Aladdin’s Cave

The constraints of Covid are really only now beginning to be felt in Hong Kong. Frustration with long quarantine requirements has given way to frustration with rank incompetence on every front. My time at home is getting longer each day it seems. How better to occupy some idle hours than to ransack Aladdin’s cave?

In this the case the cave is quite small. In fact it measures 11×8.5x2cm. And it has the letters WD written on it. It is a very old hard drive. Stuffed to the gunwales with digital photos going back to 2005. I am still working my way through it. So far I have found over 10 different camera models used by me over the time the HD covers. The earliest seems to be a Canon 10D and at the point I have reached I am using a 1Dx. So what have I discovered?

I took a lot of photos. A huge number. And a lot are very poor quality – mainly the flash photography is bad. There are also some surprisingly good ones.

I had no technical understanding of flash and white balance. They are awful. No really, shockingly poor.

Shooting in RAW means I can rescue even those where the WB is terribly wrong.

I have natural history records I need to preserve. Those are being downloaded on to a new 4TB HD and the best backed up elsewhere in the cloud.

I can remember the vast majority of them. I mean it. Almost every photo I look at I think – oh yes, I remember that, I know exactly where I was. I remember who I was with.

With good exposure the 10mp frames are still extremely usable and much better than I would have expected.

Had I not gone through this exercise I would have overlooked and possibly lost a considerable record of my life. From routine record shots of moths, to the family dogs to our lives over the 10 years, so many gaps would have remained unfilled. Yes, I have them in my head but now I also have digital files to fill in the blanks.

The good photos are startlingly good. I used a tripod in those days. Almost all the time. I used Live View for many natural history shots. I even used a rail for macro and did proper stacking. My word it shows. I could carry a lot of heavy kit, that is clear. Not so now.

I was probably much happier then as I seem to have spent day after day in the field without the worry of ageing and covid.

And the good news is I have another hard drive to explore after I have finished this one. And then another.

A couple of hours a day pass quickly and if I present one image I honestly don’t feel it matters which one I choose. I shall post two anyway and I hope you agree, the past is worth reliving.

Stejneger's Stonechat
Stejneger’s Stonechat
Lulu in her prime
Princess Lulu

17 thoughts on “Aladdin’s Cave

  1. If I’ve seen Princess Lulu in the past, I surely would have remembered her. She’s such a beauty. I hope she’s feeling better now. What breed is she? I’d say some sort of Pomeranian, but I really don’t know much about dogs.

    I smiled at your comment that you remember where you were and who you were with when taking so many of your photos. I do the same, but it works in another direction, too. I can be driving down the highway and suddenly remember, “That’s the spot where I found (name the flower).” Or, I’ll think, “I believe I’ll go down to (some place) and see if (name the flower) is blooming.” Often enough, it is, and I really can’t explain why that should give me such pleasure — but it does. I think it has to do with predictability: like sunrise and sunset, or the passage of the seasons.

    • Lulu is flattered by your comment and confirms she is indeed a Pomeranian. She isn’t the world’s best behaved dog but we love her to bits. Our last Pom lived to be 16 so hopefully at 13 she has a few years left.

      The passage of the seasons is strange. I don’t want time to go too fast at my age but I can’t wait for the warmer wetter Spring when all the bugs come out. Then I shall be waiting for the birds to return in September and so it goes on. Always I hope I shall be here for the next round.

  2. Princess Lulu!!! I’ve missed seeing her here. I fancy I remember the bird giving some backchat too but I could be mistaken of course. Diving into the archives can be a rich experience, can’t it? Seems like a perfect way to escape current reality.

  3. It is always good to see a post from you and it is even better to see that Lulu is still with you and Shirley. It is odd that I was thinking of her just a few days ago. I think she is such a beauty. How old is Lulu now? I remember some years back when she was losing her hair and how distraught you were at the time.

    • This is an old photo Yvonne but she is 13 now. An old lady who still gives much love. Her hair never grew back at the back but at the front she looks like she always did. She’s such a character but sleeps a lot more now.

  4. I like them both, Andrew. I’m glad you’re having fun going through your old photos. I’ve been going through lots and lots and lots of photos (printed ones from the before-digital days) to find pictures to use for Mom’s funeral. It’s been a blast rediscovering photos not only of her and my dad but of our two daughters as babies and older. How much younger we looked when we were so much younger. 🙂


    • Oh Janet, I’m sorry about your mom. I lost mine 20+ years ago but it is a terrible time whatever the circumstances. The family photos were the first thing I took away after she passed away and even today they make me smile. And of course they are all printed. And we should print more too for this very reason. Best wishes, Andrew

      • Thanks, Andrew. She was 92 and had had a wonderful life. She wasn’t in good shape and was ready to go. She told me she prayed every night that God would take her that night, so no regrets when she did go. ❤

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