Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ten Biggest Safari Mistakes and Lessons...Number Seven

Back Up! Back Up! Back Up!
I can honestly say that I haven't learned this lesson the hard way, but I have seen it happen to others. In 1998, we went to South Africa and Gaye had all of her pictures on SD cards. The cards are small and difficult to keep track of. When we got home, she discovered that she was missing three of these cards. Those cards represented at least two days of her safari that were completely wiped out. Never mind losing the cards, they can become damaged and sometimes for no apparent reason, the information on these cards can become damaged as well. You may think that this only happens to amateur photographers, well it doesn't. When I was in Northern Manitoba photographing polar bears, one of the professional photographers was doing the same thing. I know it is extra work and after the safari, people are back at the lodge socializing and enjoying a snack before dinner and talking about the events of the day. Yes, who wants to miss out on fun. I don't either, but did you travel around the world for the snacks and some socializing that you can do later or for the photography? Some people leave pictures on their cards from the previous day and buy extra cards. Their card fills up more quickly in the field and inevitably you end up missing some great photo opportunities as you search for the next card instead of backing up your pictures at the end of the day, then deleting the pictures on the card, so you have a fresh start each day with empty cards. Some people are scared to erase their cards. If this is you, don't fret. I am always paranoid about it too. That is why I down load to two different locations, then I double check that all of the pictures backed up properly by noting the picture count on each hard drive. Once I am positive that my work has been backed up twice, then I erase my cards.

A Taste of Daisies. Minnesota, 2009
My advice is to back up all of your pictures after each photo shoot. Go to your room, turn on your computer and back up your pictures on a portable hard drive and then back those pictures again on a second portable hard drive. Remember that hard drives have moving parts. Anything with moving parts can become defective for one reason or another. I label the hard drives, then store them in separate places. When I get home, one hard drive goes in the safe and a second hard drive goes in the safety deposit box. I also have unlimited storage in cyberspace, so I intend on uploading the pictures in cyberspace one day, but unfortunately at this point, they take forever and a day to upload each one, so until I can figure out how to upload them quickly to cyberspace, I will continue doing what I am doing until I figure out how to more efficiently upload to cyberspace...I think I will  learn that trick and save it for another blog.

You travel around the world and work hard for your pictures. The picture of the bear smelling the daisies is a one in a million for me. What are the odds that I am going to get a picture quite as unique as that one again? That being the case, why would I risk losing it? I wouldn't. And truth be known, he wasn't smelling the daisies. He was trying to eat them. I have a couple more shots from that day here.

Another trick is to buy a picture viewer for the field. I use an epson 7000 picture viewer. Between shoots, if you would like to quickly see a larger version of your pictures without firing up your laptop, this little device is a great option for you. You can also download your pictures on to the viewer in case you are getting low on card space. I personally don't use the device for storage very often unless it is a third option for saving. Like I said before, for me, I am not comfortable until my pictures are backed up in a minimum of two separate locations.

So to recap; lets see, this one is complicated... BACK UP! BACK UP! BACK UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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