Thursday, April 4, 2013

E is for Electronics

Its just over 5 weeks to go now and final preparation is underway. Now this is going to be one long long trip and I will have a lot of time to myself. I like photography and am interesting in making some videos of the trip to preserve a feeling of how it felt cycling across a continent. I am traveling relatively light so have been thinking how I can combine everything together. So far here is my thinking...

I already have a Nikon D3100 which is relatively small for an SLR. I have the kit lens and a 35mm that I will probably take with me for photography. I was really mulling over buying a Go Pro or a Contour Plus but have instead decided on another path (mainly due to not wanting to spend $400 on the new gear).

I need a good mini tripod that I can use for this trip and for any subsequent backpacking or hiking that I will do later this year. After some research the best option was the Gorilla Pod Zoom SLR. Sturdy and able to hold the SLR steady.

I already had an old Samsung TL350 point and shoot that can take HD movies so will use this on the bike somehow to take action scenes. Because I didnt get a Go Pro I also wanted a way to try out using the Gorilla Pod either as a monopod substitute or even hold the camera to the bike (although I anticipate a lot of shake). Using the ball head on top of the Gorilla Pod will make this easier to achieve.

Thankfully I went to B&H in Manhattan and received excellent advice. The Gorilla Pod was $49.95 on its own. The same brand ball head is $39.95 but I have two cameras. I need two quick release plates or else I will constantly be switching the plate between cameras which will be annoying. Joby (makers of Gorilla pods do not sell plates by themselves).

The answer was to get a Benro ball head that fitted on the Gorilla pod which uses standard fitting plates, I was able to get the ball head for $38.99 and an Oben quick release plate for $12.99. Perfect solution and real props to the B&H salesman who helped me out.

In terms of editing of pictures or creating videos I had to lay out some bucks. Initially I was looking at one of the chrome books but have instead plumped for the ipad mini with 64gb. An indulgence but something that will allow me to access my Barnes&Nobel books from my Nook, will allow skype video calls with girlfriend/family/friends back home and hold my music collection all in the tiniest and most exquisite package. (Have to be careful not to lose it, break it or get it nicked). iMovie and iPhoto are a total combined $10. Great value for relatively good editing software.

The only thing now is to test it out by getting some interesting footage and trying to edit it on the ipad. Hopefully the weather is good this weekend and I can organise a quick jaunt around Brooklyn.