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Backing up images

JasonT

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  • Added on: October 26th, 2009
Hi All,

I'm fairly certain most internet cafes around the world have CD burners; but how common are DVD burners?

I take a lot of high res raw images and the thought of trying to backup gigabytes of photos on CD's is a concern.

With the cost of USB flash drives being low these days; I suppose backing up to one of those and mailing it home is an option; but DVD's are much cheaper than USB flash drives....

What are the options and tips for backing up photos while on a long term trip?

Jason

Shawnosaurus

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  • Added on: October 27th, 2009
In my opinion, any physically stored data is more or less doomed. At some point in time it will be lost, damaged or flawed. Probably your best bet is redundant online storage if you want to be double certain you don't lose anything ever - Upload your photos to two photo storage sites. Either in something like Picasa and/or Flickr. Or in a non-photocentric service like dropbox. I personally use Picasa because the client makes it just one click to upload all my photos.

If you insist on a physical backup, then it's either SD cards, thumbdrives, portable HDs, or discs. I guess it depends on if you want to carry the backup with you (might defeat the purpose) or mail it home. I don't know your situation, but I wouldn't delete your local copy until you can confirm that the mailed copy made it safely. The mail system in many countries is very, "individual results may vary".

JasonT

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  • Added on: October 27th, 2009
I'll be traveling for 1+ years; and uploading gigabytes/terabytes of data to online sites isn't a viable option for me.

I suppose my question is: do a lot of internet cafe's have DVD (not CD) burners these days; and/or do most long term travelers backup on flash drives or alternate camera memory cards?

Shawnosaurus - thanks for the advice about the mail system in other countries and holding on to a copy until receipt is confirmed

Jason

Canuck Girl

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  • Added on: December 4th, 2009
Although backing up photos on DVD's or CD's can be a good idea, I tend not to do this. The reason is that I move around a lot and they can get lost (plus they take up room after awhile). When I travel I alternate between memory cards and flash drives. Especially since you can now buy 16GB memory cards.
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Solo Traveler. Spunky Woman. A World of Misadventure. I'm currently traveling through Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and beyond! Follow my adventures on my blog Spunky Girl Monologues.

dustingduvet

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  • Added on: December 8th, 2009
I'm not the most serious photographer so Facebook has been good enough for me. In case I lose all of my photos, I already know my favorites are still stored on Facebook.
Travels in South America at http://www.locationlessliving.com

cascada

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  • Added on: December 8th, 2009
I've thought about this a bunch. I'm not a super serious photographer, but because I hope to be wandering for quite some time, I can't simply ignore the issue.

In the end, this is our general idea:
--I'll carry a netbook
--My boyfriend will be carrying a heavy-duty (i.e. solid-state drive (ssd)) hard drive
--BF also wants to bring his iPod
--Favorite pictures (and only the favorites) will be uploaded to Picasa or another online back-up medium

It would be ideal to have an "off site" full back up, instead of only a back up of the favorites. If it's not too much hassle, we'll probably also send home DVDs. Issues related to that: netbook doesn't have an optical drive (i.e. no way to burn DVDs), I don't trust the parcel post in most countries, and DVDs can still fail. Thus, if it works out that we can burn DVDs, AND they make it to the other side of the world, AND they actually work, then that's cool. If anything goes wrong, we'll have to live with the 2-3 copies of pictures we'll physically carry with us, plus the online back up of our favorites.

Hope that helps!

The Aussie Nomad

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  • Added on: December 21st, 2009
Having a mac and a mobileme account I upload a lot of my pictures to mobile me as its easy to perform from iphoto. For other items I use a combination of dropbox and the server I host my website on for online storage of my favorite photos.

I also keep a portable hdd handy for a complete copy of all my data they are super cheap and growing in capacity all the time. If it gets wet its lost but I intend to stuff it in my pack and then inside a waterproof bag.

helly

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  • Added on: December 22nd, 2009
If you are shooting in raw, don't even consider using online storage backup. Files take way too long to upload over slow internet connections.

Markus

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  • Added on: December 24th, 2009
Netbook and a 500GB WD external drive here. I shot a little over 2,000 frames while in Chile and Peru this past summer and managed to not have to write over any of my 32GB worth of CF cards. This meant all of my images were on the cards, the computer, and the drive. One of the three storage mediums was always in another bag from the other two.

halfnine

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  • Added on: December 24th, 2009
I am moving towards three CF cards, netbook and a flash drive. Then transferring the CF cards to the netbook and continuing to sync the netbook with the flash drive as I add/delete/modify the inital images on the netbook.

The flash drive is light and small enough to keep on my body at all times. If I was on a trip long enough to exceed the GB on the flash drive it would be time to get a new one and ship the old one home.

Murdog36

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  • Added on: January 5th, 2010
I think we have moved away from the question he is asking. I'm fairly curious about his question as I'm in the same position. I'm not bringing a hard drive or a laptop and I don't want to run the risk of carrying my thousands of photos around with me on discs and memory cards for over a year. The question asked is, do internet cafes have dvd burners aswell as cd burners so you can put all your photos onto a dvd and post them home?

Markus

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  • Added on: January 6th, 2010
I've never used an internet cafe for burning images to disc, but I did use a photo shop service in Bangkok once. They were fairly modern and in a mall, not some little vendor using ancient computers. When I got back home, one of the CDs was readable, the other was not. It took me weeks to find a computer that would read the second disc.

Think of all the internet cafes you've ever been in. You've probably seen everything from wooden boxes running DOS to brand new pimped out gaming machines. I can't verify this, but some net cafes will have DVD burners, others will have CD, others will have nothing. It's really a variable experience that depends on the country, cost of tech, and the owner. You'll probably find that a lot of machines are capable of burning DVDs, but are missing the software.

I think no one has really answered, because no one here goes this route.

Personally I don't bother burning dics because I don't find them a realiable storage medium. My 500GB drive would last me through a year's worth of photos. The only thing I'd consider adding to a longer trip are second and third smaller (250ish) drives to duplicate and mail home at intervals during the trip. My photos are too important for me to rely on internet cafes to do my backups. I also prefer to do my importing and backups in the comfort of my room rather than spending hours in internet cafes... which I can't stand.

minerguy

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  • Added on: January 6th, 2010
I did go with a DVD backup as a second backup, I also had all the photos stored on my mp3 player. That was all I needed for my trip which was just a bit over 3 months. DVD burners weren't quite as common as those for cds, but still wasn't hard to find in SE Asia. By having two backup options you can mail a dvd home, have some one copy it onto a drive, erase them off your first option and repeat as necessary. Probably better for a fairly long trip. If you're taking bunches of pictures everyday having your own external hard drive would be my recommendation.
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Papaya

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  • Added on: February 8th, 2010
After a year around the world this was my solution:

- burn 2 copies on DVD of photos (yes, there are burners)
- mail one set home
- when my parents say they've arrived, I ditch the one I'm carrying around

Worked pretty well, the only time I lost photos was because my camera's card slot malfunctioned. In Africa :(

JasonT

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  • Added on: July 27th, 2011
Resurrecting this old post of mine to provide some info on what method I've used, after being on the road for almost a year.

I purchased a very small 500 Gig external hard drive for under $50 where I keep a mirror copy of my images, files, and videos (when I first made this thread, I didn't even think that I'd be recording videos).

I also attempted to mail home some dvd's a few times. Only half the discs arrived, so I'm glad I kept a copy on my laptop and external hard drive. I haven't tried to mail dvd's home after that.

With my laptop and external drive getting full, I started looking at online backup options. About 3 months ago I found 'Rackspace Hosting' http://www.rackspace.com/apps/backup_and_collaboration/online_file_storage/ as an online backup, they have unlimited capacity and only charge you for the space you use (rather than buying blocks of space). At the time of writing this, they charge $0.15/Gig per month.

So, when internet is available through the hostel/guesthouse or internet cafe, I upload through the night or while I'm there; and when the internet is not available, I still have at least two copies mirrored, and each device travels in separate bags (in case my backpack gets stolen, damaged or crushed)

Jason


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