I had initially planned to head off to Austria for a week. But soon found myself looking further. I wanted snow, drama, colour, contrast and a wild landscape. And Austria just didn’t feel right for that. So Scotland it was!
To begin with, I recommend you click play, sit back and relax and enjoy the 3 episodes I shot in Scotland, then take a scroll further down to really soak up some of my favourite photos of the trip and find out more about the gear I took to capture them.
This trip was going to be one of those back-to-basics photo adventures. As little gear as possible, barely a plan, no client, no deadline, no pressure, just me and the windy little backroads of Scotland.
With the ‘Beast From the East’ arriving moments after I landed in Edinburgh I was in quite a rush to get further North. The car rental company thought they were giving me a 4×4 (Smart ‘For Four’ does sound convincing), but what actually is a RWD… anyway, I somehow managed to escape the chaos and never saw more than a few cm of snow on the entire trip. Just enough to layer the landscape in a magical layer of peaceful white.
Like I said, this trip was a back-to-basics trip for me and so was the gear. With the goal of capturing all photos of this one week road trip adventure with one single lens, the 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO I wanted to challenge myself.
It’s always nice to have all the best cameras and lenses at your disposal, but sometimes, too much gear can get in the way of creativity. So, equipped with the one lens, I set out to capture it all.
Little did I know that Scotland was going to be giving me everything! There’s something special about exploring Scotland at this time of the year. Barely any tourists, those snow capped peaks, frozen lochs and the yellow, dead grasslands sure make for a nice colour palette.
Below you can find a short list of the main locations I explored. Obviously, there were as many side trips, stops and explorations in-between those stops as I could fit in. Curiosity led me down countless dead-end roads and to places I would never have normally considered shooting. Being free like that truly was an amazing feeling!
- The Whangie
- Glenfinnan Viaduct
- Plodda Falls
- Old Man Of Storr
- Neist Point
- Fairy Pools
- Loch Cursaik
- Triple Buttress
- Torridon Area
I also had the great pleasure of meeting and shooting with woodland photographer Simon Baxter. He’s a total legend and I can’t wait to hang out with him again. We even sat down and recorded a bit of an interview/visual podcast together. Quite an interesting chat! Check it out here. Quite possibly the beginning of a new series: Photography Unplugged… we shall see 🙂
Most of my favourite shots ended up being away from the classics. Sometimes just a different perspective, other times a completely different location a short hike away from the ‘iconic spot’.
I suppose when you get away from the shots you’ve already seen before there’s no longer any pressure to match, compete or rival that existing shot. You’re truly creating for yourself and for the beauty of it.
Limiting my gear felt like expanding my creativity. But obviously, some gear was needed, and if you’re ever planning a 1-week adventure, or just don’t want to carry all that gear you think you might possibly need, below you can find my ultimate micro adventure packing list.
Besides one piece of equipment, I ended up using every bit of my packing list.
Here’s my packing list:
- 2x Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
- 1x. M.Zuiko 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO
- 1x M.Zuiko 12mm f/2
- 1x M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8
- 1x M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.2
- 5x batteries + 1x charger
- 1x Anker powerpack (21000mAh)
- 1x 15” MacBook
- 1x Manfrotto BeFree Live Tripod
- 1x Joby GorillaPod
- 1x Zhiyun Crane M Gimbal
- 1x Samsung T3 1TB SSD
- 4x Seagate 2TB drives
- 6x 64GB SD Cards
- 1x Røde Filmmaker Kit
- 1x Røde VideoMic GO
- 1x Olympus PT-EP2 Recorder
- 1x Rodenstock Variable ND Filter with adapter rings
- 1x Bose Quiet Comfort 20 Headphones
- cables etc.
For this short trip, it was crucial that everything I took would fit into a carry-on size bag. So my camera gear + clothing had to fit. As mentioned, I used my Fstop Gear AJNA for the job. It doesn’t like being too heavy and overpacked, but it did the job and no airline questioned the size or weight of the bag. It weighed around 12kg in total.
I have to be honest, I was quite nervous carrying on a tripod, but the customs were pretty relaxed about it all and let me through with it. I did pack it into the carry bag that it comes with as to not attract too much unwanted attention… but obviously, they saw it on the scanner. Anyway, it got through!
As for the Zhiyun Crane M: with the new Olympus 2.0 firmware on the E-M1 II the 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO has become even MORE stable. The ‘wobble’ from sensor stabilisation is close to non existent now. I ended up wishing I had left it out. None of the shots I did with it ended up in any episode. Yep, it’s all handheld or tripod! For some reason I’m not a big fan of the look of gimbal footage… it’s too stiff and mechanical, I much prefer the organic feeling the E-M1 II + 12-100mm give me.
I’ve been playing around with a glide cam too, but I’m not entirely convinced it travels that well, especially on carry-on trips only.
For this trip, I shot around 200GB of video footage + another 50GB of photos.
Every evening I offloaded the SD cards to my SSD + to the Seagate drive and formatted the SD cards for the following day. Check out my photography workflow video on my full backup workflow.
As mentioned, I shot and filmed everything with the 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO. With the exception being the shots where I was showing off the lens and how I was using it to capture photographs.
I will dedicate an entire video + article to this lens, as I think it deserves it.
For now: here are a few more results of that trip.
Enjoy, and let me know what you think in the comments below.