I’m back!!! Finally!!!

Hi guys,

I couldn’t be more delighted to tell you all that things are back up and running and the world is a good place again.

But lets go back to the end of November!

I had an incredible safari for two weeks and got some great images. Towards the end of the safari i dropped my laptop from the bedside table.  The laptop wasn’t live so the hard drive wasn’t up and running. Nonetheless the next time i started up the laptop everything was working incredibly slowly. I immediately ran a virus check…no issues, and then ran a disk check which instantly started bring up bad sector errors.  Clearly everything wasn’t alright so i made plans to have the laptop taken eight hours up to the capital to get a check up.

Unfortunately the first technician i sent the laptop to simply formatted the hard drive (and therefore erased the hard drive) and sent the laptop back to me.  No big problem, i had a full back up so all i had to do was transfer the data back to the laptop.  But given the problem was not software and ended up being a hard wear fault, as soon as i started loading up the data back to the laptop the bad sectors came back into effect and the laptop began to slow down again.  And then the unthinkable happened.

The back up hard drives that i have been using up until now have been shock proof and waterproof hard drives which have rubber housing.  And here is the kicker, the rubber coating does protect the hard drive from shocks and water but also doesn’t allow the hard drive to cool down.  So in the two hour process of loading the data back to the laptop the hard drive over heated and suffered fatal damage.

And in the blink of an eye i had lost all my data from the laptop (from the technicians previous formatting) and then lost the last copy i had of my images on my backup drive.

That sick feeling in my stomach which i have managed to avoid in my life for many years came back with vengeance and my world became all fuzzy and blurry.  Back in Scotland i would have been able to immediately go to a qualified technician and work on the problem. But in Kisoro, and being eight hours away from the capital, i had little to do but panic, stress and worry about what had happened and what would happen in the coming days.

Luckily i was able to get up to Kampala fairly quickly and get recommendations for the best data recovery guys in Uganda.  And five minutes after their office opened i was sitting down talking to Peter Atkin of Computer Facilities.  Three days later i had a new external hard drive with the results of the data recovery.

Now here is the irony of data recovery, not only does data recovery recover all the data you have lost but it also recovers all the data on the hard drive whether it was an active file or whether you deleted it six months ago. So for the last month i have been sorting through the results of the data recovery and getting back to the place i was in November.

I have now lost two months of working time on my images and hundreds of dollars but in an attempt to find the positives of this whole experience i have also gained from the process.

  1. New workflows:  I made the decision to start using Lightroom where before i had only been using Bridge and Photoshop.  I read all the reviews and discussions on Lightroom vs Bridge and Lightroom vs Photoshop and Lightroom vs Bridge vs Photoshop, learned absolutely nothing and ended up more confused. So i ventured into the unknown and was blown away by Lightroom.  It is simply designed for photographers and i instantly loved the Library and Develop modules as well as the little gimmicks which make our life as photographers easier like the ability to dim the display and also to hook up a second monitor and work with two screens.  And here is my verdict.  Has it replaced Bridge or even Photoshop?  Not really.  But i now use all three programmes and love it.  For working on my website and browsing between different files that aren’t images i use Bridge.  For reviewing my images, doing global adjustments and keyword changes i use Lightroom.  And for selective and more focus ed adjustments i use Photoshop.  And i find it easier to use all three.  Anyway, more chat about my workflows in the months to come.
  2. Data management:  I now have three external hard drives.  Two which live with my laptop and back up my data every day and a third drive situated off-site in a different building in a different town which gets updated monthly.  And here is what i have learned.  With external drives down to $100 for a 1TB drive you have no excuses for not having at least three individual copies of all your data. And given i have spent that amount of money ten times over in recovering my data, please go out immediately and buy another hard drive. Each laptop and drive are synchronized using Free File Sync which makes the backup process so easy and quick.

And in a rather round about way that is what has happened over the last two months.  Today is the first day that i have not had to sort through my images.  I finally feel back on top of things and back to where i want to be.  And going back to the start has allowed me to make some changes to the websites and to the way i work and if it wasn’t for the mental scars of the last two months i have to say that i am in a much better (and safer) place as a result of these last two months.

So here is to the memory of the last few months, may i never forget you.  So goodbye and welcome to the year ahead.

And to thousands of more images and days spent in the bush!

Glad to be back!!!!

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