Al Mcleod Roney

So it’s my turn to ‘drop’ a pre-trip opening blurb – let’s start with an intro.

I’m Al Roney.

Now we’ve got that out of the way, here’s some personal links:

I have a Flickr;

I have an instagram;

And I have a blog;

Like (I suspect) most people, Japan is a country of endless fascination for me – a largely homogenous society with a distinct culture that, whilst retaining all the trappings of western-like comforts, still strikes me as an alien world – this is what attracts me to it.


Since this seems to be a theme of the previous two intro posts, here’s how I’m packing;

I’ve become a bit of a bag snob as I make a mid-life thrust upwards into middle class – for this trip I’m packing the following;

  • A Côte&Ciel ‘Isar’ rucksack (for all non-electronics)
  • A Peak Design ‘Everyday Messenger’ (for all electronics)


Côte&Ciel ‘Isar’


You know you’ve given up fighting the hipster flu when you start importing your clothes bags from Paris for exorbitant sums. I could try and fashion a rationale as to why I went to these ends to buy a bag, but I’m a sucker for the beautiful shots within reviews on the ‘minimally minimal’ blog, – it is worth noting, however that this bag is insanaely practical – half laptop/messenger, half duffle bag. And it looks as good as it is practical, which is half the battle. In here will be all clothing, medicines, toiletries etc – this will also be the bag for the hold, as Emirates (our carrier) has strange ratios of what weight you can take onto the plane (7kg), and what you can place in the hold (30kg).

Peak Design ‘Everyday Messenger’


This was definitely a practical over aesthetic concern, as half of the joy of this trip will be the photographic opportunities that will surely present themselves, and the last thing I want to come between myself and Japan is a poorly designed bag – this one is perfect as it will house 2 cameras, four lenses, an iPad Pro & space for other items like a mini printer, batteries, cards etc. There’s also space left over for non-photographic items like money/passports etc and most handily, a mac in a sac. This will be my carry on luggage


Leica Q

I love this camera – fixed lens 28mm f1.7 that’s ultra fast to use, silent (leaf shutter) and is beautifully manufactured, too – it’s such a beautiful piece of engineering that it begs to be used; countless times I’ve sacrificed a perfectly good Sunday on the couch, such is the draw of this camera and an afternoon exploring Glasgow (one of many examples here; – an example of aesthetics with purpose. This will be my main camera for the trip

Fujifilm X-T1

Support act to the Q will be the X-T1 – a more utilitarian option – whereas the Q has a minimal interface, this wears it’s (numerous) configurations on its sleeve. This will serve for some of the more esoteric lens options. I will be pairing this with:

  • Fujinon XF 56mm f1.2 – Longer, ultra fast lens
  • Fujinon XF 14mm f2.8 – wide angle for all that architecture
  • Fujinon XF 35 f1.4 – I’m debating leaving this at home
  • Samyang 8mm f2.8 – obscenely wide fisheye

(optional) Sony RX100 mkII

This has a 200mm option at the long end of the lens, which might come in handy – but three cameras (as small as they all are) might just be overkill – I’ll make a call on this one on the day of travel


Apple iPad Pro + Apple Pencil

I have the 12.9 inch version of the iPad Pro, and love it to bits. Like Stephen, I hummed & hawed over taking the MacBook Pro, but weight/size/battery life all weighed in favour of the iPad Pro – on it are stored various editing apps (my workflow revolves around Snapseed into VSCO (+ SKRWT, when converging lines need ‘corrected’)). I also have a myriad of synths on it, and I’m tempted to pick up a we Korg Nanokey midi keyboard to keep me interested fiddling on the synths on the flight out/back.

FujiFilm Instax SP1 printer + films

This takes photos wirelessly from either the camera or phone, and prints out wee polaroid style images – this will almost certainly come in handy over our travels



Like a more cogent Ozzy Osbourne, I’ve a fascination with WWII & also The Third Reich – I’m halfway through William Manchester’s ‘The Last Lion’ (on the Kindle), recounting the early days of Churchill. In parallel, I’m about a quarter way through the 42 hour opus ‘The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich’ by William L. Shirer (via Audible on the iPhone) – a brusque retelling of the subject from the 1950’s by an American journalist who was working in Germany until 1941, and subsequently had access to the Allies archives up until publishing. I’m probably going to avoid flaunting these pieces whilst bullet train-ing around Japan, but they should pass the not insubstantial hours getting there.


That’s what I’m taking, underwear aside. I’m not a huge one for writing, so most subsequent posts will be pictures – Stephen & Grace will provide both the words & images. We fly out in about 14 hours, so next entry will be from Japan. Until then, sayonara.



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