Animal photographer Alex Cearns Road Tests the SanDisk Professional G-DRIVE ArmorATD

For any creative professional that works on location, it is essential to have a backup solution that you can trust. We sat down with Pet and Wildlife Photographer Alex Cearns, to give us the scoop on her on-location workflow when capturing fast moving wildlife in varied environments. Read on to see why Alex says the G-DRIVE ArmorATD by SanDisk Professional is a must have for any photographer or filmmaker, who is after a backup solution that ticks off portability, ruggedness, fast transfer speeds and compatibility requirements.

   Photo Credits to Alex Cearns

As one of Australia’s most renowned Pet and Wildlife photographers, Alex Cearns is often out in the field, which comes with a range of aspects to consider whilst shooting. When in the company of a wild, dangerous animal, the last thing you want to have to do is worry about whether the once in a lifetime shot you have just captured is at risk of being lost.

“It can be stressful working with animals -I’m often photographing in rugged conditions, carrying heavy gear and have many safety concerns to consider,” she says. “The one thing I don’t want to have to second guess is storing my images.”

For any photographer out in the field, an ultra-fast, highly reliable backup option is a must to ensure you can trust that your images are safe and secure.

“As a professional photographer, images are my currency, so it’s imperative that they are always protected and accessible,” says Alex.

Read on to find out how Alex utilised the SanDisk Professional G-Drive ArmorATD 5TB when on location, and how her workflow evolves when back at the studio.

PROTECTION FROM THE WILD

    Photo Credits to Alex Cearns

When on location, you never know what elements you’ll need to brave to get the perfect shot. Recently Alex took the G-DRIVE ArmorATD on the road for a project, and she gives us her thoughts while working in less-than-ideal conditions.

“This drive has enabled me to back up my images on the go in environments I previously wouldn’t have dared backed up in,” says Alex. “Think rain, dust, and equipment being stepped on.”

“The protective rubber casing keeps it dust and moisture free. I’ve been able to back up in sandy and windy areas, extreme heat environments …and even in light rain when I needed to clean the images off my memory card urgently.” 

This portable drive also helps shield your photos and footage from accidental drops, with a premium aluminum enclosure, internal shock mounts and rubber bumper for grip.

“It’s reassuring to know that my drive can withstand some rough and rumble treatment. It’s shockproof and I don’t need to be precious about it taking a knock or two.”

NO TIME TO WASTE

When photographing wild animals and working with fast-moving subjects, it goes without saying that Alex needs a backup solution that she is confident can keep up with the fast pace. 

Using Thunderbolt 3 with transfer rates up to 140MB/s, the G-DRIVE ArmorATD allowed Alex to quickly offload the memory cards and backup her photos on location, so she can spend time on what matters: that perfect shot.

“I often stay up late each night after a shoot, spending a few hours sorting images from the day to keep on top of my photo editing.

“Time is of the essence, and it is really important for me that my equipment can match the pace at which I work,” she says. 

BIG STORAGE, SMALL SIZE

When shooting wild animals, it’s not a matter of setting up a tripod and waiting for the perfect shot. Due to their constant movement, Alex will often take thousands of images in one session and carries the G-DRIVE ArmorATD with her to safely back these up.

“I can easily capture 5000+ images in one afternoon, so I need to ensure these are quickly downloaded and backed up securely every time I clear my memory cards. 

“With 5TB of capacity yet weighing just 350 grams, I’ve never come close to filling this drive with images, even on trips away where I’ve captured over 30,000+ RAW files,” says Alex.

For those that don’t have quite as many file requirements as Alex, the G-DRIVE ArmorATD also comes in 1TB, 2TB and 4TB capacity, in the same compact, portable design.

COMPATIBILITY IS KEY

When on a shoot with her Sony A1 and Canon 1D X MII, Alex fills dual memory cards with thousands of images before backing up to the G-DRIVE ArmorATD using her MacBook. 

“I plug my card reader into my laptop, along with the drive and create a folder name relevant to the location, the subject matter I’m photographing, and the date.”

With USB-C connectivity and macOS® compatibility right out of the box*, it’s simply a matter of plug and play to transfer the images straight through her laptop onto the drive.

“I don’t actually store anything on my laptop, it is merely a conduit to transfer the images from the card to the drive,” says Alex. “This preserves my laptop memory and ensures the operating system runs at a premium pace.”

BACKUP THE BACKUP

As you would’ve heard over and over, an essential part of the backup process of any creative professional is to have another backup, to ensure your photos and footage are completely safe in the instance of accidental data loss. 

“If I’m travelling overseas, I will back up to a second hard drive, and I keep them both in separate locations,” says Alex. “One is always with me in my camera bag, and one is in my suitcase or the hotel safe – just in case a situation arises where one is stolen or lost.”

For local photo shoots where Alex is closer to home, she makes sure to back up the G-DRIVE ArmorATD straight onto the G-DRIVE PRO by SanDisk Professional. 

“Once I’m back in my office, I plug the G-DRIVE ArmorATD into my PC** and transfer the images to a folder on the G-DRIVE PRO which holds 12TB of data.

“This gives me peace of mind knowing my files are on a study desktop drive, which I can daisy chain with extra drives as my capacity needs increase.”

Alex Cearns

Photographer

Dogs Today Magazine UK called Alex Cearns “One of our greatest dog photographers in the world”. She crafts exquisite animal portraits that convey the intrinsic joy people find in animals. Deeply committed to the wellbeing of all creatures great and small, she is considered one of Australia’s most passionate champions and voices for animal rescue and wildlife conservation.

*Compatible with Windows via reformat. USB-C to USB-A adapter included for USB 3.0 compatibility.
**To use the G-DRIVE products with Windows®, Alex downloaded the Paragon HFS+ For Windows® software. 

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