You can keep your images secure without carrying two laptops on every trip
By Bob Krist
Pros And Cons Before you put your laptop up for sale on eBay, though, there are a few things to keep in mind when going the portable viewer/storage unit route. First, although you can view your photos on these devices, it’s slow, or in the case of the Epson, impossible to rename and caption them. Daily downloading, renaming and captioning is an important part of the workflow for travel photographers because it’s tough to remember names of people and places weeks after you photographed them.
You also have to be careful in your choice of small auxiliary USB hard drives. Most on the market are designed to be bus-driven only. That means they don’t have their own power source, but derive their power from the USB port of your computer. In most cases, the digital wallets won’t have enough power to fire up the bus-driven auxiliary hard drive, so you have to make sure you get a drive that has an optional power source; only a few of the really small drives do. Not to worry, though, these AC adapters aren’t huge—most of the drives run off small five-volt, two-amp adapters that weigh a couple of ounces and are very compact.
Free At Last...Not! So does this mean I’m leaving my laptop at home on my next trip? Not a chance! I still need to caption, and I’ve deliberately stuck with small, 12-inch Apple iBooks to lighten my load from the start. What this may mean, though, is that I’ll leave my second iBook at home and use the Epson P-3000 instead, along with my usual 12-inch iBook and three small backup hard drives.
Maybe it’s because I travel to off-the-beaten-track places in rough conditions, but I’ve encountered nearly every manner of digital breakdown you can imagine. So while some have called me paranoid when it comes to making multiple backups of my work on the road, I like to cite the quote widely attributed to Henry Kissinger. It applies to digital travel photography as well as it does to statesmanship: "Even a paranoid has some real enemies." Amen, Henry!