Outdoor photographer Daniel J. Cox runs a travel company called Natural Exposures that brings small groups on photo tours to some of the most spectacular places on Earth. He and his wife, also his business partner, take as many as 18 trips a year. “We’re known for bringing our guests up close to amazing landscapes and wildlife,” he says. “Along the way we also help them learn about conservation, how to take great photographs, and maybe even something about themselves.” The company’s pitch to customers is, “memories you’ll never forget — and the pictures to prove it.” Clearly, they’re doing something right: In 2014, the World Travel Awards, an organization that acknowledges excellence in global travel and tourism, named Natural Exposures the “World’s Leading Specialist Holiday Company”.
How does Natural Exposures use Mylio day to day?
Mylio was built for sharing images between devices, which our business does, but we’re also putting a twist on that by sharing them between our office staff. Before Mylio, that’s not something that was available.
How does that work?
My wife, Tanya, does all of our trip planning and logistics. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been on a plane to, say, Australia, and she’s busy planning a trip to, say, Madagascar and needs images for marketing. She’ll lean over and ask, “Do you have any Madagascar images?” I’ll show her where to find them on her Mylio-enabled device. And just like that, she has access to all of them. Another scenario is that while most of my work in Mylio is done on my laptop, I use it on my iPad for show-and-tell. I can sit down with people who are thinking about taking a trip and show them what they can expect.
How has Mylio helped your business?
It’s made us faster. I’ve got about a million images in my library so I use Mylio for finding images quickly. Both the rocket-fast search tool and the simple calendar tool get a lot of use. I recommend Mylio to any small business for three reasons: volume, speed, and support.
Why is speed so important to your business?
Since we manage so many images, loading time could be a real problem for us. But the thing that’s so phenomenal about Mylio is that I can scroll through my one million images at real speed. Anyone who works with Lightroom knows the frustration of having the little beach ball come up after only 50 images. Aperture was pretty fast, but when I go back to it now, after using Mylio, I can hardly stand how long it takes to load images.
With all of your travels, what’s your method for storing and accessing your photos?
When I’m in the field, I carry a 4 terabyte (TB) external USB hard drive, which is also a Mylio-enabled device. Mylio puts thumbnails and previews of my library there. With this setup, I’ve only used 2TB so far for the nearly one million images. This drive goes everywhere I go, and I also use it to store new originals when on a trip. When I get back home, all the originals get transferred to the office setup.
In the office, we use a Mac Pro and a Mac Mini, each connected to a 50 TB Drobo, each replicating across to the other. The Drobos are where I keep my original images because I have too many for my main machines or laptops. I recently moved the Mac Mini from the office to my home, and I sync it with the other devices across the internet. This gives me one offsite backup of my originals.
Have you used Mylio’s customer support?
If you’ve ever run your own business, then you’ve been your own IT person, and you know how important it is to speak to a real human and get the help you need. Mylio has great people available to help if we get stuck. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to reach Adobe with a question, only to find that there’s literally no phone number to call.
Any unexpected benefits to using Mylio?
Definitely. While looking through images for the business, I often find myself coming across family stuff. Oh my gosh: There’s Mom 15 years ago! There are our wedding pictures! There’s our son when he was three — and now he’s in college! These memories weren’t easily available to me before. I’m enjoying this side benefit so much that I share these photos on my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds with the hashtag #myliomemories.
Daniel J. Cox is a celebrated nature photographer who has been documenting the outdoors for over 40 years. His work has been featured, among other places, on covers of National Geographic magazine. Visit Natural Exposures to learn more or connect with Dan.