During the years when I was shooting large amounts of digital photographs, I decided to get in the practice of culling out the many photographs that were duplicate frames or crap. After uploading the contents of a memory card to a directory on the computer’s hard drive, I’d sort through the photographs and discard the unnecessary and bad photos. I was disciplined and did that every time. For a few months. Unfortunately, the habit didn’t stick.
I didn’t realize the extent of the directory bloat problem I had until a few days ago when I wanted to yet again “mirror” the contents of my two 1 Terrabyte external drives. The two drives are kept in separate locations; one at home and the other at my son’s house. We keep the master files of my digital photographs and film scans, copies of the contents of this blog, and my son and grandson’s photos and videos on the two drives and periodically update them to make sure that both drives have the same information on them. My photographs take up the overwhelming majority of the space on the drives.
When I looked at the properties of the drive that I keep at home, it only had 27 GB of space left. I had a few moments of panic about the pending full drive, then spent a large number of hours going through all of the digital directories and gained a large section of the hard drive back. I had over 800 GB of digital photographs when I started the culling process. They now take up only 504 GB.
That’ll hold me for a few more months, particularly since I’m not shooting much digital and the scans of the film negatives don’t take up as much space. With the cameras that have that capability, I always shoot both .jpeg and RAW files so digital tends to crowd the storage space of the hard drive quicker than film scans. That being said, it is easy to see that I’ll be out shopping for more external drives next Winter. I can avoid shopping for that long because I’m now shooting so much film.
During the culling, I had the following thoughts (though those were not the only ones…).
1. When sorting through the photos from earlier years, I discarded considerably more files. That is encouraging. It seems to indicate movement in the right direction.
2. I discarded very few scans from film (those few discards were duplicate scans made after removing dust from the negatives, etc.). That may be because I try to avoid wasting film and take more care when shooting than when I have a digital camera in my hands.
3. If I had continued to shoot all digital, I’d be looking for more drives now, whether I culled the archives or not.
4. I use some of the film scans on the blog, but they have also replaced analog proof sheets. It is sometimes helpful to locate a frame by viewing the directories of scans before sorting through 3-ring binders for a particular negative.