Sean\’s Sicily

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Almost a Disaster

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After I read quite a bit about DNG vs RAW (for example), I decided to use DNG as my basic photo format and abandon storing everything in RAW.  The biggest reason is that Nikon RAW is a Nikon format, and they’re free to change it at any time.  Yes, I know DNG is an Adobe format, but they’ve submitted it to ISO and they’ve published the spec, so it’s a lot less likely to be made obsolete.

Fortunately Lightroom 2 has a built-in DNG converter which makes the conversion fairly painless.  Unless, like me, you’ve been moving files about in Explorer and putting the Lightroom catalogue out of synch with your files!  The conversion stops dead when it meets an unmovable file.

The first few times this happened, it was down to user permissions.  Adding myself as owner to all the photo directories quickly took care of that.

Then it happened again for missing file.  They weren’t really missing of course, I’d moved them for one reason or another and hadn’t updated Lightroom.  Lightroom quickly updates itself when you show it where the file is.

And then there are the missing missing files – files that I’ve deleted for whatever reason.  I just confirmed that they really were missing, and removed them from the catalogue.

And that’s when the headaches begin.  Because Lightroom has 2 levels of selection – all the photos you’ve selected in a subtle highlight, and the actual photo you are currently working on is highlighted in a brighter shade.  And dumbwits here hits the “delete” button when there’s 700 odd photos selected.

Now it would be really useful for Lightroom to have a fool-proof dialogue that says “Hey stupid, you’re deleting more than 5 photos, are you really sure?” for example.  But it doesn’t and of course neither will it let you cancel the operation.  So the photos are gone from the catalogue.

Not a disaster, because they’re still on the disk.  But all the metadata is gone.  I don’t care about the adjustments, but I’m a keen metadater, and I can’t face having to re-work all the metadata for 700 photos!

OK, let’s think about this.

All the photos are still on the disk.  So I don’t need to get them back from backup.

The catalogue was backed up before I started the DNG conversion.  So that’s no good, because the catalogue won’t find the .DNG files as it’s looking for .NEF files.

Solution – launch the backup catalogue, write-to-file the metadata for the deleted photos, re-launch the current catalogue, import the missing photos and read-from-file all the metadata for those photos.

As I use a date-based archive method (photos are stored just by date and nothing else) I knew exactly which files had been deleted from the catalogue.  It was simple (but slow) to write the sidecare .XMP metadata files, and just as simple to re-read the data for those files.

Phew.

This shows the important of good organization and having recent backups!

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Written by seancasaidhe

October 30, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Posted in photography

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

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