Calendar Confusion


Today’s Question: How do you keep your images in order when traveling? I recently took a trip to Tokyo and on the return we departed Tokyo at 11:00am landing in Dallas the same day but at 7:30am. If you reset the time upon landing your picture from Dallas appear before the Tokyo ones.

Tim’s Quick Answer: This is an example of a scenario where it might make sense to either delay updating the time zone on your camera after arrival, or to use a single time zone for the entire trip such as Coordinated Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time).

More Detail: This happens to be a potential source of confusion I hope to deal with very soon, as I am currently traveling in Australia and scheduled to return to the United States on Friday. My flight back to the US will land several hours before it departs, even though it is a 16-hour flight. This, of course, is due to the fact that we will be traveling east across the International Date Line.

This is a unique scenario that can lead to confusion when reviewing photos. Of course, my first thought is that there won’t be any such confusion, because after a long flight across the International Date Line I’d be too tired to capture any photos upon landing. But there could obviously be confusion in this type of situation if you updated the time zone on your camera immediately upon landing.

I generally prefer to keep my photos updated with the current date and time based on the location I am when capturing my photos. However, this can lead to confusion when you cross the International Date line (or time zones in general) and sort your photos based on capture time.

One approach to avoiding this sort of confusion would be to use a single time zone for all of your photos. For example, you could select the time zone for the primary location for a given trip and use that as the time for all photos captured during the entire trip. You could also use a general time zone at all times, such as the time zone where you live or Coordinated Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time).

The key challenge with using a single time zone for a trip that involves crossing time zones is that you won’t necessarily know the actual time of capture for some (possibly many) of your photos. Of course, there are also ways to determine that information after the fact based on the location for each photo and the time zone offset from Coordinated Universal Time applicable to that location.