May 072011

I finally got around to writing the last page in a series of topics related to how I handle pictures, from shooting through Backups and Sharing. Intended as always for the non-photographer like me! The short summary of the page is: SmugMug is great, go get an account!

No matter what you use, you really do need to back things up, though. Disks fail, it’s only a question of time. In an earlier post on Storage that I wrote when finishing the page on how I manage storage within my home, I made fun of Intel for pushing solid-state disks (SSDs) as a more reliable way of storing important data than standard magnetic disks. So it was interesting to see this blog post from Coding Horror describing the failure rate of SSDs:

Portman Wills, friend of the company and generally awesome guy, has a far scarier tale to tell. He got infected with the SSD religion based on my original 2009 blog post, and he went all in. He purchased eight SSDs over the last two years … and all of them failed. The tale of the tape is frankly a little terrifying:

Jeff goes on to conclude that he’ll buy SSDs anyways because they’re so darned fast – and I completely agree with this. If you plan for disk failure, it’s really not a big deal when it actually happens. My thoughts on how to do this are in the article linked in the first line, but however you do it, make sure you back up!

What does this have to do with backpacks? Absolutely nothing, except that they both begin with “back”, and I’d been meaning to write about an interesting experience from last Saturday that resulted in having six more backpacks by the end of the day than the start of the day. Though I have more photo equipment than I need (and what I really need is to learn to use it better), there’s always a few more things that it would be “nice” to have (like that macro lens), so I tend to check Craigslist once in a while to see if something pops up at a good price.

I noticed a posting of a big lot of items; they were offered individually but with an invitation to take the whole lot. I had expressed interest in one flash and one umbrella (for lighting), and forwarded it to my friend Herman who was also looking for a couple of items on the list. After making the initial offer on a small subset of the items, I started to strongly suspect the only way to get any of the items was to make an offer for all of them – and indeed this turned out to be exactly what the seller was looking for. Saturday turned into a crazy day of going to a wedding ceremony, closing a deal on the whole lot of items via E-mail in the midsts of that, rushing to bank as soon as things were over to start getting the cash, heading to badminton in a suit to get the courts & nets set up, rushing to more bank branches (due to withdrawal limits at a single branch), going back to organize the badminton club, heading from there to the wedding reception in the evening, and then finally – by 11pm – heading to inspect and pick up the equipment.

I should have taken a photo of the entire lot, but it included a D3, 14-24, 24-70, 70-200, 3 SB-800s and an SB-900, a macro flash kit, two umbrellas, and a host of other items. As advertised, it included 3 camera bags; the seller was generous and decided to just part with all the camera bags he had. And he had 7 of them, 6 of which were backpacks. It was a really good deal for the entire lot of equipment – but the total amount of stuff was insane, especially since I just wanted one flash and one umbrella. Equipment can’t make you a pro, but I doubt anyone would believe the non-photographer story were I to walk around with this:

That’s the Nikon D3, with the 24-70/2.8 lens, and the macro flash kit. My wife Valerie said she would not be willing to walk with me in public if I was carrying that thing. Sadly, I only set it up for fun, as I didn’t have any of the specialized batteries needed to power the flashes – and later in the day, the whole macro flash kit was on its way to Asia with my departing mom, for use by my professional step-father. At least it’s in much better hands than mine!

And if you need a photo backpack, let me know.

 Posted by at 8:39 am

  One Response to “Backups and Backpacks”

  1. […] course, all that was before buying that big batch of equipment, which temporarily put a full-frame D3 in my possession – which I’m still using for the […]

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