How to Keep your Bike Touring Photos Organized

Jan 23, 2014

The following is a guest post by Morrigan McCarthy of Restless Collective

Over 40,000 miles of bicycle touring through more than 20 countries, a lot of things change: your perceptions, your diet, maybe even your sense of what’s normal. Over the past six years, my partner Alan and I have traveled (mostly by bicycle) first in a big loop around the United States, and then later from Alaska to Argentina, and around Europe and Morocco. It’s been an incredible adventure, made even more incredible by the fact that it’s been our job: we’re photographers who have been working off of grants and sponsorships to document Americans' views on the environment, and the lives of the global Millennial generation, respectively.

Through our travels by bicycle, our gear is a constant that we can rely on as everything around us changes. There are a handful of items that we would never consider touring without: our Ortlieb panniers that kept our gear dry even when we woke in the middle of the night on an Argentinian roadside to find ourselves floating on our Thermarest mats in three inches of standing water during a nighttime flash-flood, our trusty Waterford steel touring bicycles full of dents and chips from the road and from that time we recruited local construction workers in Mexico to help us bang my front-fork back into place after it was twisted during transport, and our Ibex wool cycling shorts that work so well that we’ve never had to carry chamois cream.

Just like most folks who choose to see the world by bicycle, we take thousands of photographs on the road. We carry with us one camera and one lens each. We each carry two hard drives with backups of backups, and we carry one laptop between us for uploading images and saving them to the drives.

We find that one of the most common questions that we get about traveling by bicycle is, “how do you keep all those photographs organized?” Our answer is simple: we use Adobe’s Lightroom software. It is a one-stop shop for organizing, backing up, and doing some light processing of our images. It’s on our list of things we wouldn’t tour without, and so when Alan was asked to teach an online class about how to use Lightroom for beginners, we thought other cycle tourers might be particularly interested. To that end, Adventure Cycling Association blog readers can use the coupon code: ACAPHOTO before February 20th, 2014, to receive 20% off the class.

If you’ve never taken a Skillshare class before, it’s a great way of learning. You have access to the class material 24/7 and you can go at your own pace. If you get confused, or have questions, there is a message board where you can write Alan and share some of your work. The website is simple to use and a great way to satiate your love of learning new things — something that all of us who choose to travel by bicycle have in common!

Here's the class, where you can register or just check it out: Photo Management and Processing in Adobe Lightroom

You'll need Lightroom to take the class. If you don’t have Lightroom installed on your computer, Adobe offers a free 30-day trial. We hope to see you there!

Photos courtesy of Restless Collective

RESTLESS COLLECTIVE is a New York-based multi-media collective consisting of Alan Winslow and Morrigan McCarthy, who specialize in travel and adventure storytelling.

Morrigan is a writer and documentary photographer who thinks the best part of her job is getting to know and tell other people’s stories. When she’s not at work, you’ll find her curled up with a good book, or cooking, baking, and documenting it on Instagram.

Alan is a photographer, educator, and fine art printer currently calling Brooklyn, New York, home. He’s particularly interested in how the still image invokes the personality of the artist as well as that of the place or individual. When he’s not at work, you’ll find him pushing himself to the limits in endurance sports, or baking homemade bread.

You can follow Alan and Mo's travels and photography on Instagram at @RestlessCollective and on our website at www.restlesscollective.org.

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