Photography has always been a big part of our family life. My father started me out in photography back in the 70s when he used to take family pictures every chance he got. I ultimately got my own big, clunky camera with a pop-flash bulb that had to be changed each time the flash was used. By the time I was in high school in the early 80s, I had a small, pocket camera, much like the ones that are popular today. When I met and married my husband in the early 90s, I found that he had an affinity for photography much like me. He had a nice camera - nicer than mine - and loved to use it. After renting a video camera several times to make movies of our son, we finally bought a video camera just as our daughter was born. We used it constantly, taking hours of boring pictures of the baby lying around or jumping in her baby swing.
Finally, a few years ago, we joined the 21st century and purchased a digital camera. It was the most fun we'd had in a long time. With a whole library of photo albums, as well as boxes of photos still waiting to be put into the photo albums, we suddenly had a place to keep all our photos - on our computer. Not only that, but we had instant gratification with our photos, not having to wait three or four days to see the pictures, but having the ability to load them onto the computer and see them on the big screen in just seconds. Yes, this era of instant gratification had sucked us in and we were hooked.
We took more pictures than we ever had, and now we didn't have to worry about paying for development or storing them in photo albums. If we had a photo that didn't come out, we simply deleted it without having to pay for it. We went on hikes and took amazing pictures; we took family vacations and commemorated them with lots of photos; and of course, we recorded every birthday, holiday, and special event with more and more photos. We had them all kept neatly inside our computer to view whenever we chose.
And then the unthinkable happened. Somehow along the way, we had neglected to continue backing up our hard drive. We did it for a while, regularly, especially since we had the photos on there, but then as life got busy and we got lazy, we simply forgot. Earlier this year, our hard drive crashed and burned. We lost absolutely everything. We took the hard drive to several technicians but were told that it would cost us well over $1000.00 to even try and retrieve anything; and that it was no guarantee. We couldn't afford that, so we grieved and took the loss as a big lesson learned.
Thankfully we only lost a couple of years worth of family photos. We are still saddened by the loss, but we learned a lesson about backing up the hard drive, which we now do weekly, like clockwork. And thankfully we have the memories in our heads that no one can ever take away.