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Take Your Tablet So You Won’t Be Sorry in the Morning.

April 13, 2013

There’s nothing worse than regret. You’ve spent a fortune buying a ticket to an exotic photo location. You’ve bought the latest lenses, they’re all cleaned & calibrated, spare bodies, batteries & cards, housed in a brand new case. You’ve researched the destination, booked travel, looked at the possibilities and you’re ready to go. STOP! You need to take precautions against supreme disappointment.


Take a tablet!

It doesn’t matter whether your tablet is an iPad, Samsung, HP, Sony, Toshiba or any one of the others that are flooding the market. The important thing is to take one with you that can connect physically, or wirelessly to your camera. My reasoning is simple. You need to check that your shot of a lifetime is sharp, properly exposed and can ultimately produce the result you want. I’ll address my comments to the iPad, because it’s what I use and know. You must get the photo into the iPad to evaluate it. It sounds simple, but many times I’ve forgotten a vital cord or dongle. There are iPad download and sharing apps, plus connectors and cords. Of course, Android and other devices offer them as well.

Rose Coloured Glasses

Rose coloured glasses are excellent for looking at a partner, but useless for accurately evaluating a photograph. To start, calibrate your screen. Datacolor Spyders offer free software called SpyderGallery to registered users of their software. This allows calibration of the iPad screen and other tablets as well. You download the software, synch your iPad with your desk or laptop then use the Spyder to calibrate the screen. Brightness needs to be turned down and auto brightness shut off.

 Why calibrate? 

I’m a calibration evangelist. It’s the only way to know that your files are accurate for colour and exposure. You can use the camera’s histogram and turn on the highlight warning, (which I do) but nothing beats closely examining your image on a 9″ high definition, calibrated screen. Particularly when you’re at a place you’ve paid a fortune to get to and trying to take the shot of a lifetime. As stated, screen brightness can’t be set to auto, otherwise, the calibration is meaningless. The tablet’s big screen allows you to check your image at 1:1 and know definitively that it’s sharp or unsharp in the places you want it to be. I’m mainly talking here about landscapes in the field, where you have the time to compose, not quick street shots. I also suggest loading one of the excellent depth of field apps and using it to confirm the theoretical depth of field for the lens and focus point you’re using.

Download and Backup

I don’t suggest downloading all of your pictures to the iPad. It will fill up too quickly. Just the set up and test shots. If you have time, you can do a test process in the field with one of the brilliant new apps now available. Portable versions of Lightroom, Photoshop and Photogene. There’s also Enlight, VSCO Cam, Filterstorm Neue and PhotoWizard HD, to name but a tiny few.

 Shooting Hands Off; but the miracles don’t end.

The tablet miracles don’t end with checking focus, sharpness and exposure. With the addition of suitable hardware and software, you can use it to trigger your camera. If your camera is WiFi enabled, you don’t even need extra hardware. If your camera doesn’t feature GPS, you can take a shot at the location to geotag your images. You can record your camera and tripod setup, or take a selfie to  complete the record of your trip. For safety, you can also upload some choice pictures to Dropbox, other public or personal cloud storage.

Opportunity on the road

You pass a scene that has potential while your main camera is safely locked in its case, dust free and out of reach. Is it worth unpacking and setting up? Perhaps. Take a shot with the iPad, process it and decide. The iPad shot may be even better that the set up one. Certainly it’s quicker and easier to capture.

Avoid Loss

I’m not talking about losing the shot of a lifetime. What if all your equipment disappeared? Thieves or carelessness, the result is the same. Use the iPad or iPhone to photograph all of your equipment and for that matter your travel documents and wallet contents. It helps your memory for insurance claims or replacements in the field.

As you can see, an iPad makes a worthwhile addition to a photographic trip. Everything from memory joggers, backup, test shots to a record of fellow travellers and that you were actually there.

Take a tablet, you’ll thank me.


From → Photography

One Comment
  1. Reblogged this on allan kleiman photography and commented:

    This has been sitting around for a while, so I completed it today.

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