Slump Planning and Other Activities

Winter is always such a poor time to photograph, here in Victoria. It is cold and rainy most of the time (it is the wet season of Victoria).

With such weather “unpredictability”, it is hard to schedule photo sessions outside. If I’m planning nightly shots or sunrise and sunset shots, it needs to be on a day-to-day analysis: if the weather isn’t raining, go and shoot.

I know I have a risky trip in just over one month to the Great Ocean Road to photograph. We might get there and everything is fine and dandy and despite the rain, the scheduled photography hours are ok. Likewise, we may just hit a wall and see if we are photographing in the rain or not (I have a raincoat for my camera).

As a “Winter-safe activity”, I planned to do a Studio Session as part of my goals, and to do it during Winter. This year, photographing in a studio just won’t happen. Similarly, we won’t be able to use the house as a studio either. There goes my “Studio Session” goal for this year. That’s ok.

But I will take the opportunity of the photographic slump of Winter (Spring is just around the corner in September) to start planning my next activities. I can organize the one or two sessions I have in mind for the Human Nature project. I will also look at the next few item in my goals list that I can easily tackle: The Lights of Melbourne. As soon as I hear that there won’t be rain on a Friday or Saturday evening, I will head out to the monuments… I’m thinking of sneaking in The Shrine of Remembrance this year as well.

Photo Backups

One of the things I had started last year and never got round to finishing was backing up my photos. Now, I like to have at least 2 back-up copies other than the “working copy”, i.e. the copy referenced by any of my Lightroom catalogs. I already have a copy in my OneDrive as I have an abundance of space there due to my Office subscription. I also started backing up the data in Blu-ray M Discs (will touch on what they are a little later in the post) and an external hard drive (just for the convenience).

Now, I prefer quality optical backup to magnetic backup. Quality optical media can last a very long time, while magnetic media will deteriorate over time. To have a non-deterioratable magnetic hard drive costs a lot of money and the investment just might not be worth the result.

There is a similar argument to be made by optical media: it deteriorates. HDD’s lifespan is 3-5 years, SSDs last 10 years, while a regular BD-R can store data up to 10 years without degradation. Still doesn’t seem a lot, considering that in 10 years I may still need the backed up photos. My main solution is backing up the photos in a Blu-ray M Disc.

M Discs are archival quality optical media, they are made to have a longevity of 1000 (yes ONE THOUSAND) years. This is obviously a theoretical longevity, as there has not been enough years since the technology came out to fully test its longevity. They are more difficult to find in these times of streaming services and cloud based storage, and more expensive (per GB) than HDDs and obviously regular BD-Rs. I chose Blu-rays because of the storage capacity: 25GB, 50GB and even 100 GB (triple layer BDs), but M Discs are available in CDs and DVDs medias as well. You can buy a spindle of 25 Verbatim (unmarked) M Disc 25GB for under AU$100. That’s $100 for 625 GB, if you are lucky enough to not have to throw out any discs that fail during the burn process. It’s not cheap, but it is the cheapest solution for the reliability of the product provides. For me, it is definitely a price worth paying.

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