You might have noticed that I enjoy stories. I love hearing them, and I like telling them. Stories are often our first introduction to the concepts of adventure, courage, overcoming adversity; they fuel the imagination, help us make sense of the world around us, connect us to other people.
Some days I have to search for a story to tell; other days, they explode into my mind one after another after another, and I have to choose the best one (saving the others for a later date, when stories are slow).
Which leads to the question… what story should be shared this fine day? The moment of existential terror that was interrupted by the pickup sliding at a stop sign…? How to protect your camera from the wetter weather that is sure to happen…?
Nah. Going to go more basic and frightening than either of those.
The 30D uses what’s called a Compact Flash memory card – quite a bit different in appearance and size from the regular ol’ SD card that most cameras seem to use these days. Ivan’s A57 is one of those that uses the standard SD card (no, the initials don’t stand for SanDisk, which is one of the major manufacturers of flash memory storage devices; the letters mean Secure Digital). And he didn’t have a spare to loan me along with the camera.
Not to worry; the GoPro uses microSD cards, and those always come with an adapter!
Oh, but sometimes the mini-cards in the adapters cause issues when you try to use them as standard SDs – something about compatibility, never researched it, so could be a false impression. Better to avoid the whole question by using the 1GB full-size card that I have handy…
Have you got any idea at all how fast a 1GB card fills up when you shoot in RAW?
Well, the upshot is, after yesterday’s photos and the test shot this morning, the card was full. I had the GoPro with me with its micro-SD card, but not the adapter, so couldn’t cannibalize. Could have used the iPhone, but the pictures it takes are not the kind of quality I wanted. Could have used the GoPro itself, come to that, but didn’t think of it. (I have a tendency toward tunnel vision; I get focused on a particular tool or opinion or outcome and can’t see any other alternative.) To my mind, if I wanted this morning’s shot, the only course of action I could take was reformatting the card to free up the space needed. (Actually, no, I couldn’t have just deleted a select few on the card already – that only removes the ‘address’ to the photo, not the information of the photo itself. It’s still there and taking up space. Besides, when shooting in RAW with a 18-megapixel camera, each photo is about 20 meg.)
Of course, reformatting also means erasing everything already on the card.
Which leads, by prosy degrees, to the point of today: Back Up. Back up, back up, back up! Backup your backups! Back up the backups of your backups!
A professional photographer I admire and have learned a great deal from once had a computer crash, a fire, and a flood at his studio, all in the same year; he said, “If you don’t have your pictures saved to computer, printed out, and stored in at least two separate locations, you don’t really love your photos.”
So with yesterday’s photos located only in one place, can you guess what I’m doing as I’m typing this?
There are lots of alternatives available to preserve and protect those digital memories; online storage, flash devices, CDs, external memory drives. You could even build up a collection of camera memory cards (that’s what Ivan does). A lady I once worked with stored her photo negatives in a Safety Deposit box at the bank. My personal method is to download the pictures onto the laptop, the desktop, and once a month or so burn the new ones to CD. The next time the 5TB external drives go on sale, I’m picking up two of them; both will be loaded up with all the photos from both computers, one drive will be stored at my brother’s house and the two will be regularly updated and rotated.
So what’s your method?