My Photo (And Video) Reel From The Past Few Months
Bits and pieces from my camera and YouTube feed
Things I found lying around my cloud while cleaning up photos from the past few months…
I’ve been spending quite a bit of time learning about video over the past few months.
Lots of time spent learning about the technical aspects that go into video production; getting out shooting; and planning what I can do next with this.
Building Up Some Video Accessories
As time evolves, so does my gear. I started shooting with a few add-on accessories to my camcorder (Canon Vixia HF R800). Namely, a battery-powered shotgun microphone (Saramonic Cam Mic Plus) and a few handheld stabilizers.
Probably the most interesting shoot so far was joining the second installment of the controversial flag march in Jerusalem. The last one literally kicked off the conflagration between Israel and Hamas.
The best part of learning video as a creative hobby? It gives you a terrific excuse to get out of the house and explore what’s in your city.
Below: from a few months ago at the Gazelle Valley in Jerusalem which made for an interesting place to play around with lighting and white balance settings.
After hearing so much about them — and realizing that stabilization is an important part of video-making — I picked up a DJI Ronin SC gimbal while on a recent trip to the US.
Sourcing the component required a freakish amount of determination and sent me down a protracted rabbit hole that involved writing to manufacturers, speaking to suppliers in the Far East, and connecting with other hobbyists with the same camcorder.
I visited virtually every camera store in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv trying to find a place that would sell me a gimbal. Ultimately, B&H in NYC came through. It’s a great tool and I have a ton still to learn about it. Below: the gimbal with the Ulanzi claw grip. An interesting demonstration — for me — of how Chinese merchandise is taking over e-commerce.
Discovering Kosher Ghost Pepper Sauce in Texas
My recent trip to the US (purpose: visiting family) covered four cities: NYC; Storrs, CT; Wellfleet, MA; and Dallas, TX.
What started out sounding like a long three week itinerary ultimately ended up feeling quite rushed.
Visiting Dallas, I found two things that I believe would make consumerism that much more enjoyable in Israel:
- The provision of ghost pepper sauce (kosher certified)
- Endless aisles packed full of craft beer and cider
For the first, we need to look no further than Melinda’s who produce a wonderful ghost pepper sauce that also happens to be kosher-certified. Melinda’s and I are in touch. Although I’m not sure that my please to totally buy their hot sauce are going to be enough to swing them over to sell to Israel.
Alas, during my very overly-rushed last minute packing I left my provision behind in Dallas. To say I regret doing so would be an understatement. The fiery aftertaste of ghost peppers would take this drafting process to the next level (and beyond).
(To learn more about Melinda’s check out their site here. On my to-do list for this week: see if there are any Israeli hot sauce makers, especially those that produce sauces that the top end of the Scoville scale).
… And Craft Cider
There’s been much talk about the growth in the craft cider (or ‘hard cider’) category over the past number of years.
Personally I’m a big fan. Although I tend towards the dry to very dry end of the taste spectrum (I also like 100% chocolate so … there’s a trend, or a trend to buck it).
This was another domain in which those of you across the Atlantic (and, from me, Mediterranean) seem to excel in.
I also noticed that Texas seems to have vibrant food scenes for locally produced products in key product catchments. Supermarkets take pride in supporting locally-produced products.
I found an abundance of locally produced ciders for sale in liquor stores — especially in Spec’s which is sort of a gigantic alcoholic warehouse. I also found an abundance of craft hot sauces produced by local chilli growers in both Texas and even Cape Cod.
At 8.5% ABV Bishops Cider’s Nectar certainly packed a punch. But I thought it was delightfully tangy. I also discovered Untappd while in the US. Feel free to follow me there!
At 32, I Finally Purchased My First Suitcase
Even at 32 (I’m still 32, right!?!?!) there are little moments of transition that signify the ongoing journey from being a high school student to being a fully grown adult with bills to pay and obligations to meet.
One of those is using luggage that you actually picked out and bought yourself on an a trip to another country.
Dear kindly disposed benefactor, please buy me these things from Amazon
A blog post I’ll keep on hand in the highly unlikely event of meeting a well-disposed benefactor in the early hours of…
Such a growth moment was unexpected foisted on me when the suitcase I was travelling with to the US began falling apart at just about the worst possible moment: while on the train to the airport.
Thankfully, I quickly switched into Amazon mode (the mental association between ‘USA’ and ‘Amazon Prime’ runs strong in me). There, I found a 28 inch hardcase suitcase which I had quickly dispatched to a hotel in New York City (the pandemic has hit Amazon hard and delivery and inventory options were greatly narrowed).
While my credit card bill will be tear-inducing and though you may find me eating rice and beans for the next few months (those will not be featured here), I secretly always harbored a desire to own a decent suitcase.
Samsonite wouldn’t have been my top choice–there are niche manufacturers that make really study baggage but finding stuff that would ship in time was a challenge. But it’s still amazing to have a suitcase to call my own.
Speaking of things to call my own, I picked up a few other delightfully random items while in the US:
- An emergency LED roadside flare kit to stick on your car (or hand) in the event you need to call for help.
- An insanely bright tactical flashlight that I’m not entirely convinced is legal to own.
- And a portable monitor and clip-on laptop light to make it more convenient to work from anywhere in the world.
Speaking of purchases, I had to muster every ounce of responsibility to prevent myself from ordering airplane marshaling sticks which I’m certain will make a fantastic Purim costume accompanied by a hi-vis vest.
Unfortunately they fell foul of my criteria that things have to be at least somewhat practical to spend money on them (so did a cowboy hat). Using them as guerilla implements to capture the attention of wait staff at bars sadly didn’t cut it — although I’m certain they (or a megaphone) would be fantastic for that purpose.
But the best purchase of the trip (which is very practical) was undoubtedly this gigantic 50L backpack which is the first backpack I’ve ever owned that can actually fit what I need it to and which will replace the 10 year old thing I’ve been lugging to meetings for the past decade (first impressions and all that).
So as not to be mistaken for an affiliate marketer, I’ll leave you only with the photo. But search for “large 50L backpack” on Amazon and you’ll find it or something very similar.
They may be TSA-approved, but I’d definitely check your airline’s carry on size limits before attempting to bring this on an aircraft. It holds so much that it would be easy to blow through a budget carrier’s weight limit — and it can comfortably expand beyond a small size. There’s even a little USB line so you can stick a power bank in the backpack and charge your peripherals on the outside.
I Also Began Learning The Science And Craft Of Maximizing Airline Baggage Allowances
Here are some very random things I learned about luggage and travel accessories during this trip.
If I ever do become a digital nomad road warrior — or you do — then these tidbits should be handy:
- 62 linear inches is about the biggest suitcase you can get into stow on most airlines. That’ll be 28 inches on most suitcases, although you can find larger on the market (they just won’t necessarily be accepted).
- There’s a whole world of outstandingly rugged luggage out there built by specialist companies, most of which I had never heard of before researching this. Check out the Pelican Air range if you’re interested in owning a suitcase you can drive over or throw off a bridge (without your stuff breaking, needless to say).
- The 25KG luggage limit most airlines enforce is actually more about a safe manual handling limit than anything to do with the weight and balance of the aircraft. This is why many airlines will turn a blind eye while you find creative ways to stuff ridiculous things into your carry on luggage. It’s the same weight. But it’s less likely to cause a compo claim (or maim) baggage handlers. (Thanks to /r/travel for this particular tidbit).
- Packing cubes are possibly the greatest travel accessory ever invented. There’s not even a remote chance I would have made it back with the items I picked up if I hadn’t learned about their existence on the last leg of the trip.
If you want to take Amazon consumerism to its most depraved excesses, consider purchasing “please place your package here” and delivery signage from Amazon to help Amazon couriers deliver more packages to you.
(The true diehards will deploy their LED flares at night-time also. Actually, maybe don’t do that.)
I Found An Israeli-Made Spirit That’s Cheaper Outside of Israel…
Hardly surprising, but add Tubi 60 to the long list of Israeli-made products that can be found for less money … out of Israel.
I love Tubi 60 (think of it as tasting something like a citrusy cleaning product).
But it’s majorly disappointing to know that Israel is so overpriced that even products that are made in the country are cheaper across different continents.
I Made A Few Short Videos While On The Road
It was a rush to try to figure out how to calibrate and use the DJI Ronin SC in the couple of weeks I had over in the US.
But I tried to get to grips with the tool and made a few short videos.
I Checked Out A Bar In NYC Where They Tell You To Be Quiet
Minus the camera accessory, there wasn’t anything I particularly wanted to see in New York City.
Instead I met up with a couple of friends that moved to the city over the last couple of years.
I also turned to Reddit (/r/AskNYC) to try figure out some obscure places to visit in the City. As they don’t require much time to visit and tend to be open late, I figured that bars would be low hanging fruit.
New York City’s finest Redditors told me that the really weird bars have sadly all but vanished. This apparently happened around the time the city was cleaned up. Although you can still find a Ukrainian dive bar and institutions where the bartenders have been known to pass out while on the job.
However — thankfully and despite the pandemic — Burp Castle is still doing its weird thing on E 7th Street. Which is sort of enforcing a weird code of quiet and confronting customers who speak too loudly.
Perhaps I’m just too old and grumpy, but the dignified near silence interrupted only by the white noise of a fan was startlingly interrupted by some very un-silent late night bar-goers.
While our bartender was friendly in an oddly and unnaturally quiet sort of way, I was disappointed that he took a full 10 minutes before summoning the courage to eject his first “shush” in their direction.
The fabric of our shared moment of serenity had been ruptured — every decibel emanating from the troupe a verbal dagger sullying the fake monastery surroundings with its auditory pollution. Why did he take so long? Were we not united in quietness — bound without uttering a word? I am left only speculating.
I will (hopefully) be back. While making little noise.