Andre Cantelmo Photography
In and around my social circles, which include friends as well as family, I am considered the person to bounce the tech questions off of first. Not that I am any kind of wizard mind you, its just that I might have a simple fix, and in the worst case senario I will point them in the right direction. My computer skills began with a machine that by now sits in a electronic muesum somewhere. It was an IBM XT. It had a ten megabite hard drive. You read that right, megabite not gigabite. To put the size of that drive in context, on a regular basis I work with single photos that are hundreds of megabites. In the era when photographs were processed in darkrooms preserving my work was a matter of archival storage. That meant that the prints I made were chemically neutral, mounted on acid free matt board, and I stored them in acid free boxes with tissue separators. Saving a fire or flood, my work was safe. It was readily available also, right where I needed it
I am 100% digital these days. My workflow goes something like this. After a day of shooting the good, bad, and ugly all exsist on my compact flash card in my Nikon. Everything gets downloaded onto my hard drive. I create a folder and name it with a date number. For instance, the first of October 2012 would be 20121001. That in turn is followed by a brief explanation, so the folder name would look like this, "20121001_sunset beach nj". These folders are sorted by Windows 7 in chronological order. I then use software to echo my documents into an external drive, "Archive I". This same software then echos Archive I to another external drive named Archive II. My days shoot now exsist in four locations, my camera, my computer hard drive, archive I and archive II. Only then do I format my camera memory card in the camera. The two Western Digital externals 1TB each are now placed into a fire resistant safe box.
This system works for me because it is simple. I like the redundancy, convenience and access of this system. I would like to say that this system is "fool proof" but that is not the case. The weak link in my system is me. This system only works if I follow the proceedures that I set up in the first place. It's just too easy to forget, or put off a synchronization when I'm busy. Every once in a while fate finds a way to remind me how important it is to be disiplined about my process. I can hear some of you now thinking, "why doesn't he just store his work in the cloud?" That would make life more simple no? Well yes, but I just feel very uneasy about my work out of my control, off my premisis and sitting on some corporations server no matter what their assurances are.
I am very motivated to keep my system working as intended and here's why. Sorting through my e mail one day I see one from FedEx informing me that my package was sent to the wrong address, and "Click here to track progress". In a brief moment of complacency I clicked. That set off a series of events that led me to eventually formating my hard drive and doing a clean factory reset. Everything on my desktop was now gone. I was not in a state of panic because of my external hard drives. I did not loose any web addresses either because I use Mozilla Firefox and I have an add on called XMarks. I am very impressed with how fast and clean Windows 7 was installed and up and running. After a reinstall of Norton 360 I was back online in less than an hour. A few clicks to log into XMarks and all my web addresses were back. Plug in one of my external hard drives, and there are my photographs. It costs a little time, but I sync'd my Archive I to my computer hard drive. All was well. Except I lost three photos because I put off a backup a bit to long. (remember the weak link yours truly?). There was one glich that I did not forsee. For some reason that I do not understand, (maybe the virus did it) all the data on my external hard drives was hidden. After a nervous episode a few phone calls and the help of two friends I was helped to un-hide my data. All was well, breath deeply Andre.