18. March 2015 · Comments Off on A Prepared Photographer · Categories: Preparation · Tags: , , , ,


Not so recently I was in Canyonlands National Park for a sunrise shoot through Mesa Arch.  There were a number of other photographers there before sunrise.  What was a surprise was the degree of  not prepared.

  • Several people didn’t have tripods, so they couldn’t take photos other than setting the camera on a rock.
  • Others didn’t know how to operate their cameras
  • Still others didn’t know how to put the camera on the tripod
  • Only about half had a flashlight or headlamp.

All of the above doesn’t mean that you can’t get nice images, it is just harder to get good images; your options are more limited. Learning to be prepared can occur via the school of problems, or you can get some coaching so that you are more likely to be successful.  Being unprepared may mean you miss the shot you wanted, or that it doesn’t turn out as well as you would like.

Take the sunrise shoot at mesa arch; someone who has shot there previously can tell you how long it takes to drive, and then walk to the arch. What lens combinations work from each location.  Which locations work for sunrise, what works for sunset. Or you can do like we did figure out the mileage and the walking distance and make an estimate.  In our case, we did not allocate enough time and I had to run on the trail in the dark.

Mesa Arch

Mesa Arch

Ask someone who has been where you want to go and see what tips you can get.

Ask and answer these questions for yourself

  • How much time will it take me to get setup?
    • How long to get there?
    • How long to set up?
    • Do I know where I am going?
  • What equipment do I need? (trying to get a shot under pressure, when it is the first time with the equipment is a recipe for failure!)
    • Do I have the equipment I need?  Is it pre setup? or am I going to fumble when I get there?
    • Do I know how to use the equipment?
    • Is the equipment ready? (clean, batteries, media, extra batteries for the cold)
  • Do I have the non camera gear that I need?
    • Snacks; an army or an individual marches on their stomachs
    • The right clothes; few things are more miserable than freezing (sub zero & breeze) and not having the right clothes.
    • Map/directions, permits
  • Other
    • Am I planning on meeting someone? If so how are we going to rendezvous?
    • Is the car gassed and ready?

The Boy Scouts really have something with ‘Be Prepared’



19. February 2015 · Comments Off on Backup? – How much is it worth? · Categories: Philosophy, Photography, Preparation · Tags: ,

Chance favors only the prepared mind- Louis Pasteur

Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.- C.S. Lewis

Eastern Sierra,Fall Colors,Sierra,Sierra Nevada,aspens,tree]

Eastern Sierra,Fall Colors,Sierra,Sierra Nevada,aspens,tree] – I would not want to lose this photo

As a photographer, my photos are important to me; they can’t be replaced !  So, I backup, or so I thought.  I also work in high tech and know that computers and storage fail.  I thought I was OK with having a RAID 6 was enough backup (requires 3 failures to lose information).  I was wrong, a computer crash killed the RAID 6.  It took 6 months and $4,700 to recover about 80% of the photos.  Lost were some incredible photos of dolphin jumping in the surf, right next to the shore.

After that incident, I acquired a Network Attached Storage (NAS) from Synology that is separate from the computer for backup.  The NAS is RAID 6, the files on the computer are on a RAID 5 (2 failures to lose information) with a backup from the computer to the NAS.  Is this enough backup?

But, what if there were a fire that took out the house? So, I now, also use Backblaze to back up the photos to the cloud.  It has taken 15 months to upload all the files to BackBlaze.  I sleep better.

Well I thought that I had backed up enough.  The website, Patrick Lynch Photography, was backed up as was the blog site on by the hosting company on a weekly and monthly basis.

Unfortunately an automatic WordPress update  played havoc and the blog could not be restored.   The backup plan at the hosting site did not work.  I have to recreate the whole blog site from scratch!

The moral of the story is that  not all backups are the same; just because the photos are backed up, doesn’t mean anything else is….

Because I am having to recreate the blog from scratch I will be republishing past blog articles.