Who doesn’t love a good Christmas list?! I thought I would give you a few things to quickly order for somebody you like, love, or is blackmailing you. Or you can give this to those mentioned as hints at what you want. I know Christmas is super close so I included direct links to each item on Amazon. How can you beat free 2 day shipping??! (If you don’t have Amazon Prime yet (which gives you free 2 day shipping) then slap yourself and then sign up.
This list is what I call essentials for Adventuring. Adventures can be a trip to the back country of Africa for a month or simply anytime you walk out the front door! HERE WE GO!
Leatherman WAVE. My #1 Everyday Carry! I have 4. I keep one in the truck, my camera bag, the airstream and my Bike. The Perfect Multitool
Mefoto SideKick360 Plus Today we take tons of photos and video with our phones. From group photos that I want to be in to timelapses I’m always trying to prop up my phone. This little tripod isn’t the cheapest phone tripod but it is by far the best I’ve used. It’s so versatile, basically you can get any angle, but also very stable holding my big iphone 7plus with no problem at any position. The best camera is the one you have with you. If you don’t want to haul a bunch of gear with you, this is a nice solution. Comes in a bunch of cool colors too.
BRAVEN BLADE SPEAKER. Bluetooth. Drop-water-freeze proof. Really great sound. Amazing battery with USB plug to charge phone. From photoshoots to my trip to Nicaragua, its been a great speaker to add music! Highly recommend it!
Sony a6300. I get asked a lot, especially this time of year, for suggestion on SLR cameras. Reasons like beginning photography to shooting better family stuff to sports or travel. But I won’t recommend something I haven’t personally used. This is little camera is phenomenal. My favorite travel camera and honestly one of the best in the world for all around purposes. Shoots crazy fast stills and video (good for sports, babies, and puppies). Super light while still having all the cool tech the top tier SLR functions have. Also will charge by USB, which makes charging remotely so easy. If you want the newest of this line get the Sony A6500 (upgraded with stabilized sensor) or the earlier generation, the Sony A6000. Any of these three are fantastic!
Bose QC 35 This is the only thing on this list that I personally have not used but am hoping to get for Christmas. BUT I do have its predecessor the QC15’s that they don’t make anymore. The difference is the 35’s have BLUETOOTH, the 15’s do not. Simply put I don’t travel without my bose headphones, ESPECIALLY on airplanes. Noise Cancelling is an understatement with these headphones that go completely over the ear. By far the easiest way to upgrade yourself to first class and get rid of that baby’s crying a few rows behind you. When you turn these on the world is silent. Pairs excellent with Led Zeppelin. Turn it up to eleven!
Jumpl Bluetooth Adapter This little guy is amazing for making any speaker or headphones into bluetooth. This especially comes in handy with the new iphone 7 series that doesn’t have a headphone port (without using a dongle). I use it with my bose qc15’s while working out, working in the shop, and riding my motorcycle (using different headphone in my helmet). Like Sheldon says, “EVERYTHING IS BETTER WITH BLUETOOTH!”
Nite Ize Carabiners. Stocking Stuffer. I know these sound a little minimal to make this list but there isn’t a time I don’t walk out the door with one of these. I use the tiny S carabiner to attach my strap to my camera. I keep a few of the locking carabiners to my all my bags. These are perfect for giving quick access to a water bottle or securing one bag to another. They aren’t heavy or big by any means but the are so handy.
North Face Base Camp Duffel – Travel experience hinges on how easy you can move…or TRAVEL. The right bag can make or break a trip honestly. Ever seen somebody’s bag fall apart on them mid trip way out in the wilderness away from a store? I have. It’s not pretty. My first experience with a Base Camp duffel was my month long trip to Africa and man did it impress. Ultra tough. Very affordable considering the build quality. Comes with two long shoulder straps that can be worn as a backpack very comfortably. It doesn’t have anything hard structural to it so the bag can compress super small. Technically not water proof but I’ve had mine sit outside in a storm all day and nothing got wet on the inside. They come in a variety of colors and sizes. I think I have at least 2 of each size. (always Black on Black). If I had to choose one bag to live out of it would be this one.
Hydro Flask 40 oz. Water Bottles are very often overlooked when packing for traveling but I’ve learned that its crucial to have water with me because its not always easy to get. Nothing worse than getting on a 3 hour bus ride through the jungle without water. The Hydro Flask is the best water bottle honestly (yes I’ve tried Yeti). No they are not the cheapest by any means but it blows me away how long it will keep things cold. If you want just a liquid holder then get a Nalgene. If you want something that will keep ice ICE for days get a Hydro Flask. Warm water is no fun during a hard hike. I’ve had my HF in my sidecar out in the Texas sun & heat all day and still kept my water as cold as I put it in there that morning. I honestly can’t figure out the witchcraft involved with these but I won’t complain. Quality gear won’t let you down. These are well worth the investment.
Braven Power Bank it goes without saying we use a lot of electronic things all the time. So when you’re out and about, especially traveling, we don’t always have access to charging spots. This battery called the Power Bank by Braven is amazing. Not the smallest or cheapest but has TWO usb ports and is built super tough. With my travels I’m not easy on my gear. I need it to be tougher than me so I know it will be there for me. It also has bluetooth with a ton of super cool features you would never think of. Don’t leave home without it.
Things are not what is important for the holidays. I’m perfectly happy if I don’t get anything for Christmas, but I don’t hate it when I get something I really can use everyday. More lists coming. Happy Holidays!
Be Well, Go Far!
Setting out on my journey I quickly realized 99.9999% of the time I would be traveling alone. This means 2 things I had to be aware of. The first is that I would have to be very proactive in meeting people. The second was that any and all of the gear that I so deeply love to use would have to be manageable only by me. So you can imagine my excitement when Profoto announced their new B1 lights.
What’s so great about these lights Braun?? Because good people, the head has a battery built into it! Brilliant! That means no more lugging heavy power packs around. No more tripping over cords! The Profoto radio trigger can also control the power of the heads (both TTL & Manual modes!) That means you don’t have to get up from your shooting position. You don’t have to break that connection with your subject you’ve been talking to for 20 minutes to get them to relax! When you say “Hold on” and walk away you loose momentum. And if you did have an assistant holding a stand you wouldn’t have to ask them to go change the power on the pack because you have the control right on your camera trigger! Genius. This light is great! 500w (solid power) of beautiful legendary Profoto light that fits in the top of a medium sized backpack! Strap a light stand & umbrella to the backpack and you’re off! Full Metal Jacket & Hiking up the mountain with your subject without a team of donkeys hauling gear!
Profoto is hands downs the standard in rental houses. Sure they aren’t the cheapest , but they are consistently quality light and robustly designed. The B1 is nothing short of it’s designer’s legacy. The head feels solid. The menu on both the head and the trigger is simple and easy to use. Grip it and Rip it! Sure this light isn’t for all productions. The battery is rated to get 300 shots at full power, which is quite a bit for portrait shoots. I’ve shot many of the portraits below at 1 pm when the light is the harshest. No power cables tangling generators or power packs let me place the light stand in the water while I was shooting a beautiful girl out in the Florida Keys!
Lately I’ve really liked using a big deep umbrella with a diffuser over the front of it. Like an Octobox but no ring and poles to wrestle. It Is a bit of a wind catcher so a diffused beauty dish will join my arsenal quite soon for sure. As a photographer taking people’s time for your photograph you must be respectful which is another reason why I love this set up. Takes me about 2 minutes to set up from “backpack mode” to “light is up and we’re shooting!” Quick and painless is the name of the game. Never give people time to freak out in their head.
All of these portraits were done with this exact set up. thats all. I don’t use the camera tripod, just for illustration. lenses I typically use the new canon 100mm 2.8L IS ii Macro or the 50mm 1.2L. Below are some from my new portrait series “Faces Along a Journey” (all shot with the B1). I started this series because I do like shooting nature, I greatly enjoy photographing portraits. When on the road you meet all sorts of people, you learn their history and background, or that of which they want you to know. This is what I wanted! To value not just the amazing sights to behold but to know the people that make up this country. It might be a 10 second encounter or you might be neighbors for a couple of weeks. Taking the time to get to know people is so crucial. Social media definitely does not supplement real people to people interactions. I’ve met all sorts of Airstreamers, Mormon (Grateful)Dead Heads (that don’t smoke or drink). A BBC Radioman. A future rap star that was caravaning across the country with his sister in a prius! Snow Birds! French Canadian college kids. French Canadian snow birds, outlaws, veterans of huge Military careers, computer hackers, big fashion photographers and on and on and on. People that own real movie Batmobiles. People that invite me out to the Ranch in Utah, Colorado. You never know. Never discount anybody, Never assume.
The point is everybody has a story. Take the time to say hello and talk, because you’re interested, not because you have an agenda! If you think you would want to take their portrait ask them. They might say no, they might say yes. 90% of the time I ask they have never been photographed by a professional photographer!
My approach to my lighting is to feather the light across the subject’s face. Almost emulating the sun but just lower. Place the back end of the umbrella almost at the ear of the subject slightly angled toward them. This causes the light to fall right across their face while leaving the other side untouched and shadowed…thus creating mood! ahhhhaaaa! If you put the sun behind the subject you can basically use it as a backlight with this combination.
Hope you find this helpful my friends. Be Well Go Far. -Braun
A lot of people write up blogs on cool gear for Christmas. So I thought I’d help you guys answer the question “What does Braun want for Christmas (And his upcoming 31st Birthday, Dec. 23rd). Most of this stuff is gear I need for my Airstream tour or that I use on every shoot. Hopefully you guys can see some stuff to ask your honey for. CHEERS!
Gepe Card Safe / Extreme Memory Card Protector – Neon GREAT protection for cards. Bright colors keep you from losing it
Embassy PenBlack Stainless Steel
Eno Double Nest Hammock Orange/Grey from Eagles Nest Outfitters – Airstream gear. Want to carry 2-4 with me for guests
Newer Technology Power2U AC Wall Outlet with USB Charging Ports (White) Planning on installing 25-30 of these around these USB + Electrical Outlets around the Airstream! 😀
NIKE TAILWIND SHORT-SLEEVE V-NECK Awesome Shirts for shooting or all things outdoors
You can never have too many Memory Cards!
Asic Onitsuka White & Black (Size 10 please) BEST SHOES EVER!
Hasselblad H4D-50 Medium Format DSLR Camera Body Only PLEASE OOH PLEASE OOH PLEASE SANTA!
Photographer’s are reliant on few things. We don’t need an office, break room, or even a water cooler. BUT you take away access to power from us and watch us squirm like a wall street firm on a bad day. If you’re shooting in a studio you have no worries at all. Plenty of plugs around right?! But if we go out shooting, scouting, digital back up etc…. we need a little help. WAHHH LA! Here are 3 great gear solutions for photographers that shoot on location for everything from portraits to advertising . We’ll start small and go big.
1. Mophie PowerStation. This little thing is as big as an iphone and will charge your phone, ipad, or whatever with a USB an impressive amount. While I was in NYC this week (for the first time ever) I had my phone open constantly looking at maps and taking photos. I also had an app that was tracking-recording my location through GPS, which SIGNIFICANTLY drains the batt. So it was great having this thing to charge up my phone in my pocket. It will also charge up a GoPro camera too. They also make iPhone cases but I’d rather have a device that can charge multiple devices.
2. The HyperJuice 100. I took this bad boy to Africa with me since I wasn’t sure of the power availability and man was I glad I did. Shooting 30-60gb of photos a day and then backing them up at night on a laptop to 2 different drives required a bit of juice. This thing handled it like a champ! The 100 is about the biggest size you want to carry around with all your gear (including a laptop) on your back. It ain’t lite but it’s worth it. I also use it to power the laptop while I’m tethering in the field. Def worth the investment! There are bigger models just in case you want to really torture your assistants…or if you are going back backing far far away for more than a day.
3. AlienBee’s Vagabon ii – Now as soon as I started writing this I looked up the Vagabond ii on the site and it’s being discontinued and replaced by a few other Vagabond models. I’m sure they are lighter and better. But all I have is my experience with the Vagabond ii’s. These were my first battery packs for lights and I love them. I have 3 and they have powered strobes, christmas lights, fans, hair dryers, laptops etc etc etc. Great cheap solution for photographers for sure. HEAVY, absolutely, but not horribly. I’ve put them in a back pack and had an assistant follow me around with a light on a stand all over the city. Worked great. They also have clips to wrap around light stands, the weigh comes in handy on a windy day! Even when I’m shooting with Profoto’s, which has their own power system, I will bring one of these just in case there is power needed by something.
Here ya go. All three have saved my bacon more than once for sure and are all now a part of my travel gear.
Soooo I want to start a series called TOOLS. Tools mainly for photographers and video peeps. Sometimes I will highlight big expensive tools. Sometimes I will highlight random little things. Both types are usually crucial and/or at least helpful to this group of professionals. And if you are neither photo or video nerds like us I’m sure there is a little gadget freak in ya to perhaps find a good use for such items.
NOTE!!!!!!! As of Today, the 2nd of May 2012, 2:30PM. I AM NOT SPONSORED BY ANY COMPANY. I do not receive toys or cash for free in exchange to be on this blog. (not saying I’m opposed to the idea) but I will definitely make this known if it changes. OKEY DOKEY? I just want to share stuff that I believe in and that I use on the regular with work and through life that I see has value to others. Help me help you.
FIRST Tool. The Belkin Mini Surge Protector. If you are like me you have far too many gadgets & gizmos that require an electrical socket one place or the other. WAH LA! This little baby is great when traveling. Instead of tearing apart your hotel room for all the sockets and scattering your junk across the room (increasing the chance that you will overlook and forget it later)…plug this guy in and keep everything central! So many things now charge off USB….iPhone, iPad, bluetooth, etc etc. so the 2 usb inputs are fantastic! The 3 prong plug can actually swivel which is super handy depending on where the socket is located at. Well worth the investment for sure.
Let me know what you think. Was this helpful? Are you interested in more? What other types of stuff would you like me to highlight?
Do you ever see an image and find it just really grips you? Something about it draws you in to it. BOOM You’re visually inspired! Whether you know it or not what we look at becomes a part of you. Somewhere lingering in our subconscious… It’s there.
Today we are content junkies…and I am the king of the visually hungry. We look at more photography, graphics, art, etc in one month than people did their entire lives 100 years ago. So for a few years I’ve taken up the habit and passion of archiving what I see on the net that really inspires me. I’m not saying each one fuels me to slay a dragon…I’m saying I simply dig it!
Over the past few years I have used TUMBLR.com which is really awesome. I still am a big big fan of it. But recently I took a harder look at Pinterest once I learned it basically did the same as tumblr but offered a Category (they call it board) function. You may say to yourself ….WHY THE DEUCE DO YOU CARE ABOUT THIS BRAUN?!?!? Because I can now give clients a Board of only PEOPLE or CARS etc for us to start a dialogue of what we are both drawn to. Advertising or whoever jobs are all about clarity of expectations. THAT is why! …..vs TUMBLR I have to look through my tumblr “Archive” and hope I can find (and remember) which month I posted a certain image too.
When I have a project coming up I will dive into my boards. Maybe I will like the lighting or wardrobe “this” image and the composition or mood of “this” image etc etc. Inspirations keep us sharp! BUT don’t over whelm yourself and forget to be you!
If you use Mozilla’s Firefox, there is a really great add on that will make posting 100 times easier and faster. Just right click and send it to which Board you want. PINTEREST RICK CLICK
Now after my explanation of why I have switched from Pinterest I must say I still absolutely love looking at my TUMBLR archive. It fuels me. Literally. Seeing the collage of what I find beautiful gets my heart racing and mind thinking of things to do.
LAST NOTE! AND MOST IMPORTANT WHEN YOU START PUBLISHING YOUR INSPIRATIONS FOR THE PUBLIC.
DO NOT LET ANYBODY MODERATE OR CRITICIZE WHAT INSPIRES YOU. THEY CANNOT SEE WHAT YOU SEE!
Do your thing. Much Love!