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Travel across many time zones #1
Roger Musser's picture
by Roger Musser
February 23, 2011 - 11:11pm

Note: I have read the exchange between Tom Bracht and Joseph Linaschke, I think my case is a little different.

I am going to be taking a 6 week trip that starts on the East Coast of the USA (EDT) and go to as far as Eastern European Time Zone then returning to Central European Time Zone. I get to Europe by cruise ship, there will be a total of 8 time changes before I return back home.

I will take 2 digital cameras and my MacBook Pro. I do not have any GPS equipment but intend to update “Places” upon return to home. I will import into Aperture daily.

I know that I will have to make lots of adjustments to my wrist watch. Can I leave my cameras and Mac on the same time zone during the entire trip without causing any problems? This will save me a lot of time and trouble and reduce the chances of time-setting errors. It's a vacation and accurate times are not very important but I would like the two cameras to be in sync.

If it is OK, should I just leave them set to EDT or should I change to UCT (GMT)?

I intend to check to see that my times are in sync, but I'd really rather not have to be making all of those time-zone changes.


PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
February 24, 2011 - 2:58am


Good job planning ahead. Most don’t and it can definitely be a pain dealing with this on return.

I like your suggestion of leaving the cameras and Mac in the same timezone the entire trip. Be sure to disable “set time zone automatically” in your Date & Time Preferences [screenshot].

I’d probably set my cameras and computer to GMT, just to be somewhere in-between and be consistent. And then you know everything is GMT+0.

If you don’t care about accurate time, just being in sync, then this will work fine. The only thing to consider is that if you’re close to midnight, you may have shots showing up on Wednesday night that were actually shot on Tuesday morning, for example. That’s something to consider, but if this matters then you truly to do have to reset times constantly as you move. However if you sort them on import, i.e. “Wednesday night party”, you may not really care.

If you need perfect sync, be sure to synchronize your cameras daily. If not, just check them weekly and you’ll be close enough. Or make it part of your routine after you recharge batteries. I’d suggest setting both cameras simultaneously while looking at known accurate source. I always do mine off my iPhone, but if you have one that will be changing times as you change zones as well (unless you disable that). One would think it’d be perfectly accurate since it’s set on the cell towers, but the Mac should be perfectly accurate as well, and at this very moment my Mac and iPhone are off by about 2-3 seconds. Go figure.

Let me know if that helps!
-Joseph @ApertureExpert

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Roger Musser's picture
by Roger Musser
February 24, 2011 - 9:24pm

Thanks Joseph, I think I have it now.

I’ve set my Mac, DSLR, and point-and-shoot to the same local time.

I have set up alarms in iCal so that I check the times once a week for a few weeks so that I can see how accurate the three clocks are. In two weeks I’ll decide how often I want the alarms during the trip.

Since I really don’t need an accurate time, but I would like to have the camera’s synchronized, I’ll use one camera to take a picture of the other’s time display. I got this idea from your idea of snapping the iPhone clock.

I’ll set my times on the trip to GMT, this will be the close to the time that the majority of my images are captured and I don’t foresee much photography between 10 pm and 2 am.

I’ve added “Clock” to my mini photo-shoot checklist. Now my pre-shoot checklist is:


Thanks again,


James Stevens's picture
by James Stevens
February 24, 2011 - 9:39pm

My wife and I travel quiet a bit and I’ve also developed a check-list. I always hit the reset buttons on my cameras every morning in case I have forgotten and left some wild setting on from the day before. Nothing worse than getting a priceless shot and then noticing you have the WB set way off or I have accidently activated the bracketing mode.

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
February 25, 2011 - 12:11am

Roger — Sounds great, have an awesome trip! BTW if you decide you’d rather not shoot at all and just need a personal photographer, give me a call hehe

James — great tip! On Canon dSLRs (and I’m assuming others have the same thing), you can store your custom settings as a new default and write that to a CF card for backup. I think it’s not as simple as hitting “reset” to restore those settings, but I could be wrong. Never tried it. Sounds like a great way to ensure no messy shots first thing in the morning though!

-Joseph @ApertureExpert

— Have you signed up for the mailing list?

Roger Musser's picture
by Roger Musser
February 25, 2011 - 10:03pm

James - I have a Nikon D90, pressing the green reset buttons gets my camera very close to the way I like to shoot in “normal” conditions. That’s a good suggestion.

I think that putting the camera on full auto is pretty safe too. Sometimes I use that setting as my back-up shot.

James Stevens's picture
by James Stevens
February 26, 2011 - 2:27am

Hey Roger, When I first got back into photography after a long time away, I used the auto settings on my little D60 a lot. I think it sometimes allows us to focus more on composition, by not having to worry so much about exposure. Don’t know about the D90, but my D700 has some custom settings “banks” that allows you to revert back to your favorite settings, quickly. I like lots of color and contrast, so I have a bank set for that. I sometimes, just for fun, pretend I’m shooting film, like the old days, and switch my camera to manual and try to set up a shot without all the fancy electronic gadgets. Try it sometime. It’s fun.

Red Arrow's picture
by Red Arrow
November 15, 2023 - 2:59pm

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