The Un-Winter

f/8, 20 sec, at 17mm, 400 ISO, on a Canon EOS 60D

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The end of last week had my stress levels a bit tested, as what I thought was a pretty good image back up system was tested, and partially failed. The second Western Digital My Passport external hard drive out of the 6 that I’ve owned failed…out of nowhere. It was no big worry to me as I was sure that only a couple of sets of images were in question, until I restored my Vault and realized that ALL images from the end of November until last week were gone. Eliminated. History. The only images I could save were those I uploaded to Smugmug – Christmas, San Diego, my outings with my brother – all gone.

I thought I had backed up my library often enough, but I was obviously incorrect. So let this example be a good lesson to you – backup, backup and backup. From now on, any images loaded on my Mac will now IMMEDIATELY be backed up to the Vault. there’s no sense in playing around with it – just do it – I suggest you do the same!

Needless to say, I needed something to turn my attitude around and make me forget about my mistake. Thank you Un-Winter! What is the Un-Winter? Well, it was the four days last week that saw above freezing temperatures, rain, mist and on Friday, the finale, fog! That’s right, January fog! It was an awesome break in the weather and much to my liking being obsessed with long exposures and black and whites. It was exactly what I needed!

I had a shot in mind Friday when I headed out, but the Lake Elmo Park Reserve, where the shot in my head was located, was not open, so an alternative presented itself in Sun Fish Lake Park just down the road. Hadn’t shot there in a while and didn’t really even see the park – all the pics I took were along the drive exiting the park, including today’s image. As you start to leave the park, the road is flanked by a hill on the right, which turns into private farm land, marked by this fence line, which I love…a lot! The fog and overcast clouds were so heavy that it was hard to tell where the snow and fog stopped and started!

Lesson learned and heart recovered! Unfortunately, the weather turned most certainly back to the winter over the weekend, with highs around 10 and winds blowing 10-15, but the slight break for the Un-Winter was just enough!

Laugh more!


  1. Mark Neal January 14, 2013 at 7:04 AM #

    Really sorry about your loss of images, Jim. That’s always a concern of mine when relying on digital media storage. You’ve encouraged me to build more redundancy into my own backup system.

    Anyway, your image today portrays a very nice mood. I like the soft effect.

    • Jim January 14, 2013 at 7:42 AM #

      Glad I could help a bit Mark, and thanks for the kind words!

  2. Kerri January 14, 2013 at 7:25 AM #

    Beautiful image! Really sorry to hear about the HD failure!

    • Jim January 14, 2013 at 7:43 AM #

      Thank you Kerri!

  3. Cindi January 14, 2013 at 7:26 AM #

    So sorry about the loss of all those images. I totally agree about back up, back up, back up. I have at least 3 different places of back up.
    Great image, love the contrast! Amazing fog!

    • Jim January 14, 2013 at 7:43 AM #

      Thanks Cindi, yes, the fog was amazing!

  4. Jimi Jones January 14, 2013 at 7:45 AM #

    Man, sorry about that loss of images. Bummer for sure. I use external HDs as well and you’re right, cannot back up too often.

    I like this shot you have here today. The fog adds to the scene well.

    We’ve had fog for days, this “un-winter” has been crazy from a weather standpoint. Temps in the 50s and all. But the real deal will be coming along, for sure.

    • Jim January 14, 2013 at 7:52 AM #

      Thanks Jimi – hard lesson for sure! Today’s high is 12 – it didn’t stay away nearly long enough! :)

  5. Rachel Cohen January 14, 2013 at 9:00 AM #

    Wow Jimmy, that is a hard one, to lose all that data! I just spent two days backing up recently, but after reading your post, I think I should back up more!
    As for the Un Winter, yep we had it too! We’re back to winter as of last night though.
    Beautiful, and moody winter image Jimmy. I’m really loving the B&W!! :)

    • Jim January 14, 2013 at 9:16 AM #

      Thanks Rachel! I’m really enjoying the whole process of black and white conversions and hope that’s coming out in the images! :)

  6. Edith Levy January 14, 2013 at 10:16 AM #

    So sorry to hear you lost those images Jimmy. I back up often but seriously probably not often enough. I’ll be scheduling another back up tonight :) Terrific image. Loving the B&W.

    • Jim January 14, 2013 at 10:20 AM #

      Thank you Edith! Really appreciate it!

  7. Mark Summerfield January 14, 2013 at 4:06 PM #

    Great B&W, Jim! Love the way the fog/mist has lessened everything down to just the key elements. Sorry about the loss of your images, but thanks for spreading the word as I know for sure I do not have anywhere near a foolproof back-up system!

    • Jim January 14, 2013 at 6:07 PM #

      Great view of the image Mark! Thanks!

  8. Chris Wray January 14, 2013 at 6:31 PM #

    Gut wrenching story, Jim. Very sorry about your image losses. I’m fanatical about image backup. I, too have had some prior losses, and now I’m very obsessive/compulsive with redundant back ups to my local vault and off-site storage. Nice image today! Love the silhouettes.

    • Jim January 14, 2013 at 7:49 PM #

      Thanks Chris! Sounds like it only takes one good loss to turn things around! Hope I can be equally fanatical from now on!

  9. Bob Lussier January 14, 2013 at 6:32 PM #

    oh man. lost images. I did something very similar a couple of years ago. Due to my own mis-management, data shuffling, etc, I lost a few months of images. Some great mill stuff that can’t be re-shot. Luckily I had some high res versions of some of my faves on Smugmug. I covet them. The incident made me buy a Drobo.

    Love this image and your BW stuff in general. Keep up the great work.

    • Jim January 14, 2013 at 7:50 PM #

      Thanks Bob. Maybe a Drobo is in my future, but not anytime soon.

  10. Chris Maskell January 15, 2013 at 3:03 AM #

    Are you sure the images can’t be recovered Jim. Has the disc been written to since the incident? If not a disc recovery specialist could maybe retrieve your images.

    I tend to look at pictures before reading the accompanying words, I like to form an opinion and see how close to the description I can get. Looking at this shot p was reminded of shooting and printing in film, the way the blacks bleed into the light areas around, the slight grain showing in the grey areas. Great shot Jim

    • Jim January 15, 2013 at 4:50 AM #

      Ni’m pretty sure they can be retrieved, but also pretty sure I can’t afford the fees! Really appreciate the kind words Chris!

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Battling The Sun | Jim Denham Photography on January 15, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    [...] « The Un-Winter [...]

  2. By Winter White and Black » Too Much Glass on January 29, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    [...] feel almost as if I just channelled Jim Denham: some snow, a fence, a bleak winter landscape, and a black and white treatment. It’s actually [...]

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