Thursday, November 27, 2014

This is why I hoard.

The other day, my computer informed me that the hard drive was at 90% capacity. It cautioned that its performance would begin to slow down.

Boy, it was not lying. That thing ground to a halt faster than filibuster in the senate.

So I accepted the unavoidable reality that I had to clean up some files. In my case, that means photos. I take a LOT of pictures, and most of them are in high-res JPG plus a RAW file (.NEF for Nikon), then a Photoshop file, and an output JPG (also in high-res) and a smaller version suitable for sharing on the web. All of that adds up to about 65-80 MB per image.

Note: all of these pictures are backed up onto an external drive and (mostly) SD cards, DVDs, or DropBox. DropBox is a problem because, even though they are willing to sell me a vast amount of data storage, it all replicates to my hard drive, which doesn't really help me with my current problem.

And I've been hoarding. Photos like this were still on my hard drive:

There was a reason I took that picture (it's a long story), but it has long since served its purpose, yet was still squatting on 16 MB of my hard disk. And there were hundreds, nay thousands, more.

Like many hoarders, however, I dreaded letting anything go. What if the masterpiece of a lifetime was waiting there to be discovered? What if I needed to go back to the original and make subtle but important edits?

To reassure myself, I'm going through every single folder. I should have done this long ago.

For the most part, I was saving multiple, almost-identical exposures of the same subject. (I shoot in bursts because I tend to jiggle when I press the shutter release.) I had already gone through and selected the best pictures to edit and share. So all that was left was a whole lot of slough.

But not always. Do you remember the photography course I took last spring with my friend Aliza? I had so many great pictures from that half-day shoot that I had only edited about half of them. As I went through to delete the ones I didn't like, I discovered several that I had somehow skipped over.

And then I found an entire folder (or two!) that I had never reviewed. A couple of the folders were full of blah pictures. I deleted them. But there were others that had some promising pictures.

Stephen took this picture of me with Kane.
Bridges, paths, gates . . . I love them all.

From our backyard. The first decent picture I've taken of this stag.
I still have many folders to go through -- and that's just for this year! But this rather painful exercise has taught me to do my clean-up as I go, just as I usually do with baking. There are few things worse than coming back to a mess when you think all the hard work is already done.

Do you have file-management or disk-space issues? How do you cope with them?


  1. I've become brutal with regards to my criteria for keeping a photo. Because mine is the same: a RAW image from my Canon (cr2), a smaller JPG, and the one with a watermark. And often, particular shot I love with have several edited versions too. So I have started to weed out the bad too. And even some of the very good -- because honestly, I can take pictures of my flowers again next summer.
    Also, flash drives are my friends.

    1. Yes to all. I now ask myself: would I print this one? If the answer is no, then I only save it in small format, if at all.


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