Saturday, January 3, 2009

Move Over, Ansel Adams

Apparently I take a lot of pictures.

For my birthday this year, Kim gave me a new hard drive. Yes, yes, go ahead and insert your foul-minded puns here. I'll wait. Lord knows I've thought of enough of them on my own. It was a whole lot of fun, with much giggling and trying not to explain any of it to anyone under the age of forty. But this hard drive was for my computer, making it more useful if somewhat less exciting.

It is astonishing how much memory it has, really - roughly six times what the original computer has. This has been something of a trend. I've owned three computers in my life, and each new one has had more RAM than the previous computer had hard drive space. And in none of these cases have I ever come close to using all of that hard drive space.

But usage is not the issue here. Back-up is the issue, especially since I finally gave in and switched to a digital camera a few years back.

This was a wrenching switch, believe it or not. At the time I was running a historical society, and in the middle of quite possibly my favorite project of all of the things I did there. We had roughly 500 nineteenth-century glass plate negatives, many of which were badly deteriorated and likely to pass beyond usability shortly. I got a grant to fund having them all printed, and found a local camera shop whose owner was so excited by the thought of actually working with those negatives that he agreed to print them all by hand on 300-year archival paper for about $3 a print.

He did not make any money off that deal, but he had one whale of a good time. And now we have all of those prints, some of which had not been seen in a century or more.

Consider that.

I could, without any real difficulty, get someone to print a 150-year-old glass negative. Have you ever tried to read a 10-year-old computer disc?

But even I can see where things are headed as far as film cameras are concerned, so I made the switch. The key to the reprinting dilemma is simply to keep backing up and updating formats.

So there I was this morning, with the hard drive up and running (Technology 0, Me 1), and I thought, "well, no time like the present."


Search. Search. Search.

Now, where exactly are all those pictures?

Search. Search.

Brief interlude of therapeutic obscenity.

Search some more.

Oh, right, there they are.

Drag over to hard drive icon. Drop.

At this point, the computer went into Calculation Mode, trying to figure out how long it was going to take to get this job done, and eventually it came up with 21 hours. That has since been sliced down to about seven hours, but still. That's a lot of pictures.

One of the things I figured out early in my life was that every group needed a photographer, and if I was that photographer, not only would I get to keep all the pictures but I would also not be in any of them.

Double win.

So I took a lot of pictures, and then when I went digital and didn't have to have them developed in a lab, I took even more. Having children helped too.

It's been about seven hours now, and the hard drive is still chugging away, trying to digest all those pictures. It's about 80% done, and sometime this evening, I'll have a complete back-up copy of all photos to date.

And then I can take more.

No comments: