Travel Lite & Mobile An Experiment With Apple’s IPad in Vietnam

Posted Feb. 13th, 2011 by Daniel J. Cox


I’m writing this as I sit in the Four Points Sheraton in LA waiting for our flight to Vietnam. Tanya and I are on our way to meet the folks from American/Pop Photo Mentor Series Treks that is sponsoring our trip. I as well as old college buddy Layne Kennedy and one other instructor will be working with aspiring photographers to help teach them the craft of creating quality images. Something new I’m planning to try for this assignment is to see if it’s possible to use my recently acquired Apple IPad as my main device for archiving and sharing images from our Vietnam/AngKor tour. I began last night by creating a short video introducing the project. All seemed to go well until I tried uploading the video youtube. Will be giving it another shot in the next few minutes. Stay tuned to see how it goes. I’ll be adding to this blog entry as often as possible. Hoping this will be an interesting and beneficial experiment. Stay tuned.



My first attempt to post the video I created, the night I left, ran into a few snags. Its still not up. Tanya and I have left Los Angeles and are seven hours into our fifteen hour flight to Hong Kong. We spent the day at the Four Points catching up on our work in a much more comfortable environment than LAX could provide and in the comfort of our hotel room we caught up on other projects, such as the recent Yellowstone Winter Photography Tour blog, exciting the photos etc.

Two nights ago when I decided to take this experiment on I had to quickly scramble to find some of the Apps I would need. After shooting the video I tried to figure out how to edit what I created, it ran too long and my exit wasn’t pretty, I needed to shorten it up. Try as I might I could find nothing on the IPad that allowed me to make editing changes to my mini film. I looked everywhere, certain that the option existed but finally had to give in. I know my IPhone allows video editing but apparently the IPad does not. This little experiment in frustration is actually a great lead in to one of the IPads greatest strengths. Most likely “There’s an App for at!” and so I tapped the App Store icon and did a search. Sure enough up came several options for editing video, ReelDirector had the highest star rating and seemed to be just what I needed. I tapped the BUY button, $1.99 was charged to my account and the download began. Several minutes later I was editing the video. All went relatively well although I had issues trying to figure out what sort of quality I was going to need for the blog that would be uploaded to Youtube. That issue pretty much shut me down since I picked an option that seemed to work flawlessly in the upload process etc. However, when I went to view it on YouTube it was obvious that I had created a file that was too small. The quality was horrible, pixelated and blurry. So that’s where I am at t is point. I’ll be reciting a new version and getting it ready to upload, hopefully while in Hong Kong and if not then, when I get to our hotel in Hanoi.

I never did get the video uploaded to my Youtube account from the IPad. As good as ReelDirector seems it doesn’t have very good documentation and when you are tired from nearly 35 hours of straight travel I finally decided to give up on this part of the project. It wasn’t what I had orientally intended to do anyway. My goal is to use the IPad to save my photos to. I think editing movies will come but I was biting off too much. So I took the Intro to my project over to my Macbook Pro and edited it in IMove and got it up to my Youtube account. Here is is. Will add more later.


After a few glitches I’ve finally uploaded my first collection of images to the IPad. There never really was an issue with getting the photos loaded. I was trying to do too many other things such as edit video and edit images. Since I’ve gone back to just the idea of getting the pictures downloaded to the device it is working extremely well. Here’s a video of my latest part of the experiment.


One of the unexpected changes I’ve made to my work flow by taking on the IPad was to switch over to Apple’s Aperture. I moved over to Mac the day Aperture was released several years ago. However, it wasn’t long before I decided it wasn’t ready for prime time and I then adopted Adobe’s Lightroom image editing/archiving program. I’m still a very big fan of Lightroom but with the newest release that allows me to work with video seems to have seriously sucked the power from the software. Also, as many of you know who take our photo tours, I’ve been talking about the benefits of  Aperture seeing all of Apple’s other devices. That benefit is most certainly the case with the IPad and the IPhone. A good friend of mine, Randy Kokesch, who works with Apple has been after me to give Aperture another try. I broke down for this trip since I was going to be working with the IPad. I’m still finding a few issues with Aperture but the ability to work with all my devices is pushing me forward to learn the program better and see if I can live with some of the current short Cummings. I’ll be talking about Aperture over the couse of the next ten days as well.


Unfortunately my travel schedule and lack of consistent internet connections created an issue with keeping this blog post updated. In short my little “experiment “with the IPad did not work out as well as I hoped. There are lots of great apps to help make tis device an admirable tool for working on the road and potentially replacing the laptop. However, where I ran up a against a brick wall was storage space. I knew that was a potential problem since I only had 64 gigs of storage but I was confident I wouldn’t need a lot more than that for this shoot. My reasoning was  I often don’t produce as many images on travel destination assignments as I do with my wildlife work. I was wrong! My 64 gigs of space were consumed quickly and in the end I shot 167 gigs worth of images. I was very surprised but there were so many incredible photo opportunities it was easy to do. Something I should mention is that I was shooting all RAW images so for those of you who only shoot JPEGs you may still have the IPad as an option.

I plan to continue my use of the IPad and will report back as the device  and apps evolve. Just yesterday the new IPad 2 was announced. It has a much faster processor and many other great new features but alas not the one option I was most hopeful for; more storage space. The largest you can get is still 64 gigs worth so that issue is still a big problem.



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There are 8 comments on this post…
  1. Doug BrayOn Feb. 25th, 2011

    Hi Dan, I hope the Southeast Asia trip is going/or went well. Debra and I are planning to get the new IPad, primarily to view and display slide shows we create in Lightroom. Is it possible to calibrate the IPad screen with Spyder like we do with our laptop and the LCD we use when we
    adjust our images?


    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      danieljcoxOn Feb. 26th, 2011

      Doug, as far as I know there is no way to calibrate the IPad. However that’s not been an issue. The images come through visually stunning without any calibration. I can’t imagine them looking any better. Additionally you won’t be publishing any of these to anything except maybe a portable printer so what they look like on the IPad should be fine for your slide shows etc. In short don’t worry about calibration issues with the IPad. You will see it’s fine just the way it is.

  2. Portrait of Mark And Cathy Pemberton

    Mark PembertonOn Feb. 24th, 2011

    Dan, What will you use for a duplicate backup. It seems that an iPad could be a big target for thieves. You could loose all of you images if the iPad is stolen.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      danieljcoxOn Feb. 26th, 2011

      Mark, Until the I pad has the ability to export images to an external hard drive or something similar I plan to continue bringing my laptop. I would not want to go on any shoot without at least two copies of all images. The other option would be to have enough CF or SD cards so you don’t have to take the shot photographs off the the cards, effectively using the cards as your backup. As I mentioned in my blog this IPad project is an experiment. I’m writing this having jus completed our Mentor Trek in Vietnam and Cambodia and though it went very well, I definitely did not have enough space. I shot 167 Gigs of images and my IPad had only 64 gigs of storage. I have to admit I did not expect to shoot as much as I did but we had an amazing trip. Will be publishing images in the next week or so. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Doug BrayOn Feb. 22nd, 2011

    Hi Dan,I hope all is going well on the South East Asia trip. Debra and I have been thinking of getting the new IPad when it comes out to display images and slide shows we have created in Lightroom. It looks like that is not a problem. Is it possible to color calibrate the IPad with Spyder like we do with our laptop and the LCD screen we use when we edit and correct our images?

  4. RichardOn Feb. 16th, 2011

    Like yourself I use the ipad as a storage device. I’m off to the Himalaya in August, to ride a Royal Enfield bullet across the mountains and will be taking the ipad as well as my 550D.
    Having just purchased a 27″ imac, I also find Aperture lacking in some areas that I love in PS. Layers are the main thing I miss, but Aperture does have some good points to….But I’m a bit to new to it to really say what they are lol.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      danieljcoxOn Feb. 17th, 2011

      Richard, you adventure with the IPad sounds incredible. Please write and let me know how it goes. Unfortunately, I’ve never been a fan of photoshop. I not a levels guy, don’t even know how to use them. Coming form a journalism background I really just want minimal changes in the original file I produce. I’m still getting used to Aperture and there are some things I miss a great deal compared to Lightroom. However, Aperture has a few advantages as well. Each one is very competent and I’m thankful for Apple introducing Aperture or we would all be forced to use Photoshop. Without Aperture we would not have Lightoroom. Have a great adventure and shoot lots of images.

  5. Dave GlatzOn Feb. 16th, 2011

    Hey Dan, bummer that the video editing didn’t work out. Hope you got some sleep on the plane! Good luck with the other part of your project. Will be checking out your blog to see if the iPad works for the photo end of the project. Who knows maybe you’ll convert a PC dinosaur to Mac yet! Safe travels and say hi to Tanya. Hope you guys have a great trek!

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