Points in Focus Photography

Dealing with Storage, What to do with Panos?

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So this is a little different than my usual M.O., I have a question for my fellow photographers, not a guide or tip or review. So here it goes.

To put it simply, I’m running out of storage space. The 2011 Thailand flooding, and the global hard drive shortage that followed has priced storage in such a way that I’m doing everything I possibly can to extend what I have now another 6-9 months in hopes that the prices will come back down. My normal procedure for this is to go back and aggressively edit my collection of images, deleting all the “maybes” that I probably should have deleted in the first place, but kept because, “hey! storage is cheap!” In the process of doing this,

I’ve run into quite a number of rather massive panoramas that I’ve put together in increasing numbers. Each pano for me consists of a 100MB to 1GBish 16-bit PSD file plus all the source RAW files (often totaling to another 100MB or so).

On one hand, I’m somewhat adverse to the idea of tossing the RAW files. The are after all the most compact way of storing the data, and rebuilding the pano is often just a matter of compute time in Photoshop. I could even go so far as to dump the 16-bit PSD and convert the final images into an 8-bit JPEG, since, after all, if I need to make any real serious adjustments, I can always just rebuild the pano from the RAWs.

On the other hand, with the 16-bit stitched PSD or TIFF now being basically the RAW, the component RAW files seem to be of little use and serve little purpose. Granted while this doesn’t save nearly as much space as down converting the PSD, it can all told save several GB total across the board.

Which in a rather long winded way brings me to the meet of this post, the question. How do you, my fellow photographers, deal with your stitched panos and the RAW files that make them up?

Comments

Daniel

So unfortunate that no one answered.
Well I’m having those issues too, with storage.
I’ve just purchased two 1.5TB seagate HDs for US$$146 each in B&H. For now they will suit me. Since I’m not a professional photographer (or I am, just not working with it though) it will be enough for me.
But please tell me. How do you sleep knowing you deleted some pictures? I’ve been going crazy with that idea. I think it is the right path to go, but I just can’t let them go :(
Great blog, I’m glad I stumbled on it. Congrats

V. J. Franke  | admin

But please tell me. How do you sleep knowing you deleted some pictures? I’ve been going crazy with that idea. I think it is the right path to go, but I just can’t let them go :(

Fundamentally I don’t believe every image is special or worth keeping. That applies even more when you shoot a couple thousand frames of the same thing in high FPS mode.

The second part is that it took a long time to get to where I’m comfortable deleting images. I use to keep everything but the very out of focus and “bumped the shutter release” kind of frames. Then I started deleting the really bottom of the barrel ones. Then at some point it didn’t really bother me to go though a 100 images, and delete the 80 worst ones that won’t every make the cut anyway.

The other thing that helps is that in Lightroom, I can mark images as rejects and hang on to them for a while to see if sleeping on it changes my mind about them. If not, they get dumped.

But in the end, it comes down to simple economics. I can easily shoot 4TB or more a year, and without being very aggressive editing that the costs of storing, let alone backing that up are prohibitive.

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