Changing how I process photographic images on the road

Submitted: Monday, Mar 13, 2023 at 17:57
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What are you using to process your photographs when on an extended road trip? Previously I have used my Dell Ultrabook. Recently, I have been testing the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite I use for navigation as a photo editing device. I have added to the basic tablet: a 512Gb microSD, a power through OTG cable with USB 3 and USB C ports, and an SD card reader with a USB 3 port. With this arrangement I can simultaneously power the tablet while accessing the camera SD card and a 2Tb Lacie Rugged HDD. Processing software is the mobile version of Adobe Creative Cloud, plus the Bimostitch panorama stitching app (the mobile versions of Lightroom and Photoshop lack this capability). My workflow consists of downloading the images from the SD card to the 512Gb microSD using LR, processing the images and backing up the result to the external HDD. Photographs will also remain on the camera SD cards if I have enough storage (2x64Gb + 2x32Gb cards). Tests so far have shown that the processing power is quite adequate, I have even been able to create a 12-image panorama and use the new AI based masking tools in LR.
When I have decent internet access, I will sync the processed photos to the Adobe Cloud. Advantages over PC processing are one less bit of equipment to manage and easier posting to emails/social media. Drawbacks are that the mobile versions of Adobe CC lack some of the features of the PC versions and I may well not be able to sync the images, as public/CP Wi-Fi will probably not be good enough and the 160Gb of mobile data I have on my phone may be inadequate.
(My gear is a 36.4 MP full frame sensor Pentax K1 and I shoot RAW so the Mbs and Gbs accumulate rather quickly)
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Reply By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Monday, Mar 13, 2023 at 22:10

Monday, Mar 13, 2023 at 22:10
One of the reason I chose my mirrorless Canon EOS R is that it features its own built in Wifi network so I can select photos I take in RAW at 33MB full frame to auto save to JPG and sync to any device I pair it with - even when offline out in the bush. eg. my Samsung phone, or Apple iPad, or even an smart TV.

That way, I can prepare any social media posts whilst I'm offline and get them ready to publish without having to wait for service to do the post production.

For social media/quick updates I find that most of my photos are good enough without any editing to work for that purpose and its very convenient when travelling to do a super quick Instagram Story or Post with a few good pics.

The other reason I chose this camera is that is shoots 4K video and there are a few options, one of which is the ability to select the option that allows frame captures at 8MB jpg which is still sufficient clarity to post quickly to Instagram/Facebook etc.

I use these features heavily both with family/lifestyle stuff and when travelling.

When I'm ready to go back to do my editting, I take the SD out of the camera and insert into a USB card reader plugged into to my Windows laptop that I can run on battery for a day or so, or plug into the 2000W invertor if I'm sitting at a camp with the solar panels out. I run the full Adobe suite on the laptop so I don't bother with the mobile versions. I also edit the Drone footage at the same sitting - we use the HDR setting when taking still photos on the drone and I use the settings in Lightroom to merge the 3 HDR images together and find that works well. I never keep or use the Drones own inbuilt merge JPG file.

Hope that helps?
Always interesting to read what other photographers are doing.
Michelle

PS the photo in our signature is one such example. After taking the photo, I immediately synced it to my phone where it sat in the phone's gallery. I then had easy access to use it for updating this in our profile pic, and also used it in the next social media post I prepared. All without using Lightroom etc. Good enough for this type of use.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Tuesday, Mar 14, 2023 at 17:26

Tuesday, Mar 14, 2023 at 17:26
Thanks for the reply Michelle. Looks like you have your workflow well tuned, mine isn't very sophisticated, it's not a business so more dabbling. Both cameras we use, a Sony A5000 and my Pentax K1 have wifi file transfer, but it's very slow and eats camera battery. Probably ok for a photo or two, but it's file transfer only and you would have to have a jpeg in camera. The Sony is meant to have NFC as well but I've never got it to work. Video editing is something I have never done, a work friend used to create videos of his remote treks, with voice commentary in post production, he reckoned it was greater than ten to one for processing time versus clip length.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Tuesday, Mar 14, 2023 at 22:48

Tuesday, Mar 14, 2023 at 22:48
I may have the workload sorted for my needs but I've not used half the processing features you talk of. I didn't even know of any AI features in LR. I just don't have time to dabble. Not professional at all I'm afraid but always learning. Great post.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Wednesday, Mar 15, 2023 at 09:05

Wednesday, Mar 15, 2023 at 09:05
LR has AI built in to its updated masking feature. It will very capably identify the main subject, faces, people and sky. There is also a smart object selection tool in the masking. You can then also invert the selection. The feature is also built into a set of smart pre-sets.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Thursday, Mar 16, 2023 at 12:01

Thursday, Mar 16, 2023 at 12:01
I should probably look at the masking features I never use it. To be honest all your talk of complex post production is way beyond my skill set! I am usually very happy with my in camera shot except for LR adjustments so I don't get as involved in editing at the level you describe.

Other than landscape photography I specialise in equine sports photography and ocassionally shoot at events or private photo shoots. In these scenarios its about composition aiming for the perfect action shot of horse over a jump taken on long lens from a distance with constant change of camera direction so im dealing with bright sunlight or dark shadows so for me it's about high shutter speed and perfect light control and enhancing the horse to look its best in the perfect position without distrupting its natural colour. It's amazing how much setting adjustments I need to make on shooting a grey vs bay horse. I find it's better to make those adjustments in camera rather than post production although I've fine tuned my presents in LR to quickly work through batches. I learned more about light in camera in my first year of equine photography than the past 25 years of landscape photography and think my 2022 photos of our WA/NT travels are my best. Can't wait to get back out there this winter heading to SA, NSW, VIC & QLD... and now have StarLink so will be able to "keep up" more easily.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Thursday, Mar 16, 2023 at 17:11

Thursday, Mar 16, 2023 at 17:11
The smart masking tools are fantastic for fine adjustments. No more tedious painting of areas that you want to adjust. If the subject/face/people/sky selection tool doesn't give you what you want the object selection tool lets you roughly paint in an object and the AI will select the object. Wouldn't be any good for batch adjusting, but if you wanted to fix a nagging little flaw it's great. The healing tool now has an eraser tool which is equally impressive. My thoughts are that the latest releases of LR have made what were previously time consuming and tedious image adjustments much simpler and speedier. Worth a quick play and or look at a couple of YouTube tutorials.
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Reply By: Life Member - Duncan W (WA) - Tuesday, Mar 14, 2023 at 11:21

Tuesday, Mar 14, 2023 at 11:21
I just use Lightroom and Panorama for stitching, and I may use Topaz AI Clear if I have noise problems. Question for you, why such large capacity SD cards? If one is corrupted or gets lost that is a lot of memory lost and maybe work & $, why not stick to 8Gb cards and have more of them?
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Tuesday, Mar 14, 2023 at 16:26

Tuesday, Mar 14, 2023 at 16:26
Hi Dunc, thanks for replying. On the computer is use LR Classic for processing and panorama stitching and PS for focus stacking. I love the new AI layer masking capabilities. I purchased the full Topaz AI suite, like you I use it for noisy images, particularly high iso/high shutter speed birding shots. I've also found it useful for scans of family photo albums. My PC is now a 9yo Dell XPS13 Ultrabook, I'm not sure it would take another hard few months on the road, hence the move to the tablet, at least until I put together the $2.5K to replace the PC. Re the memory cards, a 64Gb card in my camera will hold 803 raw images. Yes I could use 2x8Gb cards in the memory card slots, at around 200 images, on some days, if I'm blasting away on bird shots and add a few multiple row panoramas of 30+ images, I could possibly fill them. Conversely even on a 10 week trip I never filled the cards, so they acted as a third copy (SD plus 2x external HDD), but this was before I started trying to up my success rate with birds by using high speed multiple shots. I guess I've taken the risk with the bigger cards to minimise the need to manage multiple cards. I do download every day, especially if it's been a big day of shooting. I've never come close to filling the 64Gb card so I could run the 2x64Gb cards in mirror mode. Recently we've had to revert to tent/cabin trips until the camper trailer is repaired and that inhibits daily downloads via the PC. Interestingly most of my camera club colleagues also use big cards, particularly the remote travellers.
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Reply By: Member - Cuppa - Tuesday, Mar 14, 2023 at 15:06

Tuesday, Mar 14, 2023 at 15:06
I just use my Macbook Air, nought with 16Gb Ram. I used to have all my photos on external hard drives (still do for back ups) , but because I frequently access my entire collection of photo libraries I was finding it a pain to have to retrieve & plug in the external drives so often. (I have a collection of 500Mb to 2 TB samsung drives - nice & small for travelling, & fast). Now have all my phot libraries on my laptop again, but with a 1 TB drive, the time is approaching where I will need to offload some libraries, a shame because it is just so convenient having them all at my fingertips.

I use Mac Photos for storage & have Luminar 4 for processing. It's been a love/hate relationship with Luminar since it's first version was released. Frequently buggy, using customers as the test bed, making promises & not delivering, but was easier & quicker to learn than LR & PS. In hindsight I think LR would have been a better option, but their move to ongoing fees put me off.To expensive for this little hobbyist.

Recently I splurged out on the Topaz photo suite & have found it to be quite impressive, not perfect, but pretty good. Tend to use Denoise AI the most. Will make a good photo a great photo. Topaz Photo AI is improving , with regular updates, (recently became useable as a plugin for Mac Photos which is great).The others in the suite are still standalone only. Gigapixel is useful now & then, but less keen on the Sharpen AI.

I had a Sony A6500 (APS-C crop sensor) which I loved, but 5 tropical wet seasons worth of humidity killed it late last year. I now have a full frame Sony A7iii, but managing with my crop sensor lenses (except for my 150-600 zoom which does full frame) for the time being.

Sounds like you are at a rather more sophisticated level of processing to me.



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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Tuesday, Mar 14, 2023 at 17:15

Tuesday, Mar 14, 2023 at 17:15
A couple of my mates didn't like the Adobe subscription model and swapped to Capture One, it's now gone subscription as well. A few in my camera club love DarkTable a LR clone, there is a Mac version. I learned to use Adobe products at work, originally Illustrator. When our graphics section was closed, it was easier to do the work myself than deal with a remote contractor who had no idea of the look and style of Earth and Environmental Science graphics, let alone Journal specific styles. One advantage of an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription (~AUD12pm) is you get 1Tb of cloud storage for your photos, you need internet access, but Starlink is a game changer in that area. Re multiple HDD for photo storage, hopefully your 1Tb drive will solve the issue, but even using Lightroom say, you need to organise your photo collection into multiple catalogues as it gets pretty clunky with thousands of images in one catalogue.

We've a little Sony A5000 that my wife uses, it's a great travel camera. When the A7 series first came out a mate bought one but kept his Canon 5DMkII for rainy days as the A7 wasn't weather sealed. I believe the later models are. I was toying with a move to the A7, but later models were much pricier. Pentax has a reputation for extremely good weather sealing, but unfortunately none of my lenses are. I'm originally an FNQ lad so understand the problems of humidity, light bulbs in the cupboard, bags of silica gel, fungi on lenses as well as leather goods, shoes, belts...
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Follow Up By: Briste - Tuesday, Mar 14, 2023 at 22:28

Tuesday, Mar 14, 2023 at 22:28
I don't think that C1 is now 100% subscription, it's just that the perpetual licences are a lot less attractive than they used to be, and IIRC more expensive.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Wednesday, Mar 15, 2023 at 13:56

Wednesday, Mar 15, 2023 at 13:56
Briste, just looked at my mates email complaining about the change. The new model is $25pm equivalent if paid yearly otherwise $44pm or $512 for a perpetual licence (it's not clear whether these are USD or AUD if USD then !!). So cheaper than Adobe used to be, twice as expensive as Adobe's subs model with far less features than a ~$12pm CC Photographers edition with LR+PS+mobile versions and various small additional apps. The only upside of the C1 Pro model I can see is that you can bail out into a perpetual licence at any time (other than if you just think it's a better piece of software). One thing I find interesting is the constant need to update software raw file processing because camera manufacturers keep tinkering with their proprietary raw file formats. I've never read any explanation why. A handful of camera manufacturers offer raw DNG as an option, Pentax plus Leica and some medium format makers, I think Hasselblad maybe Phase One.
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Reply By: Member - Bart B - Wednesday, Mar 15, 2023 at 16:22

Wednesday, Mar 15, 2023 at 16:22
Interesting seeing this. I am somewhat different.

I have a Canon 60D since 2010 and a Canon 400D before that. We bought an Olympus E-M5II a couple of years back so the cook could take pictures of the bugs, lizards and flowers. I love taking panoramas, odd shaped formations and trees etc.. The cook also uses her old Canon IXUS as a video camera.

I have a Dell Inspiron laptop on which I run Ubuntu Linux and do my initial review and processing on it, generally in that evening. I make a point of downloading the images to the laptop and do a backup to a separate hard disk which is stored in the camper (the cameras go in the Ranger) so I have 2 copies of the images. I do final processing when I get home.

I use Rapid Photo Downloader to download the images off the SD cards (including any video the cook takes) and then use XnView as my initial reviewer so I can quickly get rid of duplicates, out of focus etc.. I use Darktable as my image processor and Gimp any editing ("photo-shopping" ) that I might want to do. For panorama stitching I have been using Hugin for the last 20 years. When we get home I back up the images and videos to our home network. Every 6 months or so I do a whole backup onto a HDD and swap the HDD with another one that my married son keeps at his place.

The software that I mentioned is opensource and free to download and use. Darktable, XnView and Hugin have Windows, MacOS versions.

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Follow Up By: Member - Warren H - Wednesday, Mar 15, 2023 at 17:41

Wednesday, Mar 15, 2023 at 17:41
Hi Bart,
That is pretty much my workflow when using the PC, incl cameras in the vehicle, computer and external HDD in camper, images remain on the camera cards as well. I reformat the sd cards in camera when I get home and images are thrice backed up. Originally I used XnView and Hugin, but processing has always been Adobe, as prior to retiring, I had a work laptop and Adobe software. DigiKam is another LR lookalike that came out of the Linux world that seems to have fallen out of favour. I have also dabbled with RawTherapee particularly when I was first trying wide field astrophotography and had a camera circa 2010 with a much noisier sensor. In the last couple of years Adobe has incorporated and improved on the third party apps for focus stacking and panorama stitching. Topaz Photo AI is great but no doubt Adobe will get just a good in a little while. In my old age, I'm getting lazy and have less patience to fuss about with multiple bits of software and getting it to work just doesn't seem like fun anymore : ) But if Adobe were to greatly increase the subs I might be forced to reconsider.
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