The Magic Frame: Back Up, Friends!!



I am putting up the same picture that I put up on Monochrome Madness to illustrate my point. That is, I am going to use this picture to illustrate the point I am going to make.

This picture, in a reduced size, is only available to me on my GMail, and on WordPress.

The tale is one of Human Stupidity. 

I am the culprit.

Mea culpa.

Many years back, I never used to take back ups of my work. One day, when I was living in China, my disk collapsed, and I lost two years of photography.

I lost pictures of Inner Mongolia, Jiu Zhai Gou, an unknown section of the Great Wall, Paris, Zhang Jia Jie, the Hutongs of Beijing and much more.

I gave the disk to labs in Shanghai, BeiJing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bombay and finally, Delhi.

No one could recover the data.

Pictures gone. Forever.

Ever since then, I started to keep back ups of my data, and was reasonably disciplined about backing up my work every week.

Not disciplined enough. I should keep notes of all the folders I work on, and back up those folders. I don’t. This is bad.

Last week, I was formatting some new disks for the Mac, and accidentally, I formatted one of the disks that had all my recent pictures of Central India, the Holi festival, some still life, the streets at night.

Luckily, I had taken a back up, so all the RAW files, and the original files were intact.

However, about 20 days of edits had disappeared.

It’s work that I have to do again, and time is a precious resource.

Lesson 1: Always back up your data

Lesson 2: Always make note of the files you are working on, and back them up every few days, if not every day

Lesson 3: Whenever you return from a shoot, transfer the RAW/Jpegs to the working and back up disk immediately.

Else, like me, you will turn a sheepish, mottled red.



  1. I guess we’ve all done that at some point. I left a inexpensive camera in the back seat of a cab in Israel. Never got it back. All pictures lost.

      1. It wasn’t the loss of the camera that was so bad but the loss of pictures I had taken. I’d hate to lose a tripod.

      1. One day! Actually, I want to explore East Europe and Scandinavia. Maybe, Russia as well…
        Also the Xinjiang province of China and Tibet
        And, trek to Mansarovar

      2. It is still a big, wonderful world out there Rajiv. I hope you take lots of pictures and share with us.

      3. It is indeed.. For now, I am exploring India again..
        I may go back to Benares during the rains

        Then, two road trips – in November and january

  2. One of the downsides of digital, unfortunately. I’ve had a few good pictures corrupted and irretrievable, yet so far I never had any negatives that wouldn’t reprint.

  3. I try to be disciplined about doing weekly backups onto 3 different backup drives. Occasionally I have lost things. Vacation time is the most dangerous for me. I once lost all the images form my sisters wedding because they got messed up while transferring to disk. There are so many way to mess up!

    I recommend Beyond Compare by Scotter this little program makes backups a breeze. You can see in color which is new or updated and it will only backup those files when you tell it to. You get to see exactly what is going on. What backup program do you use?

    1. You should! This time I was lucky. I had to back up the 923 GB that I would have lost had I not taken the back up. In the end, I lost the edits. A pain, but not the end of the world

      1. When things like that happen, I also realize it’s not the end of the world. I do have my full-res jpegs up on my website so I can always download them from there. I would just lose the PSD’s. There are worse things in the world, but I do need to backup!

  4. I feel your pain, Rajiv-san! I also try my best to back-up (on different places) regularly, but it becomes challenging. But as you say, better to be safe than sorry.

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