Friday, July 25, 2008

One Bad Apple

I purchased my first laptop back in 2003. I was just beginning the transition from film to digital and needed a companion for my Canon D30 while on location. I ordered a 12in G4 iBook from MacMall. It was a little anemic, with a 733 processor, 386mb ram, and a 20 gig hard drive but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money because I wasn’t sure digital photography was going to take off!

Back then, when on assignment, I shot mostly 2 1/4 transparency film and shot Polaroids to test lighting. After I felt I had what I needed on film I’d switch to the D30 and shoot a few frames. Not only would I have something to look at immediately but I would also have backup should something go wrong at the photo lab. And things went wrong more often than I care to remember.

After a mysterious shortage of Polaroid film at the local photo stores, I appreciated digital even more. The D30 could tether to the iBook and I could view an instant digiroid!

I began to shoot more digital and less film. Things were fine until I bought two Canon 20D’s, started shooting in RAW and processing the files in Photoshop CS. The little iBook choked. I replaced it with a G4 Powerbook with a faster processor more memory a bigger hard drive.

The iBook was re-assigned to the kitchen countertop. It was perfectly suited for light duty and it took up so little space. We’d check the weather, movie listings and show times and listened to music thru Harmon Kardon, Sound Sticks. Our son used it to do research for his homework assignments or to play games as we prepared breakfast or dinner.

A few days ago, the iBook refused to power up. I called my tech guy Robert, ( everyone should have a Robert) for an over the phone diagnostic. We tried several procedures to no avail and the iBook was pronounced dead. No great loss, I thought. It had served us well. Then, I remembered, both my wife’s and my son’s photos where on that computer! Despite the fact that I had lectured them about the importance of backing stuff up and had bought them a little external drive, they hadn’t backed anything up since our vacation last summer!

Robert said he’d be willing to take the hard drive out, which with this machine, is no easy task. Hopefully we will be able to retrieve it’s contents, most importantly, the photos.

Moral of the story: BACK UP YOUR FILES !

As a professional photographer, the long term survival of my digital images is a major concern. In another post I’ll go into detail as to how I go about making sure I have images when I get home after a shoot and well into the future.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Part ll

As usual, I woke up early the next morning. I assumed, no one had pressed the red button, or if they had, Nova Scotia had been spared. I got dressed and grabbed my camera to go out and do some shooting. I knew I’d have a few hours before Lori and Chris were up and ready to go out for breakfast.

Despite gray skies and heavy fog, I set off on my bicycle back toward town. On the way to the motel, the night before, I had noticed a side road that looked liked it would lead to the coast where I would surely find some photographic fodder. I was not disappointed. The road led to a harbor of weather beaten buildings and derelict boats. For these subjects, the less than ideal weather, worked in my favor, adding a sense of foreboding and mystery.

As the sun rose in the sky, the fog began to lift. Satisfied with the images I had made, I was ready to head back to the motel. The great thing about touring on a bicycle is that you can stop the moment something catches your eye, like orange fisherman’s gloves hanging from a clothes line. As I was taking the shot from the side of the road, a woman appeared at the screen door, looking a little puzzled. I lowered my camera and pointed to the gloves. She stuck her head out the door, looked at the clothesline, nodded in acknowledgment and went back inside.

I stopped once more to photograph two men laying fish out to dry and two other men talking next to a forklift. While the people I meet were gracious they all seemed a bit melancholy.

Later, while having breakfast at a restaurant we learned that four teenagers, two boys and two girls, had been swept out to sea the night before. The couples had climbed out onto the rocks at Forchu lighthouse to watch the waves during the height of the storm. All four were from Yarmouth and had just graduated from high school.

Being a small town, the tragedy struck Yarmouth hard. Much of the population was related in some way to one of victims or had known at least one of them. Suddenly, we felt out of place, vacationing in a town in mourning. We decided to return to Bar Harbor on the next ferry. From there we would head North to Acadia National Park.