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Synology Networked Accessed Server

My journey as a photographer and filmmaker has taken me on an incredible path over the past 18 years. I’ve witnessed civil unrest, extreme poverty and unspeakable violence but also surreal beauty and extraordinary acts of kindness.

I spend more than 300 days a year on the road, often in remote locations to share stories about people working to protect our planet for clients like National Geographic and a host of other publications and platforms. While the work can be dangerous and physically challenging, my biggest concerns are not what most people might expect. It’s actually the day to day management of data and imagery that causes the most stress. My life’s work is stored on hard drives in my home studio and as I add more and more video to my workflow, my storage needs keep growing exponentially. Because I’m on the road so much of the year, I need to be able to access it remotely.

Through the years, I’ve had to evolve from scanning film and storing those files on a huge variety of media, progressing through discs, cds, G-drives, drive towers, cloud services like photoshelter, and many others. You name it, I’ve tried it. Recently, I have moved everything over to a Networked Accessed Server. I use the DiskStation DS3617xs by Synology.

I can safely access my drives from remote places. It’s something I would recommend to photographers and videographers who are serious about having an organized storage and work flow and who are interested in having remote access to their files.

A NAS is a set of hard drives that I can also access as a server. Connecting to it as a server means I can log in remotely to grab a photo when an editor requests it or download or upload images as needed. I can continue to manage my business even when I’m far from home.

What was once four large hard drive towers that could only be accessed when I was home and physically connected is now a tidy black box that I can log into remotely. I have up to 144 TB of storage thanks to the 12 TB Seagate IronWolf drives I have in each of the 12 trays. It’s plenty of space for my life’s work and the work that I will continue to do in future years. In addition, I have a second NAS that lives off site and backs-up my main NAS every night, meaning I know that my backup will always reflect my ever evolving body of work.

Two more amazing things the Synology NAS system has to keep your archive safe. It employs the widely-adopted 3-2-1 data protection strategy to maintain multiple versions of backup data, providing extra protection in case the current version crashes due to unexpected accidents or gets infected by ransomware. A 3-2-1 data protection strategy means having at least three data copies, where one copy is stored locally, and the rest are stored on two different devices.

Additionally, it has Hyper Backup, providing an intuitive and integrated backup/restoration solution to help you retain/retrieve copies of your precious data and restore applications and system configurations to a previous point in time. It supports backing up data to local shared folders, external storage devices attached to your Synology NAS (e.g. USB), remote Synology NAS, file servers, and cloud services (Synology C2, Dropbox and Google Drive etc.) One thing special about Hyper Backup is that you get to encrypt your data before uploading to any cloud service.

Staying current with innovative technology makes my work flow and my business run smoother. This allows me to stay focussed on what really matters: the people and places who have entrusted me with telling their stories.

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BenQ SW271 Monitor

As a National Geographic magazine photographer and filmmaker, my clients demand the highest quality imagery. There is no room for error with tight deadlines and high expectations so choosing the right gear is important. I’m on the road more than 320 days a year and my passion is working with people on meaningful stories that have impact. When I am home, I need a workflow and technology to simplify my life and support the momentum. This work load demands efficiency and when I come home, the BenQ SW271 transforms my home office into a proper editing studio.

In my documentary work, I am not looking for a lot of post processing but rather looking for a far more natural picture, with subtlety, and finer color gradation. This for me is the real advantage. One of the stand out qualities is the precise color accuracy. The 27” monitor, 4K resolution and hardware calibration makes every color correction extremely accurate. It is essential that my stories look and feel the way I experienced them.

The screen has a matte look that does not strain my eyes. But the best part is the light-absorbing Shading Hood, which prevents stray light from hitting the screen. I had no idea what an impact this simple hood could make. It reduced the glare on the screen so that I have a clearer and more accurate picture. I also love the Hotkey Puck for changing different modes quickly.

The monitor came with a fast, built-in card reader which may seem like a simple thing but, like many new laptops, mine did not have one. Now, I don’t need to worry about keeping track of card-readers or extra chords while I’m home.

The BenQ wins hands down. You can find out more about the BenQ SW271 at

Available on Amazon.

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Apple Mac Pro 17-inch

As our main computer at the studio, this machine handles most of our post production work, as well as all of our video editing.

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Apple 15″ Macbook Pro Notebook Computer with Retina Display

A necessity for any photographer, I have a few of these that I bring on location at any given time.

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LaCie 2TB Rugged Thunderbolt

I carry at least 4 of these on every assignment. The drives are lightening fast and features a rugged design and enhanced transfer speeds with thunderbolt technology.

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Disclaimer: I am proud to be a Nikon ambassador and representative for a number of brands so it is important to mention that I would not be working with them if I didn’t trust their products Please feel free to browse my Gear List, and if you are interested in purchasing any of these items, I would appreciate if you used the links I’ve provided as it supports my work in return.