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Fade

Posted on Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Dave!Just a friendly reminder to everybody... BACK UP YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS!

I have now had one person in Real Life, one person on Twitter, and another person on Facebook all lose their photos because a backup failed or something went wrong with their computer. This is such inconceivably horrifying event, that it makes me even more relieved that I am so dang paranoid about backing up everything.

One backup simply isn't enough. My Apple backup solution "Time Capsule" has died once, and become hopelessly corrupted twice (Dear Apple, YOU SUCK! FIX THIS!!). I have had drives go bad on more than one occasion. I've even physically lost a backup drive (and still have no idea what happened to it).

So I have four backups. One external dual-drive RAID set to mirror all data to both drives. Two external backups for my RAID backup that I rotate off-site. And an account with Amazon's Web Storage Services. Because even though I was on vacation just two months ago, the memories are already fading, and the photos are all I have...

Image of Malta
Arriving in Valletta, Malta at Dawn

Image of Tunis, Tunisia
A Side-Street in Sidi Bou Saïd, Tunisia

Image of Ravello, Italy
Overlook from Villa Rufolo Gardens, Ravello, Italy

Image of Corte, Corisca, France
Looking up at the Mountain Village of Corte, Corsica, France

Oh how I love "Vivid Color Mode" and "Active-D Lighting" on my Nikon D-90! Everything looks like a postcard.

I cannot imagine losing the 40,000+ photos that have documented my life... so I make no apologies for being an annoying doom-sayer paranoid freak when it comes to advocating backups. It's an investment that is well worth the cost.

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Categories: Apple Stuff 2010, Photography 2010Click To It: Permalink
   

Comments

  1. kilax says:

    I only have my photos backed up to one external harddrive, but I want to get another. And I need to put them on DVDs too. I would be so upset if I lost them!

  2. Avitable says:

    I just upload everything to Flickr.

  3. Sarah says:

    I’m going to sing the Doom! song now! Doom Doom doom.

  4. A. Lewis says:

    I only have one backup ….my external hard drive. I’m not a good person, apparently……sigh…..

  5. Sybil Law says:

    Yep – I lost about a year of photos recently, and it makes em so upset I don’t even want to think of it. I’ve been doing the Flickr thing because Adam suggested it, but thanks for the reminder! I need to upload a lot more photos!

  6. Etienne says:

    Ummm, Dave, I hate to bring this up but, what kind of contingency have you made for if there’s a massive solar flare that eradicates everything that’s electro-magnetic on the planet. Maybe you should make print copies of everything, too. (Of course, we’ll probably all end up being cooked like hot dogs in a microwave at the same time so, it won’t much matter…)

  7. I’ve been wanting an online backup solution for a while now. I do Time Machine backups to an external drive but I know that isn’t enough.

    I upload 75% of my photos to Flickr but there are some that don’t get uploaded because some of the people in the photos do not ever want their photo online. I’ve toyed with the idea of just setting those pics to private and then just let Flickr worry about my data.

    But Flickr is only good for photos so that still leaves all my other data. So maybe AWS is the best online solution. I’ll check into that.

  8. Having lost photos before due to lack of backups (I did manage to get lucky and had offloaded my August 2000 pics of NYC on another computer), I now am pretty good at having multiple backups on different devices, mostly external hard drives.

    But I do take 4gb backups of my photos to DVD every so often, even if there are photos I don’t want/need anymore. It’s better to have more than less and blank DVDs are pretty cheap. Plus, my iPhoto library still fits on a 4gb DVD.

    A friend of mine had their house broken into and her MacBook Pro and camera stolen, along with her external hard drives she had regular backups on. But for her photos, she’s been in the habit of burning them to DVD for several years. So she lost some recent photos, but still has the rest of them on DVD. While it’s labor intensive to put them all back onto her new Mac mini, at least she still has them.

  9. the muskrat says:

    I do time machine, but I think I should probably buy a separate hard drive that’s just for storing pictures, because time machine seems like it’s not an easy way to find old pictures that I’ve deleted from my macbook after backing it up. True?

    • Dave2 says:

      Actually, it’s not that bad. For the most part, I LOVE the way Time Machine makes it so easy to recover files. The problem is that if the Time Machine backup goes bad (it’s happened to me TWICE)… well, you could get screwed quite badly. That’s why I use Time Machine for easy access to backups, but make a secondary backup of important stuff just in case.

  10. Ren says:

    In addition to Time Machine backups, I regularly update my Aperture Vault on my external drive, which I think I have properly configured to be included in my Time Machine backups — I should double-check that. I hope so, because I also move the originals to the external drive after I’m done processing them, though not immediately. The generated JPGs are on my web server, which I periodically (manually) rsync to 2-3 other locations (external drive on that system, another laptop, and a friend’s external drive at his house).

    One thing I’m still a bit bothered by is the all the old RAWs I currently keep. Once I’ve processed the images, the odds that I’ll want to go back to the RAW is pretty remote. Yet, Aperture doesn’t give me a good workflow for replacing the RAWs with the generated JPGs. I think the current version of does offer something if you took RAW+JPG, but it isn’t clear to me that all of the additional processing will be properly captured by that.

    I’d really like to be able to click a button to say “These images are the way I want them, generate the JPGs and delete the RAWs.”

    • Dave2 says:

      All my photos are on my laptop, which means I have no room to store the thousands of photos I’ve taken over the years. So I “relocate masters” to a dual-drive mirrored RAID so my Vault is kept to a reasonable size with preview images only.

      Are you using Aperture 3? I think the way they handle RAW files in A3 is pretty good… a big improvement from A2.

      I shoot a combo JPEG+RAW for most shots. I then edit down to three levels…

      1) Awesome shots where I keep BOTH the JPEG and the RAW in case I ever want to work on them further. The beauty of Aperture is that it’s smart enough to create ONE preview images for both files, thus helping to reduce my Vault size even further. Smart!

      2) Good shots which I keep as JPEG, but discard the RAW files since I probably won’t need them again. How I do this is that I open BOTH the JPEG and the RAW in Photoshop. Process the RAW file how I want it, then paste it over the JPEG and save it out for inclusion in Aperture. Then discard the RAW image. The great thing about this is that all the original camera settings are still in the metadata of the JPEG, which comes in handy from time to time.

      3) Bad shots that I either discard outright, or save off to an external “junk drive” as JPEG only in case I want to use it for a photo composite or art project one day. I don’t include these in Aperture.

      Since I never shoot exclusively RAW, I’m not sure how I would approach that in Aperture. I’ve become so enamored with overwriting the JPEG file with my processed RAW that I’ll probably never go back. :-)

      • Ren says:

        Yes, A3. I guess I need to switch to RAW+JPG to enable the “discard RAW” function. Still not sure how I’ll handle all my existing RAWs. Also, I rarely edit outside of Aperture, so saving over the “Master JPG” may be slightly more tricky, but I’ll play with it.

        Thanks.

        • Dave2 says:

          Hmmm… if you’re editing in Aperture, can you “Create New Master” from the processed RAW file as a JPEG, then delete the original RAW? I’m not 100% on that, as I edit in Photoshop, but it seems like it would be what you’re wanting?

          • Ren says:

            I’ll have to look at it again. The last time I tried that, which may have been before A3, it didn’t seem to copy the added meta data (tags, etc.). Also, I don’t recall if that was a batchable process.

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