Saving Memories

James Hall Diving

This is a photo of my Dad diving off of a sub in 1979. I am not 100% sure where it is, but likely off of Asia somewhere. My dad was an avid photographer that shot almost entirely in slides. I am currently in the process of scanning in well over 10,000 slides that he took to preserve them against further degradation.

My dad is no longer with us, having died at the relatively young age of 50. His pictures are one of the most valuable records of his life (and mine) that we have. Taking random art pictures is fun, but remember to record the lives of you and and your loved ones for those that will enjoy them for years to come.

Capturing and archiving memories is an important part of why I enjoy photography. The archiving part is one of my biggest concerns lately as I reevaluate how I am storing the massive amount of data I am creating. Currently, when I am “done” processing photos and ready to store them away for future use, I burn 2 data DVDs copies of everything before I remove it from my hard drive. I take one copy to work and leave one at home; I figure that in the worst case scenario if my home burns down, I have a copy elsewhere to be preserved. In the more likely scenario, if one disc gets scratched or otherwise stops working, I have backup copy.

The problem with my current solution is three-fold. First, my wife would like to get to photos periodically to scrapbook, and to do that she needs me to load up the discs for her so she can look through the files. Second, once I have the disc loaded, I have been storing my original DNG (digital negative) files, which keep all the original quality and resolution, but require Photoshop to convert to a useable format for her. Third, having all the photos spread across multiple discs is piling up in an disparate way that I find difficult to locate specific photos I am looking for.

Many (large volume) photographers are now turning to NSD devices, which are essentially multi-bay hard drive enclosures that allow you to have your data spread across multiple drives in a way that gives you a lot of space and built in redundancy. For example, the Drobo unit I am looking at allows for 4 HDs to be placed in it, combines them all as one drive for the way your computer sees it, but also uses a RAID kind of backup so that if you lose one drive, you simply replace it and no data is lost.

This solution is the path I would like to go, but currently for the space I would need, it is breaking the bank. Eventually I will get there, but this is one of those times I will stick to my old method long enough to let pricing go down a little before I jump on the next great technology. I just hope the next great after that to be released isn’t so spectacular sounding such that it keeps me waiting again for prices to go down!

see on flickr