#696. Monday Post (12 Feb 2018) – Ennui

By Paul Perton | Monday Post

Feb 12

Maybe I’m waiting for the annual visit of the Cape Doctor (south easterly wind) to end. Or maybe it’s the dangerous lack of rain and city-stopping drought we’re facing down here. I’m not sure.


What I do know is that my usual January/February morning forays have been few and far between and that soon, autumn will arrive, with winter and hopefully, some predictable rain close behind. Meanwhile, there’s a camera within touching distance and I fear it’s in danger of taking root on my desktop.


The images in this week’s Post are what I should be out shooting 🙁


Even last week’s mail thread amongst the Susans – file backups – initially failed to rouse much interest from me, especially as my highly crafted multi-year, multi-Drobo scheme was busy tumbling around my ears, like so many earthquake-d hotels.


Circulating a blog post from Backblaze, Steve started the ball rolling. Damn, it even has some screen shots of Luminar’s upcoming DAM schema.



Pascal has an unusual solution; “I’m not organised. I always thought it was a black mark but don’t any more. We’re what we are. Backuping pisses me off and doesn’t make me a better photographer.


I do wish I printed far more, though.”


Don’t we all?


Steve shared his own view: “Yep, I’m increasingly coming to that conclusion. Who or what am I actually saving all this stuff for? My kids? Ha. A digital archivist? When I’m gone it will all have to go in a digital bin bag but who’s going to do that. They’d need passwords, which means I’d have to let them have them in advance. Ha.


I’ve spent most of my life trying to be other than I am. You know, tidy and organised. I’m not, I function in low level chaos most of the time and suddenly I really can’t be arsed to try any longer. I’d love (in theory) to have images all with sensible file names, tagged, colour coded, keyworded etc. It’s never going to happen, so why even try. Most of my images are now going straight into Photos via my MacBook and then edited with Luminar or Picktorial. Why? Cos it’s easy and I can do it in the living room whilst Martina watches something on iPlayer rather than have to cross the yard to my office and sit in glorious solitude trying to decide which combination of tools to use.


Yesterday I shipped hundreds of CDs and books out the door in exchange for a pittance but they’re gone. Another box is filling at present. I also deleted several thousand images from my Aperture library. More thousands await the chop. This year I’m determined to go minimal.


Delete – it’s the new black.”



Dallas’ view is quite different; “Well I’m the opposite, I backup religiously after each shoot, and keep a back up locked way. I’m also guilty of carefully keywording each image.


Of late I’ve been going back over old images and deleting the ones I decided not process to lessen the number of images and the size of HDs required.


For the record I keep all images and LR and its catalogue on an external drive and use ChronoSync. This configuration makes it very easy to edit on either the MBP or iMac, off course you must log on/off to the use the other.


The question is why, Steve’s comment regarding the digital bin bag is the most, likely outcome in due course.”



There’s no way I could do that; “Ha, ha, ha, ha. I just bought a 20Tb RAID array (yesterday). Really.


Despite my deeply anal scheme of back ups and commitment to losing nothing, my triple backup solution has slowly fallen apart and I’m needing to start again.


One of my three Drobos (acquired over time) is in my buddy’s safe, un-synched for several months, maybe almost a year. Drobo 2 has become increasingly flaky and keeps losing it’s connection to my Mac during backups and the third has now been re-purposed as a TimeMachine backup, ‘cos the WD drive I’ve been using is now full and despite regular re-formats and re-starts, fills up alarmingly quickly.


Waaaaaah! Re-making a TimeMachine backup is a three day effort.


So a 20Tb RAID drive, will should cope with everything – mainly photographs, music and TV/movies – and will should give me a sensible shot at data recovery. All in one place. Meantime, I currently have several external drives running, wasting space and electricity.


Of course, I ought to slim down my photo library, but have you seriously tried to spend hours stepping through thousands of images, wondering whether a or b is better, which to keep, RAW or JPG? TIFF? Both? All? OK, yeah that’s a good idea… Lightroom is so slow and after the recent upgrade(?), gets the yips on a regular basis, losing my second monitor, or refusing to respond to certain keystrokes. Meantime, the flickering GPS map remains despite many complaints from LR users world-wide, so geotagging is an exercise best left to a work of fiction. A quit and re-start is the only way out and meanwhile my life is ebbing away.


I tried PhotoMechanic, planning to use either Luminar or Pixelmator Pro and determined to kick LR to the kerb. Nope. Neither of the post processing apps is ready for prime time – close but still no cigar. PhotoMechanic is a boring, arcane mind hog that requires me to change everything I do with respect to sorting, selecting and keywording. As I’ve communicated with Steve, the latter kept me occupied for several days, trying to work out how it’s automated keywording lists came into being. I’ve yet to master how to use this kak-handed manually driven automated so-called fucking wonder and 99% given up, gone back to LR with a slow anger that will probably see me want to fire bomb Adobe’s HQ ‘ere long*.


BTW, the Luminar screen shots suggest that it will keep my stuff organised by date and waste a considerable amount of menu/screen real estate doing it. If that’s the case, it’ll follow LR into the bin. I cannot think of any single more frustrating thing than the way Adobe thinks I want to import and store my images.


“Of course Mr Perton, we create a folder for everything. Lots of them. Eighty or ninety levels deep sometimes. Makes finding your images easy-peasy.”




And now, just for laughs, try it – Aperture still works.



Bob’s take is as measured as mine started out; “I use a 1 TB La Cie SSD’s to store my “keeper” TIFFs and a second such drive to not only continue that storage process but to also work from on recently taken RAW files. In addition to those drives, which are with my computer set up in my office building which is separate from my main house, I have a 6TB La Cie drive devoted solely to storing all of RAW files and a 10 TB La Cie drive to store all of my RAW and TIFF files, both of which are also in my office building.


In my house, in case of damage to my separate office building, I have 2 off La Cie drives storing my RAW and TIFF files. My discipline is to have at least 3 copies of my RAW files on hard drive before I format my SD card and to perform a back up to my remaining drives once a week. When I travel, I use the 2 SD card facility in my camera(s) on a RAW file mirror basis, using 128GB SD cards in slot number 2 as a running back up, only formatting the SD card in slot number 1 when I download images to my laptop in the evening, file them on its internal drive and copy this file to 3 portable hard drives, one of which is a 1 TB Samsung SSD and is kept with me at all times.


Perhaps I’m a bit anal but I’m terrified of losing the images I’ve worked so relatively hard to take.”


That’s a lot of kit, Bob.



Pascal was still trying to convince us; “I bought an 8TB raid last year and it’s still in its box.


I think the main thing is lack of time to do any kind of serious catalog work and also, I’ve lost all my pics in the past (all religiously filed on “last forever” memorex discs) and survived it. So I don’t really care all that much today. It’s more of a pain to maintain than to lose I guess.


But printing the best would be the best form of backuping, which I don’t either.”




“I guess I just like the process of making photographs and publishing them on the blog.


When they are from a family trip, I have a small album printed for a souvenir. But it’s super super rare for me to ever look back at former photographs. For instance, in January, I created a new CaptureOne catalog for 2018 photographs and got rid of the 2017 photographs. They’re on my drive and, if I ever understand how to get a USB3 drive to work with my Mac, I’ll move them there eventually. Look at them again ? Unlikely.”



Adam then joined-in; “My laptop has 2 HDDs, I work from the OS drive, back up to drive 2 then back drive 2 to an external drive.


I probably delete 80% of what I shoot a day or two after import (unless it’s family, holiday etc).


For the occasional print I use someone external, that way it’s their problem if I don’t like how it’s printed.”


Steffen added his twopennies-worth; “I don’t understand how some photographer does not care about the integrity of his legacy – until it’s not his legacy but some random snaps.


I use an internal drive that is sync’d to Dropbox on-the-fly. Additionally, I use two other external drives as a backup for my photos and system images. One is a regular HDD, the other a double raid-1 drive. Backup starts when one drive is connected. So, no input is required.


I usually try to get a session down to a reasonable number of photos that tell a interesting story. Maybe some left and right but the rest goes straight to the bin. The remaining rest is color-coded, rated, and metadata’d.


For printing, I usually print our most memorable events at some drugstore around the corner to pin them on the fridge. For wall prints, I used Whitewall who have a store here in Berlin. And just recently, I started using Apple Photo for one photo books. It’s not perfect but super simple and I may use it as some sort of compilation (e.g. family vacation).


You see, I’m not super anal about my photos, printing, and storage. I keep it to the minimum. But without it, I won’t find anything and what’s the point then? Really, to connect the start: What’s the point of (your) photography? Why should you care?”


Pascal; “Frankly, Steffen, no one cares about my photographs 😉 They really aren’t a legacy. Helping others on a blog, that’s getting closer. But a drawer full of digital files that no one will ever look at ? Nah … just a bunch of crap gathering dust.”



Adrian (Art) clearly wasn’t to be left out either; “The length of some replies and explanations in this discussions tends to point to 2 things for me:
• Amateur Photography is often a male pursuit
• Men love technical things, and talking about them

As I’ve previously commented, when amateur photographers talk using words like “workflow” etc I think it also plays to the above 2 points, and has a certain air of self aggrandising. 

Legacy?  As someone said earlier, most of what any of us do (except those perhaps shooting professionally) will go into the digital dustbin, as its unlikely anyone will care what we photographed, and even if they did, they probably wouldn’t be able to use our software or have the time and patience to work out exactly what we had photos of anyway.

Pascal, you don’t random snap any more than I do, we shoot for ourselves or for others, and hope to spread our love of photography through our images.

To think anyone will give a s**t about my competition and male physique photography when I’m gone would be a conceit of monumental arrogance.  When young, men often think they will change the world and be significant; when older men often think their existence had some importance and that they leave some legacy.  In almost all cases, neither of these things are true.

I cull and backup my photos onto external portable storage.  I dont use software to catalogue as in my experience this is generally difficult to use, doesn’t work very well, and creates as many problems as it tries to solve.  I backup for my use now, not because my photography is going to be passed down through the generations as some “legacy”.  If I wanted to create some “legacy” for family etc then prints and albums would be by far the best approach in my opinion – and that is the approach I use.  A book on the coffee table has far more worth than several Tb of catalogues storage, and may be more likely to stand the test of time.”




By my reckoning, that’s a maybe a 75/25 split between the back-uppers and the Susans that don’t care so much. I do have to admit that despite the ease of use software like the inimitable SuperDuper provides, I’m fed up setting up copy routines, checking backups and buying new kit that seems to do little more for me than whir and click every week.


Steve opted for cloud storage. With my current ‘net connection, establishing such a backup from down here on the Southern Tip would take around three years. I think not.


Surely there’s a better way?


* Joke. Or is it?

  • Cliff Whittaker says:

    I lost all of my images one time. Finally recovered them and spent more than a year, off and on, reorganizing them. Finally got finished in time to make prints for a one-man show at the gallery. Now I back up religiously. In fact, I just started a new 4 TB BU drive for my 2018 bird photographs. But I’m not quite sure why. More and more I’m coming to the conclusion that I don’t really give a rat’s @$$. If they’re gone they’re just gone. The enjoyment is in making new ones.
    I also have a basement full of expensive framed prints that I have exhibited at the gallery over the past dozen years. I have placed instructions to throw them into a dumpster when I’m dead.
    But then last week I got a client order for two old images and had to go into one of the backup drives to find them and make prints. Maybe that’s why I backup… just in case………

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Lost . . . lost . . . lost !!!!! 🙂
    No – not me – I’m not lost. To be lost, you have to know where it is you’re supposed to be, and I don’t even know that.
    Digital storage sucks. It’s totally dependent on forces beyond our control, and as I’ve already said on DS, I’d rather take my chances with the silver fish. At least I can have the spiteful satisfaction of setting off occasional smoke bombs to kill them off. I can scarcely do that to whoever’s guiding the technological chances that make DS (that’s “digital storage” – nobody has a monopoly on acronyms 🙂 ) flaky & unreliable, over time. I am currently waiting for two photo album manufacturers to provide me with the detail I need, to start purchasing albums – the boxes of prints are accumulating all over the study.
    But hey – this isn’t about “me”! It’s about what are we doing, and why? We think we know all that stuff – yet here’s an article focusing on a basic issue, with people in the group cannoning off in all directions! Why? What’s hard – apart from the fct we all seem to have drifted along, doing what the computer industry wants us to do, without giving it a huge amount of thought. Oops – maybe some did, and the answer came up the same – OK, I’m in disgrace – but I won’t go stand in the corner, I’ll grab the dog and my camera and shoot out into the glorious weather we’ve been having since the end of last winter.
    1 – it’s a democracy – we’re adults – you all have to make your own decisions
    2 – digital vs paper, I guess is the question – really – once you’ve made that choice, the rest is detail – and we all know that the devil is in the detail, so many happy hours and the occasional heartbreak, etc – c’est la vie, c’est la guerre!
    3 – you could of course print on something other than paper, to give the silver fish a bit of a start – they’d find it hard to eat prints on metal or glass, for example
    4 – how many professional photographers can flog product on digital? – last I heard, most of them have to produce print – and very high quality ones, at that. Do you think there’s a reason? – maybe for some and not for others, is that the answer to that question? Because I’ve saved this thought till last.
    I take photos because it’s creative and I was lousy at drawing, painting and sculpture. It gives me a buzz, creating images of the things I see. More importantly – it gives me the ability to hone my skills, improve my talents, and produce some have decent shots – that’s where I get part of the buzz out of my photography. And the rest of the buzz? – well, to end this crap on a totally different note, the rest of it is the buzz I get, looking at the faces of the people I take photos for – and hearing the happiness in their voices, as they heap on my head all the praise and adulation that any half conscious Leo is looking for in his daily life.
    Without wishing to stamp on anyone’s feelings, we’ve become too introspective with our photography. It wasn’t always like that. In the past, there were slide evenings – dim the lights, hand out the popcorn and the drinks, and settle down folks, for 6 blistering hours of vivid (stopped myself just in time – “garish” was on the tip of the pen) colours, of people eating, staring across interminable spaces at things you didn’t recognise, and a monologue in the background of “and here’s another shot of .. . . ” Or photo albums – spread out on the dining table or on your lap. Or Polaroids, simply because it was something new. And common to all of this stuff from the analogue era was ONE SIMPLE DIFFERENCE. There was NO SUCH THING as digital storage. Some – mostly historians and similar – admittedly never printed all their photos. But the ONLY path to distribution was the printing process, whether as transparent prints (slides) or as paper ones. And that made ALL the difference. In those days, we weren’t turned in on ourselves, and we sought to share our photos.
    Now, we’ve been turned on our heels, and sucked into an alien world of geeks and bits and gawd know what else lies before us. And it seems to me that we’re starting to question what we’re doing here. 🙂
    I’m out of it – back to my prints, my albums, and my circle of happy faces, delightedly accepting the photos I hand them as I move around my little part of the universe.
    A final final thought – a sort of PS, for Dallas’s amusement. Sent yesterday testing post processing software again. Hmmm – no real winner, out of the whole bunch. But if you’re ONLY concerned with “noise”, LR trounces the competition. Personally that’s not where I stop – because “noise” is a lot like grain, and I never demanded from the film manufacturers that they should all eliminate grain entirely from their products. I accept grain/noise as part of photography. Not too much, of course – after all, you wouldn’t sprinkly cayenne pepper with a serving spoon, would you? Convenience? COP – yeah, there are the rest of the mob, but while they are occasionally useful or interesting, I’d hate to depend on them. DxO has a couple of programs I like And PS is handy, just [before/when] I make the print.

  • Kristian Wannebo says:

    Beautiful skies – and landscapes!
    – – –

    A quote from the “Peanuts”:
    ( From memory, so not quite accurate.)

    Linus is painting.
    Lucy: “Hey, I thought the sky was blue!”
    Linus, looking up: “Well … the sky is many colours, blue, a bit of pink, a little green…”
    Lucy: “You’re crazy.”
    Lucy walks out of the house and meets Charlie Brown on the porch.
    Lucy: “Wouldn’t you say the sky is blue?”
    They both look up at the sky.
    Charlie Brown: “Well, I’d say it’s many colours, blue, a but if pink, a little green…”
    Lucy: “I oughta slug you a good one.”,
    and walks away.
    Charlie Brown looks completely bewildered.
    – * –

    that’s what I become reading about all those backup hassles.

    Me? I don’t, luckily, have that many digital photos yet. I’m a slow photographer – like in the film days – (unless there is some event I’d like to document), so a couple of dozen photos is a common result from a photo walk.

    I use a Kingston 128Gb DataTraveler SE9 USB stick for backup, time soon for a second one – although I really ought to have doublets.
    It is all metal with a ring at the end to secure it, a bit of duct tape (often) protects the USB port.
    ( Older photos live in the original memory cards, or are, except for some JPGs on my Nexus 7, hidden in my old notebook that went to sleep – until I take the time to learn how to, if possible, wake it up again.)
    I’m considering a (pocketable) SSD with card reader to eliminate the need for a computer as middle man.
    – – –

    I certainly agree with Cliff:
    “The enjoyment is in making new ones.”
    But I do occasionally enjoy looking at old keepers.

    I do want to print again, B&W, for my wall, but inkjet puts me off because of the risk of clogging after leaving it idle for too long.
    (I’m sometimes off suddenly, so flushing the printer heads with some kind of cleaning fluid beforehand would not be a solution.
    So I would need one with cheaply replaceable heads.)

    Does anyone have experience with 4bit/dot (or 2bit/dot) B&W A3 laser printers?
    ( I do understand it won’t be photo quality, but it might not be worse than large prints from Tri X film?)

    [ My previous printer was an Epson B&W 13.6″ 720dpi, so I had to choose between a good grey scale and good resolution – even when I pasted two A3+ to an A2+.]

  • Kristian I’m about to turn on my Epsom 1430 after it being idle since early October fingers are crossed.

    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      I was petrified when they told me I have to fire up the Epson at least once a week – because at times, I am away for nearly a month in one stretch. The penalty for failure was held out to me as replacing the nozzle heads [whatever that means 🙂 ] at vast expense. When I am around the house, the printer is generally used most days and rarely left for more than 2-3, so that’s not the issue. When I mentioned my concerns to the camera store, they told me it was rot, and it wouldn’t ever matter (except during periods of extreme dry heat, when I’m always here anyway – going away at that time of year would mean arriving in Europe in the depths of winter, and I’ve only ever done that twice).

      Apart from that – I simply don’t know, Kristian. Canon seemed to claim in their advertising that their better printers don’t have these problems – but in the end I went with Epson, for a range of reasons.

      • Kristian Wannebo says:

        Thanks Pete,
        The info I’ve found on the i-net seems to agree with what you’ve heard, that clogging can often become a problem in a very dry climate but rarely in a damp climate. I also found an article recommending methods for cleaning clogged heads claiming success even after a long time, but I don’t remember where just now.

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