How Platypod helped me minimize my gear while traveling with Jeff Wiswell

Words by Jeff Wiswell - A Platypod Pro
Edited by Eryka Bagwell

"Recently, my wife and our three kids (all under five years old) took an overnight flight to Lisbon, Portugal. We had a great time in Portugal, although getting there we had a few hiccups. Traveling from La Crosse to Amsterdam via Minneapolis with only one flight left, the airline gave away my seat to someone else — just my seat, of course. Prior to this seat-being-given-away episode, we had been awake for 22 hours and just raced across Schiphol Airport because of a short layover. When I say race, I mean fast walking with two or three of the kids in a stroller and 42 lbs of camera gear in my backpack."

"For this trip, I had four lenses, two Canon mirrorless bodies (an R5 and R6 II), an Insta360 X3, a Profoto A2 flash, two microphones (I had no use for even one mic), and two ball heads, among other countless accessories. That's not even counting my tripod in our carry-on. In the midst of this travel mayhem, I had an epiphany; the truth is, even though I brought all this stuff, I rarely used much of it while on past vacations. I decided at the airport that I would just stick to the essentials."

"After deciding on the right lens (I ended up bringing the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4) so between that and my RF 15-35 f/2.8, I had everything covered with two lenses instead of four."

"Before continuing, I should note that the photo above taken in the library, I was able to quickly affix my Platypod eXtreme onto the railing (avoiding the #TripodPolice) and snap a few photos without getting in trouble!"

"My next tool to pack was my tripod. I’ve already been moving away from using a traditional tripod since I discovered the Platypod about 4-5 years ago. I believe that compelling images show you the world in a way you’re not used to seeing it. When I use a Platypod, I can get the camera low while only using just enough room in my bag to fit an iPad mini and with something that weighs less than 10 oz. Apart from self-portraits and possibly using it as a light stand with the new Platypod Handle, my traditional tripod has almost become obsolete. I now only use my tripod if I absolutely have to. Even if it wasn’t so lightweight and portable, I’d still reach for my Platypod for the perspective that it provides.  Mainly, I want to show my viewers a world that they’re not used to seeing.  Most of the time, that involves getting as low as possible.  With regard to travel photography, I especially enjoy showing a city without people. I try to be at a location about 30 min before sunrise and enjoy long exposure photography. I find few things as peaceful as being alone in solitude in a place that is normally the busiest spot among the most populated cities in the world.  I also scout things ahead of time and have been much more focused on composition over the last few years, so I usually know where I’m going to shoot ahead of time. I often use the PhotoPills app to plan my approach."

"At the last minute, before leaving for the airport, I remembered a small sling bag Canon sent me with a new camera purchase recently and put it in our carry-on. As part of this airport epiphany, I decided to use only what I could fit into this bag the size of a small purse. Surprisingly, I was able to include the RF 15-35mm, Profoto A2 flash, a ball head, and my Platypod eXtreme with some ND filters."

The Results:
"I loved it! Limiting what I used allowed me to create better photos. Although, I didn't do as much architectural photography as I usually do (three kids under five), my work was better than anything I've ever done before! I also felt more empowered knowing I didn't have to take all these things on future trips." 

To read more about Jeff's Portugal Adventure click here. You can also view more of Jeff's work on his website.

Also, If you have a final image and behind-the-scenes (BTS) using your Platypod gear that you’d like to share with us and potentially be featured on our blog, social media and (potentially) monthly newsletter, please contact us via and/or