Travel and storage

Next year we are planning a trip to Iran. An important issue is sufficient card storage and backups. I want 2 backups, so 3 copies in total of each image file. I will shoot Raw originals stored on a CF card and jpg’s on the second SD card. The jpg’s are meant for quick upload to iPad to check results and show people to get a good atmosphere. I bought the Lightning- SD card cable just for that.

Assuming about 100 Raw images a day, going for about 3 weeks I need about 20 x 100 x 50 MB = about 100 GB primary storage for my D800! Making 2 separate backups means another 2 x 100 GB must be available.

For de jpg about 1/5 of this is enough, so 20 GB. So for the jpg’s I just have the 64 GB SD card. That should suffice. They will be backed up on the iPad, where I have 30 GB space available.

Ok, so now I know what I need. Next question is how I am going to organize this. I prefer 2x 32GB cards over 1 64 GB, but price is much better on 1 64 card. I always buy the Sandisk Extreme Pro cards. I also prefer to empty my card and format it in-camera before the next day. More clear working that way and faster upload to LR. Then, do I need 64 GB? One day will be about 5 GB, so that is enough for 13 days without formatting. But there might be days of 15 or 20 GB, not to mention any video (which is standard stored on the SD card). I may not be able to upload my images to laptop or HDD for a few days. So yes, better go for the 64 GB card. I have my present 16 GB CF card as spare.

Initially, I was reluctant to bring my MacBook Pro (3,5 years old) on the trip for fear of being stolen and the hassle at airports. So I checked stand alone solutions, like the Nexto ND 2901 image tank. This device has a card reader for all cards, a HDD and a USB port for attaching another drive. Perfect for my needs. However, the price for a 1 TB version is about 320 euro. That is close to second hand value of my MacBook Pro :(
It is hard to believe that there isn’t a Chinese manufacturer that can deliver for say 100 euro.

Anyway, I decided to bring my laptop with 2 external hard drives + a CC clone drive.This has the added benefit that I can do all the importing into LR already on location. I’ll start a fresh library for on the road and leave all present stuff at home. More about this later. One hard drive will be stored in the baggage of gf.

The 64 GB cards I will buy close to departure time as prices are continuously falling. I’ll bring also a spare card reader.

Aspect Ratio

Lately I have become a bit more flexible with the aspect ratio. At first I couldn’t separate myself from the 3:2 ratio, and I still like that the best, but I found that for portraits it leads often to ‘empty’ space which did not contribute to the image. I do not mean functional “negative space” but just superfluous real estate.
So I am experimenting with 1:1 and 5:4. The serie i am making now of people on the square in front of the railway station is very suitable for learning the artistic impact of different aspect ratios. This photo was cropped to 1:1, the diagonal playing an important role in the composition.


Hanging around

Hanging around is a good method for getting better pictures. In this example I went to a small park in Tianjin (China), sat on a bench and waited to see what would happen. A couple was dancing, a man standing, mothers and children, and so on. So after people got used to me (a foreigner!), I took my 70-200mm as I was seated quite far from the action for a portrait shot. After an hour I had a couple of nice shots, below a few examples. So, choose a suitable location, ‘hang around’ and wait for the right moments: patience and concentration!

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