If you store your old photos on CD's get them off of those old things and get them backed up some other way. Not only are CD's going the way of the floppy disk, but they're also prone to corruption and data loss. I just learned this the hard way. I thought I was doing well. I knew to get them off the computer hard drive because we all know hard drives fail. But I didn't know that CD's could too.
My weekend project was to go through all my old personal photos and get them into iPhoto and sort them by year and get them backed up to my external drive (which is then backed up to the cloud via Crash Plan). My professional photos are on CD, on an external, and on crashplan already, but I'd been lazy about my personal ones. As I started going through them.. I started getting errors. One, then two, then 153.. then more.
Then one CD wouldn't read at all. Then another. I finally collected them all in one place and pulled into iPhoto, but then more and more started popping up with problems.
The one above of me is my most heartbreaking loss. My favorite photo of myself from the trip that my then boyfriend (and now husband) John and I took to Disney World in 2003. It was hot, we were waiting for the buses, and I was getting my hair off the back of my neck with my sunhat in my teeth. John never takes pictures of me, so the rare times that he does are special to me. This one's not a total loss now because I can still see most of it, but it'll look like this from now on. I sure hope I have this printed somewhere and I can scan it.
Another loss from that same Disney trip... but then things started getting REALLY strange. Below are several from a hummingbird festival that we went to in 2005. It was really amazing with a demonstration of banding and releasing the hummingbirds so they could be studied. Thanks to banders like this, we now know how long hummingbirds live, where they migrate, how they guard territories, and that they come back to the same locations every year! Anyway, so some of these files are clearly total losses. A few just have weird bands of color, but a few are technicolor rainbows while others are just pixelated messes.
Fireworks got hit bad too.
And then I got to the kittens. We gathered these kittens up from around the neighborhood one year, someone had clearly just dumped them at about 4 weeks old. We raised them and got them to an adoption place. Each one of this set was a hot mess, all of them pixelated and nearly unreadable.
The other files were fine until about halfway through and then it's like all the rest of the code just vanished. My sister, John and I, My grandparents, and my mother and sister and I when I was little.. all gone. Luckily, I had all four of these saved on a website before they went bad.
Below are more examples, from when I was teaching preschool and then from a big ice storm we had here.
All total, I had 1473 corrupted files out of about 16000. Two full CD's didn't ever read enough for me me to get anything off of them, and all of 2008 and 2007 have somehow been resized to 300px on the long side, so they're only good for printing wallets now, if that.
As I type this, the files I have left are now sorted and backing up to Crash Plan. Make it a weekend project, every day you leave those photos on those old CD's the more of them you lose!
Here at Fairyography, I do provide my clients with digital images if they chose, but I ALWAYS stress that you should also leave with art to enjoy on your walls, not in a desk drawer. Now I'll also be adding that an album and a canvas will last a whole lot longer than those digital images as well! See what I do here and on my Facebook page!
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