Lightroom on the Road

Plus, lots of news about speaking and such …

Before we get to this week’s question, I’d like to thank the three organizations that hosted me for presentations this week. In New York City, the Park West Camera Club and the Sierra Club both invited me to speak about “Photographing National Parks.” The B&H Event Space invited me to speak on the same subject, plus about “Photographing Acadia National Park” (sponsored by Formatt-Hitech).

Speaking of Maine’s only national park (for now), there’s exciting news about the Acadia Night Photography Adventure Workshop I’m co-leading in May. A few days ago (we haven’t even officially announced this yet), Nikon agreed to come on board as a premier sponsor of our National Parks at Night program. As part of that partnership, Nikon will be sending gear (and possibly a Professional Services rep) to the Acadia workshop for attendees to try out during our night shoots. Another great reason to join us in Maine this spring!

Also regarding Acadia, did you know that astronomer Tyler Nordgren considers it his favorite national park for night photography? Tyler is an astronomy professor at University of Redlands in California, and is author of Stars Above, Earth Below: A Guide to Astronomy in the National Parks. I recently interviewed him for a Q&A about night photography in the parks, which you can read at the National Parks at Night blog.


This Week’s Question

LRoomQ.  I love Lightroom but there seems to be a lot involved in bringing it on the road with me while shooting. How do you do it? What’s your strategy for editing photos on a trip?Gary, Alexandria, Va.

A. My strategy is that I don’t edit photos while on a trip, unless it’s absolutely necessary.

I dump my cards pretty much every day, and try to maintain three copies of the RAW files until I get home. I usually have my laptop on a trip, and I do have Lightroom installed on the laptop, but I keep my working catalog (and do all of my “real” photo editing) at home on my desktop computer with a calibrated display.

While traveling for a shoot, I may import some images to Lightroom for the purpose of checking on technical aspects—getting a close look at a more detailed histogram, for example, or checking the results from a lens that’s acting suspiciously. Or (I’ll admit it), perhaps for getting an early peek at some photos I’m really excited about!

I agree with your assessment that working with a Lightroom catalog can be “involved” while on the road. They’ve made some strides in easing that situation, particularly with the advent of Smart Previews, which allow you to edit photos even when disconnected from your cache of source files (which would be on a central hard drive or other storage solution somewhere else).

But that’s not my primary reason for not tinkering with editing while traveling. I avoid it because when I’m in the field, I prefer to be creating images, and using all my time and resources toward that end. There’ll time enough for editing when the shooting’s done.

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