#rtw2012 photography, aka where are the photos?

This is one of a series of posts about my recent trip around the world, brought together by the #rtw2012 label / hashtag. You may want to read the other posts for background.

Before the trip I decided to use my iPhone 4S as my camera. A number of friends made reasonable arguments for bringing a bigger, “more professional,” camera along, but I’m glad I didn’t listen.

Prague roofs from St. Vitus church.

I didn’t want to look like a tourist. I wanted to travel light, without all the extra gear that a more serious camera would entail. I’m also not that great a photographer, lacking both theoretical and practical knowledge to take advantage of the more advanced settings. I wanted to keep it simple, sticking with a light device I know.

I’m very happy with this choice.

My iPhone is hooked up to Apple’s iCloud, and uses the newish Photostream feature. This was great, I thought, as it provided immediate (or as soon as I was on WiFi…) backup for all my photos, permitting organization and publishing later.

Stained glass windows inside St. Vitus church.

I took care to make sure each day’s photos were not only uploaded to Photostream the same day, but downloaded to my iPad for backup. I thought this provided a reasonable level of assurance about not losing my photos.

Unfortunately, I was wrong 😦 I didn’t read the fine(-ish) print on Apple’s site about Photostream only keeping photos online and on mobile devices for 30 days. After that, they are gone, unless you happened to also download them to a desktop or laptop computer, i.e. a non-mobile device.

I lost the photos from the Asia leg of my trip, unfortunately, up to and including Tel Aviv. This sucks, in some ways, both for me and for readers who wanted to see them.

On the plus side, I have many thousands of photos from the rest of the trip. Some are stellar, some are funny, some are bad, and some will definitely raise questions I won’t answer here. Stay tuned for them to get posted over the next couple of weeks.

Had I kept my laptop or desktop on, they might have downloaded the photos and saved them locally, but I didn’t.

Some delicious sushi.

If you know anyone at Apple who can restore Photostream photos more than 30 days old, please let me know or introduce us. I’m sure they have them, and I’d like to get a copy.

The good news is that I also kept a detailed diary of places I went and things I saw, more than enough to write this blog and share some stories. I also have a few picture from foursquare checkins and such, but I’d love to have the full set.

Overall, I’m happy with the “iPhone + Photostream while traveling” approach. I would do it the same way again, unless you’re a serious photographer who really cares and knows how to use a fancier camera well. But I would make sure some non-mobile device is connected and downloading the Photostream photos during my trip.

It did rock 😉