File storage for long term travel
Presumably you're uploading to various cloud services when you find a fast connection? I imagine that this is probably the primary way to go these days with gigabytes adding up quickly.
The general rule is 3 locations or more. I tend to not spray and pray, so I can go a while on my 48 GB of compact flash space. I keep my photos on the cards, on my computer, and on a 1 TB external hard drive. I try to separate the HD from the computer in case a bag gets stolen. The more you care about your photos, the more external drives you should bring. I was reading the travel workflow of a pro photographer the other day who brings two 1 TB working hard drives and three or four extras for backing up. When he has a base to work from he'll leave one in the room, one with the front desk, and one in his bag.
I'm also adopting a new practice where I back up my 3 and 5 star images to a 32 GB USB flash drive that I keep on me at all times. On a two or three month trip I can manage all my files this way until I get home, but if you're away for longer I'd suggest keeping multiple physical backups (no CDs or DVDs) and only uploading your 3, 4, and 5 star photos to the cloud when you have the chance to let your computer run for a few hours overnight.
The big key is that hard drives die randomly (mine did in Puno, Peru), internet is slow and unreliable abroad, and portable hard drives are cheap. A lot of people like the Lacie rugged drives, but they've always been a lot more expensive than my budget has allowed.
Here is another recent thread on backing up.
Those ideas work fine for photos, but video is a different story. I was hoping to avoid traveling with an external drive, but that's probably not possible if planning to shoot HD video.
I couldn't be bothered spending $30 a pop to back up my $150 cards, nor did I have 6 hours every night to do so anyway, so I risked it.
I had brought 3x 32GB cards and 2x 16GB cards, but I eventually ran out and bought a cheap 32GB card over there in New Zealand. 1000 photos taken, and only about 50 photos left and the card died on me. Corrupt and completely unrecoverable. So from now on, always traveling with a laptop.
My method (from now on) will be.
1. Take Photos
2. Photos get copied from card onto:
- A. Laptop Hard Drive
- B. External Hard Drive 1
- C. External Hard Drive 2
3. Once photos are onto my computer, burn photos to DVD and send home to my parents.
4. Import all photos into Lightroom. Rate, tag, etc.
5. Export all 3+ star photos as high res JPEGs and upload to webserver.
6. Use other CF/SD card whilst waiting for DVDs to arrive home.
7. Once my parents confirm the DVDs have arrive safely, wipe CF/SD card and reuse.
8. Clear unimportant photos (below 3 star) from laptop hard drive.
9. Then start editing/using photos and videos for blogs, flickr, facebook, etc.
Kinda sounds paranoid, and I'm sure I'll often forget, but that's what I'm aiming for. One copy offsite, at least two copies with me, at least one hard drive will be kept separate from the laptop incase it gets stolen, etc...
3 months into my travel, I bought an external hard drive and quite burning DVD's. Then I had a SD card fail on me me, and while I only lost about 50 photos, had me a bit paranoid about potential other failures.
I signed up with Rackspace for online storage (pay for only what space you use) and backed up everything there. I still keep the 3 physical locations, until the backup to Rackspace is complete, then I empty the SD cards / USB sticks. The backup runs in the background when connected to wifi, and can be throttled so it isn't killing your bandwidth while you're surfing the net. I tend to just let it run when I'm out for the day, or during the night.
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