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What is a Gnarbox

Gnarbox is a rugged backup device. It’s a tiny computer, that you control with your phone and can be used to back up your photos from memory cards, USB card readers or external drives. Like this, you can use it in the field to back up your work, without the need for a PC.

I had a look at the Gnarbox 1.0 recently, and I will share with you my thought on it here. There is also a Gnarbox 2.0, which offers an SSD and ability to backup without a phone, but that one is not released yet.

You can find the official Gnarbox website here.

Gnarbox 1.0

The one I tried is the Gnarbox 1.0 128GB. It has an Intel processor and graphics, Wifi, SD and micro SD slot, one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port and one micro USB 3.0 port for charging and using it like an HDD. It’s dimensions are 13.5cm x 8.6cm x 2.5cm and has a 4000mah battery.

Gnarbox 1.0

It’s very rugged and all the ports are covered with thick covers. A nice thing is, that the memory card slots are big enough to fit the whole card in, and you can even close the covers with the cards in.

Gnarbox 1.0
Gnarbox 1.0

In the box, you get the Gnarbox, a USB to micro USB cable and a short quick start guide. The build quality looks solid, with the drive and port covers feeling sturdy and well made.

Gnarbox 1.0

Using the Gnarbox

To use the Gnarbox, you need the Gnarbox app. After installing it and turning on the Gnarbox, you have to connect to it using wifi. Once this is done, you control it completely through the app.

Once you put in a memory card, or connect a storage device using USB, you can see it under devices and can access its content. From here you can view the photos or directly copy them to the Gnarbox. You can’t connect your camera directly to the Gnarbox. With the 5D Mark IV connected, the camera switches to storage mode, but the Gnarbox app will not recognize it.

I tried this with a Sandisk Extreme SD XC card, rated at 80MB/s. Photos from my 5D Mark IV were recognized properly and I could copy the files. 10 raw files, 272Mb in size took 15 seconds to copy, with the app showing no loss in battery life. 186 raw files, 6.2Gb in size took a bit longer. They took 5 minutes and 26 seconds to copy, with the Gnarbox battery losing 4% of its power. Gnarbox also works with videos, and you can create a highlight reals using the app. You can then save the results easily to your phone.

One thing to note here is that the Gnarbox heats up a lot while doing this. It’s hot enough that you will not be comfortable holding it in your hands.

Gnarbox appMain screen
Gnarbox appSelect device
Gnarbox appCopy images

The app is overall easy to use except a few strange things here and there. Why would they name the Copy window Move files, and then explained in the dialog that it’s not Move but Copy? Why can’t I just select multiple videos and add them to the real, instead of choosing one by one, hitting edit and then swiping up to do so? I had to look into a guide to find out how this is done, as it’s not so obvious even with the tip the app gives you. Why isn’t the USB mode changed automatically to mass storage when I connect it to a PC? These are all small quirks, but I think they could be easily ironed out.

Gnarbox appFolder view
Gnarbox appDrive files
Gnarbox appVideo Reel

Looking at it as a backup device, it work’s really well. I had no issues connecting it to my phone, previewing the files, copying them and then connecting it to PC afterward. It’s a great way to have more piece of mind if you are doing longer photo trips, and have nothing with you to back up your photos.

Right now I’m really curious about the Gnarbox 2.0 SSD. This one is good, but that one look’s even better.

Wallpapers

I feel a bit tired today, so instead of a new photo or article, how about even more new wallpapers. And since the super ultra-wide category has only few to choose from, here are few new ones.

Don’t forget to check out other available wallpapers:

More super ultra-wide wallpapers

As before, these are all at 5120×1440 pixels, made specificaly for those huge 32:9 screens. But they will also work fine on 21:9 screens (with the sides cut off a bit) and on dual monitor setups with 2 times 2560×1440 resolutions.

Super ultra-wide wallpapers
Super ultra-wide wallpapers
Super ultra-wide wallpapers
Super ultra-wide wallpapers

Sharing photos

I, as many of you, share photos online. But can you protect your photo from being downloaded once it has been shared online? The short answer is no. The long answer needs a bit more explaining, so today I will look at how photos are protected online, and why it’s pointless.

Can you protect your photos online?

  • Block right click – Most portfolio websites offer this option. You can disable the right-click option in the browser while viewing the page. Does this work? No. Is it annoying? Yes. A moderately advanced user can open up the page source and get the file anyway. The only thing one accomplishes by using this is annoying the visitors, as a right click is used for many other things than just saving an image.
  • Watermarks – Small watermarks can be removed easily, big ones with a bit of work. Again, a bit of knowledge of Photoshop and you can get rid of watermarks very quickly. One would have to use a very intrusive watermark to be able to completely prevent this. You can see those when browsing stock photography sites, but if someone really wanted to get rid of it, one could.
  • Embed into Flash – No longer so popular, but some sites used to show images embedded in flash animations. Like that, you prevent being able to save the image and there is no access to the source. But this does not help against taking a simple screenshot. And all your work was for nothing.
Can you protect your photos online?
  • Share only in apps – On mobiles, some apps can prevent you from taking a screenshot, and they don’t offer any way of saving an image. So you would think, share there, and nobody can save it. But that’s not true. There are programs where you can run apps on a PC and once it’s there, screenshot works without issues.
  • Share small resolution – Another popular method is just sharing a small resolution image. While this can be saved, it can’t be used for much. This used to work fairly well, but not anymore. With the rise of AI resizers, you can resize a photo 4x, 6x and even more times, while still having a reasonable quality result.
  • Share a small, very low-quality photo – Ok, this one still works. If you share a small photo, saved at a very low quality, I don’t think anyone will want to download it. But it also defeats the reason of sharing photos in the first place. It will not represent your work at all.
Can you protect your photos online?

The point I want to tell here is that if somebody wants to download your photo, once you share it, there is nothing you can do. Even if you created the perfect protection, they still can just take a photo of your photo on the screen, and your effort is gone.

I stopped worrying about it a while ago. Now I share bigger photos (some even in 4K) and the watermark in the corner is there as branding not as protection. I think most of you could remove it in seconds. It’s the same as with any other content protection out there. If somebody really wants to remove it, they will.

Reflection at Lago di Braies

Back to the Lago di Braies with another photo today. This was taken right around lunch, with the sun really high up in the sky. I don’t really like time like that to take photos, but that was the time when the lake was calm and the reflection was nicely visible. So I did some photos of course :)

This is a three shot panorama, each shot from three exposures. Blended and merged in Photoshop. This is another panorama taken without the help of a panoramic head, and you can check my tips on doing this here.

Reflection at Lago di Braies

Laowa 12mm lens

It has been over a year now since I got the Laowa 12mm F2.8 Zero-D lens. In that time I had the opportunity to try it out a lot of times, so today I will share with you my thought on it, and if I’m happy with the purchase.

Taking photos at 12mm

There are not many lenses where you can go that wide. This is great, but also makes this a very specific use lens. One can only use it when something is really close, or very big. In all other situations, all will look very small, or you get too much of empty space. Also, pointing the lens up or down results in a huge amount of perspective distortion, so it’s best used when perfectly leveled.

One year with the Laowa 12mm F2.8 Zero-D lens

Still, the moment you are in a situation that fits this lens, it’s great. The distortion is minimal, the sharpness is great. Also having the F2.8 aperture is perfect if you want to do star photos or auroras (have not tried this personally, but have a friend who uses it all the time). It’s also great when you want to do a panorama, but are not able to do multiple photos. As it’s so wide, you can just take a photo and crop it later into a panoramic aspect ratio.

One year with the Laowa 12mm F2.8 Zero-D lens

The ability to use a circular polarizer and 10cm square filters make it very practical. Now I can use the same filters on my lenses and don’t have to get the big 15cm ones. This makes it much cheaper and much harder to damage the filters. You still get strong vignetting, but that’s a small tradeoff for how easy is to use them. I wrote more about this here.

One year with the Laowa 12mm F2.8 Zero-D lens

There are actually only two things I don’t like about this lens. First is, the aperture ring is very easy to randomly rotate. When I get back to the lens, it never is at the same aperture I left it at. Usually, just by touching the sides of my camera bag, it moves to F22.

One year with the Laowa 12mm F2.8 Zero-D lens

The second thing, it’s a bit harder to focus for me. I always manually focus, so being a manual focus lens is not a problem. The issue is the aperture. Normally, when you focus on a camera, the lens first opens to it’s biggest aperture, to let in the biggest amount of light it can. There is a button on the side of the most camera, that when pressed, steps the lens to the aperture you selected.

One year with the Laowa 12mm F2.8 Zero-D lens

On this lens, you have to change the aperture manually, so it’s always set to the one you have chosen. Like this, you see the resulting focus right away. But since the DOF is usually very high, you don’t really know where you are focused at all and have to check multiple areas of the photo. This is not really a problem of the lens, more of my workflow when taking photos. It’s just different from my other lenses, that I forget about it, and then end up with out of focus photos.

One year with the Laowa 12mm F2.8 Zero-D lens

In the end, the Laowa 12mm F2.8 Zero-D is a great lens, and I’m happy I got it last year. And of course, all photos in this post are taken with it. You can also see my favorite composition with it. I like to have a path, railing or something similar on one side, pulling your eyes into the photo.

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