Photography for Fun and no Profit besides my own

So this post is about cameras and not so much about travel or vagabonding. I have a few interests in my every day retired life. One is to make every attempt at getting over 12k steps done each day and I have been pretty good. The second is to take my FujiFilm X100F camera with me and blaze new frontiers. The last or maybe the first is to simply enjoy life, drink the beer, eat the food, and remind myself every day that this is not travel.

In the interests of the camera and what I do with it, I have been messing with a variety of customization options and since I’m new I tend to do research online to find more experienced people that may have done the same thing. I’ve come to find out that there are a number of things particular to the Fuji X Series cameras which need testing and experimentation. The first are the film simulations. There are over 7 I believe and some have multiple options like Standard, Red, Yellow, Green. I cannot possibly test on all of them so I narrowed down my choices to two and I based this on the quality of the images. The two I like on the Fuji X100F are:

  1. Classic Chrome
  2. Acros

Both bring you back to the film days one way or the other. Classic Chrome has this wonderful look to it that to me is made for daily exploration in a city with vibrant colors. Acros on the other hand is a black and white simulation but it has this funky look and it has four options to try that each have different use cases. I’m sticking with Acros Standard and Red for now.

Then there are a whole slew of customization options and here is where the rubber meets the road. Its easy to go bat shit crazy and find whole bunches of different options to try. The customizations are:

  1. Noise Reduction
  2. Sharpening
  3. Shadows
  4. Highlite Tones
  5. Color

You can see the problem, right? Too may options and every photographer has a set of favorite changes. The problem is when you see their images and you do the changes rarely do you get a similar look. What to do? I decided. I went back to a resource I use which is a book written by Dan Bailey on the Fuji X series cameras. I basically reset them all to defaults since I was getting frustrated and the quality of the photographs were starting to flag and the fun of the whole thing was going down the drain. Photography is not a job for me. Its supposed to be a fun adventures where I learn, test, try, record and save. Yet all these settings frustrate me. I decide to try yet another set of customizations and then I’m calling out in pain so to speak. So I visit Dan’s ebook for help. The help is reset all of them to 0 and start with the basics. The next thing to learn is Exposure Compensation since most of us shoot in Aperture Priority mode anyways. This has an immediate affect on what you see in real time. Darken, lighten. Make immediate choices and see the results.

These other settings I have decided are important but I will only go after two of them. One is Highlight and the other is shadow. If I use them, I will want to build this subtle S curve in the camera. One either turns down or up the highlights and the other turns up or down the shadows.

Now that is an achievable target. Not 5 or 6 of them. Enough to test with. Lets first get the basic stuff working and learn the two film simulations better. Then lets learn the direct effect of Exposure Compensation. Then lets start with the settings that can change the images by adding or removing shadows or highlight tones. This is achievable. Reading settings that Fuji Pro’s use is not. I will never be able to duplicate nor would I want to their settings. What I really need is my own style so I created one.

My style I dub “Urban Photography”. I want to take pictures of people, buildings cars, parks, trees, historic sites, whatever but I want them to be done with my settings so they are marked as mine. I also do not want to edit RAW files or shoot in JPEG+RAW. Its too much damned work and I don’t want to sit around and edit files that have all the color simulations pulled out that I am so carefully learning. So the uses of Lightroom or Affinity Photo or Photoshop go away except to perhaps minimally edit the JPEGs.

Fun then comes back and life becomes better for my goals. I get to enjoy the photography and the walking and not deride myself that I cannot create an image in the likeness of some Fuji master. I am not a master nor do I want to be. I want to create images I save and share and perhaps are somewhat good. But, in the end, they are my images.

If you do photography, what are your goals? Do you have your own style or approach? Do you shoot in RAW format and then edit the photographs in Lightroom?

I think each of us has a style or approach or a knowledge thing we want with something. Whether it was before making projectile points from Edwards Plateau Chert or now shooting photographs in Hanoi. We cannot emulate the masters or our work is not our own. And the fun goes out and is most likely replaced by misery. Misery which my ex-wife would tell me is “optional”.

Glue for my Travels

Working my way back to using Ulysses for blog posts. I use it for all else pretty much. Since it runs on my Mac laptop and iPhone it becomes much easier to start a post and then pick it up on the Mac later in the room.

A lot of my posts are about the travel and photography and the philosophy of it all. You need glue too. Glue keeps all the little parts together and lets me share across devices in just about real time. Glue allows the start of an idea or thought and decide what I want to turn it into. Blog post, article or story I will publish, or amplify into a diary post.

It’s hard to have glue if the adhesive comes in all different containers. I’ve tried before to move off the tool. It changed to a subscription model so I tried Byword. I tried Day One for Journals. Nothing works when it’s all in pieces. Byword has the components but not the organization or integrated model of groups and sheets and document management. It’s a push for me to adopt it.

No matter what though I think when you hit the road and want to chronicle the life ways you need a central repository. It’s the place where ideas spring forth and travel plans are kept. It’s central idea is the home for your words. Long, short, bullets or free form. Find a thing that can give you the power to create and use it.

It could be Google docs as well. It has power across platforms. This Ulysses thing to me though has a central essence that is missing in all else. Perhaps it’s power or control or freedom.

What do you use as that central tool to help you track and manage the moments, creativity, plans of your life? If on the Apple ecosystem check out Ulysses. If not, google documents is very powerful.

All in all, it makes the travel easier to manage and quickly capture ideas that are then presented back to me in my room at night. Ideas are good. Capturing them and getting a workflow is key.

One other note…

I am not satisfied or happy with how the accounts and storage space are computed on wordpress.com. There is no way to upgrade storage only and I have raised a support question. I will not upgrade to a business account to pay for a storage upgrade. Photo’s take a lot of room and yet there is no way to share photos with google photos which is my chosen photo management utility since it has applications and easy sharing to facebook, twitter, and google plus. I don’t like just posting links.

If I do not see a path by December to upgrade the storage, I will be forced to leave for . self-hosted wordpress.org solution on DigitalOcean. I mention this because wordpress.com has no real plan on upgrading storage only while keeping us on the same overall plan. That’s not good if you write a lot, upload lots of images, etc.

I won’t do a business plan for my blog so by December I view the time and space I have to be dwindling to a point where I have to make a choice. I’m calling on you WordPress to make storage available by itself so we can upgrade as we need. Capturing and sharing photographs is a primary thing I like to do. I have no qualms about downloading my backup/export file and moving to DigitalOcean and installing wordpress from scratch. I don’t really want to leave the wonderful community here and I enjoy reading all of your blogs. WordPress is not supporting those of us who are photographers or image editors whatsoever though.

I’ll wait and see and then comment on this post when I hear something. I want to continue sharing my travels here but I won’t just hop and skip through different plans. Storage should be a cheap upgrade without changing the plan itself.

Update:

Hi all. I have a few options on wordpress.com which I don’t believe will work. I can upload my photos to another site like flickr. I take on the average of 100 photos a day and I only share a few out of concern of storage space. Then I would have to consider what my cost would be to upgrade to the business plan. That would be almost twice the cost and I would then have features I would never use.

So, long story short; wordpress.com is not going to work after about December when I reach about 70% of available space. I am going to migrate the domain to a self-hosted installation on a cloud provider by end of the year instead of renewing my account.

When I first started the blog here on wordpress.com, it seemed then it would be a great deal for me to ease back into blogging. What has happened is that now I am traveling with new demands especially for sharing photography. I could see uploading 20 to 50 photographs a day from my camera and sharing. At that rate, 13gb of space will go rather quickly but 80gb of data will last me awhile and then I can simply buy more storage.

I think for the  majority of people that the personal account is good if you share a few things every so often. I’ve faced the same issue before with hosted providers and have stopped at one place and then moved to another. I really like the community here but the travel and the photographs have demands that I don’t mind paying for if there is a path to pay for it.

I can re-point the mikesplaces.blog domain to my own registrar at google domains pretty easily and then bring up wordpress. You may never run into issues but I have plans for this blog in serving up my photography on a daily basis.

Thanks to you all for following me and reading along as I go through Asia slowly. I have some months before moving things but now I know there is not a path forward at wordpreess.com besides buying the business service for which I would only use the storage.

 

Does your camera offer fun?

I imagine from the Nikon’s and Sony’s and the other cameras around Hanoi that photography is an important thing. People invest money in lens and bags and camera bodies. Then they invest more in time in learning how they all work. I watched a guy today overloaded with camera gear as his wife wanted another lens from a bag he was carrying. He hunts through the camera bag and meanwhile misses a hundred interesting street moments. He finds the lens and his wife snaps one off and the other on and puts the old one back in the poor guy’s bag. I kinda wonder how all this works. I don’t have a camera with a prime lens and a body and all the stuff. How does one do it all? Isn’t that bag kinda heavy and you always have lens envy? What happens when you want a shot that’s in a moment and the moment soon disappears? I am not chiding the significant number of people carrying big gun lens and cameras. No. And I am not deriding or lowering their abilities. I’m sure they shoot better than me with all that gear.

I travel light you see. My gear is a FujiFilm X100F camera which fits into a smaller bag and lets me get the street or urban shots I want. But here is the main thing. Its fun! Let me tell you how. Fuji included film simulations on the camera and different enhancement possibilities with color, shadow, etc. One can dial in a new film simulation but then also start changing default shadow, color, sharpness. A single shot can take on multiple personalities. One can go out in a day in Hanoi and practice a single thing. Like today I started shooting with the Astia simulation but then bumped color and shadows to +2 for the halibut. Suddenly the shots got sharper with deeper colors and it was…

Fun!

Fun because you can change the elements of the camera and make it do things that are fun and strange and weird. It makes a day out with the camera an exploration of a film simulation and then more fun with the different effects you can dial in. So its not just the photography which may be serious or not; its the fun of trying new things. Here’s a few I did today of the Astia, Classic Chrome. and Provia simulations with different sharpness and color at +2. I shot a few at the Hanoi Historic Water tower with various settings.

Notice the subtle changes in color? I had moved up color to +2 and sharpness to plus +2 and I was shooting with the Astia film simulation. No matter what, its fun. The camera is fun folks.

Now I’ll share some others with the settings changed here and there around Hanoi.

As I looked at the JPEGs, its dawned on me. I don’t need Photoshop or Lightroom. I have these special film simulations that the good folks at Fuji gave me and I have the Q button to change different sharpness and contrast settings.

I don’t own a Nikon or Sony or something. I have this FujiFilmX100F. I’m curious if the other cameras with the bags of lens and filters and what not are fun. Do those cameras have these different custom settings which can effect how the JPEG rolls out?

For me, its a difference of night and day. I go out each day and experiment and have fun with this camera. I keep all the photographs and upload them to Google Photos. Some good. Some not so good. Its all in the learning.

In the learning and in the fun.

On the learning trail with the Fuji X Series Camera

For awhile back in the states I kinda stopped learning and using the camera. I just ran out of gas after 14 hour days on a single project that had its issues. I promised myself that once I retired I would begin anew.

The first thing I decided was that I needed to start learning the camera again but I wanted to start with some known qualities. I have always enjoyed good black and white photography and the FujiFilm X100F plus a large number of other Fuji cameras have some excellent film simulation modes to play with or learn with. Learn with and play with :-).

I have over 125 photographs just from today wandering over Hanoi’s French Quarter south of Hoan Kiem Lake trying one set of custom settings. I am going to copy those over to my external drive and will share some but it was so good to get back to learning. The camera is a fun and funky little thing and you can find a baseline thing to try by setting out or looking at others that have done similar. I wanted to find someone that had used the Acros+Red simulation and had some sage advice on what they used. So I found an interesting site by Tom Grill here which shows how he manipulated the Acros+R simulation and got some interesting results. Now I had a baseline to start with.

What I wanted were buildings and sky and I liked the older architecture and style so I headed out this morning with the camera to play. I will share the photos in a subsequent post but the main thing here is getting back to playing. I take photographs for my own enrichment and learning so I keep everything unless its something I have a multiple of. I have a 2tb drive which I am going to start using to record my moments again. I also back everything up to Google Photos.

Now with one day of play under my belt and having sweated most of the day out doing my other goal which is to go over 10k steps each day, I found fun and profit on the trail with the camera.

I don’t think you can have this much fun or at least I cannot with a smartphone camera. I need something which lets me make mistakes, learn, re-apply learning. The Fuji X camera is just so perfect for the novice in me.

Thanks to Fuji for building a fun and funky camera easy to travel with, fun to learn, and a great and able recorder of events. Highly recommend you find a camera if you are so inclined. I can get my steps in each day and feel better plus engage with the outdoor world.

Content Creation on the Road

I’ve been working through how I create blog posts, journal entries, and notes about travel that I want to have easier access than gmail. I could create folders on my laptop to store the notes and stuff; but then how would I reach it from my phone. The main thing always is integration. You want the same stuff on the phone as on your laptop. You need some things.

  1. Cloud storage. Some kind of cloud storage that respects the laptop and the phone and that’s sane. I tried for awhile using a Linux virtual machine and I would ssh to it and do my stuff. This is not the same. Its not stateful. So I moved on to Evernote for awhile. Evernote appeared to take care of the cloud storage and sync thing well. Then they decided to raise the ante on the subscriptions and lower things. I would have probably paid but it kinda made me decide to find something else. That leads me to point 2.
  2. Application that can handle your use case. Lets be fair here. My use case is your faux pas. My solution is your problem. My choice of platform is your hatred. To be fair, I moved off from Android to IOS and a MAC laptop not because I love the platforms. A better reason was the security and updates. I get updates to my phone and MAC as they’re released. But the main thing was a killer application that would meet my needs. So what are those application needs? They are the ability to maintain state, the ability to use a cloud solution (point 1 above) and the ability to create files in clear text. Clear text or markdown is the ultimate in portability. i create documents in clear text and use an application to apply markdown to it. if i have to bail on the solution, the files are still just clear text. There are many apps so I won’t go so far as to recommend one. I will suggest that you look at Byword or Ulysses on both IOS and MAC. I use Ulysses because it has this sweet document and library management credo. But if you want to get straight to writing, go for Byword. Remember the other thing; Portability. The apps must exist on all your platforms. This is  a big thing to integration folks.

So when you bring it all together on a Sunday evening after some beers and a bowl of pho and fresh spring rolls, you get a both 1 and 2. You get 1 and 2 in complementary interfaces. My journal and my travel notes and attachments of image or pdf files are all there. I can create a workflow if I want to bring things in to an INBOX then circulate them around to groups or folders. But I don’t. I just create and abandon and cleanup and start it all again.

If you use Android, a similar functionality awaits you with Google Docs. It works just as well and in some ways better. I did this before using Google Docs and it was easy on an Android phone. But I left the platform awhile back for many reasons and not only the application and integration. I left because of security primarily and updates. I could buy a Samsung Galaxy S9 plus but what OS level and when would I get security patches. I travel to foreign lands. This is a big deal. What guarantee do I have that Samsung will release the patches that El Goog makes available. None. Nada. Zip. They can speak to it all each time but when I had a Galaxy S7 stuck on two release past; it does not instill a lot of trust.

I don’t like IOS and MAC. I would prefer to use a Pixel 2 and a chromebook. That crosses over a few boundaries. One is the killer app that will let me do all I want. Making a choice of an app based on an ecosystem may be dumb. But I wanted more. I wanted complementary applications that worked the same way. I wanted security. I wanted to believe that Apple would take care of my iPhone 7 plus and my Macbook 2017 12 inch. And they have. I still don’t like the platform.t

But it works for me. And it works for my choices and my two big reasons. Travel with the devices has been good. I had an iPad Pro 9.7 inch which I left at home. No real need for it.

Give it some thought and choose. It can be daunting to change but not impossible. Or if you keep everything in clear text, a piece of cake!

Two weeks in Hanoi

Well, I’ve been here in Hanoi for two weeks now. I’ve walked the city in a few directions, got lost, got found, relied on Google Maps only at the end, and found places where a beer tastes mighty damn good at the end of 13,000 steps. I feel like I have a regular regimen now about doing things. i rarely get going for the day before 11am or later and find a place for breakfast and coffee. I decide to take off in a direction and spend some hours walking in a variety of directions. Around 2pm I decide to generally head back because I like stopping for beers at 3 or 4pm. its not really difficult to navigate here because the “court of last resort” is Google Maps which will always get me back. If I did not have a data plan on my phone, things would be more drastic I think. l have not walked down every street here too many times, but I have found the streets that lead me back to Hong  Kiem Lake which is handy. One could get by with a static map but lets face it for a few bucks US you can get a data plan for your phone.

I’ve heard a few questions about how long I plan on staying. I got a 6 month multiple entry Visa here for a reason. I plan on staying in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City that long. That’s not to say I will not take side trips or tours in each place. In a few weeks I will go to Halong Bay for some days. Then after will go to Hoi An. I think people come to this using business travel as a yardstick. Business travel sucks. I have done it way too many times. You go to a place and the business dictates your stay. It tells you how long and where and what to do. In effect, you are at the beck and call of the company and its requirements. Long and slow travel is different. You decide the length and what you will do. Its not about how quick you an fly out and back and take care of the meetings. Its about finding your way in a city of mystery with an exotic nature and settling down. To live. Business travel is not about settling down to live. You chalk up the frequent flyer miles and Visa stamps. Done deal. You have a plan that is the company’s plan. It tells you your start and stop. You are simply along for the ride.

No dear friends. This is not like that. This travel unwinds slowly and you find things of value that are up to you. Its completely different. If you want to plan a RTW and mark of countries on a list, great. At the end you will have accomplished a thing. Not for me. I’ve done the business travel. It was great when I had it. Now this is different. This is moving in and finding out the joys and mysteries of Hanoi or Phnom Penh or wherever you set your course.

One friend did not get it. I think he believed I had to have a goal. So many places in so many days. Truth is I only have two stamps in my new passport. One for Japan and one for Vietnam. Life unfolds slowly. There is no webex calls to do. There is only the ebb and flow of Hong Kiem Lake and the people that are moving faster than me.

Traveling with Tech

I had written about this in a previous blogpost but I wanted to comment or update based on a bit of traveling and focus in on devices and gizmos that made traveling light easier. Traveling light is not only carrying one rollerbag by the way. Rollerbags are evil things meant to roll over feet in airplane aisles and be used as carry on luggage when obviously the bag is over the size limitation. No friends, traveling light is a travel backpack of carry on size. For me its the Tortuga Outbreaker bag. It has enough organization to keep me busy but not allow me to go crazy. So far the bag has taken me to Japan and Vancouver previously. The freedom of traveling carry on only means you never have to worry about lost baggage in checked luggage or having a bag checked all the way through as happened to me on Singapore Airlines going from SFO to Singapore and then to Chennai India. The company had made a slight logistical error and my baggage was held because the next flight was only hours away. Besides the point of already having flown 17 hours to get Singapore and having to board the next flight in hours; all my “real stuff” was in the checked baggage. Bummer. I learned from that point to never ever go checked luggage again.

But on to the real point here if there is one. What are the key tech ingredients for me that made the final cut?

  1. Macbook 2017 12 inch. A marvel of a laptop that weighs in at 2 pounds. Its meant for crowded flights and buses and light rails. Its responsive. Find a dongle and embrace the dongle life though. I have a dongle which takes power and memory cards and a variety of USB connections. it makes the whole thing easier.
  2. iPhone 7 plus unlocked. This has been great since I simply plopped in a NTT Docomo data Sim Card and now have 5gb of data to use up over my two weeks in Japan. I will find another great deal in Vietnam. I don’t need cell service to call and chat with people. Hangouts or Facebook Messenger work just fine. Be sure the phone is unlocked though. You can check using a service or call your stateside carrier. I bought a phone from Swappa that was verified unlocked and it was!
  3. The flexible FujiFilm X100F camera. This camera and the zoom and telephoto lens are so easy to pack. I wanted to learn more photography while in travel mode and the camera makes it possible to try different film simulations, manual shooting, fully automatic, or other variations on the same. My favorite uses of the camera are everything besides where I just use the iPhone because its easier. If you want a travel friendly camera buddy check them out. I could not see carrying some camera with a hundred lens and tripods and stuff bulging out of a bag that probably weighs 10 pounds. That’s just me though. I am a rank novice at this. Professionals require a different level of commitment and gear support I bet.

A final note here is about electricity in different places. Do you know your way around 110 to 240? Check those chargers before going. Most will say on them what they support. Be careful. Electricity is beneficial but it can ruin your whole day if mis-applied.

Finally… A Travel Note.

Today is a transit day for me. I get onboard the Nozomi Bullet Train from Hiroshima to Osaka for 4 days and do the same adventures one more time there. On Friday I fly out to Vietnam from Osaka airport. Big times ahead!

Sitting in my nice but slightly small room in Hiroshima sees me drinking some room coffee and eating some pastry bought on the cheap at the local convenience store. Its a great deal when the coffee is free and the breakfast cost me ¥208 total. That’s a few US dollars compared to what the hotel buffet would cost me. I make a rule to not buy beer in bars here nor do I buy for the most part expensive food. For dinner last night I had a large bowl of Katsudon for about ¥600. Probably my big meal out is lunch but this time I have also done dinner out a few times because of the food choices here. Japan can be quite expensive! One time in Kyoto, I had a single 12oz glass of beer and it cost me over ¥1000. Really? I bought 5 cans of beer in a Circle K for that much and took it back to the room. I also do dinner on the cheap here by buying instant noodles in a convenience store and cooking them in the room. Its not as romantic or exciting but I try to be conscious of the money that things cost here.

 

Tools and Writing

Creating content is a thing I’ve been interested in for awhile. Whether its starting a story or writing a journal or creating notes about my upcoming changes. Writing is both a creative thing and a relief thing for me. I standardized on the Apple tools including my MacBook and iPhone 7 plus because I wanted a consistent interface and tool that would hold all my writing. Instead of multiple environments, I find it easier to use one tool which I can adopt and adapt to for creation.

I went through a selection process before and evaluated a variety of tools and ended up with Ulysses on the Mac and IOS. Prior to me joining the fold, Ulysses changed from a classic model to subscription and there were a lot of people that left. Perhaps they went to something like Byword or another tool. I’ve tried Byword on the MacBook and while it has a very nice and pure writing environment, I’ve become spoiled on the organization that Ulysses provides. Byword is simply too freeform for me to create on. I want the library structure plus being able to theme the writing and editing panes the way I want. I also looked at how I can do a variety of writing and how well each tool handles it.

Simply put, Ulysses handles the type of writing I do better. My use case is spontaneous blogging, creation of a basic note in the Inbox with some ideas around a story, management of lists for traveling plus creating a complete folder based environment for places I am going. I also write rather freeform journals in basic text files. A year is one file with dates sprinkled throughout. I don’t want it searchable or indexable but I can search if I want. The journal is different than the blog in how I create content.

For the less structured needs, the ability to start a note or sheet using the Ulysses parlance and then split it off into a new one at my whim is very powerful stuff. Creating a list and moving it to iCloud and then being able to further edit on my iPhone creates a workflow I really like.

Traveling with the workflow

This is an area I am interested in exploring more. My idea is to start a basic set of information as a note in a folder I have created for 2018 Travel. The note may become a blog post or it may live in the travel folder I created. There are actions to be taken as I drill down the number of days until leaving. I want to journal and blog the trip I take but not let both rule my movements. As I have done before, I want to create the content and then select what blogging I will do.

When in Japan in about a month, I will visit three cities. The thing that ties it all together is the wonderful Shinkansen movements between them. I want a central place with the travel information so if I wonder where and when, Ulysses can tell me.

Past that, I have created travel folders for Vietnam and populated that with the travel information for my flight and train trip from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Some will become a blog post and others will live out time as a reference. Images and notes are also supported so I can capture the railroad ticket information by printing to PDF and attaching.

Taking it all to the Next Step

The next step is to create the stories and content for that writing. That can be explosive and subjective and full of malformed paragraphs and sentences. Its the ebb and flow of a process I use to create longer form information. None of it is suitable to share but one day my dream is to publish them on the blog as static content files. I don’t know how WordPress will deal with this. I do know from the creation point forward, its Ulysses for me.

Perhaps you have a different need on creation of stuff. I am still looking at tools but I love the interface and use of Ulysses to catalog, track, and create content. It gets out of the way when it needs to but gives me the structure I want for things that are more uniform.

There are rules for writing for me. One is some things have no rules and the tool must support that as well.

Traveling and Walking with Sound

Lately I’ve been looking at the portability of choices especially for listening to music on my travels. Bluetooth headphones are essential to me since having some cable that runs to an adapter on my iPhone is not ideal. Nor is a cable around my neck or between the earbuds. When I go walking for over an hour a day or like last night for two hours, I want something that can be easily used and then maintained afterwards. I’ve had cables snagged on tree or bush branches, got cables all twirled around in a mess, and had to carefully place expensive bluetooth headsets into a type C or micro USB cable to charge which just adds another thing to manage.

Since I’ve simplified to a two device footprint that are apple devices, I decided to go with these little guys.

There are a few reasons why these fit the bill for me. First off, they are easily transportable to the point of being able to be lost and I’ll cover that in a moment. Second they fit into the choices I made very easily since the case is a charger and the case takes a lightning cable which makes it fit inside a traveling ecosystem. Third off, the sound and pairing is excellent to my non-discriminating and audiophile ears and they do not pop out of my ears. Finally, no cables or distractions from actually listening to the music.

One of the points though is tracking and keeping these things. By themselves, I could see just losing track of them in a rush to pack or leave a coffee shop or something. I started looking for something to help me remember to pack or hook these to the inside of a daypack or my Tortuga Outbreaker. Enter the PodPocket case which comes in handy colors from my travel buddy Amazon here. The case I bought is the blazing red one like this.

The attraction thing is the color and the keyring and still maintaining the portability of doing the primary stuff with it. Simply place the whole thing in the daypack or pocket or attach via the keyring. I think its harder to lose a thing that is bright red and cries out for attention.

I’ve read others that downplay the audio quality and claim you have to carry another device for X or Y reason. I don’t see that. I listen to music with them on my iPhone 7 plus and I hear all the wonderful sounds. They seem to stay active with no cutouts and the quick maintenance and placement into a case is the best. Charging in the car is easy as well and I can quickly slip them into the case which charges them.

Perhaps they do not have some audiophile quality sound but these tech things are still emerging and how we use them is too. The AirPods are just a update to a bunch of cables and chargers and leave me feeling more productive and able to enjoy music faster. I am not real Apple lover but I chose the ecosystem because of the devices which do not take up space when traveling. Having the 12 inch 2017 MacBook and the iPhone 7 plus lets me go with things in a compatible technology. I can take or read notes on Ulysses on my iPhone or read a story that I have started working on.

The AirPods are just a generational leap forward and perhaps in a year there is something else better. For me, having a set of devices which link up by opening and store the configurations in iCloud mean an ease of travel.