphone’s camera. So here is my mobile photography starter pack: the phone I use, the ones I would like to try, the tutorials I watched, the apps I use and the lenses and tripods I own.
I use a Samsung Galaxy S7, which had the best reviews in mobile photography when I bought it. (Thanks to Julie for advising me back then!)
If I could buy a new one today, I might have a look at the Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+, but as far as I have read, the camera of the S8 is very similar to the S7. I hope Samsung will have major improvements to show us with the upcoming S9.
To start comfortably with mobile photography, I would recommend having a smartphone with a ‘pro’ mode, similar to the DSLR options. These often include the possibility to play around with ISO parameters, automatic and manual focus options, white balance, exposure and shutter speed controls.
Sometimes using just your smartphone won’t take you where you want to be creatively. You might want to have a little extra fun with lenses or tripods.
I started off with lenses. I mainly wanted to try out macro photography and see what I could do with a wide angle.
Adapting a lens to a smartphone is very easy. Manufacturers brought plenty of solutions to the market: special cases, clip-on lenses, etc. I prefer clip-on lenses, as they tend to be easier to switch around and will adapt to any phone.
The very first pack of lenses I got were the Mpow one. This kit contains a Macro lens, a Fisheye lens and a Wide Angle lens, all packed in a little pouch. They adapt very well on my smartphone even with a case on. I can have them in my handbag and pop them out whenever I need.
Later this year, I also got another pack of lens with more options. At first I was really searching for a CPL filter and a ND filter for smartphone, and since this other pack had many options for cheap, I got it.
If you want to try out long exposure photography with your smartphone, or simply filming a recipe in the making, you will need a tripod.
The first tripod I got was a classic one, that could be used both for smartphones or DSLR. I wanted a tripod I could take around with me, especially in a small cabin luggage. So i had to be light, reliable and 50 cm long once folded. And it had to be a small investment because I had no idea what to do with it yet!
So the first one I got was an Amazon Basics one. An ultralight 127 cm tripod, pretty cheap, that I could take around with me.
I tried out filming and photography from high up, but the feet of the tripod were always getting in the field. So I found a… selfie stick! One I could adapt on the tripod, and thus film from high up with my smartphone.
I soon found this tripod was a too big to be carried around for me. I could take it on vacation, but it was still too big to be left in my handbag. So I tried another out, the Manfrotto pocket tripod. This one is so small it fits in every handbag I own.
This very small tripod is very useful on plane surfaces. I use it when I use a table or the floor as a support. Unfortunately, it is not very steady on other surfaces, and the angle setting is a bit light for me.
The last one I acquired is the one I use the most today, as it is small enough to fit in my handbag, small,light, and with flexible feet. That way, I can make it hold op to anything and use it as a support for my smartphone.
Taking lots of pictures requires battery and, let’s face it, our smartphones are not always good at that. I have one external battery I always take with me. It’s an Aukey 20 000 mAh Battery with Quick Charge. It has never let me down and charges my phone in no time!
This channel if more about shooting better and travelling. Great tutorials here too.
Basically, each time I need help with something, I go to YouTube. Someone there has probably done a tutorial on what you are struggling with. 😉
What’s your starter pack like?
What does your workflow look like?
What mobile photography accessories do you recommend?
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