FS Canon 7D

I’m not sure if it means anything, but after the break you’ll see a little table that shows my photographic history for the past eight years, reduced to perhaps its most cold and simple form of folders and gigabytes.  Now this doesn’t even begin to take into account the learning, the creativity, or the fun that I’ve had in the process.  But I found it interesting, if only in an abstract way, as a sort of quantitative view of my own history in the craft.

The table below shows the number of folders and total memory usage for each year since 2006.  As an overview, my storage structure begins with a “Photography” folder on my external hard drives, followed by subfolders for each year; every shoot I do gets its own subfolder within the corresponding year folder.  Each shoot folders holds the edited TIFFs, along with (yet another) subfolder with any RAWs I kept.

2006 – 62 folders, 4.75GB

2007 – 64 folders, 7.14GB

2008 – 132 folders, 29.4GB

2009 – 128 folders, 57.8GB

2010 – 138 folders, 46.9GB

2011 – 100 folders, 38.1GB

2012 – 125 folders, 53.5GB

2013 – 104 folders, 58.4GB

2014 – approx 50 folders so far

To be fair, the first two years have seen a lot of purging.  I’m sure that originally, there were far more folders and memory-utilization in 2006 and 2007 than are reported here.  But as I’ve progressed, I’ve found some of those early efforts to be so undeserving that I’ve cleared them out.  That’s probably the case with 2008 as well, although I recall that being a good year for photography, as it was the year of my best, and most memorable, work with Binghamton University.

With the exception of 2011, the years show a consistency within their varying statistics.  2010 has more folders but less overall data; 2012 was a big year, probably because of “Pride & Prejudice” and the other Vintage Theater projects I worked on.

Karate Class

This came about as I was backing up files and doing some housekeeping tasks last week.  I started wondering how the current year compared to the past few, feeling certain that I’d done less shooting than in past years.  Looks like that’s going to be true.  Although I’d like to think that I’m doing more meaningful photography, even if the result is fewer overall photos.  To borrow from David Hobby, “more signal, less noise.”

I’ve become more discerning in what I edit and what I keep.  RAW files are only maintained if I really think they could be useful in the future, as opposed to the days when I kept the RAW for every photo I bothered editing.  So although my 10% keeper/edit rate has held true, there are fewer RAWs taking up space behind the scenes.  There are even a few shoots where I don’t bother keeping any RAWs, and in rare cases don’t even keep TIFFs, but just JPGs.  (This is mainly for events coverage, where I know that neither I nor the event organizers will ever go back and rework a photo, nor need a “better” file.)

Amid all this cameras have come and cameras have gone: DSLRs, point & shoots, and finally m4:3.  That probably explains some of the spikes, if I bothered to break it all down.  Some years had new, bigger cameras; some have been better for gigs and assignments; while others have been mostly personal work.

Like I said, maybe this is meaningless.  But I found it interesting.

The photos in this post are completely random and meaningless.  I wasn’t sure how to illustrate this idea, and let’s face it, photos of harddrives are boring.

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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