You know, I look at that relatively small box on the shelf and it’s just a little strange. I grew up photographically in the time of slides and negatives and glassine envelopes to slide them into and big filing cabinets to house it all. Many years of shooting takes up some real estate, I tell ya.
Then, around 2001, I started shooting ones and zeroes and not bits of acetate. Who knew it would come to this? All my work of any note, of any value, whether publishable or just a personal pic, lives now inside this little black box known as a Synology DS2419+. Significant film has been scanned (not enough of it) and, since that fateful day I first picked up a Nikon D1X and saw the pictures I was shooting on what would now be considered a primitive LCD (holy shit!), it’s been all digital. You could count the rolls of film I’ve shot since then pretty much on one set of fingers and toes. Now, everything fits inside this ultra-fast, up to date NAS. Wild.
It’s a question we all face, and must deal with. The wonderfully malleable nature of digital imagery lends itself to many things, amongst them, like, you know, disappearance, if we’re not careful. Working with the extraordinarily helpful folks at Synology, whose tech support has been stellar, we have now advanced to a mirror set of NAS arrays, one, a brand new Synology DS2419+, which is now our go to, and our older, DS2415+ becomes the backup. We are actively searching for an offsite solution for the 2415, but for now it has been moved to another area of the studio. Important to get it offsite–that’s a big concentration for us right now.
In many ways, we’re just scratching the surface of these units’ capabilities. Main thing, for us, as it is for all shooters, the cameras ain’t tending to produce smaller and smaller files. They’re producing bigger and bigger ones. A simple take now of even a few hundred images takes up a fair bit of hard drive turf. So the units are expandable. In the 2419 we currently have Seagate IronWolf Pro 14TB drives. Super dependable drives. Click here for more analysis and tech info.
Lots to learn about this essential new tech. But one thing I do know already, it’s a lifeline to my work.
So, this small, burbling box is very important to us. I look at it sometimes. Should I hug it, feed it? And now, we have two. Important. We’ve remapped the network in the studio to have them both on hard wires, but eventually, the offsite, which will onload imagery incrementally, take by take, will be a wireless situation.
Hard to imagine…..the picture below, from the old Yankee Stadium, was shot for the UPI, in 1977. That version of the stadium is long gone, and so is UPI, generally speaking.
And this picture below, shot just a few months ago, with the fanciest of the new digital cameras, the Nikon Z7.
Both live in the same box, quietly humming in the corner.