Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The SoFoBoMo Expense Sheet

(Click on the thumbnail to view larger image)

Okay, these aren’t really SoFoBoMo expenses. One of the many beauties of this project is that it doesn’t cost anything to participate. Still, I note that a number of us have elected to use this project, as an excuse perhaps, to purchase some goodies we may have wanted for a while. My purchases were motivated largely by my recent loss of files in a freak situation where two storage systems failed within a single 48-hour period. Downright freaky. (By the way, I later discovered that I had a third backup on many of those images, so I dodged the bullet somewhat.)

Still mourning the loss of more than a few images and prepping for the SoFoBoMo starting gun, I purchased three additional SanDisk Ultra 2GB CF cards. Today I ordered more. This time two 4GB cards. I recall reading long ago comments from some photographers who never format cards when shooting for clients—they simply file the cards away and avoid concern for dying hard drives. As the prices for cards continue to drop, that plan is sounding more and more attractive as a backup system. I'm using Ultra cards (haven’t stepped up to Extreme and don’t feel the need—maybe someday) and the 2GB cards were $19.05 each at Amazon. The 4GB cards were $32.99 each. When I think what we were paying for the 1GB cards just a couple of years ago.


  1. Anita, I have a friend, Kate, who does that type of stuff. She'll shoot all of her cards and will not format them until she has at least 2 backups of them. I guess that I'm a bit of a daredevil. I shot, copy to my laptop, format, and then away I go again.

    My personal views are that if I lose them, well, I'll just have to shoot more. I was looking for those when I found them. :-) I'm a little more careful when out of town, preferring 2 backups, on different hard drives, if possible. One drive is my laptop, the other, an Epson P-3000.

    However, I can find lots of excuses to buy new things!!! :-)

  2. Paul, I'm with Kate! Especially when I shoot for a client, or when we take a road trip.

    The files I am the most upset about are the shots of a gorgeous six-weeks old filly. I had processed most of my favorites from that shoot and had more duplicates of those, but I went on a trip right after the shoot and never did the second pass through the remaining shots. I thought two copies was more than enough.

    Furthermore, I was heartsick over losing my files from our trips to Arizona and the Eastern Sierras. The good news is that I momentarily forgot that I had backed up those files on my WD Passport while still on the road, as well as having downloaded them to the laptop. How could have forgotten that for even a moment? Depression and shock, I suppose. I was so busy trying to discover what went wrong, buying two more external drives, and focusing on a philoshopical acceptance of the loss that I never really thought through the possibilities.

    By the way, you can see I don't use my laptop much. It stays packed and ready to place in the RV for an adventure, but doesn't get used in the house.

    I admire your ability to simply let go and live dangerously, although I know I can't embrace the philosophy for myself.

  3. another common SoFoBoMo blogger theme I think. There was the legions of us with dodgy knees for a while, now lost files (Colin Jago lost his first roll of film too)

    Sorry to hear about your troubles.

    Once at a workshop I tried to persuade some people of the virtue of doing the following exercise. Go shoot for a day, fill as many cards as you like. Then at the end of the day, format all the cards, without downloading them, or format one card at random.

    Nobody seemed to think it was a good idea.

    I haven't managed to try it yet, myself.

    But I think there is something in that, in terms of enjoying the process, rather then the product. Photography often seems to be a process of successive disappointments.

    The keepers are worse than you thought they'd be. The shots in your head are better than the shots on the screen. The shots on the screen are better than the shots in the prints. The prints are better than the reproduction in the books.

    If we just threw them away up front, we'd be left with a perfect set of great images, in our imagination, and a great day out too.

    Sorry for rambling ;)

  4. I am glad to hear that you were able to recover some of your files.

    When it comes to backup I sometimes think I have an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    First I use 8GB CF cards. I try not to take it out unless I need another card. I download from camera and reformat after every download. I worry about the pins on the camera as my older D70 was starting to show some problems with all the removal and insert.

    I have a RAID array on my C drive so should one drive fail I can still run off the other until I swap in a new drive.

    I Have 3 - 500GB backup drives. One always connected. One not electrically connected incase of lightning and one in my safety deposit box incase of fire.

    See what I mean about OC.

    Niels Henriksen

  5. Gordon, what wonderful rambling! Please drop in and ramble anytime. I think I will keep a copy of those last two paragraphs posted near my computer.

    One of my favorite things to do is veiewing old files. Although, most of them make me wince, I use them to remind myself that what I think is just fine today will probably produce that same flinch a year from now. At least I hope so—meaning I hope I continue to grow.

  6. Niels, if you suffer from OC disorder, you have company. Cearly, this is what was so shocking about my little episode. Losing files on two different drives and in two different ways wasn't something I had been concerned about.

    I had never even thought about those pins wearing out. Is that camera still alive?

    Storing one hard drive in a safety deposit box sounds like a good idea to me.

    I have the RAID array on my C drive and, while I am glad I made the choice, it's a little spooky to me. Having only limited faith in and almost zero understanding of the technology, it botheres me a bit not being able to see any physical evidence of those files safely stored on that backup.

  7. Maybe this might be a problem with more of us than we realize.

    I have taken a new step to long-term storage of at least the best of my image.

    I purchased one of those blue-print filing cabinets (54”x40”) and will now store printed images on archival ink and paper (the largest possible and still perfect rendering).

    So unless there is a fire then these should definitely outlast me and any technology issues with conversion in the future.

    In fact show how this method of storage seems more appropriate to photographs than just keeping digital bits. This was not my idea but I read maybe at luminous landscape that all the great images have survived in printed form at least B&W.

    I like some how being able to just go and grab and image to show someone with all the subtle details as opposed to having a person look on a screen and a lower resolution then the final image.

    I will still keep the digital as in the future there may be better inks and papers.
    Right now some papers and ink have a larger gamut ( in some hues) then we can see on a monitor and also the other way around.


  8. Niels, that is a terrific idea.

    Oh, no another project!!


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