• Barry

Travelling with a Digital Camera

In these times a digital camera is all we think of taking on a trip. Gone are the days of bricks of film, lead bags for x-ray machine protection and making sure you have enough film to last the trip.

But digital technology needs some planning for as well. On a short trip you can take a few cards and be set, but for a longer more extended trips one must look at other ways to keep their images in order.

The method that I use involves a small lap top and 3 external hard drives. I know that a lot of people say they do not want to bring a computer on holidays but here is the question that you must ask yourself, “Do I want to make sure I bring my images home?” If you answered yes, then here is the method that I use to make sure the images come home.

First of all I have a small computer with a minimum of three USB3 ports. Most tablets do not have the USB ports so check before you buy. Another thing to look for is if the tablet will power your external hard drive or does the drive need its own power source.

Next you will need at least two external hard drives that are USB3. I prefer to have 2 terabyte drives but you can live with a 1 terabyte drive in most cases. I never get the same make of drive at the same time. If there is a problem in manufacture then you may end up with two drives with the same problem. These days one can get two different drives for close to the same cost that are small enough to fit into your pocket.

Now that you have the hardware, here is the next thing that you do before you leave on the trip. Make a folder on one of the external hard drives that will look like this:

  • Name of the trip, e.g.: Scotland

  • In the folder, list the days that you are away

  • In each day folder list the cameras that you will be taking. I bring at least two bodies with me as well as my Wife’s camera.

This should look something like this.

  • Scotland

  • March 18

  • K3 Barry

  • K3 Belinda

  • K5 Telephoto

  • WG Water proof camera

You do this for each of the dates that you are going to be away on one of your hard drives. (Hint; Copy the camera list and then paste it under each date as you put them in.

When you are on your trip, download each card directly into the appropriate date and camera file. I use a USB3 card reader as it is much faster to down load the images when you are away. After you have downloaded all of the images for the day copy the date, e.g. March 18 and paste it into the additional hard drive(s), under the file name, (e.g. “Scotland”) that you have brought. That will then build the folders/files without the need to down load each card onto each drive individually. The added bonus is that if you don't shoot on a particular day then you do not have a file for that day copied into the other spare drive. I also delete the file for a camera that I did not use for that day. Keeping a journal of the trip with where you were and what you saw is a good idea as well. Then you can say I need an image of this area and you just go to the date that you were there, and there it is. Once I’m home, I transfer the images to two permanent drives and put one of the three external drives I backed up to on the trip in a safe place as a third permanent back up.

On the trip I take 3 drives. Two that have come with me before and have had the previous trip backed up at home. I delete the images from the last trip and use these as two of my external drives for the next trip. (There should be no problems with these drives as they were used before with no problems.) Then I have to buy only one new drive to give me my three. When I am travelling I keep one drive in my Camera Pack, one drive in my luggage and the last one in the rental car. The pocket behind the driver’s seat is a good place. (Just don’t forget it when you turn in the car!) Then when I am on the plane home I give one to my wife, I have one and one is in the checked luggage. Yes it may sound like over kill but I have never lost any images on my trips.

If you are travelling and do not have the luxury of power every night (I like to stay in my tent so that I can stay longer at a cheaper rate; yes I have Scottish blood! :-)) I bring a Power Inverter with me. These little wonders convert the 12 volt power from the cigarette lighter into 120 volt power that can power your computer, charge batteries and generally help you stay off the grid for a long time.

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