Storing digital photographs while traveling

I recently received an email from Rodney DSouza, who is planning to go to Ladakh in June. Apart from the usual questions about planning his trip, he also had a question about storing photographs while traveling:

What’s the best way to save photographs? We won’t have enough space on our memory cards. Endless pictures will be shot due to over excitement and we might not want to miss any place.

Rodney’s concern is certainly genuine and I have personally seen people fill up their collection of memory cards, even before their trip has reached the half way mark.

Thankfully the solution is simple enough and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Leh like majority of the cities and touristy places in India, has a plethora of internet cafés. These internet cafes offer the facility of copying your precious videos and photographs to a CD or DVD, thus enabling you to free up your memory card and capture more memories.

Here are five tips that should come in handy, while you are transferring your precious photos to a CD/DVD:

Use a card reader: While quite a few people like to connect their camera directly to the computer, it is always safer to take out the memory card and plug it in a card reader and then transfer the photographs. Majority of the internet cafes will have a card reader, though you can carry one yourself, since it not really that expensive and is quite small in size.

Check if the CD/DVD was burnt properly: After the photographs have been transferred to the CD/DVD, check manually by going in to the photograph folder and enabling the thumbnail view (if available) and opening a few photographs at random. I have had instances where the CD/DVD burning software claimed that the CD/DVD was burnt properly and it wasn’t the case. So before you erase the photographs from your memory card, ensure they have been properly transferred.

Make sure the memory card is in read only mode: If you use an SD card or if your memory cards allows it to run in read only mode (write lock), then enable that option. Quite a few internet café computers have viruses, which can at time, corrupt the memory card. In case it happens to you, try to avoid using that memory card for rest of the trip, since even after the corruption/deletion/formatting has occurred, one can still recover data from the memory card, with the use of data recovery software.

Store the CD/DVD properly: Always store the CD/DVD in a protective case and in a bag that isn’t exposed to extreme heat. Also try to store the protective case between your cloths to minimize shocks, which would reduce the risk of scratching the disk.

Burn another copy: If your photographs are important to you and money isn’t a big issue, make sure you make couple of copies of the photographs and store them in different bags to increase the chances of your photos surviving the journey back home.

These are just few of the things I follow when I take backup of the photographs and till date, they have worked wonderfully.

Ps. don’t forget to scan the CD/DVD for viruses once you reach home.

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