Friday, September 14, 2012

Backing Up Photos On The Road

First day back from 12 days in Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta.  I am in the process of moving all my Glacier NP photos from the laptop that I took with me to the desktop where I do all my editing and keep all my master files.   Lightroom provides a pretty good Export/Import tool for moving images from one PC to another and that's what I was doing this morning.

I exported all 2,383 images from the laptop Lightroom catalog to my portable pocket drive and when I plugged the pocket drive in the desktop computer I got the dreaded "click - click - click" sound from the pocket drive.   After 15 minutes the system gave up on that drive.  Good thing I wasn't depending on that copy.

Keeping multiple copies of images while traveling is always a good idea.  Here's my process:
Fuchsia Fireweed and Bee

  1. I never delete images from a memory card until I am sure they are safe on the desktop PC and have at least one good nightly backup.   I have enough cards to cover a two week trip.
  2. I don't have any cards bigger than 16 GB and most are 8 GB.   If a card gets corrupted then I don't lose too many images.
  3. I have a copy of  Image Rescue 4 that came free with my Lexar cards.   I've had to use it more than once to read files off a corrupted memory card.
  4. I download new images from the cards to the laptop at the end of each day. That gives me two copies.
  5. I copy the RAW image files from the laptop to the external pocket drive (yep - same one that just died).  I don't do this every night but probably should.   This gives me three copies.
  6. The external pocket drive goes in a separate bag from the computer and cameras.
  7. When I get home I export all the images from Lightroom on the laptop and then import them into Lightroom on the desktop PC.   
  8. I don't ease a memory card until I put it in the camera to reuse it.

No process is fool-proof but having some process that gives you multiple copies is critical.   I would hate to get back from a big vacation anticipating going through images from that great trip and find that I don't have them.

I hope you enjoy the Fuchsia Fireweed and Bee image.  It was the end of the season for Fireweed in Glacier but there were still a few blooms on the top of these tall plants. These were growing where the 2003 Roberts fire burned over 57,000 acres of the park.

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