Editing on the road

A laptop and external harddrive for backup and storage are essential companions for the modern photographer. In this article, award-winning travel photographer Steve Davey shares his tips for travelling with a camera. 

Serious travel photography is always a balance between having the right equipment in your bag when you need it, and having to carry it all. Just as your photography can suffer if you are suddenly inspired to shoot star trails, but realise you have left your tripod at home, an entire trip can be ruined if you are so loaded down that travelling from place to place becomes all but impossible, and certainly unenjoyable. If your travels involve flights, then an artificial limit on gear will be placed on you by airline baggage limits.

As with many things in life, you have to aim for balance. This means evolving your kit so that you have everything you need, but without being weighed down.

This article is aimed at the serious, committed photographer, looking to improve their travel photography. It might be that you are on a photography tour, or travelling independently but with great photography as your primary goal. Hopefully I can convince you that there is one piece of kit you just can't leave behind.

A laptop computer can be invaluable when travelling, not only for viewing and editing images but also research and communication. Just make sure you back it up regularly, to avoid losing any precious images. 

When I am getting ready to run a photography tour, the main question that I am asked is whether people should take a laptop with them on their travels. My answer is usually an emphatic yes! Having a laptop is central to my reviewing and backing up strategy, and how I manage images on the road. It is also vital for learning about technique, and improving my own photography. As any professional photographer will tell you, you should always be improving your work!  

Backing-up images

Digital images are inherently ephemeral: they can effectively disappear into the ether and be lost forever. However, you can also make unlimited copies of them, so there is no excuse for ever losing a picture.

I make at least three copies before I will reuse a card. The first copy is made straight on to my laptop, and imported directly into Adobe Lightroom.  (This catalog of travel images is imported into the 'master' Lightroom catalog on my desktop system when I get home.) A second copy is made onto a LaCie Rugged drive using the built in Apple Time Machine software. I use Time Machine to back up the contents of the laptop's entire drive, not just the images. This way, armed with my laptop's original install DVD I can effectively restore my computer on the road if it becomes corrupted in any way.

The Hyperdrive Colorspace is a portable and very affordable backup device that can even run on AA batteries - useful for those occasions when you're caught away from a source of electrical power. 

My third and final backup is independent of the laptop – a direct copy of the card using a Hyperdrive Colorspace device. This is one of the cheaper models available and also has an adaptor that allows you to run it with 4 AA batteries when you are unable to recharge it.

It is wise not to keep all your eggs in one basket: keep one of these backups with you at all times, and the others safely locked in a hotel room.

The way that memory cards have dropped in price, it is possible to take enough cards that you never have to reuse one on the road. This would allow you to skip the third back-up, but I prefer having a smaller number of high quality cards, and reusing them, rather than stocking up on large numbers of cheaper cards. 

Editing your work

Many people see editing their work as a pointless chore, and go about it in a desultory and rushed fashion. 

When I'm editing, I look to throw away as many images as possible, because anything that gets through the editing process should be good enough to be used professionally. There is no point in keeping images that just don't work. All that you are doing is building up storage problems for yourself.

This is not done in an absolute fashion: sometimes a shot might not be technically perfect, but is still an interesting and important image with no alternatives, so I will keep it. Other times I might have 50 shots taken around a subject and so I might only keep the ten best ones that really work. 

Get used to reviewing images with the EXIF data showing so you can assess your technique as you edit.

A press photographer might tell you never to delete any pictures, in case a person subsequently becomes newsworthy. This might be the case if you are regularly photographing President Clinton shaking hands with unidentified interns, but culling twenty overexposed and out of focus shots of the Taj Mahal hardly counts as a Monica Lewinsky moment!

Wherever possible, try to edit your work when you are still on the road. This has a lot of advantages. On a simple level, you can avoid a massive backlog in images when you get home. I have recently returned form a trip to the mountainous region of Ladakh in Northern India with about 7500 pictures. This is an average of about 500 images a day.

I try to get through these every night. But if I am in an area away from a power source, I won't use the laptop for editing, just for performing backups. And the images do start to quickly pile up! It can also be tough in the summer in the Northern hemisphere when the nights are short: try to shoot sunrise and sunset, and you can only get a few hours off for sleep! 

If you edit without zooming to 100% then you can't properly check the focus of a picture. You run the risk of selecting what you perceive to be the better image, but throwing away the sharper of the two!

I always check focus at 100% before deciding which shots to delete. If you edit at anything less than this, you risk keeping the visually better shot, only to find that focus or camera shake renders the picture useless. This is especially true when editing portraits, where focus on the eyes is critical. I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and I find a good time-saver is to set the software running, and creating full-sized previews when I'm away from the computer. Once this is done, zooming images to 100% will take much less time. 

Zoom to 100% and you can see that in the image on the left the eyes are in focus but on the right they are not. Without checking the critical focus on the eyes, I might well have deleted the wrong image.

Editing on the road is about far more than storage and efficiency though. Diligent editing can allow you to maintain a rolling assessment of your equipment and your own style of photography. When editing work look out for patterns in images. A series of out of focus pictures might indicate a problem with a lens, your camera or even the way you are shooting. Check metadata of rejected images to isolate any problems.

I always edit with the EXIF data overlaid on the image, showing focal length, ISO, shutter-speed and aperture, so they are always in the forefront of my mind when I am looking at images.

Troubleshoot for next time  

And this leads me on to my next point - when going through your shots, you're not just looking for equipment issues: if you find a couple of pictures with camera shake, assess what shutter speed and focal length you used. It might be that you should have changed these, and can remember to next time. It will also give you an up-to-date idea of your handholding ability for a given focal length.

Also check sensitivity: you might have had the ability to use a higher ISO to avoid the problem. This can also be the time to asses what is the highest ISO you are comfortable using. This is a personal decision based upon your camera and your own tolerance of image noise. 

Here, I've sorted images from a recent trip by the aperture at which they were taken, using Adobe Bridge CS5.

Filtering by EXIF data allows you to pin down 'problem' apertures and shutter speeds for your particular camera/lens combination, as well as identifying other issues, like when you've raised the ISO sensitivity just  a little too far. 

Be aware of your own technique too. Is your composition as good as it might be? Have you cropped off your subjects feet, or plopped their face in the middle of the frame with too much sky above their heads? Has your shutter-speed failed to freeze any action, or is the aperture too wide for all of the important elements to be in focus? Could you have shot the image in a different way? These potential flaws might not be enough for you to reject an image, but a critical review may prompt you to take a bit more care with certain aspects the next day.

If you only travel a couple of times a year, finding all of this out once you have returned home and got round to editing your images is going to be of limited use. Edit on the road and you can learn, and develop your creativity day after day.  

A few practicalities

I have stressed the importance of a laptop, and I use a 13" Apple MacBook Pro, but there are a number of other options. Super-compact netbooks are ideal for travelling, but some of these have rather small hard-drives. This is one of the main drawbacks with the ultra-slim MacBook Air, and similar 'micro' laptops.

Many photographers now travel with a tablet, such as the ubiquitous Apple iPad. These can have many advantages, but sadly disc space is not one of them. There are a couple of options for external drives that can boost storage though, and many tablets incorporate memory card slots for quick and relatively cheap memory. 

The Apple iPad can be used as a backup device for digital photographs, using the Camera Connection Kit. This allows you to plug your camera into the iPad directly, but also includes an SD adapter, so you can get images straight off the card, and onto the iPad. 

However, limited inbuilt storage means that the iPad might not be the most practical solution if you're shooting a lot of pictures. A small laptop and portable harddrive are a better bet in this situation. 

A warning though before taking any device on the road. It is vital to make sure that everything on it is completely backed up at home. Remarkably some people never backup their laptop, but will still take it away, full of irreplaceable photos and personal data. As an extra security measure, I use Apple's FileVault encryption software so that even if my laptop does go missing, no one can access my data.  


Steve Davey is a professional photographer. He is also the author of the acclaimed Footprint Travel Photography, and runs his own series of unique travel photography tours to some of the most exotic parts of the work. Forthcoming trips include Nepal and Laos & Vietnam. More details on Steve, his work and his tours can be found at www.bettertravelphotography.com

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

Comments

Total comments: 114
12
fordsfotos
By fordsfotos (Oct 7, 2012)

MacBook, HDD, must remember to pack my glasses ...

0 upvotes
MikeV99
By MikeV99 (Sep 22, 2012)

Great article and much food for thought. I am adopting the ideas.

I use a 13" MacBook Air with the OWC 480GB SSD. I would like to reduce what I carry for backup to a 1GB Thunderbolt drive and 750GB Colorspace UDMA 2. In past road trips I also carried a 500GB WD for a SuperDuper recovery system. I am taking a 3 week trip and must cut back on what I carry so the SuperDuper drive stays home.

The MacBook Air SSD will provide about 300GB of image storage and Lightroom overhead. I plan on using the 1TB drive for Time Machine backup. However, if the SSD fills and some images need to be deleted I will use the 1TB drive for an additional backup for the deleted images. That will provide 3 copies of all images. Or, I may just put all images in a folder on the 1TB drive along with the Time Machine files. The Colorspace will be used to copy the CF cards and maybe dump the obvious bad images on the way to the hotel (along with providing an additional backup).

Hopefully that will work.

Thanks

0 upvotes
Adsab
By Adsab (Aug 28, 2012)

Thanks Steve! Great article. One thing that may have helped though and hopefully you'll consider touching upon in a future article, is exactly what specifications you run on your laptop. As a luddite, who is interested in upgrading his laptop for a MacBook that will run both Photoshop and Lightroom, the different options (eg. what processors, hard drives etc.) available is, well, a source of confusion. 
Any insight on what would be ideal for a non-professional photographer, but still likes to approach photography in a fairly serious manner; shoots RAW; and on a high megapixel prosumer SLR; would be very welcome.
Thanks again Steve and keep the great articles coming.

0 upvotes
David-M
By David-M (Aug 23, 2012)

(continued....)

One benefit of culling the photos while travelling is that there are fewer to backup and fewer to upload. This can save significant amounts of time.

And just a comment about the different online storage solutions. While your photos are uploading, the Internet connection will usually be useless for general browsing or other uses. Needless to say, this can make your companions rather unhappy if they are trying to send or receive e-mail, update their Facebook page, etc. I found this particularly bad with Amazon's Cloud Drive. (That was only one of the problems with Amazon's solution.)

What was attractive about DropBox is that you can specify the bandwidth to be used for uploading. So for example, before you go to bed you might limit the bandwidth it uses to something that allows other people to get reasonable Internet performance. When you go to bed, you can bump it up to a higher figure as it is unlikely anyone else will be using it overnight.

0 upvotes
David-M
By David-M (Aug 23, 2012)

I've just come back from 9 weeks in France and Britain. By coincidence I adopted many of Steve's suggestions.

I took a laptop, a MacBook Air 11". For the purposes of culling photos, the 11" screen is fine, and the light weight and small size of the MBA makes it less of a pain than bigger devices.

I also took an external HD for my secondary backup. I also did not format the camera cards until I next wanted to use them in the camera. So in a sense, I had a triple backup for many of the photos.

But also I signed up for DropBox Pro which gives me 100GB of storage for $9.95 per month. This did depend on wifi being available, which was not always a given even in Britain. Even when it was available, it was sometimes problematical. But a good connection would usually allow the backlog of files to be uploaded over a night.

(One thing to be aware of is that in some places, e.g., Australia, ISPs have limits on uploads. So uploading your photos may use up the month's quota in one night.)

0 upvotes
john m flores
By john m flores (Aug 23, 2012)

Good article, Steve, that speaks to some of the fundamentals. FWIW, I'm a contributing editor for RoadRUNNER Magazine, the largest motorcycle touring magazine in the US. Space is very limited on a motorcycle, so I've pared down to the essentials:

1-dSLR (Pentax K-5)
1-mirrorless (Pentax K-01)
2-3 primes (i.e., DA21mm F3.2, DA40mm F2.8, DA70mm F2.4)
1-compact (Pentax Q, hangs around neck for instant access)
1-2 POV Video camera (ContourROAM and other)
1-64GB iPad with camera connection kit.

It's all quite compact as you can see - http://whatblogisthis.blogspot.com/2012/08/it-in-bag-northeast-kingdom-edition.html

During lunch or evenings, I review shots and transfer the most promising ones to the iPad. There I can check focus at 100% to make sure that I got the shot. I'll also run a handful through Snapseed for posting the the magazine's Facebook page. I'll also throw them on the cloud (DropBox) if I've got enough wifi. I'll also keep them on the cards, not deleting until I get home.

1 upvote
photohounds
By photohounds (Aug 22, 2012)

Great ideas ...

You seem to have missed the fact that many Android tablets have removable plug-in storage and USB slots.

These features effectively make for massive storage using very little space.

That new Samsung 11.8" P-10 tablet might be perfect - the narrow bezel means ii will probably store in a small space while offering a larger retina screen.

Less zooming and something like that might offer the best of both worlds!

0 upvotes
iAPX
By iAPX (Aug 18, 2012)

He wrote he use a 13inch MacBook Pro and he's shooting a MacBook Air?
If I am travelling constantly, I would choose the 13inch MacBook Air, with a 512GB SSD inside, to have a lightweight 1440x900 display and shock-protected storage instead 1280x800 display and hard-drive storage :)

I don't travel for photography, but move on my city with my 17inch MacBook Pro, with 480GB SSD storage, a TimeCapsule (wireless backup), and keep all the pictures on my (expansive) fast CF cards. It's a good balance between for a fashion photographer.

0 upvotes
Clean
By Clean (Aug 16, 2012)

I have to disagree with the author on one point. The price of storage is plummeting. I just read an article on the NYT site that said it will soon be practical for governments to record peoples entire digital lives and store them indefinitely but I digress. As storage becomes less and less expensive there is no reason to throw anything away. I can't tell you the number of times that shots that I thought were junk the first several times I went through the results of a trip on review years later turned out to be gems. Seriously, things I have gone on to print and have people say, "wow, that's amazing. Different from your usual stuff. I like it a lot." I think it's how we grow as photographers. What we see as "good" at one point may be limited. The luxury of not having to toss things is that we can go back and see what we were missing in our own work.

2 upvotes
Steve Davey
By Steve Davey (Aug 17, 2012)

@Clean, I don't believe that this invalidates my editing point - but it does mean that you have to be more careful in the editing process not to throw away images that are potential keepers!

As regards storage - if you throw away half of your pictures, you cut your storage costs in half. Now if you are maintaining three copies that can be significant, depending on what storage media you are using.

Also, I find that I save a lot of time when I am selecting and reselecting images - either to go to a client or for a second batch of RAW processing. I know that any of the images I have edited can be used, as they have no technical flaws - even if they aren't great shots.

Also I am often talking about picking the clear best of, say, three versions of a shot, and throwing away the two that are not as good. In the old days of film, a photographer would keep the other two as a back-up if the client lost or damaged the best shot. Now there is no need to keep them.

0 upvotes
Steve0902
By Steve0902 (Aug 15, 2012)

The MacBook Airs actually run PS faster than the MacBook Pros, due to the solid state drive in the MB Air. When I start PS CS5 on my (previous generation) MB Air, It is open and running almost instantly. The same for Photomatix. In the online Apple store, look way down in the lower left of the page for refurbished MacBooks.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Lorenzo_N1
By Lorenzo_N1 (Aug 15, 2012)

I used a 300 w (nominal real w was less) inverter in a recent tour of parks inSouth Africa, it used the 12 v plug of the 4 wheeler. You'll need a good battery in the car (mine had 2 heavy duty batteries).
With it I could recharge also my 17" MacBook Pro that is quite power hungry at recharge.

0 upvotes
Steve Davey
By Steve Davey (Aug 15, 2012)

I tend to only use an invertor when the car is in motion. This seems to charge a 13" laptop and a Nikon charger without issues. It probably would do pretty bad things to the battery if the vehcle was stationary!

0 upvotes
threeOh
By threeOh (Aug 23, 2012)

12v socket usb chargers are tiny these days. 12v socket chargers are readily available for laptops, Hyperdrive's unit does the entire MacBook line. Not to mention you can leave your chargers home unless you spend your evenings peering into a laptop at night and need another recharge.

Re inverter with engine off. My cars all have 93 amp hour batteries. I assume that's not unusual. Charging a MacBook Pro's fully drained battery would consume about 5 amp hours. Inverters are pretty efficient these days, its not an issue unless you travel with a dozen laptops.

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Shivaess
By Shivaess (Aug 15, 2012)

I have a travel kit I love, and its all in a backpack that goes everywhere with me :-)

Asus EP 121 Tablet (with photoshop CS5 and LR3)
Bluetooth Keyboard (came with the tablet)
120GB external (an old laptop drive in a case from newegg)
Pentax K-20
FA 50 f/1.4
Tamron 70-200 f/2.8
DA 14-24 f/4

This leaves enough room for an ipod, a mouse for when a table is available, and some earphones. I'm planning on getting a more traditional ranged walk-around lens for the body this fall (possibly the DA* 16-50) and there should be enough room in the base of the bag for it (I'm currently using up some of the space for a towel I use over my telephoto when its rains)

Having a tablet to work on is fantastic, I can use the stylus to get just as much precision as a mouse in a fraction of the working space. This computer allows me to easily edit photos while on a plane or in a bus anywhere I can sit down. The last auto race I went to I had two or three done while waiting for dinner to arrive!

1 upvote
2 per cent
By 2 per cent (Aug 15, 2012)

Thanks Steve, for a comprehensive, well-written article.

I'm re-evaluating my equipment to travel lighter than my current 2-year old 15" MacBook Pro allows, comparing the latest 13" & 15" Macbook Pros with the Airs.

There's been one new development which may have occurred since you wrote about small laptops having rather small hard drives: the latest Macbook Air is now available with up to 512GB of flash storage.

0 upvotes
DavidKennard
By DavidKennard (Aug 14, 2012)

Good advice, but the only time I spend at the hotel is sleeping. I guess taking the laptop on the train or bus to sort through images on the way to and from day trip destinations could be a solution, but carrying around the extra weight all day isn't a worthwhile trade-off for me.

0 upvotes
ThomasSwitzerland
By ThomasSwitzerland (Aug 14, 2012)

Less is more

Digital seems to offer more. Come on. I came back today from a mountain tour with just 12 pictures – purely hi-tech digital. We must rethink our behavior.

Post processing is complete madness – stealing your personal quality of life.

Let’s go out, look, think carefully - and then take very, very few pictures. It is so much more fun not to post process in the evening; but to have just this more fun with you company or in the restaurant.

In about ten years from now on people will joke about someone having spent time with the laptop or else. I would name it today as: Avoid “Processorbating”.

4 upvotes
Bill Bentley
By Bill Bentley (Aug 15, 2012)

I agree with your principle of working smarter to make better and fewer pictures, but I for one find the post-processing part to be enjoyable too. If we operate like Steve said in the article, and cull our pictures properly, then post processing a couple of dozen images to make them look their absolute best (to us anyway) should not be a burden, but rather the icing on the cake of the whole image making process.

4 upvotes
ThomasSwitzerland
By ThomasSwitzerland (Aug 17, 2012)

Hi Bill

If it is fun for you, perfect. But Post Processing means that in-camera technology is still not advanced enough. I don’t like those lazy big camera makers transferring their responsibility to the end-user.

If I take a near perfect picture, I expect a very good picture out of the box. My first step was to convert a Leica-R lenses to Nikon mount with chip. At least I get no color fringes and amazing clarity. I am in the IT engineering and find all those DxO, PS CS6 horrible software - just a mad burden. In my spare time, after having made the right photos, I do not want those mediocre PP software. As I tried hard, I want to have the same – or at least – similar result from camera hardware.

So, with my D5100 and Leica-R 35mm in RAW I get what I almost want – the right pictures. The community will smile about it; but I enjoy a good meal, and my company, and ready made pictures – all hassle over!

Good pictures and good food ..else, what could be better?

1 upvote
MiraShootsNikon
By MiraShootsNikon (Aug 14, 2012)

I don't mean to be too critical, but this article reads to me like "slow news day at DPReview."

Was I reading the headline wrong to expect some interesting insight on "editing while on the road?" Because what Steve writes, here, is just basic affirmation of editing, in general. "Look at your shots after you take them." "Pick sharp ones." "Learn from your mistakes."

Why not help us understand the unique challenges of doing those things while actually on assignment? (I.e., what the article's title suggested it'd do.) How do you manage power? How do you pack or care for your laptop? How do you edit in varied ambient lighting? How do you calibrate your screen? How do you maintain connectivity with your agent / client? I mean, there are so many interesting things to talk about getting the job done on the road; and instead, this article just phones it in with "edit and backup your shots."

C'mon, DPReview. You can deliver better content than this.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
Steve Davey
By Steve Davey (Aug 14, 2012)

I weighed up the options when writing this story and decided that the vast majority of readers wouldn't share your obvious need to be constantly in touch with an agency whilst shooting in areas completely devoid of power and GSM signals, so decided not to include this information. I could have waxed lyrical on the task of tethering a laptop to a mobile phone (Android rules over IOS btw) and the intricacies of securing mobile phone accounts in places like India and Burma, then configuring them on a data plan but in truth this would only be of use to those in your unique position.

The simple fact is that most people will seldom be away from power for more than a day or so, and of those, many will be in a vehicle and able to charge laptops with a simple invertor.

Similarly, most people won't need to 'wire' images any more than the occasional posting to an image sharing site, and in those instances they will usually be within reach of wifi.

0 upvotes
MiraShootsNikon
By MiraShootsNikon (Aug 15, 2012)

Oh, I see, Steve. Thanks for clarifying that there are no unique challenges to editing on the road / on assignment--that it's more or less the same as when you're in your studio. So that was the big point this article was trying to make?

Because there are so many photographers who'd like to shoot in places not covered by GSM not within a day's reach of the grid. (Dude, if you're hiking: most of the western United States? A lot of DP Review readers would call shooting while, say, hiking the Sierras "travel photography.") Instead, we're getting advice on how to back up our photographs when we shoot the next Insurance Agents of America convention in Peoria. Not that there's anything wrong with shooting insurance agents in Peoria.

I get that you're being blase because you don't like critique, but certainly there must be challenges unique to editing while traveling that you're in a position to talk about? Or do you never shoot "a day away" from the grid, so to speak?

mira

Comment edited 15 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
soundman1024
By soundman1024 (Aug 15, 2012)

I think you're being excessively critical, Mira. DPR's readership is probably composed of hobbyists more than professionals who face the challenges of traveling to remote locations, if for no other reason simply because there are far more hobbyists out there.

I'm not suggesting there isn't value in that information, just saying there's probably more value to the readership in basic information when considering travel. I just got off of a pretty high-budget week long shoot in Mexico, and I'm sure such an article could have been helpful, but it's a pretty unique position.

Generally as people move into these higher level shoots they grow into the challenges they'll be facing, often by asking questions to contacts who have been there before.

0 upvotes
Steve Davey
By Steve Davey (Aug 15, 2012)

Mira, I didn't cover sending/filing pictures, as the vast majority of people reading the story simply won't have the need or even desire to do this UNLESS they are in a wifi or GSM zone. What is the point in me talking about satphone link ups and carry heavy external laptop batteries on a site like DP Review? If you read a significant majority of the comments below, many people don't even want to carry a laptop - some don't even want to carry a DSLR! That would have just made this article pointlessly elitist, and irrelevant for the vast majority of readers.

When I am on a road trip in Ladakh, and power is scarce then I would not edit images as this would be too much of a power drain. All I would attempt is to back up the images, and then edit when I am back on a power grid. If I were hiking for a couple of days I wouldn't take a laptop, so it wouldn't be an issue.

Do you carry a laptop on treks and file pictures with a satphone? Maybe you should write an article about it?

0 upvotes
an04roadking
By an04roadking (Aug 17, 2012)

Steve - You said the key word that Mira wanted to hear: elitist. Now she knows you're talking directly to her.

Mira - I'm having a hard time finding all of your fabulous and informative articles. Maybe DPReview has a storage shortage and can't archive them all? After all, the fact that I can't find them must be someone else's fault and not the fact that you have no time to write them because you're too busy trampling other people's work.
Instead of being an elitist troll, maybe you could have written a post that actually contributed something, don'tcha think, sweetie? I find it funny that despite your taunts and rudeness, nothing changed--not the article, not Steve's position, and not your knowledge of photography. The only thing that changed was that a few more people realize that your avatar is all you really have to offer the world. -1 for you.
I look forward to your forthcoming lessons on editing in the field, as well as your pithy retort, even though both will disappoint.

0 upvotes
Uaru
By Uaru (Aug 19, 2012)

I prefer to read article on something other then I do.
If I already do, there is not much point in reading.

Even if you consider something elitist - it is interesting to see how the elite do, and understand why they do. In this way it is possible to find inspiration.

I think the article was correct - but it was not exciting.

0 upvotes
threeOh
By threeOh (Aug 23, 2012)

I think the iOS comment sort of says it all. He's shooting in the USA in places with cellular reception. Otherwise it would either not matter or he does not know how to use an iPhone, which is pretty simple.

I travel 4 months a year to all parts of the world and I have never had the slightest issue tethering with iPhones, except in the USA.

0 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (Aug 14, 2012)

Jeez what a palaver! I remember when a couple of rolls of velvia used to do me.

Truth is you shouldn't have to check your shots, I suspect it's the complexity of DSLRs that makes us all uncertain about whether we got the shot or not, all that multi matrix 3d metering and 900 focus points are all very well but I can't remember the time I saw someone take a shot and not instantly stare at the back of the camera.

2 upvotes
Uaru
By Uaru (Aug 19, 2012)

In a way it is understandable. If you are on the spot knowing you will not get a second chance to get particular shot,you had better check, if you got what you want.

In the years of film it happened quite a few times that after return I found I actually did not have that shot...

0 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (Aug 14, 2012)

Good advice, with an appropriate level of paranoia. For week+ trips, I generally carry two bodies + a waterproof compact, lenses covering 8-300mm, rocket + lenspens, netbook + disk + SD cards. I use a small camera bag for the day's selection, but everything fits in a small backpack (which stays in the hotel). I rarely delete images... but as a Sony NEX user, I do delete the accidentally-recorded movies immediately. ;)

I also bring lots of batteries and at least one multi-outlet adapter so netbook and battery charger can be plugged-in with only one native outlet available. The adapter is particularly useful in airports, where I often can share an outlet with some random traveler who got there first.

2 upvotes
DanCee
By DanCee (Aug 14, 2012)

nice article.. of course this is for serious travel photography with the triple backup.. but this gave me ideas to back things up, especially now I have tablet which can read memory card or connecting USB device. I'll surely copy the pics to the tablet n external HDD this time :)

0 upvotes
jorg14
By jorg14 (Aug 14, 2012)

Read and agree with much that's been said. A lot of interesting points have been made, many reflecting lifestyles. Travel photography has always been an obsession with me. Yes, this is a nice article about 'serious travel photography' but I believe most readers here are probably travelers first and photographers second. As one (although I've done professional work), I've lately been obsessed with reduction. From lots of gear and lenses to two small cameras (Nex 7 & TL350) and a few small lenses which cover from 15-120mm. My cards are big enough to last the whole vacation, plus I backup and quickly (so I stay married) review them on a net book (250gb HD) with a relaxing drink in our room, and then we go out and enjoy the rest of the evening (with TL350 in pocket).

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
PhotoChallen
By PhotoChallen (Aug 14, 2012)

I guess it all depends on whether you want to carry all the extra stuff around. I'm currently in Kazakhstan. I brought my laptop with me- it wasn't included in the hand-luggage weight limit- and couldn't do without it. 3 weddings, and a million landscape shots made sure of that.

SDXC cards don't weigh much, don't cost much, so don't need an external hard drive either.

I think it's better to take the laptop and limit the amount of other stuff, if you're worried about weight

1 upvote
tinternaut
By tinternaut (Aug 14, 2012)

It is certainly my preference to have a laptop with me, even on holiday but it isn't always practical. Things to be aware of:

- Airline hand luggage restrictions (especially when flying low cost, in Europe)
- The hell you might put yourself through at the security check point.

With Ryanair (aka Eire O'Flot) for example, the size of bag you can take on board is generous enough but the weight allowance isn't going accommodate a laptop + camera gear.

I took two cameras, four lenses and a laptop to Rome in April. Going out was fine. At Manchester, they just wanted the laptop out and they were happy for me to leave it in the hard cover. At Rome, coming back, security were an absolute pain in the a$$ and wanted every single piece of electronic equipment out (including lenses and the portable HDD). I've learned not to let the airport staff panic me over the years so I duly, and slowly, obliged and upset a lot of people (the safety of my personal belongings comes first).

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Wye Photography
By Wye Photography (Aug 14, 2012)

I have given up taking DSLR gear on travel. I am going in the direction of carrying less. For a forthcoming holiday to the Lake District I am taking my iPhone, iPad and Sony HX20v. It was a trip over Crib Goch in Snowdonia that did it.

I just don't want to carry any heavy gear over mountains that are usually pretty wet as well. The iPad (with Ordnace Survey map) goes in the backpack. I usually find beforehand a wifi equipped cafe and sit there whilst I do an upload to Skydrive. I suppose its horses for courses and whether you are 'pro' or 'am'.

I find the quality from the iPhone, HX20v and processed with iPhoto on the iPad delivers a good compromise of portability and quality.

www.wyephotography.com

1 upvote
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Aug 14, 2012)

Good tips as I thought bringing a laptop hinders travel photography.

0 upvotes
SeeRoy
By SeeRoy (Aug 14, 2012)

More stuff to carry...
Personally I'm moving in the direction of carrying less. As for which photos to delete whilst travelling... how much space do they take? How heavy are they? Backup is another question but unless you're on assignment what are the chances of cards becoming un-recoverably corrupted? So take plenty and err on the side of more cards at smaller capacities.

1 upvote
kff
By kff (Aug 14, 2012)

I expect some new serious photo aplications by Adobe, Nik Software, Google, Microsoft etc. for touch tablets and I expect USB host mode in these devices, too ... And now? I edit pictures, which I need immediatly, in the my Pentax K-5 (better is with connection to TV via HDMI)

0 upvotes
Danlo
By Danlo (Aug 14, 2012)

I dont want to edit my pictures on my vacation. I dont even want to see them until I get home. Thats why I shoot with film.

1 upvote
Walter
By Walter (Aug 14, 2012)

I think the article was about "serious" travel photography. I travelled the world with Hasselblads and tons of 120 roll film...loved the results but lead lined bags and waiting weeks before the film was safely processed made it hard to sleep at night. Digital and a light laptop is so easy now.....good article Steve you obviously know your target audience!

1 upvote
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (Aug 14, 2012)

I suspect we all take our photos seriously, but for a pro, loss of images is loss of income. Taking elaborate precautions makes perfect sense. But for even a serious amateur, a balancing of weight, cost, time, convenience, and security will rarely lead to the same precautions a pro needs. The risks of losing images really aren't all that high if they are backed up somewhere. Two or three backups doesn't decrease the chance of loss much more. I thought the article nicely showed why a pro would take the gear he did and how he used it all. That gave me some points to consider. One being that I'll never travel like that. I like to travel light.

0 upvotes
Steve Davey
By Steve Davey (Aug 14, 2012)

Reading some of these comments, there seems to be some confusion over editing and post-production. I am not advocating RAW processing on the road on a laptop - unless you really have to. I am just talking about editing: throwing away the dross and working out which pictures to keep.

Here is another tip that some might disagree with. If you are shooting RAW always turn sharpening ON in-camera. Many will tell you not to, but the in camera settings on a RAW will only affect the JPEG preview, and not the actual image. Settings like contrast, saturation and crucially sharpening are just tagged as serving suggestions that will be over-ruled by your RAW software defaults.

Having a sharpened preview will make editing easier in simple software that doesn't create it's own preview, and will allow you to zoom in closer further camera to check focus.

1 upvote
Rick Knepper
By Rick Knepper (Aug 14, 2012)

I have given up on reviewing my images on the road due to the poor quality of my laptop's monitor. I can't really see anything even for checking gross focusing and expsoure mistakes. I was hoping for some insight on laptop monitors and who was making the best but that was out of the scope of your article. It looks like Apple is still the only option for a great monitor in a laptop but I refuse to purchase one at the prices only Apple cult members can swallow or professionals forced to buy for their work.

0 upvotes
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (Aug 14, 2012)

It sounds like your laptop has an unusually poor display. Or you're trying to make finer distinctions than I would ever make on the road. I don't expect to edit down to the best version of each image. If two look to be close to the right exposure or the focus I wanted, they both stay. I would never do anything but a first pass on a trip. I'm usually tired after a day out and know my judgment is not at its best. So I delete the obvious mistakes and let the rest be. That can be done even on a netbook.

Many of the large makes have laptop models with ips panels, though most are way up there (workstation-class). The Sony Vaio S series has some cheaper ones. Not cheap, starting at about a thousand, but cheaper than comparable Apple models. I've even seen some discontinued Sony models that were decently priced. Some makes use other advanced technology panels that are about as good. Only tn panels have the problems that bother most people, and the biggest is viewing angle. If this is going to be your only laptop, get something nice, but if it's just for road use, think hard about getting a highly protective case and hanging onto it for dear life. Or leave the good puter and take something you don't care about so much.

I don't mind using a netbook because I only use it on a desk/table/airline tray table. Places where I can control my orientation relative to the screen. Prices of ips panels and similar are likely to come down as volume increases. Most tablets use one of the advanced technologies because the limited viewing angles of a tn panel are a serious problem on a tablet, so they are only being used on cheapo models, mainly by off brands.

0 upvotes
MrMojo
By MrMojo (Aug 14, 2012)

To Rick Knepper: What is your budget for a laptop? Refurbished MacBook Pros are regularly available at the Apple online store at very attractive prices.

Recently some early 2011 13" MBPs showed up for only $800. That is a $400 savings for a very capable computer that will serve you for years. Refurbed Macs come with a one year warranty and are eligible for extended AppleCare warranties. They look and run like new.

Or snag a brand new Mac at a discount. Last summer I got my early 2011 13" MBP from Amazon for $900 vs. $1199. Fry's recently had the current generation 13" MBP for $999.

I realize that there are cheaper Windows portable computers but by buying a refurb or discounted new MBP you get a better computer at a very competitive price. You can even run your Windows software on a Mac. When it comes time to upgrade your Mac you can resell it for close to what you paid for it.

0 upvotes
Rick Knepper
By Rick Knepper (Aug 15, 2012)

To Markin SF, thanks for your response.

Yes, my laptop screen sucks big time. I originally bought the laptop for storage and Internet access but it got to where I was carrying home so many files, it seemed like a good idea to dump some of them while still on the trip. The color shift when I move my head even one inch is horrendous. So, I do what you do, I don't make any decisions until I get back to the hacienda. I buy new lenses often and though I use the lens before going on a trip requiring critical usage, it would be nice to evaluate the lens further on the trip and make corrections to my methodolgy, if needed, during the trip.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Rick Knepper
By Rick Knepper (Aug 15, 2012)

To Mr Mojo

I can allow 800-1000 for my budget on a laptop. Actually, I use my laptop on the 4-5 photo trips I take per year plus whatever business trips I have to take. The usage does not represent anything close to everyday. If I used the laptop every day, and a lot of it for photo trips, the Macbook would be a no-brainer. I own an NEC 26" S-IPS based monitor and I am kind of spoiled when it comes viewing my images. I was in the Apple store the other day and the wonk I spoke to said Apple isn't making laptops with the Retina display in 17" versions. What's up with that?

0 upvotes
The Customer
By The Customer (Aug 18, 2012)

Rick:

The Retina display is only available in the 15" size right now, probably because it's either a unique panel, or nearly unique, industry-wise. As it represents a doubling of that size screen's 'normal' resolution within the Apple lineup, it suggests Apple will only consider implementing a 17" version until a quality IPS model can be used, with a resolution of 3840 x 2400. As far as I know, there simply aren't any such panels on the market yet, thus no Retina 17" MBPs.

As far as the rest goes, I second the advice to go for a used or refurbed MBP or MBA. While none of them have an IPS screen to compare to your NEC's panel, they're not bad for reviewing images. Worth noting, too: the 17" models do sport true 24-bit colour. Viewing angles are acceptable. Not great, but acceptable.

0 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (Aug 14, 2012)

Vacations - I don't bother with much gear. I'd rather enjoy myself.

1 week working trip - I don't bother with a laptop, unless I plan on doing a lot of correspondence (which is no fun on a smartphone or tablet), or I have a short turnaround time to deliver photos to client. I just bring a lot of CF cards, and edit in-camera during downtime (i.e. waiting for flights, buses, evenings, etc).

2 week working trip - I bring a laptop to store, cull, and annotate photos, as well as several flash drives as secondary backups.

4 week working trip - Laptop, external HD, as well as several flash drives which get mailed home periodically.

Back in the day, I would bring along a few dozen blank DVD-Rs, which I'd burn on the road and mail home every few days. My first "large" CF card was 1GB, and cost almost $300. Crazy how far we've come. Regardless, it all beats traveling with 100s of rolls of film. Having to find hotels with refrigerators, dealing with airport security, labeling rolls of film...

0 upvotes
Steve Davey
By Steve Davey (Aug 14, 2012)

Know what you mean about the film! Those were the days. I used to get all of my E6 souped up in Asia. Could save a fortune on UK prices, and get to periodically check results. Of course it meant that I had to carry & look after it all too. Used to get uncut strips in sleeves so I could run it through a mounter when I got back home.

0 upvotes
David Fell
By David Fell (Aug 14, 2012)

Exactly - what's the fun in squiniting at a laptop in the sun looking for a wifi hotspot and dealing with drop-outs etc. In fact I dropped the GF1 and camera bag and went back to the LX2 for a holiday in Prague, much more fun. I did miss the filters, so an LX7 is on the books, anyone want a GF1, 45-200 lens and lumix bag and swap for a LX7?

1 upvote
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Aug 14, 2012)

Having just finished a week vacation about 3 weeks ago, I understand. I packed an Olympus E-PL1/14-42mm II MSC kit and Nikon D5100/18-105mm VR kit. The D5100 is the better of the two, but the E-PL1 is no slouch itself--and I (correctly) figured there would be occasions where I would take "just" the E-PL1 because of its lighter weight & size, and how it does great JPEGs that don't need much work done to them. I only "offloaded" and renamed the shots during periods of rest (both to a 1T Western Digital portable & the "netbook" 160 HD), no editing was done on the road.

And yes, memory prices--they're getting crazy low. Before we left I got a 32G SD card for $20 brand-new. Granted it was only a Class 4, but it was a SanDisk, brand-new--and for landscapes in the D5100, Class 4 is easily enough (and was good for 1300 shots in RAW). I just now saw a Transcend 16G Class 6 card for $11. Why can't the price of gas work like that?

LRH

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Ishpuini
By Ishpuini (Aug 14, 2012)

Very interesting read!

Great to see that you are still using a Colorspace drive. I'm still using my Colorspace too. I reget this type of device seems to become hard to find, whereas for me they are still useful. They make backing up cards so easy: insert card, push 1/2 buttons and it's off. But mine is getting older and I fear it might fail. I'ld like to get a new one (SSD), but I can't find any new models? What's your take on this?

Reviewing for technically flawed images I do on-camera, and I'll backup the card after initial review. But a larger screen is better, and Lightroom will work faster than on-camera. IMHO the advantage in using a laptop is for classifying/grouping images + adding relevant keywords while my memory is still fresh.

However, for reasons of weight my laptop rarely comes along. So I prefer a tablet for communication/research, do in-camera review and backup to my drive.
Note I don't travel the whole year, so periods in between allow me to catch up on PP.

Tx! Wim

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Aug 14, 2012)

I must give you credit DPreview, you're starting to crank out some GOOD articles, as opposed to all the smartphone and Instagram mess I have no use for.

This article is timely, in that I just got back 3 weeks ago from a 1 week vacation that was, in fact, largely about me wanting to get some good landscape photographs, something I normally do a lot of anyway as a hobbyist but I had been in something of a drought with that lately. I wasn't as dedicated as this guy, though, I was more of a "traveler taking photographs" vs a "photographer who happens to be traveling" (as that one person put it), but landscape photos were a main priority.

In my case, I, like someone else mentioned, didn't want to post-process on the trip--I wanted to "absorb" and not be in edit-mode while on vacation. My laptop probably wasn't accurate enough color-wise to do it correctly anyway. Even so, although I had plenty of memory cards, I did want to "offload" and manage the edits during "down time." (more...)

0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Aug 14, 2012)

I took a "netbook" & laptop, a Nikon D5100 with 18-105mm VR, and an Olympus E-PL1/14-42mm II MSC kit. The E-PL1 had a CPL polarizer. I did find that I liked how the E-PL1 gave great "out of camera" JPEGs & there were times I "just" used it vs the D5100. I used both cameras plenty, though.

I had tons of memory (two-16G and one-32G) possibly enough to last me the entire trip without having to "offload" the images, but I knew there would be "downtime" where I was resting from the excursions & correctly guessed that I'd want to browse & manage (renaming etc) the images during such times. I offloaded to a 1T Western Digital portable & to the netbook's own HD & used Microsoft "Synctoy" (free) to synchronize between the 2 locations.

In short, I kept the image "offloading" up-to-date so I wouldn't have so much of that to do upon returning home & so I could browse the images some while there, but I otherwise **vacationed**. But as one said, to each his own, that's just how **I** did it.

0 upvotes
RadPhoto
By RadPhoto (Aug 14, 2012)

@Jun2. It was an example of keeping the photo you want. If you wanted the out of focus one, then you can delete the one in focus.

0 upvotes
Jun2
By Jun2 (Aug 14, 2012)

Don't know why eyes in focus are so important. Went to an art exhibition, everything in photographs are kind of out of focus.

0 upvotes
RadPhoto
By RadPhoto (Aug 14, 2012)

@Jun2. It was an example of keeping the photo you want. If you wanted the out of focus one, then you can delete the one in focus.

1 upvote
Jerwgar
By Jerwgar (Aug 14, 2012)

You didn't mention anything about color gamut of laptop vs. desktop. Do you find you have problems when and if you edit something on your laptop and bring it back to a full color gamut screen. The Ipad actually has a pretty good gamut, and the new mac book pro, but besides a few specialty work station laptops, most seem to have bad color gamut or color rendition.

0 upvotes
spqr_ca
By spqr_ca (Aug 14, 2012)

I've gone with the iPad on travel with some success, but a big help there was the use of a CloudFTP which gives you a simple ad-hoc WiFi network for portable drives. Couple that with some useful utility like FileBrowser and you have a lot more capacity than the iPad will afford. I take a couple of the wafer thin Seagate GoFlex drives with me and that gives me two copies, which is nice.

If you want to edit on the iPad, it's actually not too bad, though it depends on your intentions. When I travel, it's usually just a Facebook posting for family and maybe Flickr, it's not for printing. In that event, there's a lot of software options including a more feature rich Photoshop (not the freebie with in-app purchase) , iPhoto or Snapseed. The iPad 3 is definitely much better for this purpose than the previous versions, night and day really.

So, you can go slimmer, though the Macbook Air is almost as small a package as the iPad in any event.

0 upvotes
xtoph
By xtoph (Aug 13, 2012)

this seems like excellent advice to me. i think it is especially useful to review shots every day in order simply to improve, technically and aesthetically, as the author suggests.

my travel is often in 2 month or more chunks, so i have to plan for storing and backing up very large sets of photos. i bring a good laptop, and three hard drives, one of which is always with me. i also have started carrying a very large sd card, which is useful for backing up just the real selects as the trip goes on, and can be carried in the waistband of my trousers. i should look into the newer ruggedized models, but really, the basic sd card is unbelievably durable.

i don't disagree about deleting really bad mistakes, but personally i just keep most of the misses. they aren't starred, and most i'll never look at again, but every once in a while it has been invaluable to be able to go back and check some detail of sequence or background. and storage is basically very cheap at this point.

2 upvotes
meanwhile
By meanwhile (Aug 13, 2012)

Another reason for that Steve doesn't mention is that if you check your images that night you may still be right there. If you did miss the shot you wanted, or missed critical focus, or can see a better way to compose a particular shot, it may be a trip down the street, rather than across the country or the world.

2 upvotes
robbo d
By robbo d (Aug 13, 2012)

Smart article Dpreview, great info and good to see some other peoples comments here. A worthwhile entry.

1 upvote
Shogi
By Shogi (Aug 13, 2012)

The article didn't mention one of my favorite uses for editing on the road...which is giving me something enjoyable to do while in transport, be it on a plane, train, boat, et cetera. Also, having your laptop with you allows non-selfish things such as creating a present for someone you photograph.

3 upvotes
siritinga
By siritinga (Aug 13, 2012)

If you have regular access to Internet during your trip, you can also use any of the online backup/storage solutions available. 200 GB of Dropbox or any amount of Google Drive, for example. This way, you can upload the photos as you arrive to the hotel, and then the changes you do later can be synchronized in real time with the online copy. You'll keep the images even in the worst case scenario (losing all physical copies) and in addition, somebody else can help you with the sorting/processing/publishing work at your home country.

Of course, to do this, you need a very good internet connection, not always available.

0 upvotes
mrmart
By mrmart (Aug 14, 2012)

I too like to backup online as well as to a portable hard-drive. If all your stuff gets stolen or lost at least you still have your images. I learnt many years ago when my laptop failed and one of the CDs I'd backed up to got scratched. While travelling through Vietnam recently I backed up online as I went. It takes a long time but I usually just let it run all night. Hotel wifi can be very slow and sometimes they turn it off at midnight but I have piece of mind that no images can get lost.

0 upvotes
birdseyeviewphotos
By birdseyeviewphotos (Aug 13, 2012)

Having been travelling around the world for the last 55 years I would agree it is obvious to preserve memories even to the point of storing film exposed or otherwise. Now with Digital it can be done easily but you need to take time out. I know someone that downloaded at the end of every day on his Photo safari, later on he had his gear stolen $ 17,000 as the Party was Hijacked at the point of guns by the Al Shabab 10 of them in a Reserve in Kenya, he had left his laptop in the lodge safe during the day as always had he not done so there would be no record of that trip. It is always obvious afterwards but it is good practise.

1 upvote
sesopenko
By sesopenko (Aug 13, 2012)

Backing up to an iPad is more about playing with a toy than using an efficient tool. Why do people continue to try to convince themselves that their iPad is an effective business tool by providing obscure and inefficient use case scenarios.

Comment edited 14 seconds after posting
13 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Aug 13, 2012)

I have the new 64Gb iPad ( Verizon 4G LTE ) with 2048-by-1536 resolution and it's great for viewing shots in the field. I also have a 13.3" i7 MacBook Air with 256GB SSD and could be ordered with 512GB SSD and 8GB RAM if you need more storage away from your home base. Add a 2TB USB 3.0 portable ext HDD if you need even more storage. BTW my iPad with 4G LTE could be used as a mobile wi-fi hotspot for my MacBook Air.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlL4GGwCQWw

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
birdseyeviewphotos
By birdseyeviewphotos (Aug 13, 2012)

don't think it matters what you back up on but that you do.......if you have an iPad go ahead use it unless you are rich enough to have many items

3 upvotes
justin23
By justin23 (Aug 13, 2012)

I took my iPad last trip with me. I also had a hyperdrive colourspace. I really only used the iPad to view photos and upload to my blog. The Hyperdrive did the backups. Although I'm seriously thinking of going back to a netbook for my next trip.

0 upvotes
Nishi Drew
By Nishi Drew (Aug 13, 2012)

Yeah, playing with a toy, and a fantastic way to share your photos with others on the go. Slide, zoom in and out on a large and nice screen without the unnecessary bulk of a laptop or inconvenience of a tiny phone screen. Little weight to worry over too. Really a tablet isn't good as "an efficient tool" for editing photos, but for travel you can see your shots at an appropriate size and see how it turned out; sharp or not, the small details.

1 upvote
meanwhile
By meanwhile (Aug 13, 2012)

It's possible to do amazing, efficient, practical and useful things with toys. Or you can choose just to play with them. The choice is yours alone.

1 upvote
threeOh
By threeOh (Aug 14, 2012)

To each his own. I travel extensively and have using an iPad for 3 years now. For 90% of my editing it's just fine. The objective while traveling is sharing, not putting out print quality work while hunched over a laptop editing for a good chunk of my holiday time. For backup its great. Want more backups, simple with the cloud. New tech is difficult for many. In time.

0 upvotes
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (Aug 14, 2012)

Most posting here are amateurs. They don't need to 'justify' their iPad purchases. As photo review devices they are remarkably handy, though I'd be more tempted if they had an sd slot. Even micro sd. Internal memory, no matter how large, fills up quickly. I've got 16 gb of music that I can't put on my two yo smartphone (and it even has a micro sd slot.)

I'm very tempted by the Nexus7 tablet, but it lacks an expansion slot, so no dice. I don't want to be carrying a hd with me all the time, too. The man purse looks better all the time. Ironic, since capable cameras are getting smaller and smaller. For everyday use I could easily carry an RX100 (haven't pulled the trigger yet) without needing a fancy case, but all my other important impedimenta has my pockets uncomfortably full.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
JakeB
By JakeB (Aug 16, 2012)

Yeah, ses, that's why the iPad dominates the tablet market; it's just a "toy."

Funny how millions find both practical AND fun uses for it but you can't.

0 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Aug 13, 2012)

Thanks .. most intriguing to see other's habits and techniques. (I'll pass on the overpriced and over-hyped apple devices though)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
Tee1up
By Tee1up (Aug 13, 2012)

I would hate to re-awaken an already tired argument but in spite of the costs, the Apple systems speed up my workflow in every way. Professionally I have to work with PC and Mac systems but if getting it done quickly and properly is essential, the Mac's will always get my vote.

5 upvotes
Nishi Drew
By Nishi Drew (Aug 13, 2012)

Because my Mac comes with a nicely calibrated and beautiful screen

3 upvotes
RadPhoto
By RadPhoto (Aug 14, 2012)

It's not about the hardware, it's the OS for me!

0 upvotes
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (Aug 14, 2012)

Use what you prefer. I strongly prefer not paying hundreds extra for identical hardware and an OS with cosmetic differences but no substantive advantages. I recommended Macs for years, decades ago, but can't anymore. Rare products excepted, like the current iPad, though my personal preference would be a smaller, cheaper model, like the Nexus7 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7. I'm on disability so can't buy toys because their ads are cool and they have pretty white stores.

1 upvote
h2k
By h2k (Aug 13, 2012)

I'm a hobbyist only. I won't spoil my travel experience with all kinds of IT and connectivity concerns. Of course that's not professional, maybe shouldn't even be uttered here. Out there, i have better things to do than zooming into 100 per cent on-screen. I try to get the 100 per cent of local life. [ducking]

2 upvotes
Gravi
By Gravi (Aug 13, 2012)

Nothing wrong with your reaction. Obviously the author is a photographer that travels, you are a traveler that takes photographs. To each his/her own.

5 upvotes
fnoskoimages
By fnoskoimages (Aug 13, 2012)

i totally agree with you h2k!

To solve this problem you can buy many SD or CF cards as you want and take 2-3 shots from the same scene so later when you get back home you can do the work just as i did. don't waste your time on PP when your holiday. greetings,

3 upvotes
MediaDigitalVideo
By MediaDigitalVideo (Aug 13, 2012)

Take a HDD storestation 250/320/500/640 GB to copy from expensive SD/CF cards

0 upvotes
h2k
By h2k (Aug 14, 2012)

I must say editing en route has one advantage: you can add place names, building names, people's names and such straight to the IPTC. At least if you don't record geo data, that's more difficult and mistake-prone if done later (even if you take many pics of road signs, maps and guide book headlines to aid your memory).

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Paul van den Berg
By Paul van den Berg (Aug 13, 2012)

Nice article with a lot of useful information!

2 upvotes
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (Aug 13, 2012)

Very good non-gear piece.

0 upvotes
Jose E. Hernandez
By Jose E. Hernandez (Aug 13, 2012)

I basically agree with your strategy but the only reservation I have is with recommending the Hyperdrive Colorspace. I have relied in this device and the OTG connector to download directly from it to a WD Passport until recently. In my last trip I used the new USMA 7 1000X cards with the 5DIII and and hadnthe unpleasant surprise that these devices will not work 1000X cards and the 600X Duracell cards. Called the company and they are not able to upgrade the software so they are planning to release new models to solve this issue.

Places I go makes carrying a laptop difficult due to weight limits and lack of electricity One of the reasons I liked the Hyperdrive was because it can be powered by a external 2 AA batteries pod. Besides, too tired at nighttime to any editing.

0 upvotes
JIMMYCHENG
By JIMMYCHENG (Aug 14, 2012)

Use Epson P-7000. Perfect device. I have P-5000 and P-7000 as my away backups. 80Gb and 160Gb respectively. They work on all cards. I use UDMA 7 cards too and no problems at all. It does need bespoke batteries but you can get them on eBay these days. The latest P-7000 is available with travel pack which does include a dual charger (charge two batteries at once...), a travel stand and a 12V cigarette plug for you to charge your device or backing up stuff while you are driving. Have a look.

0 upvotes
JIMMYCHENG
By JIMMYCHENG (Aug 13, 2012)

Nice. I am a photographer always on the go. Although I don't use Macbook Air that was featured here but I do use a 17inch Macbook Pro for most of my work on the move.

Having read some comments, you need to know a few things, if a photographer needs to work, they need the best screen possible to ensure the colours they captured or edited version are correct. Some says get a cheap laptop but I bet many have seen the quality of those screens. Second, a higher resolution screen will help you to determine the sharpness withouth having to zoom in or loop in all the time. Well, I still do just to check. Then hard drive. I agree having two external HD. I always have two just in case. iPad is useless if you shoot RAW and the capacity isn't large enough for pro user. If any of you are pixel maniacs and trigger happy, then you will definitely need a very large HD. You know these days how large files can be.

Anyhow, have a nice day and I enjoyed the read, both comments and article.

3 upvotes
Jan2009
By Jan2009 (Aug 13, 2012)

Great Article. One concern though is the laptop HD, maybe it is not a bad idea to save on two external hard drive instead of just one in the Laptop HD, as this may tend to slow down the laptop when editing.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Steve Davey
By Steve Davey (Aug 13, 2012)

Once I have done the days editing, I back up the laptop drive to the external. I use the Apple Time Machine software as it allows me to back up everything on the laptop, and even restore from the back-up when on the road.

4 upvotes
MrMojo
By MrMojo (Aug 14, 2012)

One alternative to external drives is to replace the optical drive in a MBP with a second hard drive, either a standard drive or SSD.

If you are reasonably adept using a screwdriver you can do it yourself using readily available kits and online video step-by-step instructions.

0 upvotes
garyknrd
By garyknrd (Aug 13, 2012)

I live an photograph in Asia most of the time now. I have seen tours like this come in. I am not a tour operator. But I know all the wildlife local tour operators.

An incredible wast of money, but people pay for organized tours. Amazing.
As for the equipment. Just buy a cheap laptop with USB 3. Only if you need a new one. And a cheap backup drive. There is nothing in this article that even remotely touches on the way to travel to get and save the best photos. Except go on the tour?

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Aug 13, 2012)

This isn't meant to be a photo technique article, it's a short piece by an expert on how and when to edit/backup images when travelling.

8 upvotes
Steve Davey
By Steve Davey (Aug 13, 2012)

@garyknrd - you seem to know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Cheap laptop. Cheap back-up drive. Cheap travel. I wouldn't trust my pictures to a cheap back-up drive (any more than I would trust a cheap spell-checker).

People go on any tour for a lot of reasons. Some lack your obvious self-confidence; others like travelling with other people and making new friends; others could travel on their own but want to see the most in the short amount of time that they have off work. Others still would like to learn something from someone with a little more experience and knowledge than them.

7 upvotes
Steve Davey
By Steve Davey (Aug 13, 2012)

Last year I lead a trip to Ladakh in India. One of the people who came with me was an Irish woman in her sixties from a small village. She had never been anywhere remotely like India before. Previously she had only been to a couple of places in Europe and once visiting her son in Australia. Her husband never even wanted to leave the village they were both born in, so she had to travel on her own. Although the trip is quite rough and includes camping and the Leh-Manali Highway she loved the trip and everyone she met loved her. Back home she sent me an email saying she thought of me as someone who helped people live their dreams.

She is the sort of person I run these tours for - not people like yourself.

11 upvotes
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (Aug 13, 2012)

Thanks for giving a well-written overview of a professional travel photographer's needs. I think this approach would be suited to a serious enthusuast with money, especially one who travels often or goes to remote places. For spmeone who travels as a tourist first and a photpgrapher second, like me, and travels the developed world, I think this is too much equipment. One backup locked in the safe should be enough (even more so if I don't reuse cards, making that a second backup.)

If your livelihood depends on it, two backups is prudent. I've worked in IT for 30 years so remember plenty of times when backups saved me, but not so much now. I'd think hard about carrying another expensive, heavy device as a second backup. Especially I were traveling in places where Wi-Fi was readily available, but only where it was ubiquitous, so I wasn't counting on my hotel's claims being correct. In much of the world uploading your pictures is a trivial matter and much more secure than any device you carry with you.

Cheap laptops and drives are almost always as reliable as expensive models, when bought from established brands. And sometimes the laptops even have nice displays (look for discontinnued models), though most cheap laptop displays are pretty bad. If it isn't your principal computer and you are not doing serious work on it, then a weak display is an offense on the eyes more than anything. Netbooks are a great bargain right now, driven down by competition from tablets. Plenty of them have enough drive space for typical vacations. And they are tough enough, too, most being sold to IT geeks who rely on them to do their jobs.

0 upvotes
RadPhoto
By RadPhoto (Aug 14, 2012)

Cheap is relative. I would go with Apple's MacBook Air in a heartbeat. Great article. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Psider
By Psider (Aug 14, 2012)

+1 on reasons for travel. Normally I travel by myself, but I sometimes do tours when I know I'll get more information than the guidebook can give, or local insights from local guides, or if I feel like travelling with people for company or safety. And I went on a tour in Morocco a few years ago to learn about travel photography from an expert (Hi Steve! :p )

0 upvotes
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