Travel Gear: Austin, Texas Edition
Watch the full video above or read the lightly edited transcript below.
Ah Austin. Home of boots, home of the blues, home of bats under bridges. In this special TRAVEL edition of Stuff Adam Likes, we take a look at the people and places of Austin, Texas (all while trying to Keep Austin Weird). And of course, we’ll explore and review some of my favorite travel gear with tips and tricks along the way.
Allbirds Tree Runners in the Wild
Ok, there’s a lot of stuff to talk about, so let’s get to it! First off, let’s take a look at the Allbirds Tree Runner shoes. As promised in my Tree Runners unboxing video, I wanted to do a follow up review after I had a chance to really test them out in the wild. I wore them to the office several days a week for a couple weeks in a row, and they were super comfy and I got tons of compliments. But I wanted to put them through their paces (literally) and see how they held up after a full weekend of travel. In total I walked about 20 miles in them on various types of terrain.
Allbirds Tree Runners Review
So, what’s my final verdict? Is this Stuff Adam Likes? The answer is…YES!
However, I do want to separate my recommendation out by use case. In my opinion, these are fantastic everyday shoes for running around town in. Going to work, running errands, going for SHORT walks – I highly recommend the Tree Runners. BUT, and this is a big butt and I cannot lie, I would NOT recommend them if you’re planning to do a great deal (>2 miles) of walking. At the end of the longest day of filming where we logged 10 miles, the Tree Runners felt a little compressed. There is some visible compression marks you can see that weren’t there when I was only wearing them in casual use situations.
If you plan on exploring a city and being gone all day racking up the miles, my recommendation would be to go with a more traditional athletic shoe that is specifically designed to hold up under more extreme use cases – for example, the On Cloudflyers. In my mind, this doesn’t really take away from what the Tree Runners (and their Wool Runner cousins) do really well, which is being extremely comfortable and eco-friendly through and through, something that most athletic shoes can’t say.
Traveling with the eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack
Moving on, let’s talk about the eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack.
I won’t spend a ton of time going over all its features and why I like it so much – I’ve already written a full review.
I will say here that it’s greatest asset is also it’s greatest weakness – the extremely slim design of the bag is fantastic if you don’t need to carry a lot of stuff around with you, but, um, as you might guess, I like to carry around a lot of stuff with me.
Basically I had a panic moment as I was packing for this trip – the original camera and lens protective bag (the Tenba BYOB 10) I bought specifically to keep my most expensive gear safe in my carry-on literally did not fit in the backpack.
Camera Bag Emergency
Of course, my first thought was – I wonder if Amazon Prime Now can deliver something in the few hours I have left before I need to head to the airport. But instead, I did something unthinkable – almost unimaginable – I went to Best Buy. GASP. It’s true, I went to a brick and mortar store hoping they would have some camera bags. And BY GOLLY did they ever.
I actually ended up with a couple little bags that I really like and can use in various applications beyond just this trip, both by Lowepro: the Adventura SH 120R II and its smaller counterpart, the Adventura SH 110R II. But the most important thing about them was – they fit in my eBags backpack! The day was saved!
Still My Favorite All-Around Backpack
So why does my love affair with the eBags backpack persist even though I’ve had to go to extraordinary lengths to make it work? It’s simple. It looks cool and clean while meeting my needs most of the time. I did however order a camera backpack as soon as I got home – I’m sure that will show up in another video somewhere down the road :).
Moment Lenses: Essential Travel Photo Gear
Finally, let’s talk about Moment lenses, available for all major smartphones. If you want to take travel photography, or any sort of smartphone photography, to the next level, you’ve got to take a serious look at Moment.
So much more than some of the clip-on lenses you might have seen around the interwebs, Moment offers a complete system for smartphone photography. First, you’ll need to buy a special case for your phone, which they make for most major newer model phone brands.
Lenses That Take Smartphone Photos & Videos to the Next Level
Next, Moment offers a great assortment of different lenses depending on the type of photography you’re interested in, from Wide Angle to Telephoto to Anamorphic to Macro to Superfish – they’ve got pretty much all the bases covered for almost any type of photography or videography you want to do with your smartphone. I brought the Wide Lens 18mm and Tele Lens 58mm with me on this trip, as those two cover most of my needs.
The phone case and lenses give you a true “Interchangeable Lens System” – it’s fast and easy to swap different lenses out depending on the shot you’re trying to get. I’ll give a couple examples from this trip to show you what I mean and how you might use them on your trips.
Moment Wide Lens: Take it All In
First example: I was inside the Texas Capitol Building and wanted to get a shot of the dome looking up and then the floor below. The standard wide lens on my iPhone XS was ok, but not wide enough to capture what I wanted, which was the scale of the dome itself and that whole circumference. Here’s a comparison of the same shot without then with the Moment Wide Lens. Really helped to capture the subject better.
Get the Full Picture
Same thing looking down at the floor – the standard iPhone lens wasn’t wide enough – it was cropping out details that I wanted to include to show the whole circular area and floor design. Pop on the Moment Wide Lens, and BAM there you go! Pro-tip: the Wide Lens is also great for Group shots / selfies when you are trying to fit a bunch of people in the frame at once.
How to Solve a Common Travel Photo Challenge
Heading outside the Capital Building, I noticed a fountain that I wanted to get some slo-mo video of. I hoped to get some birds flying in and away from it which always looks cool in slo-mo. The problem was that with even the telephoto lens on the iPhone XS (telephoto is just a fancy word for a more zoomed-in lens, if you’re not familiar with the terminology), I would have to choose between being further away from the subject so I wouldn’t scare the birds and have less good composition (i.e. there would be a lot of extraneous detail in the scene that would make the shot seem too busy and lose focus on the fountain / birds). Or I could choose to move closer and risk never getting a cool bird shot and have better composition, which wouldn’t matter if it’s just a fountain in slo-mo, not that interesting.
Bring Far Away Subjects Near with the Moment Tele Lens
The solution? Pop on the Moment Tele lens! Telephoto lenses are designed to make further away objects appear closer, so I was able to stand far enough away so the birds weren’t afraid to stop by, but it still looks like I’m standing right next to it. Pretty cool! There’s so many different applications for this – parades, nature photography, concerts – pretty much any time when you physically can’t get closer to your subject but want a nice tight shot, the Moment Tele will be your best friend.
Moment Pro Camera App: Bring Pro Level Controls to Your Smartphone
To round it out, Moment does offer an app called Pro Camera available for both iOS and Android phones (just search your App Store and you’ll find it easily). This app gives you full Manual control over your photos, lets you shoot in RAW, focus peaking and a lot more good stuff. I like how you can select which lens you are shooting with in the app and it automatically applies that lens profile to the photo, correcting some distortion and making editing a little easier. So that’s Moment for you!
That’s All Folks
Hope you enjoyed this look at Austin and some of my favorite travel gear of late. If you appreciated this, it would mean the world to me if you shared this with someone you think would benefit from it! Thank you for your time and attention.