Some days, your luck works for you. This day, the weather was nice, the light working for me and there were things to photograph at all sorts of scales, colours and degrees of image complexity.
In fact, all of these photos were taken in thirty minutes while walking around Bulloch Harbour this day six years ago. I made jpeg files from the raw versions that I saved to my archives. I then published these photographs electronically for sharing around the family. They ended up on WhatsApp, Nixplay and Dropbox.
Some days, your luck runs out.
I lost the originals for all of these photos. You might say how? Or so what? It’s like losing the negatives of an old roll of film, you still have all of the digital versions that you circulated. Yes, I did recover them and that’s how you see them reproduced here.
Trouble is that these versions are less than half the resolution of the originals which makes them unsuitable for printing at large scales. So what you ask?
There’s not much else to say except perhaps tell how I lost them.
I was often bored during cancer treatment and in my cloudy, mis-judged manner, I decided to archive all of my photographs. A grand project to keep myself busy. Except that I was confused. My executive function was compromised by hormonal and radio therapies. My brain was the only brain that didn’t know it.
So I collected every photo I could find onto a brand new disk. A very big external disk filled with scans of negatives, raw camera files and a myriad of processed file formats ranging from jpg to gif. Once I had every photo I on the new disk, I needed a back-up. But I was short of disks so I erased a few, plugged them into a server we ran in the house. But I forgot to turn on the back-up. The weekend passed, and on a Monday, I went to hospital for my daily irradiation, taking my laptop and the new photo disk with me. This was something I did some days when I knew I would have an hour to kill waiting on treatment.
I knocked the disk to the ground as I was typing. It fell as if in slow motion. It clicked uselessly when I reconnected the usb cable. It was irreparably broken. I know because I opened it when I couldn’t find anyone to try to repair it for a fee that was affordable. The fee structures were based on file recovery. Even if I could have negotiated a cheap rate, say 1 cent, 75,000 files would have been expensive. But I was up against corporate recovery companies who are well used to commanding much higher fees than 1 cent per file. Serious money.
My DIY ended once I saw the platters had been scratched when the head-arm-assemblies crash landed on them. As I wrote earlier, there was no backup. Many of the disks that had photographs were erased to create the back-up space.
But I had back-ups from many years of hoarding disks as they were continuously dropping in price. I recovered photographs from long forgotten disks sitting in boxes that should have been discarded years before. All I lost was the metadata that I had assiduously assigned in Lightroom. I have a touch of OCD so I had geolocated them all, used face recognition to add people’s names and of course, had a taxonomy of metdada keywords that includes such broad categories as Artists, Attributes, Country, Genre, Events. Status, Subjects, Technique, Theme with a myriad of sub-categories. Months of lost work are still being recreated six years later.
And curiously, I also lost the batch of raw files (CR2 and DNG) from photos that I took over 30 minutes on October 18, 2014.
I took this photo today. The keywords tells the full story. It’s backed up twice already.