On the road: Streets of Amsterdam, a flying sofa and thoughts so far

On the road: Streets of Amsterdam, a flying sofa and thoughts so far

Continuing in the series of shooting and working while traveling, here are some of the latest thoughts, ideas and photos.

Admittedly, the main chore while on the road, is archiving, editing and sharing pictures. The perfect condition would be to combine high end capabilities with ultra high mobility; unfortunately this is easier said than done.

One approach would be to carry a full fledge notepad, probably of the hybrid variety so one can use it as a tablet also, and, in many cases, use a pen for photo processing. Examples include Windows machines such as MS Surface, HP or Dell, and of course Macbooks. Such gear would allow working on the road “almost” the same way one does back home.

The counter argument to this is what David Hobby says in his excellent Lynda “Travelling Photographer” course: “every possession is a burden”. It’s certainly not exactly comfortable worrying about another 1500-2000 euro/dollar piece of gear on the road. There is also the “almost” parameter. Except for the most involved and expensive laptops, it is not going to be the same as with the usual (home/office) environment, at least for most people.

Going for a minimalist approach, one insight I can offer is this: if you use both a smartphone and a (more capable) tablet, it makes sense going for the same ecosystem. If I was choosing today, I’d go for a good Android tablet plus a Bluetooth keyboard, instead of a Windows tablet/small laptop. I cannot say I gained much by using Windows 10 (the same OS I work with back home).

That said, I’m being able doing some basic post processing and doing all the usual simple work, such as typing this. I also found a fine and simple watermark app which I recommend to anyone:  it’s called simply “Watermark”, is from Schneider Apps and it’s free at the Windows store.

Other than that, I feel very lucky using Fuji cameras, because being able to have top quality JPEGS out of camera, makes all the difference in the world. In fact, post processing is either not needed at all, in some cases, or made really easy. One work method I would suggest for a Fuji shooter:

  • Shoot with your preferred film simulation plus RAW
  • If needed, use in camera processing to alter and fine-tune any photo
  • Transfer photos to smartphone/tablet/laptop for further editing, should it be needed, and also to upload to the web or share with colleagues.

Really fast and easy.

Leaving Amsterdam, here are a few photos from the streets

And, while on the streets, one sometimes has the chance to document daily and mundane but interesting moments. One such opportunity was while I came upon a group of people moving out of their apartment in the Jordaan district of Amsterdam. If you’ve ever been to Amsterdam, you’d know it’s practically impossible moving furniture in and out of the front door, and, naturally, these people were trying lowering a big sofa from the 5th floor or something. A large audience gathered, which burst into enthusiastic applause when, after quite a bit of time and serious effort they finally made it. It was fortunate that I was able to document the whole process and Matthew now has photos to remember the day.

This brings us to another important lesson: when you travel, you are probably not on assignment, except if you are one of a handful of working travel photographers. Try to enjoy the experience of visiting new places, meeting new people and getting to know their culture. Also, if not travelling alone, try to respect your spouse/friends/children or whoever is with you. Photography must take a back seat in such cases. Opportunities for great photos shall present themselves most of the time.

 Off to Sweden and Denmark!

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On the road: Amsterdam's genius loci

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