“Dans le meilleur des mondes possibles…”


Yeah, so…this post is long overdue.  I’ve been up to my elbows in work the last couple of weeks. Both at work and at home. I’ve been increasingly disappointed in my Lightroom catalogue, so I’ve actually chosen to redo the whole thing. Restore all backups, new catalogue, import, convert, label and sort. The whole shebang.

Needless to say, that’s extremely time consuming, seeing as I’ve got about a terabyte of photos from 2005 and forward. Almost every photo is stored as a digital negative.

Just to explain, when you take a photo, the camera’s sensor has got many sensors per pixel of image data. These sensors register the red, blue and green channels of your image independently. When your camera puts this information together, it discards of the registered data and only saves an average colour per pixel. That means smaller file sizes, but if you try to alter the colour tone of an image that has undergone this conversion, you get pretty bad results. A digital negative stores all available data in a large file. Each camera supplier has its own proprietary file format for negatives. This makes unifying a large collection of raw (digital negatives are called that, raw files!) images a hassle! Adobe, which of whom I use all photo related programs, has created an open standard file type called DNG, or Digital NeGative. It’s very handy to work with, but the conversion takes some time.

Here’s how I redid my catalogue: I bought an external RAID (redundant array of inexpensive discs) storage box, a couple of large spinning disc hard drives (not SSD’s they’re too expensive for the large storage I needed). With this thing plugged into a spare computer, I started downloading my entire backup from a cloud service I use for long time storage. When the download was completed, I copied the files to a NAS (Network Attached Storage), separate from my new RAID-drives. When this new and shiny backup was complete, I started the import of photos to my new Catalogue. 50 000 images were imported and converted to DNG from Canons CR2. During the conversion, smart previews (basically JPG’s for on-the-go editing, without being docked to my RAID) were created. After that, I started discarding doubles, series of almost identical shots, and blurry and otherwise crappy photos.

I’m still not done. After the discarding of the unwanted images, I’ll tag every person I know the name of in them, and write the metadata to the files. This is sooo much easier with Lightroom’s face detecting function. When this step is completed, I’ll discard of my old backups and store the new catalogue as my primary backup. Scary, but in the end worth it.

The quote of this blogpost is from Voltaire’s “Candide, ou l’Optimisme”, a brilliant book that changed my whole view of life when I first read it.

Today’s Photo: a tulip from the botanical gardens of Malmö.