If you're planning on a trip abroad for an extended period of time and have decided to log it with a photo blog or a photographic website, here is a setup that works for me. It is, by no means, the final say on how to maintain a travel photo blog, but it is what I do, and it works.
Because this could be an incredably boring article, we'll make it into a drinking game. Ready? OK then, have a drink.
What's in your kit? Mine Pictured Left, includes a 13" Apple MacBook Pro , LaCie Rugged All-Terrain 500 GB Hard Drive, Pentax K-7 with Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8, Leica C-LUX 2, Sandisk 8GB Extreme SDHC, Domke F-3X, and that's about it.
I carry all the important gear in a day bag that is always by my side when moving from one place to the next. It is carry on size for planes, buses and trains and it works.
For taking photos with the DSLR, I carry the Domke bag which, while it does sometimes look like a man-purse, it generally blends in as a non-camera bag. In it I have the memory cards, camera, and lens cloth. I only use one wide lens because I don't like to carry more than that. It weighs me down and it doesn't fit my photo style. It is very important to spend enough time getting comfortable with your gear that you can develop your style as a photographer and know what you think you need vs what you actually willl use.
Remember: it isn't the gear that makes the photographer. Now drink.
Let's talk about a work flow. My main camera, the Pentax K7, is at the ready when I know I am going out to take photos. If I'm going out for drinks or in a rough area of town, I leave the Pentax/Domke Combo at home and keep the Leica Point and Shoot in my pocket as well as a toothbrush scraped into a shiv, à la prison.
When arriving in each new city,is when I make time to go through my photos from the previous city. First, I back up everything onto the LaCie 500Gb Hard Drive before reformatting the SD Cards. That's right, I reformat SD cards rather than just Deleting Some or All.
In advance you should have an idea already for how you're going to organize your files. In Australia, I have them Foldered by state, then by city. That system works for Australia as I'll be traveling to every state, but it might not work for a year in one city or traveling in a smaller country. Maybe go by dates or regions. Whatever you choose, know in advance what you think will help you find the photos you're seeking so you waste no time searching.
About every 2 months I backup all photos from the Hard Drive and burn them onto Blank DVDs to send home to family. This habit of making redundant backups offers peace of mind and a reason to write home. You're welcome Mom. After you burn all photos onto DVDs, you can mark the folders with a color so you know which folders are backed up.
I do all of my photo editing on Photoshop and have a set of actions ready for either landscape or portrait framed images. The actions, in order, are to set the Curves, which I do manually, Save the full res photo, change the Image size to 600 x 350px at 300 ppi, Add Text watermark in the corner, and Save for Web. I save that at about a 50 percent quality jpeg. This system gives me a decent sized photo and files that are usually 50-70Kb.
If you do your editing manually then take some time to learn Actions in Photoshop before you leave for your next trip. They are a huge time saver if you do any repetitive editing, for example making photos web worthy while on the road. You don't want to be cooped up inside while life is going on around you, right?
Just open the photos in Photoshop and hit play and watch it go through the actions. Then take another drink.
I don't know what website creator or blogging service other people use, and I don't really care. I use Dreamweaver to make my content because I am not a webmaster, but I also want to feel like I am creating something from the bottom up, rather than just adding content to a template that has been used a thousand times.
Use whatever your comfortable with, be it Wordpress, Blogger, Facespace, MyBook, etc. Nothing is right or wrong, it most important to use the program which you are most efficient with.
The most important part is to learn the how to side of things before you leave. You don't want to be learning PHP code or troubleshooting a database when you should be traveling and taking photos... or drinking, which by all accounts you ought to be doing right now.
Depending on where you are traveling, WiFi may or may not be readily available. In Australia for example, it is everywhere. I generally upload at every chance I get as I never know if the next place will have free WiFi or if they block FTP programs or whatever. My current location in the Outback, for example, does not allow uploading. Sucks for me, so we drink.
Have your files ready to upload and then go to town. I like to mark files and folders which have yet to be uploaded, so I don't waste my time searching and checking what I've already done.
That is my basic workflow for my Australian Photography Website. It's not perfect and I accept that, but it works for me so please keep the "you should do it this way..." emails to yourself, unless of course you are sober, which I, most certainly, am not.
Best of luck out there and shoot straight!
The world is too amazing not to share. Contact Mike
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