I keep all my photography on an external hard drive. With so many high resolution photos I don't want to bog down the memory of the computer's internal drives. I usually upload photos from my card reader, sort through them, save the ones I want. Then I copy the originals of important photos to a CD. Then I pull those up in Photoshop, do my post processing work then save the final images on another CD.
Then two summers ago after we got back from Belize I came down with a strange intestinal problem that lasted literally 9 months. I had every test the various doctors could come up with and nothing was found. Finally after about 9 months the symptoms slowly went away. It was at this same time that I had to produce a DVD about the YM/YW trek experience that I can only say was stressful and grueling. After that came the move into the house with all the chaos that brought and then summer and Gavin and Gabe. You know where this is going. I was preoccupied and lazy and just didn't back up my photos during that time. Now, for the past several months my 5-6 year old computer has been acting up. So I decided it was time to get a new computer which I did last week; and then my goal, as soon as it was up and running, was to transfer all my photos to a new external drive attached to my new computer. (Then instead of burning CD's as backup for all the photos I've neglected, I'd just keep safe the old external drive where they were all originally stored.) Talk about bad timing. The day I turned on the old computer to start this process, the computer goes crazy and the hard drive crashes. I'll skip the part about my tantrum, and the bizillion calls to Scott (my son-in-law and computer man), and other support services. Bottom line, I've taken it to a data recovery service. I'm waiting to see what they are able to recover. The good news.....after taking the thing apart, the tech thinks he can save a good share of the data....the bad news is that it will cost me between $500 and $1200. Yes, you read that right, there is no typo!!!!
With digital cameras we are able to take so many photos. It is easy to fill up cards and be lazy about either making hard copies, (printing them out), or procrastinate downloading them to a computer, and/or saving them to a CD. (Cards get lost or compromised, too.) When I read discussions on saving digital files, there still is a question about how long CD's will last, what happens if they get scratched or warped, what happens when the technology changes, (when was the last time you saw or tried to use a floppy disc), let alone how heavy several years of CDs are to store. (I have mine in a rubbermaid container, that I can hardly lift.) Many people save their photos on external hard drives not hooked up to their computer, but that certainly doesn't give me any comfort at this point. People who want to have an extra level of protection can subscribe to one of various websites that specialize in storing photos for you. The website I have www.karenlarsen.smugmug.com is just for that purpose. They claim to have user's data/photos stored on 3 separate servers in 3 separate parts of the country. I've been slowly uploading my photos to this website when I have time, but because I have so many, it takes time to sort thru everything. The real tragedy is that I have left all my family photos until the last to upload, because they are more complicated to sort through, get them in order and decide which folders/multiple folders to save them in. And of course they are/were on the hard drive that crashed.
The bottom line is that all important photos should be printed out, (hard copy), and displayed in an archival type album along with a copy on CD, and stored in a safe place. Something else for you bloggers.....you all have such a treasure of family history in pictures, every day stories, family events, etc. It would be a shame to lose these precious memories. Please find out how to back up your blog and also print out a hard copy. I'm sure there must be a way, but I probably won't get around to figuring that out for now. If anyone knows how, or can find out, please let us know.