What a Day with Photo Storage

Well, what a day I had today. My scheduled post on color is colored by my crappy day. I have no insightful things to post today like the previous post, September Garden Color – A Time to Think. So what happened to the planned post? It all started yesterday, out of the blue… oh, and lots of blue in this post. I was blue too.

First off yesterday morning, I noticed my CAD program a bit buggy (seems fitting with all the bugs pictured) and slow. I keep those files on an external hard drive. So I thought, it must be all the photos that I have been taking. Yep, that was the bloody culprit.


I have three internal 1TB hard drives on my Mac Pro and one that is empty has been waiting to install the Windows operating system.

But in the mean time a few months ago, I received a new Dell laptop PC, so that let my Mac, Windows free (thank the heavens, I am not very fond of Windows, but need it on occasion). Office Business is now on that machine so no problemo. The other two drives on the Mac have the operating system on one and the other is for recovery backup.

I kept happily and obliviously loading photos on my Mac Pro never thinking I was nearing the capacity of the 1TB hard drive since all the architectural, processor heavy stuff is kept on external drives. I never valued my photos as much I guess.

Well guess what? I had over 69,000 images at 498 GB stored on the main drive. Yipes, that is a heavy load and it was mirrored on the recovery backup disk in case the first one fails. Can you guess where this story is headed?

The rest of my files, apps and music was almost 400 GB, meaning I am nearing full capacity. I never did that before on any hard drive. I also never spent so much time with my camera either.


Next step is start cleaning out unnecessary images to load the whole photo catalog to the third empty internal drive. I got rid of a few thousand images so far. All is going smoothly as planned, sort of.

I had no interest in storing my entire catalog of photos on remote servers in the cloud. I may rethink this process through Lightroom. But the database system that Lightroom runs locates the catalog on a single computer, or a locally attached external drive.  Lightroom photos are pretty much saved in case of a loss, but there are not more than 500 of them since they are my more premier images. You can see the disproportion here, 69,000 to 500?

I have an external drive having this catalog of 500 for safe measure already. I just never loaded the whole Photo 69,000 catalog images into Lightroom, so that is part of my problem. A change of plans I think is in the workings. It pays to think about storage long before you have so many images. Best to be organized if you value the photos that you take.

The few thousand photos I was deleting slowed down the machine to a crawl because my internal back up disk was trying to keep up with what I was doing. It is NOT supposed to work this way. It is not supposed to slow the process. So more trouble in computerland ahead.

I was screwed… not happy screwed like above and below either.

The backup drive got screwed up big time, and I spent all day dealing with that mess in addition to the mess of the main drive. So color me happy, please. I need a good sign.

The drive literally ambushed me at a time when I did not need the unexpected hassle. It took a whole day to purge and copy photos, so I was not prepared for the other drive to fail. It created a sticky web of a mess.

After four more hours and a lot of maintenance and drive formatting, I am back in business. But I am a bit bushed and not ready to actually organize my photos.

I really hope I did not lose you with all the techy talk, but it may be wise to check your own computer for how much storage your photos are consuming. I never thought it was building up so fast.

I usually dump the bad images but stopped doing that when I viewed a class called, There Are No Bad Originals, Part 1 and Part 2, on Kelby Training. I found out that I had trashed many that would have been recovered beautifully had I put in the time and effort.  So I started saving many more than I did before, which quickly got me into this mess.

Hope you enjoyed my buggy critters to illustrate the buggy mess. Not what I planned for today. But a colorful post none the less.

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About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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34 Responses to What a Day with Photo Storage

  1. I understand your pain. Computers are good, computers are bad. Depends on the day. I’ve always struggled with backups. I am currently sending a backup to Dell’s online backup and of course the local backup on the internal drive. There needs to be a better way I suppose. Great images as always.

    • Usually backup is automatic. That was what really caused the issue. It was trying to backup more GB than I even had on the first drive. No one could figure out why either, so I had to take the chance and wipe the drive clean and let it do a complete backup again. I had fingers crossed the whole time.

  2. Cute bees, loved the comment on them, and I had to laugh, eventhough I am totally feeling your pain! I love my computer but don’t let anything go wrong or its pandemonium here 🙂
    Wonderful photographs Donna!

  3. You know I hate computers, and they are always screwing up as far as I am concerned. I purged hundreds of photos from my files this summer but I too am reaching capacity. And now I can’t get the stupid iPad to accept my WIFI here and it won’t let me read blogs on it.

  4. My husband is a professional computer guy, but I have to remind him to do maintenance and back up our various computer systems.

    I keep all of my photos, archived in files chronologically. The ones that I edit are stored in other files, saved separately so the original images are unchanged. (For that matter, I have all of my negatives filed in sleeves in notebooks from my old film camera days. Does that make me a photo hoarder?)

    • Mine are chronological too in iPhoto. It makes it easy to find what I want. But I have been switching over to Lightroom and they get put into descriptive folders. Like I have one for zoo animals, one for Niagara Falls, etc.

  5. Brian Comeau says:

    Sorry to hear about your dilemma. I know my laptop is filling quickly and I need to fix soon. You may have just inspired me to do it sooner. Hoping tomorrow is a better day for you.

  6. I did enjoy your buggy critters and wonderful photography. Sorry about your computer-makes me want to go clean up my photos….maybe a good winter project.

  7. Andrea says:

    I had the back up on external drive, and glad I had it when my PC crashed. The IT people in the office said my hard drive is not actually bad, i had 1TB memory. It was the physical connection of the hard drive which matters because 1TB is very heavy. So they changed it to lower GB and i had to always put my photos in external drives. It is easier for you because you know how to fix them yourself. I smiled with your post, and I was thinking, if i had those wonderful photos, I will not delete any of them. That last one is an envy!

    • Thanks Andrea. But, it becomes necessary when I keep more than I delete. Digital is far too easy to be less choosy and having the ability to take an image of lesser quality and make it into a good one, well, that only means keeping more. Nothing crashed, it just got sluggish. I knew immediately where the problem was. It was just getting around to doing anything about it. I just did not realize how many GB the photos were actually taking up.

  8. Well, despite your headache of a day, I enjoyed all your buggy shots! Sorting through all my photos on my external drive is on my winter to do list. I hope it goes smoothly. I hate computer issues!

  9. Wow! Amazing photos! I couldn’t read all of the details of your computer problems because it made my stomach churn. I’m going to attend to my computer now.

    • There are large external drives out there Connie for photographers, they are just very safe and very expensive. It is a matter of if photography is part of your work process, like it is yours. Your photos mean more to you than mine do to me. I just have to rethink this and make them more a priority.

  10. Victor Ho says:

    Great photo essay. Memory is pretty inexpensive. Lightroom does a great edit job. I agree that you should have redundant hard drives. I differ in that I externally store all the original files. My 5 star edits in Lightroom go to separate folders and to iPhoto. A separate database is kept to locate files, shoots, locations, people. Like a good index in a book, finding files is not so painful.

    • True, but those big drives for professionals are anything but inexpensive. I always look at them and think how much it may save me in the future. All my external drives (3) are also 1TB. I may consider other options. I too keep the originals separate from the Lightroom versions. I always want to have the original in case it would be purchased. They have their own editing experts.

      Another reason too, is once an edited version is saved, it may not carry the metadata. I use many third party apps and this loses the metadata in the saved version.

  11. I have a MacBook Pro and have obliviously been uploading pics knowing that I must think about back up sometime but you have given me more urgency in doing this…when I was having glitches with the blog we found the widgets causing it all which is why I need a more updated template and a better way to store, upload the pics…computers are only machines my techie friends tell me…but couldn’t there be better machines for those of us who take lots of pics…perhaps a Blogger’s Fling might deal with these issues for bloggers (maybe they already do)…you would be a great speaker at such a workshop. I feel your pain as I have had issues with pics and my blog where I have lost whole posts having to recreate them. I cannot even imagine losing my pics…I hope things start to settle down…fabulous pics Donna…another workshop or series you could present to bloggers in person at a fling.

    • I have a MacBook Pro also in addition to the Mac Pro desktop. I only keep limited photos on that computer even though it has 1TB hard drive and 4GB memory. The desktop has 16GB RAM. The bigger machine is better at processing than the smaller one. I know so many upload images to various online servers for photo storage, I just never really did that much. I quit uploading to Flickr and the other place I have images have very few.

      Thanks for the vote of confidence on the Fling workshop. I probably could do that pretty easily, but there are those there that have been doing photo editing and the like for so long and are the go to ‘experts’. Their information is fine for those not wanting to really get too detailed or too complex. It is pretty basic from what I have read, and that is all most want anyway.

  12. It’s incredible how quickly those drives fill up. I recall my first external was a whopping 10 GB then 120, 400, 1000 and now 2X 3 TB.

    • I can imagine how important information you have would be to keep safe on a computer. My next post is on forgetting memory cards in my camera when at a site, and I said I was glad not to be a scientist where I could be missing photographing something really critical.

  13. TufaGirl says:

    Just went through something similar myself. My computer woke up one day to say it was missing a file aond decided it was not going to start. I knew I could just reload the programs but I had not done a backup since we went out of town in June. Do I have any idea how many photos I had taken since June? No, but our vacation photos were on this silly computer and they must be saved. I took my computer to the geeks and handed them some thumb drives and asked them to do the downloads for me, I could do the rest. Have I learned my lesson and cleaned up my photos or done a back up since? No. But thanks for the reminder. 😀

  14. Donna, bee sex, spider webs, spiders, and lots of caryopteris…great post. Oh, and a good lesson in photo storage snafus…. I need to back up my photos again, haven’t done it for a while. I think I would have been very overwhelmed with 69000 photos to deal with. What to keep, what to purge….oh the decisions. I don’t envy your predicament.

  15. debsgarden says:

    69,0000 photos! I can’t imagine going through so many. I’m on a smaller scale, but I have run into problems before with too many stored photos. It created a real mess, and now I try to regularly delete bad ones, which outnumber the good ones by far. Choosing which to delete is not too hard. If mine looked like the ones you posted today, I would be in trouble!

  16. Les says:

    I came for the pretty pictures, but your text has frightened me. Let me go check my computer.

  17. Alistair says:

    What a buggy screw up Donna. There you go again, thankfully having me check out my system and just to show that I did, I have 69g left of 111g in drive c and in drive D I have a whole 106g of 111g left. Just off to find out how to make drive D accept more of my downloads.

  18. newvoice says:

    My goodness! I better clean my computer too. But the photo show was spectacular. The green bee was for me the most amazing…the spider looks like a black widow.

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