Patricia Ware | Keeping the Keepers

Keeping the Keepers

November 16, 2016  •  1 Comment

Good photographs, that’s what it’s all about.  Once I take them, I want to keep only the best and get rid of the rest.  So I need to judge:  Is the subject too small in the frame? Is it out of focus?  Are the whites blown out and is there enough detail in the shadows?  These are a few of  the things that I evaluate. 

However, even if a shot is technically flawless, I may not choose to keep it if it doesn't speak to me.  It needs to say, "This is a perfect moment in time." Like when the Tern emerges from the water with two fish in its beak.

Elegant TernElegant Tern with Two FishElegant Tern comes out of the water with two fish at Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve in Huntington Beach, California.

Or my photo needs to tell me a story.  This one shows how one Snowy Egret aggressively chases off another from its territory. 

Snowy Egret AggressionSnowy Egret AggressionA Snowy Egret chases another Snowy Egret on the beach in Playa del Rey, California

Or the photo needs to evoke a feeling or an emotion.  This shot elicited confidence showing a Black-necked Stilt holding her head high while taking a big stride.

A Confident StrideA Confident StrideA Black-necked Stilt walks confidently in Ballona Wetlands, Playa del Rey, California.


Whatever the criteria I use to make these judgments, I need to be able to preview the image at 100%.  And I need to do this quickly with little wait time so I can move on to the next shot. Even though I can preview my images in Lightroom, it’s WAY too slow.  I need something much faster, and Photo Mechanic from Camera Bits meets that need.  Photo Mechanic is a super-fast image browser that speeds up my workflow.  This software saves me serious time in my first-pass review to cull for rejected photos.  It loads quickly so I can immediately see the photo in high resolution.  I can check whether the eye is in perfect focus or use any other criterion to decide if the shot is worth keeping.   

Not only must I decide which photos to keep, but I also need to decide where to store my photos.  When I started out taking photos, I would store them on external hard drives.  This was an easy solution that worked quite well until one day one when one of my hard drives failed.  I had a sickening realization that I had messed up.  I tried everything to get it back.  I even took it to a person specializing in hard drive recovery and he was unsuccessful.  Fortunately, I was able to recover my photos by attaching the hard drive to a different computer, but I learned my lesson.  I now store my photos in multiple places.  

I first copy my camera memory card a 2 TB portable external hard drive.  I do my first culling and then make a second copy of the keepers to a 16 TB RAID external hard drive.  Once the smaller hard drive is full, I move it into a file cabinet in our detached garage and replace it with a new hard drive.

Additionally, I pay $50 yearly for online backup using Backblaze which automatically backups all my files on one computer as well as my portable and my RAID external hard drives.  Presently, I have over 8 terabytes in their cloud.  

Some people are turned off by the initial predicted upload time by Backblaze.  However, it took me much less time.  Of course, I have everything set for speed: I leave my computer on day and night, I have FiOS, which has blazing fast upload speeds, and in the Backblaze settings, I turn off automatic throttle and manually set it to use the most Internet bandwidth available.  Backblaze is simple to use and it keeps my folder structure the same as it is on my computer.  In fact, I’ve used it for several years now and during this time, my computer crashed.  I easily restored my files on my new computer.  

Along with Backblaze, I upload my photos to the Amazon Cloud, whose price is included with my prime membership. This gives me added security, but for me, it's not as easy to retrieve photos as Backblaze.  I also store and organize my high-resolution jpegs on Flickr.  However, I primarily use Flickr for its social network.   On Flickr I can view, interact, and learn in a huge community of professional and amateur photographers.   And my last storage site is right here on Zenfolio, which also is my personal website to showcase my photos.  To some, these multiple places to store my photos may seem like over kill, but I certainly have peace of mind.  

To recap here's how I keep the keepers:

  1. After a shoot, I cull my photos using Photo Mechanic deleting those that do not meet my standards  and storing the keepers on a small portable hard drive.
  2. I make a second copy of the keepers on a Desktop RAID External hard drive.
  3. Once the small portable hard drive is full, I move it out of the house.
  4. I use Backblaze to backup my computer and external hard drives to the cloud.
  5. I also backup my photos to the Amazon Cloud. Flickr, and Zenfolio.


Helen Jones(non-registered)
This is great information -thanks.
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