Tim's Photo Magazine

Timely editorials on the world of photography plus camera and equipment reviews from a "user" rather than "technical" viewpoint.

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Location: Bovey, Minnesota, United States

My interest in photography goes back to my first camera, a crummy plastic Diana that took 120 roll film and took horrid photos (who knew these bad photos would be considered "art" years later). Then I swiped my Mom's Instamatic when she wasn't looking. Dad was/is a photo buff which I'm sure had a big influence on me! I was the only student in my high school shooting for the yearbook, went on to shoot semi-professional since, doing it more as a hobby business than anything else. I've used thousands of different cameras, collect them today, and enjoy both film and digital. I still use and maintain my own black and white darkroom. I've got lots to say about cameras, the business, copyrights, and all this fancy digital stuff.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Backup Schmackup

Ya ever think that maybe, sometimes, technology creates things that we get convinced we need that we really don't? Well DUH! But in this case, I'm talking about backing up your images.

Holy Crap! I hear you scream. Is he going to tell us not to back up our images? Well, I'm going to tell you that it's kind of nutty, and kind of for the paranoid, and especially for those unable to exercise moderate care.

Think about it. How the heck did you back up your images back in the film days? I'll tell you how. You DIDN'T. You took your photos, you put the film in your camera bag in the pocket you set aside for exposed film, and you took care of it. Maybe you had a separate bag you stored it in. Maybe you kept it in a little cooler if it was hot out. There was no back up. You took the responsibility to take care of your work. Now, practically every photo magazine you pick up has articles about backing up your work on the go, about carrying a laptop to back up your work, or a portable drive, or a device to let you upload to an internet based storage service. Anything you can possibly do to back up those pictures! Just think all those dainty, fragile digital images are backed up!

But we never used to worry about this. Think about it. What can happen to a digital image on a memory card? You can lose it. Or you can pass it through some high powered magnetic field. That's about it. But oh man, back in the FILM days it's a wonder we ever came home with any pictures! Don't leave your film in the car, the heat will ruin them. Don't get the film wet. Don't get it frozen unless it's in a baggie to save it from condensation when you bring it inside. Don't lose it. Don't let the airport guys x-ray it to death. Film is a multitude of times more perishable than any digital image. I have left memory cards in the car in scorching heat. I had one go thru the washing machine, AND the dryer and the pictures. were all there waiting for me. I drove over one just to see what would happen. It was fine. Oh, sure, if you drive over one just right you might crack it or mangle it, but this SD card survived just fine. Try THAT with a roll of film. OH, and lets not for get LIGHT! Let a little bright sun hit your film canister just right and it's fog city. Your memory card could care less! No one tells you to load your memory card in subdued light!

But we've been trained to back up everything. Mostly because it's a neat way to sell us more doodads, that need more cords, and batteries and all the rest. Yes, I admit that I've been guilty of backing up images from memory cards to my laptop while on vacation but only because it was handy at the time and putting them in the computer gave me a chance to delete the less than perfect shots, which was a better pastime in the motel than staring at the TV. But for Pete's sake people, try to remember how we used to simply take care of things and keep track of what we are doing and where we were putting our stuff. Backing up is for the careless paranoids.

Disclaimer: This is for camera memory cards only. For heavens sake, back up your work from your computer regularly, especially of you're using any kind of computer that doesn't have an apple on it someplace. With your PC you have to worry about mechanical failure and viruses, not an issue with a memory card. Don't EVER consider your computer to be the final storage place for your images. ALWAYS back up your images from your computer to another drive, or CD's, or DVD's, etc. I make it a rule to save every original unedited image I take at least two different places - two different brands of DVD's, a CD and on an external drive, or whatever. If you're on a PC it WILL crash, be invaded by virii, or have a complete mechanical breakdown. If you're on a Mac you might fall victim to thieves, lightning bolts, or some other external force that may harm your machine.


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