By Calandra Wright
Many of our memories are best preserved in our collection of pictures. Those of us who are older remember the admonition to keep the negatives so other pictures could be printed. Now young people don’t even know what a negative is! So how can I preserve my digital memories?
First, make sure you take plenty of pictures and have family members do the same. With massive memory storage capabilities today, we don’t have to worry about the expense of taking an overexposed picture or fumbling with rolls of film. To prepare for a recent trip to visit relatives, I purchased a camera with a four gig card. When I got home, it still said I could take another 10,000 pictures without running out of memory!
Once you have collected a good number of pictures, don’t be afraid to delete the ones that aren’t up to standard, or that are duplicates of others. Don’t feel you have to keep every picture. However, you may want to keep some that contain special people, poses, or memories, even if they aren’t the best. It only costs computer memory to keep them.
Photo albums can be set up with computer programs cataloging them by event, date, subject, or any way you want. Be sure to identify each picture as to place, time, event. I have many colored slides taken by my parents in Europe but I don’t how of what they are taken. Clear labels can minimize this frustration.
At this point you may feel you are done with your project. But remember how fragile your memories are. Without paper copies, they could be gone in a second! Or if you have them on floppies, you could find it impossible to view them! Floppies are also vulnerable to magnetic fields.
CDs seemed, at first, to be indestructible. Nothing touched the surface so nothing needed to wear out. But now we see that scratches or breaks are much too easy and again the memories can be lost.
One answer to this is storing your photos in several places and several locations. If you store them on a CD, for example, keep copies at another home, at work, or in a safety deposit box. Before your hard drive is backed up regularly, and, if possible, back it up also on a network drive in another location. As the media changes, be sure to transfer the pictures to the new media, lest it become unavailable. Think what you would have if your precious pictures were only on 5 ¼ floppy disks!
Today without printing, we can take huge numbers of pictures and share them with just about anyone at no cost. Just don’t forget that, with the cut in photography development cost, be sure to invest something so that you keep those precious memories for the next generation.