Meet Raspberry Pi Zero-Based Little Backup Box

Before my recent trip to Tokyo, I spent some time writing, debugging, and optimizing my Little Backup Box script that transforms a Raspberry Pi into a mobile backup device. A Raspberry Pi Model B 2 running the script served me well during my trip, but it wasn’t without its limitations. First and foremost, because of Model B 2’s power consumption, I had to use it with a power supply. This meant that the device wasn’t truly mobile, and I had to wait until I got back to my hotel room before I could back up RAW files and photos from my cameras. Although the entire setup wasn’t that big in size, it still wasn’t pocketable.

So as soon I returned home and got over the jetlag, I started devising ways to improve my original design. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on Raspberry Pi Zero by ordering it right after it was announced. But since then, it was idly sitting in a box, as I couldn’t come up with a good use for it. Going through my bookmarks, I stumbled upon a link to the Zero4U USB hub for Raspberry Pi Zero from UUGear, and I thought that this was exactly what I needed to turn my Raspberry Pi Zero into a miniature version of the original backup box. I promptly ordered Zero4U along with an acrylic case for the hub and a Raspberry Pi Zero sandwich. Once the components had arrived, it took me only a few minutes to assemble them and test the setup with a generic 2200mAh power bank. It worked like a charm, so I present to you the latest version of the backup device. Here are a few other peripherals the backup device is using:

  • Transcend USB card reader
  • BlickStick Nano (optional but handy for basic visual feedback)
  • SanDisk Ultra Fit 128GB USB drive (provides enough storage for backing up RAW files and photos on the move)
  • Edimax EW-7811Un Wi-Fi USB adapter

So here it is: a cheap, light, and pocketable backup box that does the job with a minimum of fuss. Better still, the accompanying installer script enables and configures the miniDLNA server on the backup box, so you can view backed up photos on any DLNA-capable device.

If you are interested in setting up and using a similar mobile backup device, the Linux Photography book by yours truly has all the info you need.

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Posted in Hardware, Open Source, Photography, Software

[REPOST] The 50 Millimeter Lens Is The Only One You Need

If he were alive today, legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson would marvel at all the choices a modern shooter must make before arriving at “the decisive moment.” The roadblocks to creativity we place before ourselves are more prevalent than ever. Camera makers update their lenses, sensors, and formats with over­whelming frequency. We can read hundreds of expert (and not-so-expert) opinions on every new piece of gear before we even begin to think about where to point the thing and when to press the shutter.

While we all search for the one camera system that will somehow allow us to elevate our technique, a humble and ingenious solution has been here the whole time, ready for us to embrace or rediscover its beautiful simplicity: the 50-mm lens.

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[REPOST] How this odd-looking camera changed how we take photos

In the 1930s, Soviet designers created a camera that was the first pioneering step towards the SLR cameras we still use today.

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[REPOST] Jidouhanbaiki: Photo series that explores Japan’s obsession with vending machines

Did you know that Japan has the highest ratio of vending machines to landmass in the world? 自動販売機 – otherwise known as Jidouhanbaiki – is a Japanese culture where distribution companies encourage people to install vending machines on their own property, to earn money day and night while doing pretty much nothing. Their functions are multiple. Witnessing the shifting realities of life around them: at night they light the innumerable dark little streets of Tokyo; by day, they provide contemporary consumers with conveniences.

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[REPOST] Cities Are Stunning in NatGeo’s Travel Photography Contest

A new photographic perspective can completely change the way you see some parts of your city, whether it’s the Golden Gate Bridge, the Great Wall of China, or simply a stack of high-rising condos. Travelers from around the world have been submitting their perspective-changing images of cities to the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Competition, capturing stunning frames of familiar landmark and exotic settlements with the hope of winning the grand prize, a seven-day Polar Bear Photo Safari for two at Churchill Wild–Seal River Heritage Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World.

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Introducing Linux Photography

Setting up an efficient photographic workflow on Linux is more than just installing and mastering digiKam, the GIMP, and Darktable. Automating routine tasks like importing, organizing, and geotagging photos as well as using specialized tools for managing and processing images and RAW files can save you a lot of time and effort and make your photographic workflow more efficient and robust.

I’ve been using Linux as my photographic platform of choice for many years, and I’d written several Bash shell scripts that are indispensable for my photographic workflow. The Geophotobash script, for example, allows me to geotag a large number of photos with a minimum of effort, while the Little Backup Box script transforms a Raspberry Pi into a handy mobile backup device I use to keep my photos safe when I’m traveling. I also rely on several genuinely useful tools to back up my photos to the cloud, and I publish my photos using Mejiro, a simple photo publishing web application I built in my spare time. In addition to digiKam, I use gThumb for keeping tabs on photos and Darktable for processing RAW files.

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The Linux Photography ebook sums up my experiences and provides practical information on how you can optimize and improve your Linux-based photographic workflow as well as get the most out of applications like gThumb and Darktable. You can learn more about the Linux Photography ebook at its Gumroad page.

Posted in Scribbles

[REPOST] Cherry Blossoms Paint A Lake Purple Making Tokyo Look Like A Fairytale

Tokyo-based photographer Danilo Dungo uses drones to take stunning pictures of Japanese cherry blossoms. Every spring, he goes to the Inokashira Park to admire the blossoms, and while regular photography capture the park’s beauty, the drones reveal something else altogether.

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