Photo Avalanches and Hocus Pocus

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Digital life brings file management hell! It is SO necessary. I find the longer you have been in this the more you have to change…..those just starting are able to leap ahead from our lessons learned. Clean up is tedious – but necessary. In some ways it is like our new home – we have lots of things that are important to us or have history and still in great condition -but it would be so much easier to start from scratch than try and work with what we have.

But you can’t escape – so it is figuring out how to make what you have work and improve on it. Much like collaboration on creative pieces – building and tweaking on what is already there…..hmmnnn – another DS106 thread of life.

I embarked on the DS106 path in January of 2015- 6 months after retirement. My goal was to organize myself and learn in order to document family. As I have gone thru iterations, I have found wealth. As I approach my 3 year mark, it is time to reflect.

I have improved my skills and learned new things. I have met new people. I have expanded my global view.

While DS106 is many things- it has made me think about learning and teaching.

I have always been one to think learning is personalized. You get out what you put in. I never quite figure out how others do it differently. How can you not want to put things in order and figure out how they work?

Part of my personal journey is to keep family first. Figuring out how to make sure my kids and their kids know who we are, where we came from, and how great they are in carrying us into the future.

I have inherited the family photo albums. We have 30K in digital pics! We have our first grandchild who prompts us to create even more to document!

After 2+ years of trying to figure out Lightroom I fell into a format by accident.

I have been following and reading bloggers by the numbers on how to organize and manage. I saw a common thread of saving by date and then using collections. It all sound great- but how.

I deleted what I had set up in Lightroom. I was working with only current photos. On a lazy Sunday, I started a new catalog from all of my photos that were on my hard drive. I didn’t realize I had set up Lightroom for certain import specs. By accident I got it right. All my photos imported by date!

This did create MANY folders. but it was okay. It was better than going photo by photo.

I began reorganizing by year to make the tree structure smaller. This was also a time to get rid of all the duplicates. It actually went smoother than I would have expected.

The other plus was the work I had done previously in Lightroom or in tagging etc. all carried forward!

The first thought was to get my catalog smaller in case Lightroom would start to freeze etc because the catalog had 30K+ photos. But more research points towards the fact that it is a database and not actual storage and many have not yet found the breaking point.

Next steps will be to go in and create the collections. I now know to keep folders with originals and dates move forward from there. With tagging I can create collections for special events or times.

I am almost finished up to the current date. Ironic in that 2017 is the most difficult. Seems I was saving and making sure I had pictures so I have 5-6 of the same picture to go thru. My sister also scanned all her hard photos and shared them with me so I have 1K that say 2017 when they are really the last 30 years. They are all tagged by her name – so I will create a collection and a folder that says Sandy’s Pics to separate them.

There are also all the ones I have downloaded from family via Facebook, messenger, texts. Those don’t always come thru with good metadata – so there is now a folder of Unsorted that will need attention.

All in all – so far it is feeling a whole lot more manageable. I found my notes from more than a year ago a workflow. I have changed it up a little to actually be less tedious.

  1. only download on desktop and directly into Apple Photos
  2. Title, tag, add descriptions etc. in Apple Photos
  3. Export to an auto import folder on my desktop so when LR opens they import with all the tags and metadata. (at least once a week or as needed)
  4. Optimize SmartFolders for Collections to pull in by tags.
  5. Set Time Machine up to back up hard drive so that Photos and Pictures folder are backed up. I know I have pictures in two places – but now I can back up the photos library and and the hard drive in two different places so that I know I will have redundancy.
  6. Set up Flickr for album uploads to share with family (also another back up)

Along with this new workflow I am also doing a weekly update in a private family blog. My first direction was to create the stories – but with so much coming in and limited time – I have been missing milestones and become buried in content. The weekly updates will offer a slice and still allow me to do the creations for events and milestones – but hopefully have more organized and ready to use. Plus it eliminates the urge to include everything in a creation – because now the content is still somewhere and available as narrative.

As I was cleaning up these files I also cleaned up my music files. Two older iPods are now music only and have all of our music on them. New music can be added easily now. It is backed up as well. Two years to get to this point – including ripping all of our CDs!

Can you see me doing a happy dance? It has made sticking to a walking regimen easier too. Just hope the new neighbors don’t laugh too hard if I start singing out loud while walking.

Yes – I guess Spring is the time to get organized!

The photo is from a ds106 Daily Create. It is a self portrait in a mirror and using photo editing to eliminate the camera. It took a little longer than 20 minutes but was a great creation process. #TDC1427

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