I have always been a sucker for technology, it is one of the reasons I was drawn to photography. Quite early on in my photographic career I made the jump to digital photography for the same reason. And now I am experimenting with the next generation of technology and am really loving the flexibility that using an iPad as my travel computer gives me.
One of the biggest challenges any travel photographer faces when traveling is packing for a trip. You have to figure out what gear is necessary and what can be left behind and in my experience, no matter how carefully you pack there is always some piece of equipment that you leave behind that you regret once you arrive at the destination.
In addition to packing the gear you also have to decide what bag to pack it all in and that is where an iPad has become indispensable for me. It used to be that I basically had to bring along an extra carry on for my computer, travel hard drive, card reader, etc…. But now as long as I am going somewhere with reliable Wifi, I don’t have to worry about all of that. All I need is my iPad, camera connector kit, and charger which fits into the back pocket of my Think Tank retro 20 bag, which is my main city camera bag. So I can choose to bring along a few extra camera bits or just go that much lighter. Plus going through airport screening checks is much easier since I don’t have to deal with pulling my iPad out of the bag since it can be read by the xray machines.
The on-screen keyboard is ok for typing short messages and for surfing the web, but if you are like me and have to keep up with emails or want to update your blog while you are away, then a wireless keyboard is a must have. I picked up a Brookstone leather keyboard case, it looks classy, the keys have a good action (better than the rubber keys found on other iPad keyboards), it is a bit small in comparison to a standard keyboard so anyone who is used to touch typing will take a while to get used to it.
Some of the iPad applications that are a must have for anyone looking to leave their laptop’s at home are:
Pages- to write documents that can be emailed as Word, PDF or Pages format.
Keynote- to create slideshows for presentations. An advantage of using an iPad for presentations is the ability to not have a screen between the audience and yourself. The program also has a feature where you can put your finger down on the screen and it will look like you are using a laser pointer without having to carry one with you. (You will need the AVI-iPad connector)
Filterstorm Pro- is probably the most powerful photo editing app available. It allows you almost as much control as lightroom or photoshop with the ability to edit images with multiple layers, masking, and various other controls like contrast, brightness, curves. The app also has quite in-depth tutorials to guide you through how to use it. It also allows you to uploaded edited photos to Dropbox (a cloud app that allows you to store files remotely and then access them from any of your devices)
Then there are the social networking apps like facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc… that will allow you to keep up to date with your friends, family, collegues, and clients with your movements.
After the last six months of traveling without my laptop, I have found that though my iPad does not do everything that my laptop could do, it does cover most of the bases already. I am sure that in the future once more apps are developed, the laptop will actually become obsolete and most people wanting a portable computer will be using some sort of tablet instead.