How I use an iPad when traveling

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W3PYF Contributing Member • Posts: 519
How I use an iPad when traveling

On several threads, forum members have asked how I use my iPad to examine, edit, back up and disseminate Sony images on the road.

I travel about 6-8 weeks a year, usually in the EU, but also in the U.S. and Middle East. Since 2013, I have shot exclusively with Sony cameras. I settled on the iPad almost from its 2010 launch – I am in the pharmaceutical business, and recognized it as the ultimate pharma sales-rep tool.

One trip with it to Italy in 2010 just after its launch proved it was also the traveling photographer’s ultimate tool. My partner and I lived on iPad for a 3-week driving trip from Rome to Sicily, using mostly 3 apps: TripAdvisor, to find B&Bs along the route; Skype, to make phone calls to B&Bs without website reservations, and an early photo-editing app, Photogene. And of course, gmail. Over 3 weeks, we stayed in 9 different B&Bs and “agriturismos” – we travel just before and after high seasons, and on that first trip, we advance-booked only our first and last nights in Italy – all the rest were booked “on the fly.” In September/October, we will tour the Croatian coast, with reservations again for just the first and last nights. However, for the past 5 years, we depend mostly on the Airbnb app to book where we will stay en route.

In the succeeding 8 years since the iPad 1, an iPad 3 and now a 9.7” iPad Pro have helped me deal with concerns of many traveling photographers:

1. Protect the images I make on the road by backing them up to secondary media, and eventually, the cloud

2. Screening images for possible technical issues and errors on the road (e.g. dirty sensors, failed lenses

3. Editing images for transmission to family, friends and Internet groups – a distant third concern.

iOS is the tablet-system of choice for app developers – despite the vastly greater global installed base of Android, iOS tablet users spend more than 3x for apps than Android users. As companies like Adobe and Microsoft adapt their programs to tablet-compatible apps, they have often made their offerings available first on iOS.

However, iOS has Apple-imposed limitations of importance to photographers.

1. While iPads can import raw (ARW) files, they can do so only through Apple’s SD card “camera connector.” Doing so, however, would quickly fill the storage capacity of most iPads, especially for those who shoot RAW + jpegs.

2. Additionally, when importing images from an SD card into a iPad with a “camera connector,” Apple displays the potential imports only as tiny squares, limiting one’s ability to judge which ones should actually be imported for subsequent close observation and editing.

3. To offer the extended 10-hour or more battery life and bright retina screens, Apple has limited the ability to connect hard drives and even SSDs directly to iPads.

Early in my traveling experience, I discovered the company “RavPower,” which sells wifi hubs on Amazon. The RavPower hubs have an SD card slot and a USB port to which one can connect a portable hard drive. An app downloadable from the Apple App Store controls the RavPower hub’s reading of files on the SD card – RAW and jpeg – and store them in directories one creates on the hard drive. It also enables one to import jpeg images from the SD card to the iPad via wifi, but not RAW files. Once those jpegs are on the iPad, they can be edited with many jpeg photo editors.

The current Ravpower wifi hub is the FileHubPlus. To employ it, one simply logs onto the hub’s wifi signal like one would connect to a home or hotel wifi hotspot. Once logged on, you can “see” the SD card files, the hard drive architecture, and the iPad directories – and copy and paste files among them.

However, there is another great benefit of the RavPower: it enables full-screen viewing of the jpegs on the SD card and hard drive, both before and after copying them from the SD card to the hard drive, without loading them on the iPad. Once you see images whose RAW file you want to import and edit on the iPad, you can use the camera connector to selectively load them onto them from the SD card to the iPad.

Post processing RAW files on the iPad

One of the great advantages of Lightroom for iPad is its near-desktop-equivalent tablet version. The other is a side benefit is its ability to synchronize with Adobe Cloud. Lightroom for the iPad closely resembles the latest “non-classic” versions of Lightroom Cloud for desktops. Most of the basic image adjustment capabilities of the desktop version are available, except for lens profiles. In addition, there is Photoshop for the iPad, and Adobe Fix, which enable a great deal of image adjustment and correction beyond Lightroom for iPad. All are available without charge to subscribers to the $9.95 “photography” Creative Cloud bundle. Also available without charge is Adobe Cloud, which enables you to store both raw and Lightroom/Photoshop edited images in the cloud, and thus, remove them from the iPad to save storage space.

Beyond Adobe apps, there are others I have found useful when traveling:

1. Instaflash Pro is an inexpensive but powerful jpeg editor. It is great for pulling shadow detail out of properly exposed images.

2. “SKRWT” is a powerful distortion-correction app. It enables one to correct vertical and horizontal distortion of architectural images. It’s “GoPro” correction function nicely “de-fishes” most fisheye images.

3. Portrait Pro for the iPad app enables many of the desktop program capabilities in fixing portraits for the super-vain.

4. Amazon Prime Photo and Google Photo can back up all your “camera roll” and other iPad albums on the road when you are connected to wifi. Google Photo and Flickr simplify sharing whole albums with friends and family

5. Facebook and Instagram of course – more sharing options.

6. Simply BW – an OK app for more control in making black and white conversions

7. ToonCamera – for fun graphic conversions

A7III – do you really need to edit RAW on the road?

The great dynamic range of the A7III’s sensor means properly exposed jpegs – especially “fine” high-resolution Images – are usually quite successfully enhanced with Lightroom for iPad – no need to import RAW files. I just returned from a week in the Utah national and state parks – my first with my A7III – and I was amazed at how much one can get from its jpegs without reversion to RAW editing.

I hope this answers some of the questions posed to me re traveling with an iPad.

(PS - I wrote this in Word for iPad, and just pasted it into DPR)

 W3PYF's gear list:W3PYF's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony a7 II Sony a7 III Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 Nikon AF-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED +13 more
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