Tragic Loss … Almost

A couple months ago I bought a new 27” iMac with 3 TB of memory. I had been storing all my photos in an external hard drive because my MacBook Pro memory was just about used up. I knew that I needed a back up and kept telling myself I could lose all my photos if the hard drive crashed.   But I kept putting it off, until I got the iMac with plenty of memory available for photos.

The optional added memory led to a delay in actually picking up the iMac. But when I finally went into the Simply Mac store I brought my Mac laptop and the external hard drive for the manager to copy all the critical data to my new computer. Everything seemed to work out fine. When I got home I could easily get my photos from Lightroom. I cruised along for a couple weeks adding photos (although I must admit I didn’t take as many photos in the winter) enjoying seeing my photos on a big screen and then …

When it was time for me to make a presentation at the Teton Photography Group about the Peer Mentor Photography Program I went into Lightroom to get a few photos from the last couple years. I have arranged my photos in Lightroom by the date, which I have found to be very helpful, so I just needed to scroll through 2014 and 2015 to find a pair of photos from the fall season to compare. OH NO !   There were no photos from 2015 at all ! All the photos of the year when I made all my progress were gone !

I searched the new computer memory, the hard drive, and my laptop and couldn’t find any photos from 2015 ! I didn’t know what to do. After about an hour I sent a text to a TPG friend, but he wasn’t available to answer. I marched around the house out-of-my-mind, then returning to the computer to try a new approach. I just about cried, but was too frustrated to take time to tear-up. What was I going to do? What did the guy at the Simply Mac store do when he was copying the 2015 photos from the hard disk? Why didn’t I pay attention to what I had read dozens of times about back ups? Why didn’t I listen to my photo friends? I’ve heard this story before … but I always put the back up off until “tomorrow.” I told myself I deserved this punishment for putting it off … but can’t the photo gods forgive me this time?

Relax Randy, one more approach. How about getting out of Lightroom and search for the photos in the Mac Finder? And I found them. For some reason all the 2015 photos got “lost” in the Lightroom directory and it was pretty simple to get them all back. I have never felt that discouraged, defeated, dejected, depressed … you get the message. But do you ? Are you like the old-Randy? Are you thinking you will get the external hard-drive next week and then back up your photos? Honestly, I have never been that discouraged about photography; I was ready to give-up my drive to improve as an amateur photographer.

I hope that most of you don’t have to worry about back ups because you have already backed up all your photos. But if you haven’t backed up your photos on an external hard drive (or in the cloud?), please take my advice on this one. You don’t want to experience the ordeal I experienced. Go to your local Staples (or wherever you go for electronic), or on-line to Amazon, and get an external hard drive. Then immediately (NOT tomorrow !) back up all your photos.

And just so you can see my improvement, here are the photos I chose to compare the fall of 2014 to the fall of 2015. I think there is improvement. What do you think? And to show how different folks have different opinions of “improvement” and “competence” (see my previous post) … at my presentation not everyone agreed on which of these photos was better, not even the professional photographers.

One is from 2014 and one from 2015.

Which photo is the improved photo?  

Oxbow Bend in the Round

Which photo is the better photograph and why?

Oxbow from 10-2014 (1 of 1)

6 thoughts on “Tragic Loss … Almost

  1. Nancy takeda

    The top one looks like a postcard. The bottom one was warm and friendly and made me smile. The top one was hard and clinical. I wish there was a little grounding in the bottom one. But still like it best!


  2. Tom Lehrer

    I’m just going to comment briefly on this post — all about LR storage. First of all, I would not recommend storing your LR photos on your computer hard drive. I subscribe to the Scott Kelby One service, and his LR tutorials related to catalogs recommend external hard drive storage. That way, you don’t have to gum up your iMac with a lot of photos, and at the relative cost of external hard drives these days encourages you to just have everything on the external. In fact, I have all of my LR photos on an external, then have the external backed up with Carbonite.

    The downside for you is that Carbonite does not work in a friendly fashion with Mac. Therefore, you’ll have to come up with another way to back up your hard drive. From what I understand, there are a number of options with Google and Amazon — also, of course, with an Apple Time Capsule.

    Anyway, I’m glad you recovered your photos. I know the feeling of panic when you think you’ve lost them. Another recommendation that I would make is to read up on catalogs in LR and maybe even take a LR course to fully understand the catalog function, among other things. I have used LR for six years and never really understood the proper cataloging techniques and mechanics until the last couple of years.


  3. Thanks for your comment Tom. I’ve taken a Lightroom class and done some serious exploration of the catalog aspects of LR. I decided to go with my iMac being the main storage site and my external hard drive being the back up. A 3 TB memory on my iMac will be plenty for the next few years. If I were to make any change it would be to have two external hard drives, but I’m going to wait on that for awhile.


  4. Ron Swenson

    We’ve all heard an expression like: “There are only two kinds of people in the world – those that have lost their data and those that will at some point in time”. Experiencing data loss is not preventable – recovering from it, however, is almost always possible.

    I host a neighborhood watch website

    On it I have two pages under the “Articles” tab related to data loss – “PC Data Loss Protection” and “Data Back Up Strategies” which speak directly to these issues. Perhaps you or some of your readers will find them of interest.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s