Review: WD My Passport Wireless Hard Drive

WdfMP Wireless

Ever since I started writing the first edition of The iPad for Photographers, one aspect of the process has been a sticking point: image backup. I know, that sounds like the most boring part of being a photographer, but it’s also vitally important.

Importing photos onto the iPad for review is one option, but it takes up valuable storage (and digital camera files aren’t getting any smaller). That also means you have just one set of image files, unless you use the SD memory cards you originally captured the photos onto as backup (which is also a good idea).

A number of companies have made hard disks that incorporate Wi-Fi radios, primarily as a means of storing lots of media (movies, mostly) and stream them to the iPad and not take up the device’s storage. The Seagate Wireless Plus also added the ability to copy photos from the iPad to the drive, but its implementation is pretty basic and time-consuming: You need to import photos to the iPad, and then copy them to the drive.

All this is lead-up to a new product that makes the whole problem less thorny. The WD My Passport Wireless is a portable, battery-powered hard disk that adds one crucial element: an SD card reader. With this addition, you can dump the contents of a memory card while you’re shooting with another card, then connect to the drive on your iPad and review your work.

The drive is available in two configurations: 1 TB for $175 and 2 TB for $219. (Those are the current prices at Amazon as I write this; clicking either link earns me an affiliate percentage and helps support the work I do.)

My full review at Lynda.com is here: Review: My Passport Wireless for the Traveling Photographer.

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Article: iPhone Video Beyond Basic: FiLMiC Pro

FiLMiC Pro

One promise of the video-capture capabilities of the iPhone and iPad is being able to create movies without a lot of other expensive hardware. That can be shooting short movies, action clips, interviews, or even news segments. But when you need more than just the basics, turn to the app FiLMiC Pro. I write about this $7.99 gem at Lynda.com and explain why it’s essential for anyone who needs manual control over the video they capture, from locking focus and exposure independently to capturing video at a resolution higher than the built-in Camera app does.

Read about it here: iPhone Video Beyond Basic: Shooting with FiLMiC Pro.

iPad and iPhone VideoI also cover FiLMiC Pro in my book iPad and iPhone Video: Film, Edit, and Share the Apple Way. (Hint: It makes a great gift for the budding director in your family or circle of friends!)

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Article: Make Photo Gifts Right from Your iPhone or iPad

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Still looking for holiday gift ideas? Start with the photos in your iPhone or iPad! Over at Lynda.com, I’ve written about methods for making photo gifts without requiring a trip to your computer. Apps and services can make prints, photo books, and other creations while you wait in line to see Santa.

I also spotlight a couple of interesting photo book options: Chatbooks and Groovebook are designed to make small books out of all of your mobile photos (with the ability to skip shots you don’t like, of course) inexpensively. Chatbooks charges $6 for a 60-page book, while Groovebook works as a subscription that costs $2.99 per month for a book of 40 to 100 pages.

This was a fun article to research. Check it out here: Make Photo Gifts Right from Your iPhone or iPad.

iStick Hampered by Poor Software

When the iStick was introduced earlier this year, it promised something not previously available for the iPad or iPhone: copy files via the Lightning connector. Apple built iOS with the limitation that the connector not be used as a generic USB file transfer mechanism. That meant companies needed to get clever, resulting in methods such as having a portable hard drive create its own Wi-Fi connection to stream media to the device.

I don’t know how the iStick gets around that limitation, but according to Derrick Story, it works. Unfortunately, the software to run it is so basic that it’s almost unusable. Sure, you can copy images from an iPad to the iStick as a backup… but you won’t be able to view thumbnails until you get back to a computer. Currently, it sounds like a fine solution to bring media like movies and music along so it’s not stored on the iPad itself. But that’s about it.

Derrick Story Reviews the WD My Passport Wireless HD

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My colleague Derrick Story got his hands on WD’s new My Passport Wireless hard disk, which he calls “the best new gadget I’ve tested in a while.” The My Passport Wireless includes an SD card, which is the essential ingredient for taking it on location: You can make a copy of your memory card’s photos without having to transfer them to the iPad first.

The drive comes in two configurations: 1 TB for $179 and 2 TB for $219. I’m looking forward to using this on my next photo excursion.

TriggerTrap Mobile Review at Macworld

Looking for a way to trip your DSLR’s shutter that’s more advanced than your fingers? TriggerTrap Mobile is an iOS app that controls the camera in numerous creative ways from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. I reviewed it for Macworld: TriggerTrap Mobile review: control your camera’ shutter with your iOS device

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New Articles: Lightroom mobile 1.1 and Adobe Photoshop Mix

Coinciding with the latest announcements from Adobe, two articles of mine were published this morning.

Lightroom mobile 1.1

Mix cutout

For my first article at Lynda.com, I looked at Lightroom mobile 1.1. On the surface it appears to be an incremental update that delivers iPhone compatibility (which Adobe promised was coming when Lightroom mobile came out in April). However, it turns out that having the app on the iPhone can potentially change the way you work with mobile photos.

Right now, to get the shots you capture with the iPhone (and if you’re like me, you take a lot) into your Lightroom library, you need to connect the phone to your computer via a sync cable and import the photos like any other camera. Using the feature of Lightroom mobile 1.1 to automatically add new photos from the Camera Roll to a synced collection means your photos get zapped to your Lightroom library without any intervention.

Read more about it at: How Lightroom Mobile 1.1 May Change Your Mobile Photo Workflow.

Adobe Photoshop Mix

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Over at Macworld, I wrote a first-look article about Adobe’s new Photoshop Mix app for iPad. It’s an interesting use of the underlying Photoshop technologies that Adobe is putting into many of its apps, enabling you to perform image corrections on photos and also build compositions from different photos.

Take a look at: First Look: Adobe Photoshop Mix.

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New Article: Kinsgston MobileLite Wireless Review

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Is the storage on your iPad or iPhone filling up? At Macworld, I reviewed the Kingston MobileLite Wireless, a small device that stores media files on SD or micro SD cards and streams them via Wi-Fi to any iOS device. It can also charge your iPhone in a pinch! Read all about it: Kingston MobileLite Wireless review: SD card reader for your iPad or iPhone.

Adobe Working on Adding Metadata Features to Lightroom mobile

Lightroom mobile has been out just a week and already there’s evidence that what we’re using now is very much a 1.0, with new features in the works. This shouldn’t be surprising: the original Lightroom started fairly bare and aggressively added new features after its release.

One of the top surprises I’ve heard from people is the lack of a way to edit metadata for photos in the app—star ratings, keywords, IPTC data, and the like. I suspect those were probably planned for the app but held back so Adobe could ship the first version on the schedule they set for themselves.

Now, it’s clear that star ratings and other probably other metadata features are being worked on, following a tweet posted by Adobe’s Tom Hogarty this morning:

Of course, Hogarty doesn’t offer a timeline, but it’s promising to see them work on features that will beef up the app.

[As a reminder—I know, I know—I’ve just released an ebook through Peachpit Press about the app called Adobe Lightroom mobile: Your Lightroom on the Go. It’s good, and only $8!]

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At 500px: How an iPad Can Improve Your Photography

Premiere photo site 500px has just published an article of mine that takes a high level overview of what an iPad can do for photographers: How an iPad Can Improve Your Photography. Think of it as the ultra-compact version of my iPad for Photographers book, covering the options for using the iPad as a portfolio, importing photos to the iPad and reviewing them in the field, adding all-important metadata, editing the shots, sharing images, and more.

I’m actually quite excited to appear on 500px, not only because I like what the company is doing, but because the people who post and read at the site tend to be extremely talented photographers. It’s fabulous company to be in.