Surely a laptop that cost about £300 these days lets say, is more re-placable than pictures. If i had all my pictures backed up online and the laptop got stolen, even if the laptop was 1K you could never ever buy the pictures and memories for any money. If it was me i wouldnt even think twice about backing up photos in comparison to that amount of money (not that it isnt a lot) take a small laptop and save the photos online. if your laptop got stolen at least you can buy it again.
I love taking lots of pictures, too, when I'm travelling and I'm sure, so does everyone else. Usually, I don't bring any laptop either.
Since you'll be away for more than year, I guess it's really a good idea to have a portable hard drive with sd card slots so you can just easily transfer your photos. That way, you'll be able to travel lighter and not worry about the files you have in your laptop.
Good luck and have fun!
1year is very long. Take your cheapest laptop with you and get travel insurance. A laptop can be very useful during travel. Most especially if you plan to stay on a specific country for the longish time.
Good luck and enjoy!
[ Edit: Edited on 02-Sep-2012, at 02:58 by luvtravelin ]