I had a dream about traveling on a global birding expedition with one backpack, my trusty new Nikon Trailbrazer binoculars and the Leica Q3. But don’t pass out, the Leica was just this strange, pointy-in-parts, orb of some sort that was just a visual placeholder for what the Q3 might actually be. And no, I have no plans to buy one. However, this does speak to several important things. First, dreaming is really cool. Second, going on a global birding expedition with one backpack, my binocs and a Leica Q3, whatever it may be, sounds like something that I want to do. The Q3, or Q of any sort for that matter, might sound like the worst camera to take on a global birding mission because what on Earth are you going to do with a 28mm. The answer, plenty. And in fact, I would use that camera to make a style of picture and story that are more me than anything else.
I am buying into the long lens birding world because I find it incredibly challenging, AND I have a new project idea that I will start work on in the coming months. This project is based entirely in New Mexico and will see me travel extensively statewide. I will be using the long glass to attempt to catalog as many species as possible, hence the need for something like this. However, there is another side to this story. The part about the atmosphere of birding. The locations, the travel, the people, and THIS side of the story is where something like a Q would be a perfect fit. Small, light and easy to get through airport security. The last time I flew through a Latin American airport, security was on the hunt for people with camera gear. They knew that tons of people with cameras were transiting the area, and for security this means money. They asked if I had “X” amount of equipment or a laptop computer. I took a chance and said “No.” This is a game I now find myself having to play again and again. So having one tiny body with a built in lens holds strategic advantage. But again, THIS WAS ONLY A DREAM. DON’T START WRITING ME ABOUT MY LEICA Q3. I DON’T HAVE ONE.
I have also been putting serious thought toward what I want my online life to be. My online life will be an honest reflection of my real life, warts and all. Photography, Blurb, cycling, birding, hiking, paddling, fishing, exploring, reading, etc. This site will remain the hub but should see more love in the form of both free and paid newsletters. I have an idea for what I want the paid newsletter to be. I am also contemplating a departure from YouTube to a paid subscription service for my films. I know this means I will lose almost everyone, but I feel like I both need to prove an alternative method and because YouTube feels like it has become little more than a site controlled by an inhumane algorithm. Don’t believe me, just take a look at what some of the most successful YouTubers are saying.
I have also begun imagining my entire life run from an iPad Pro. For those of you who know my insanely bad track record with all things electronic, you must be shaking your head and uttering horrible things. Of all the Apple products I’ve had, going back over thirty years, the iPad Pro is–by far–my favorite device. I use it every single day, multiple times for multiple uses, and my particular unit is about to turn six-years-old, which in the span of an Apple product is legendary. The touchscreen and pen are life and work changing. Yes, Apple continues to threaten a touchscreen laptop but we’ve been hearing this for over a decade. (I had Windows touchscreen tablet with full keyboard, stylus pen and ports and it was the best device I’ve ever had, except that it was Windows.) And yes, Apple continues to bottleneck the application side of the iPad so that people don’t stop buying laptops. The iPad Pro hangs in the balance but hear me out.
Again, this is as much for others as it is for me, proving an alternative method to things I hear so many complaints about. The idea would be to switch to Lumafusion for my video editing needs. This is a simple yet robust application tailor-made for the iPad. And it’s a ONE TIME fee. No need for a subscription which I hear grief about on a daily basis. I would also ditch Lightroom for the Affinity Suite of Photo, Design, Publish. Again, a ONE TIME fee with no subscription required. The iPads are blazing fast and can easily handle multi-channel, 4k editing. And I don’t even do multi-channel, 4k editing. Yet.
I also want to use the iPad for all my audio recording sessions instead of using my external recorder, EV mics, stands, etc. This saves a huge amount of weight and space when it comes to travel. I normally travel with an entire bag of audio kit, and it has worked well, but I want to switch to something much smaller and lighter. I tried this years ago, before we had options like today, and the kit was just not up to par, but I feel like today we have everything we need. I want to sit with someone for an interview with small lavalier mics and the iPad while using some sort of recording application I’ve yet to land on. I know going in this isn’t a perfect system or a perfect world but the challenge feels right.
I can’t sit still. There is so much to learn and so much to experiment with and I really feel like this is part of my job. What will I do with my Discord channel? Short answer, don’t know. I would love to hear from anyone with anything to say. Good, bad or indifferent. I feel a responsibility to work against the inertia that the traditional model of being creative still tends to run by. The old ways aren’t good enough for me, and I don’t like many of the platforms that people use to support their careers. There has to be another way and the challenge of it all is what makes by blood flow.