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on Jun 23, 2009 in Uncategorized

Field To Network

It’s a common question these days no matter where I go, “How do you deal with your images?” My answer is pretty simple which in itself normally bugs folks. Many seem to be looking for complication, I’m not. My “workflow” of getting the images I take back to the office safe and sound is as simple as I can make it. This is how it goes.

Currently, I’m shooting the Nikon D3x and D3 each with Lexar 16GB 300x cards. At the end of each day, I upload all cards. Since the vast majority of the time I’m in the “field” and not the office, this means the notebook is the main tool for dealing with the images. I’m running the same Dell M65 fitted with dual core, 4GB Ram with a 160MB hard drive. With DigitalPro launched, I insert the CF card into a stack of Lexar USB Card Readers and let DigitalPro move the images off the card onto the hard drive using DigitalPro’s unique upload for multiple readers. (see Note below for exception).

Once the images are all moved over to the hard drive of the notebook, I use the Slideshow feature of DigitalPro to edit my images, deleting the unwanted files. DigitalPro was the first program to group the Raw + Jpeg files together, nesting the Raw behind the Jpeg. This greatly improves editing speed since you’re only dealing with the Jpeg when viewing but deleting or moving both files when doing those operations. So as fast as I can click, I wiz through the images until they are all edited. I then file the images into their appropriate folders by simply selecting, dragging and dropping. DigitalPro is what makes this whole process fun and fast!

The last thing I do at night when I’m I the field working is to backup all my images. I carry a 500GB Buffalo drive. The Buffalo, which is carried in my MP-1 or MP-3, is carried separately from my notebook so if my notebook should take a dump or were to be stolen, I’d still have my images. I have a custom script written (thanks Rog!) so once I attach the Fortress, I simply hit <Enter> and all the images in my Photographs Folder (which has subfolders where all the images are filed) are backed up to the Fortress. (This includes any images I might have worked in the digital darkroom and changed in the last day) Sweet!

Once I’m back to the office, the images on the Fortress are moved to the network drives. We have 10 Buffalo 4TB NAS — two are the primary drives and two are backups. Using DigitalPro again, I move the image files from the Fortress to the appropriate Buffalo NAS (through a 1GB pipeline). During this moving process, DigitalPro numbers all my files (I forgot to mention that when I’m doing the original move from CF card to notebook, DigitalPro is filling in some of the IPTC fields for me as well).

Approximately once a week, at the very least once a month, I backup my primary Buffalos to the backup Buffalos. The software I use to backup and verify (an archival verification) is one that I am helping to develop and hope to have available to folks in the near future. It gives me a real piece of mind that all my files, from the very first to the very last are still in tack and that my good backup files are not being overwritten by bad files on the primary (I have had over a dozen Jpeg images become corrupt, it does happen!)

Once the backup is completed, the backup Buffalos are turned off and I simply work on getting the images out to clients. It’s that simple and fast for us with the system we developed over the last year. We didn’t come to this system easily and want to make sure we give credit where credit is due. Our dear ole friend and computer genius Roger is who made this all work so seamlessly for us. Thanks Rog!

Note: In less then ideal traveling conditions, I make use of the Epson P7000. I use it as a “third” backup to my system. I use the P2000 first, COPYING the images from the CF card to the P2000 before I then MOVE the images off the card onto the notebook. The P2000 has a complete, unedited copy of everything from the trip. This provides tremendous security for my images in case anything happens to my notebook or Fortress. I do this when I’m working out of a helicopter, bush plane, raft or the like where the notebook isn’t receiving the normal TLC a notebook should receive.