Making Copies

Photograph of a bull elk
Bull Elk in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado

The computer work continues. Chapter 3 has ended. I’ve finished the hardware upgrades early this week and immediately began working on reorganizing the photo catalogs and backups shortly afterwards.

One thing I’ve come to realize about using Adobe Lightroom’s built in backup function is that it’s not an optimal way for backing up photographic catalogs. One thing, it doesn’t actually back up the photos, but I’ve always known that. It backs up the catalog structure and settings, writing the backup to a directory with a date and time. After doing a number of backups, it’s difficult to tell which directory is which catalog without going through each of them one at a time. My old backups were organized as a massive list of dates. The most recent Lightroom software update also required that all my catalogs run through a conversion process to a new format the first time I opened a catalog after an update. What that does is make all my backups obsolete, as they were all created with the old catalog format. It’s actually much simpler to just copy the entire catalog to a backup drive using Windows explorer. That way, I can simply look at the backup directory and automatically know what each catalog is. This method takes up a little more hard drive space, but that’s the price one pays for having a lot of stuff on one’s computer. I have hard drive space.

So, I went through all of my catalogs, converted them to the new format, synchronized all the images and started copying them to an external hard drive. If a catalog corrupts on the computer, and that does happen from time to time, all I need to do is just copy the backup catalog to the internal drive and I’m ready to go, minus any changes to the catalog since my last backup. I also cleaned out all the old catalogs from the conversion process, which saved me a little hard drive space.

I have a backup program that I’ll load which I can configure to simply backup my catalogs to the external drive on a weekly basis without intervention. I’ll just have to leave the computer on the night those backups run.

This cleanup process also gave me the opportunity to examine the state of the actual catalogs and I found quite a few things that I needed to change in order to maintain consistency from catalog to catalog. Catalogs that I hadn’t worked in for some time were using the “old way” of organizing and everything is now set up using my current and best method to date, same-same from one catalog to another.

So now, I’m back to mining stock photos from those reorganized catalogs and I’ve learned quite a bit about the possible pit-falls of using Lightroom. I see a future article on using Lightroom’s catalogs in the offing. Little tiny thoughts are forming in my brain cells at a rapid pace.

The computer hardware upgrades and file reorganizations have really convinced me that I don’t need a new computer. I just need to stay on top of things. The computer is running better than it has in a couple of years and all this down time hanging out at home while the wife recovers from surgery has been productive.

One of these days I’m going to have to get out and start taking photos again. It’ll happen soon enough.