Tag Archives: archive

Backing up

As you may know, I am one of the four people on the planet still using Apple Aperture for processing my photos. Aperture has a feature that lets you create what the developers call a “Vault”. Essentially, it’s a locked down database of your library, including all the information such as ratings, meta data, and processing. The idea is should your main library (or libraries) become corrupted due to disk failure or similar, you can reload your library from the vault.

Which is all fine and dandy. I’ve been maintaining a vault for a couple of years. Since my library contained virtually everything I have shot since I started seriously shooting with digital, it was getting a bit unwieldy, and when it was about to outgrow its current home I made a decision to create a bunch of smaller libraries and to archive the stuff I don’t need to access regularly.

The problem was I couldn’t get Aperture to make new vaults for the new libraries. Whatever the reason for the failures, in the end I gave up and developed a new backup strategy.

Having a pair of almost matched 500GB drives available, I decided to use them as backups for the RAW original image files. I plan to copy new images from the CF cards directly to Drive A, then import them into the relevant Aperture library. At regular intervals, I will use a utility to copy new files to Drive B, which will be pretty much an identical clone of Drive A. One can then be stored off-site. As the archive grows, I’ll acquire new matched drives and continue to archive to them, leaving the old ones in storage.

Now, obviously, I want all my old files on this archive. Which means I have been patiently plodding through my old library exporting originals to Drive A. I am not bothered about saving processed images. Processing originals again is easy: I may even find I process them differently if it happens. What isn’t so easy is taking the photograph again. If you like, I am backing up the negatives for the twenty-odd thousand images I have taken since 2002 or so.

Interestingly, having this opportunity to sift through my back catalogue has made me realise one or two things. First, I’ve got some awesome shots I have forgotten about, which I really ought to revisit at some stage. Second, I keep an awful lot of rubbish images. I think I will be a good deal more choosy about shots in the future, rather than just dump everything from the card into the library.

So, what’s your backup strategy for your digital photography? Do you even have one?

BBC Archive

Take a trip through our collective past with the BBC archives and discover themed collections of radio and TV programmes, documents and photographs from as far back as the 1930s.

You can explore who we are, see how attitudes and broadcasting have changed and go behind the scenes to find out how the BBC archives are maintained.

I may have linked to this before, but as part of their public service broadcasting remit the BBC have been trying to get a lot of archived material online. It’s a great way to waste some time, if nothing else. For me, it is proving to be a hefty dose of nostalgia.

Avro Vulcan

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I’ve been doing to some scanning.

I’ve had a scanner that could perform transparency and negative scans for a while, but it had been a bit limited (35mm uncut strips only, no slides, etc). Doing any quantity of scans was always a bit of a chore, frankly.

About a year ago I purchased a better scanner, with pro level features. It was loaned to a small company I was involved in, and when they sadly went bust I got the machine back. Just recently a friend upgraded their Mac and I was essentially given their old G4 Mac mini. Ideal for a scanner station, where all it has to do is drive the scanner and run the software.

So I’ve been doing some scanning.

To familiarise myself with the kit and software I have begun the task of scanning a whole bunch of negatives I had selected a while ago. There’s stuff in there from a model railway show where I was “official” photographer, random stuff shot on black and white negative film, and some colour slides from the other half, dating back over four decades. All good stuff to learn how the scanner works, as I intend to try and drum up some business for it.

Anyway, the Vulcan is one of my favourite images—and aircraft. Shot on the old Olympus OM10 on Ilford HP5 ISO400 neg film, the plane was displaying at a Duxford air show in the Autumn of 1988. There’s another shot in the Flickr stream where the plane is almost directly overhead, silhouetted against some patchy clouds. I had forgotten I even took that shot.

Anyway, I guess I should plug the business. Please visit the Imagic Design web site and find out what I can do in the way of design and stuff.

Drift

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Another week passes in which I haven’t taken a photo, or even taken my camera gear out of the bag. If I am as keen a photographer as I make out, this is a worry to me. Why would I neglect a creative interest so? What could possibly be a reason for not getting out making pictures?

First, the excuses. I don’t have time (the most feeble excuse known to man). The days are too short and dark. The weather has been inclement. There are no interesting things to photograph within walking distance (with the price of fuel these days, I keep unnecessary car journeys to an absolute minimum). The house is so cluttered I can’t find room for a small indoor studio.

They are just excuses. I am smart enough that I should be able to go out for a walk and get some images, no matter what the weather or lighting conditions. It’s part of the fun of photography, after all, this need to learn new stuff, to push the boundaries of my knowledge. 

While I ponder such matters concerning digital photography, and whether I may as well sell my gear if I am not going to actually use it, I’ve been finding some time to digitise images from my past photographic life. I have been making pictures on and off for nearly 30 years now, and I have drawers and boxes stuffed with film negatives and prints just crying out to be seen again. A request from an old acquaintance for images I might have from a model railway thing I was involved with some years ago gave me cause to actually pull negs out of their dark hideaways to find suitable shots.

Of course, I discovered loads of other images I had forgotten about. I set the strips of negatives to one side, and made myself a promise I would at least try to get the more interesting stuff scanned fairly quickly. I have been doing just that these past few days — though this first pass of scans is more to see what’s there than to truly archive the images. A few things have to slot into place before I can get the proper grown-up scanner in place to make proper archive versions.

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In a way, I hope being able to review stuff I took when I was much younger and greener will encourage me to get the modern gear out and keep at it. I need something to really fire my enthusiasm again. As I type, I realise it’s been nearly four months since I last handled the DSLR. This is not good. Not good at all.

Quiet Cameo

I found this in my archives. It’s been through the Photoshop mill to extend the backscene sky, but that’s about it.

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A quiet moment, waiting for the signal to indicate a train is coming, then the quiet wondering what sort of loco it might on the front. Meanwhile, the sounds of summer surround us, with a skylark in the field behind, and grasshoppers singing in the brambles.

The layout is called Charlton Abbotts, nominally meant to represent the western reaches of the Southern Railway. Scale is 7mm to the foot, ScaleSeven standards.

Istrane, Z scale LNER by Brian Yallop

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Currently the smallest scale model railway I’ve had the pleasure to photograph. Brian Yallop had scratchbuilt LNER locomotive and coach bodies to fit commercial Z scale chassis, to excellent effect.

The shots in the Flickr photostream were taken back in the 1990s at an exhibition in Chatham Historic Dockyard. The kit used was an Olympus OM10 with probably a 24mm lens, filled with Ilford 400 Delta neg film. Happy days!