8 Years and a Million Memories

I bought my first digital camera in 2003. I fell in love with taking photographs.  In 2006 I bought my first prosumer (a mid-range DSLR for the photographer who is more than just a hobbyist but not yet ready to join the ranks of shooting for something like Sports Illustrated or National Geographic); Gaby wasn’t even a year old at the time but the number of shots I took of her before she hit her first birthday bordered on the ridiculous.




Then I bought another camera and invested in nicer lenses, and in 2008 I bought my first professional grade DSLR. While I started out shooting land and seascapes I eventually worked my way into wildlife photography and portrait photography. I’ve even dipped my toes into the world of sports photography but am no where near in good enough shape to keep up with the action, so I sit on the sidelines and envy the pros who get the amazing shots. In the years since I hit the shutter release on my first digital camera, I’ve taken (and this is a conservative estimate) in the neighborhood of 20,000 photos. I know that my long-time readers are probably not going to be shocked to learn that a lot of those photos are of my children, especially Gaby.

From the minute I aimed my camera at her, and in the 8 1/2 years since, she’s been my favorite subject.  I’ve chronicled, with my words, but mostly my camera, all the things I could think of, from the most mundane events that only a parent would find precious to the big milestones that call for photographs. Even from her first birthday, which was miserable because she was so ill with a kidney infection, to yesterday at a local festival where she took her first ride in an ORV (Off Road Vehicle) and fell in love (yeah, you can guess what she’s asking Santa for next year; don’t know if he’s going to be able to fit that one down the chimney!), every single image of her that I capture is significant to me.  I’d be devastated if anything happened to any of these snippets in time that are stored on electronics that size of a firefly.

Gaby in October of 2008

Curls at Lands End

Way back in 2008 when I accepted my first professional portrait session, I knew how important it was to make sure I had a way to preserve all of my digital images, not just for my clients, but for a much deeper reason.

When I left my first marriage, it was 4 years after Joshua died.  I left with literally one photo of him.  Over the last nearly 20 years since that marriage ended, I’ve managed to find 5 or 6 other photos, and family has been nice enough to send me any extra photos they had of Joshua.  At this point I have probably 12 photos in total of Joshua that I cherish. I’ve scanned them all in so that I have digital copies of them as well, and have secured the paper prints so that age and moisture won’t cause them to deteriorate. So, it’s not only important that I preserve every single image of Gaby and my older children, and now Kennedy (and hopefully, eventually Aiden; Zach’s son), but that I am forever able to preserve the few images of Joshua that I have.

8 years goes by in the blink of an eye! It seems as if those years have gone by as fast as I snap photos of her.

Geronimo and Gaby on ottoman 2009

Gaby curls 2

Gaby lots of curls 1

Gaby during recital

Gaby and Geronimo in cchair while she reads

As I’ve accumulated more images, I’ve realized that I need to do something more than collect almost as many (OK that’s an exaggeration, but only just!) external hard drives on which to store those images. I guarantee photography clients, electronic storage for a period of 10 years.  Anything can happen to those hard drives within that time frame.  Theft, damage due to flooding or extreme weather, or even something as simple as equipment failure. A couple of years ago I started saving my images as well as the books I have been writing, to an online “cloud” backup service.  It was pretty basic though.  I wasn’t getting full system or program back-ups, nor was I getting a mirror image of my hard drive backed up. I knew I’d have to find another company that could handle not only everything I have that needs to be backed up, but provide me with a full system and mirror back ups as well.  They would also have to be willing and able to help me if I had problems.  Additionally, the company I was with didn’t offer any sort of technical support that’s even worth calling “technical support.”  If something goes wrong, or you need help, you have to submit a request for support and hope and pray they got back to you in the next few days.

While chatting in a professional blogger group I belong to, someone mentioned Carbonite and how awesome they are. I watched as others chimed in – some of whom have built up very successful businesses via their blogs and need to make sure that if something were to happen, whether they have a system failure on their end, or they’re hacked, that everything they have, everything valuable, both personal and professional which they keep on their computers, is safe. So I went out to Carbonite’s website which is very straightforward, and decided to sign up for one of the plans.  Of course because this is me we’re talking about, I hit a snag early on. I contacted support and I got a phone call in less than 5 minutes.  My support tech walked me through what I needed to do in order to successfully back up my system and external hard drives (and yeah OK, he might have laughed a little because I have so many of them), and made sure I understood everything.  He even phoned me back the next day, and followed up with an email as well. I consider that absolutely stellar customer support.  I feel a lot better knowing that everything I value, whether it’s professional or sentimental, is backed up and safe.  I can also sync all of our devices to my Carbonite back up, meaning our iPhones and iPad.  If you’re anything like me, you probably have hundreds if not thousands of photos between your  iOS or other “smart” devices. I don’t upload those to my computer on a regular basis (because I’m lazy) until I’m about to run out of space. Being able to sync those to our back ups is just another awesome benefit of using Carbonite.

I want you to know that I wasn’t approached by Carbonite or any of their PR to do a sponsored post. I didn’t receive any compensation of any sort. I only just recently switched over to their service. Simply put,  I was just that impressed with the service itself, what they offer, and the support and service I received, that I wanted to tell you about it.  At this point I can’t recommend them highly enough.

I finally feel like I’m taking the steps I need to not only safeguard my professional livelihood, but those moments, some mundane, and some beautiful – moments I’ve captured through my lens that tell a beautiful story of a twinkle in time.  To me, photographs are like bottling that very twinkle . . .





I’m Audrey, the voice behind Barking Mad, a freelance writer and photographer, and owner of Barking Mad Media, LLC. In another life, my “voice” (they call it “air talent” nowadays) could be heard on Clear Channel and Entercom ( KISW, KJR, KHMX, WCOL, WNCI, and several other large-market commercial radio stations) radio stations around the country. I'm married to my lifelong British pen-pal, and have 4 beautiful children. I hope you’ll join me as I embark on a poignant personal journey to lose 225lbs and in the process, gain my life back. I also write about surviving the loss of my 2-year-old son, Joshua, coping with the subsequent depression, and morbid obesity.

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  1. Beautiful pictures!

  2. Those are great photos! I wish I could take photos like that :( You have some really great talent!!

  3. What a sweet girl and wonderful pictures! Love the story you are telling on this blog…not to mention its gorgeous design :). I’d love to live on the coast again. We spent a couple of years in NC and I sure miss it.

  4. Great photos! These days it is so important to back up, between hackers and computer crashes and glitches everything can be gone in a moment.

  5. We share the same fear when it comes to preserving the pictures we’ve acquired all these years. I’ve been meaning to do just that, move all my files into the cloud to avoid losing them.

  6. I love Carbonite. I had another service previously and I find Carbonite to be far superior.

  7. Your photographs are so beautiful! I have used Carbonite before and it is certainly a great product. I need to start using it again as I would be totally heartbroken to lose all my photos.

  8. I’ve been looking for affordable cloud storage. Can I ask what plan you went with? Also, it says unlimited space, can you have as many full resolution images on there as you want? I’m really contemplating signing up. Your photography is beautiful and so is your daughter!

    • Hi Tiff,

      Because I have not only personal photos, but client photos, I went with the Prime Plan under the Personal Plans. The lowest end business plan would have been way more than I needed at this point. There is NO LIMIT to how much you can back up, but if you have a file, like a photo that over 4G, you have to manually add it to your backup and that’s why I needed their help. A lot of my land and seascape photos are massive and I wasn’t paying attention and it kept stopping because I had those files in with everything else. I shoot in both RAW and JPG mode, and RAW files are substantially larger than JPGs because all of the data is still there. Those are all full res images. Plus, when I’m processing, I make a copy of the image to edit. I have multiple copies of thousands of images.

      Plus, if my system or external hard drives ever fail, they’ll mail me a hard copy of my back up, anywhere in the US. That’s another reason I went with the Prime plan. The mirror image backup of my system is super important to me, not only because of all the photos, but because I have literary software on my computer in which I compose my books. Everything starts out there. I’d be so screwed if anything happened to that. I don’t move anything off of that until the book is complete.

      Thank you so much for the kind words. Gaby makes taking photos easy (I wish everyone I shot were as easy to work with) and she sure is handy when I’m on shoots and need someone to meter for me, or hold something. *lol*

  9. These are some amazing photos. I love the zebra print hat.

  10. I’ve considered purchasing Carbonite. I’ve lost two computers- tons of photos and memories on each of them and they weren’t backed up. I can’t think of it too much or it really makes me sick.

  11. The time sure does fly. Mine just turned 7.

  12. I think I completely understand you, lol. Um, ridiculous amounts of photos of their child is the sheer definition of me lol

  13. I was super-camera happy when my children were very young also. I think I have relaxed about it a bit as far as doing mini photo shoots. I still take a ton of photos with my new compact wi-fi camera and my phone. It’s hard to resist when it’s so easy to share them on Facebook and Instagram.

  14. I am picture taking crazy mama here too. Our children grow UP so fast and they are changing right before our eyes! :)

  15. You are SO SO right. I am doing eleventy-billion things to back up my photos right now, too, because I thought my Mac was broken (and it wasn’t). I might have to check out Carbonite, too 😉

  16. Love the picture of her dancing!! I’m always worried my system will crash so I am going to look into this. Thanks.

  17. Yay! You’re going to be very happy. I am so very pleased with their service and it’s undetectable to me in the background which is great!

  18. This reminds me just how important it is to capture the memories while you can. Thank you for sharing.

  19. They grow up so fast don’t they? Lots of memories are in pictures.

  20. Photographs, how I love thee!! Great story! I love how you bottle that twinkle…so cute!