Category Archives: dpBestflow

Another Drive Failure – this is getting old

I turned on my computer this morning and got a warning that my hard drive’s SMART data indicates a pending failure. Crap. Shown below is the message from SMART Utility.

SMART Utility tells you when your drive is failing before your system may alert you. In this case, the relevant numbers are the Bad Sectors. It was 0 yesterday, 16 when I booted up in the morning, and 40 after I updated by backup drive. This should be considered notice of impending failure.

This is the second time in 6 months. The first time was caused by rough treatment of the computer on my part – this one just seems to be drive malfunction. I had a full bootable clone from a week ago on a desktop drive, and another one that was on a small drive from a month or two ago. I updated the older clone, and swapped that drive into the laptop. In all, less than 90 minutes from start to finish. For those keeping score at home, these were Seagate drives. I’m looking forward to installing WD Black Squared drives my laptops soon (combo SSD and Spinning Disk!).

It’s wise to have a clone of your drive handy so that you can swap out a failing drive. Unibody Macs are very easy to work with – less than 5 minutes to swap drives and put the computer back together. You’ll also want to have another backup, like a Backblaze cloud backup or daily Chronosync backup to a local server. 

Let this be your reminder to have a fresh backup.

Palm Springs Photo Festival

I’m headed out tomorrow for the Palm Springs Photo Festival, one of my very favorite industry events of the year. Jeff Dunas does a spectacular job bringing an extremely high-quality group of international photographers together in a very intimate setting. I speak on Thursday from 2:30 to 4:30. Free for Festival attendees (sponsored by ASMP).

If you are also on the way there – lucky you. If you have not made plans, but you are driving distance, it’s really worth the trip. And if this year is out of the question, make plans for next year.

The ASMP Board is holding its annual spring meeting at the Festival, which makes a lot of sense given that there is such a large west coast contingent. I hope it turns into an annual event. It’s reasonably priced, compared to meeting in Philly, and offers a great opportunity to connect with other people in the industry in a relaxed yet stimulating environment. I’d like to see this become an annual opportunity for ASMP members to get to know their board better, and get a more clear understanding of how the national leadership operates.

As always, I’m more than happy to say hello to anyone who happens to be there (and even happy to answer your Lightroom/hard drive/metadata questions.)

Thank you, Richard Anderson

As of July 2011, Richard Anderson completed his term as director of the dpBestflow project, and as the chair of ASMP’s Digital Standards and Practices Committee.  This closes a six year chapter of working selflessly and tirelessly on behalf of his fellow photographer.

Richard took over the helm of ASMP’s Digital Standards and Practices Committee in 2005, and became principle author and chair of UPDIG. During his tenure there, he oversaw the production of 5 versions of the best practice document. The UPDIG document represented the best consensus on the technical facets of digital photography for publication, and was instrumental in helping to spread good technical understanding worldwide.

Continue reading Thank you, Richard Anderson is live

For the last couple of months, I’ve been working on a project to help African photographers put their photos and multimedia into the world marketplace. is a free online learning resource, geared to professionals and aspiring professionals in the Majority World.  It was funded by World Press Photo and the Dutch Postcode lottery.  The project was run by Dave and Rosanne Larsen at Africa Media Online.

There is a comprehensive set of learning resources here, including help for business basics, marketing, business practices, as well as technical information.  Dave, Rosane and Dominique LeRoux were in charge of the business, sales and marketing materials. D.J. Clark produced a great section on multimedia production, Graeme Cookson provides background on imaging technology, and I wrote about Lightroom and how to create a safe and cost-effective digital photo computer system.

The entire project will look familiar to those of you who have seen dpBestflow, since it is powered by the same Drupal software that used over there.  It’s hard for me to see how we could have created this project without the generous support of ASMP. They contributed the use of their Drupal customizations, and paid for the work by Context Solutions, the excellent development team that worked on the site as well as

Here’s the first movie in the Lightroom lesson plan: it outlines some of the creative possibilities offered by Lightroom in image adjustment.  I’ll provide more background about the project, the material and the team in future posts.

This movie shows “before and after” examples of photographs adjusted in Lightroom. It is part of the extensive and free training resources on

Palm Springs Photo Festival March 27 – April 1

Once again, I’l be headed to Palm Springs for one of my favorite yearly photographic events, the Palm Springs Photo Festival.
I’ll be teaching 3 classes – a Lightroom workflow class Tuesday and Friday, as well as general DAM program Thursday. Schedule here. (Thanks to ASMP for sponsoring the dpBestflow/DAM program).

I love this workshop for a number of reasons. It’s a beautiful place of course, and the end of March can be a nice time to get out of the east coast and into warmer weather. It’s a laid-back event that seems to cover the entire downtown. There are a surprising number of industry luminaries who attend each year, so it’s a great place to network.

Mostly, I think, I love it because it’s really about photography, and not just the techno-weenerie that I spend so much time immersed in. There is a ton of inspiring work to see, and great presentations from many different corners of the medium.

I have a little more spare time than usual at the festival this year, since I’m scheduled from Tuesday to Friday. I’ll be available for consultations, if anyone is interested.

On Friday April 1, I’ll head out to Chicago for the last presentation of Strictly Business 3, ASMP’s excellent weekend-long business and technology mind-fest. If you are on the fence, I strongly suggest making time for this event. This is particularly valuable for photographers who are facing a changing business model, changing marketing landscape, and who are considering the need to add video and multi-media to their services mix. (In other words, pretty much all photographers).

Heading to the SPE Annual Conference

I’m flying out tomorrow for the Society for Photographic Education annual conference in Atlanta. I’ll be speaking on behalf of ASMP, telling educators what they can find in the dpBestflow website. I’m very interested in hearing how we can make the site better for educators, and understanding how the web is being integrated into curricula.

If you are going to be at the conference, please feel free to say hello.

Five years later, what was lost and what was gained

On this fifth anniversary of Katrina, I’ve been hard at work editing a film Richard Anderson and I are creating about the loss of photographs in the storm. It’s been kind of a surreal experience as the coverage has been playing over the last week, and I’ve been staring at the footage of Rick Olivier, Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick, Donn Young, Nick Spitzer, and John Lawrence.

It’s a little like time and space travel, (a Billy Pilgrim experience), as I bounce between watching Katrina on the tube five years ago in my mind, filming last spring in New Orleans on my computer, and the Peter Jennings broadcasts in real time on the tube.

Here’s Nick in a clip that sums up the duality at work.

And it’s all been further confused because we left New Orleans last spring full of hope at the redemption that seemed to be occurring, only to have the oil spill knock everyone down again.

I’ll be finishing up the first cut of this film and the one on Frans Lanting on my own time as our funding from the Library of Congress has run its course. We will have something good to look at by the end of September. Thanks to ASMP and the Library for making this possible, and Bryce Lankard for setting up these great interviews.

Sustainable Economics for a Digital Planet

Here’s another item I picked up at the NDIPP partners meeting – a report by some pretty heavy organizations about the economics of digital preservation.

The organizations included: U.S. National Science Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the U.S. Library of Congress, the U.K. Joint Information Systems Committee, the Electronic Records Archives Program of the National Archives and Records Administration, and the Council on Library and Information Resources.

PDF linked here, for your reading pleasure.

Glossary of the report after the jump

Continue reading Sustainable Economics for a Digital Planet

NDIIPP Partners Meeting

I spent several days last week at the NDIIP partners meeting.  This is the Library of Congress program that supplied much of the dpBestflow funding. The groups is really an exceptional one, including people from academia, cultural heritage institutions, trade groups and  some companies,  Here are a few of the items I bookmarked from the program.

The NDIIPP website.

THATcamp – The Humanities And Technology unconference (like O’Reilly’s FOO Camp).  This is a yearly event where humanists and technologists work together. They happen all around the world.

Digital Pioneer Dan Gilmore has a blog on

Serious 3-D geekery at the Metaverse Roadmap.

Andrew Turner (whom I met at the Foo Camp 2008) spoke about the future of geospatial data integration with digital collections. He’s now CTO of Fortius One.

Cathy Marshall from Microsoft did a hilarious and enlightening talk about personal archiving.

Pergamum is an energy-efficient file storage protocol that uses disks rather than tape.  The disks spend most of their time at rest, and spin up periodically to self-test.

Andrew Maltz spoke about The Digital Dilemma, an ongoing project from AMPAS (the Oscars people) that looks at the issues of archiving motion picture data. They have some great research to be published soon, under their NDIIPP award.

David Ferriero, Archivist of the US, gave a great presentation.  He’s both smart and funny. Here’s his blog.

I also got to reconnect with Howard Besser from NYU film school. I met him while I was at the archiving conference in Den Haag. Howard’s an unbelievably productive guy, working in motion image preservation.