Why I Backup When I Travel or Shoot on Location: Murphy's Law

October 09, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Why I Backup When I Travel or Shoot on Location: Murphy's Law

 
I'm not one who is given to bouts of paranoia. But I do believe there's some merit to Murphy's Law. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Whenever I am shooting untethered, I save each raw file to both cards in the camera. I figure the likelihood of both failing simultaneously is really infinitesimal. And when I am shooting tethered - since the files are typically saved directly to my internal hard drive - I immediately make a backup copy to a portable drive. Now when I travel, particularly overseas, I keep at least two external Thunderbolt drives, each carrying all the images I capture while traveling. And they are never in the same bag. Ok, so maybe that sounds just a tad bit like paranoia. 
 
Lacie Thunderbolt DriveCourtesy of www.gearnuts.com
 
Understand that I have had at least one validated experience with Murphy's Law. I've always trusted Toshiba's Thunderbolt drives. I keep several 2-terabyte ones for travel and on-location backups. Upon completing a shoot in the studio a few months ago, I made a backup to one Toshiba drive. Notwithstanding my cautious handling, I watched as the drive slipped out of my hand and crashed to the faux hardwood floor. It died. Images were gone. Just a few weeks ago, I exited the car and something similar happened. Like Pele, the masterful Brazilian soccer player perhaps better known to the previous generation, my right leg did an amazing block, and the drive was saved from what was destined to be a collision with the concrete driveway. It landed on the lawn. But when I picked it up and took it inside, as it powered up, I could hear the grinding. These are not SSDs after all. They are still old fashioned spindle drives in a plastic case. 
 
As I shared my woes with my IT guy, he said, "You need one of the rugged versions." They're bulkier because they have a protective sleeve around them, and they can practically bounce when they fall. So, I am trying out the Lacie rugged Thunderbolt portable. 
 
Lacie is a good company. I have desktop drives they have produced. Will this ease my paranoia - err, I mean sense of cautiousness about backup up? Probably not. But if the claims are true, at least I can believe that if or rather when I drop one of my portable backups, it may just survive. 
 
So what's the lesson in all of this? I'm not sure there is one beyond Thursday evening bantering of a data backup conscious photographer. But on a serious note, get into the habit of backing up your images regularly. I keep three copies of each in the home studio, and at least one copy offsite. 
 
Happy Thursday!

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