1 July

oopoomoo Celebrates Canada day and the Importance of Water

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day from Cochrane, Alberta!

Happy Canada Day from Cochrane, Alberta!

Samantha and I have been lucky enough to travel to many different parts of the globe and every time we come home to Canada we realize how fortunate we are to live in this amazingly diverse country. We are blessed with stunning natural beauty and vast areas of wilderness. Our friends don’t believe us when we tell them, but it’s true – no place we have visited compares to Canada!

Canadians have a unique opportunity to preserve, nurture and embrace the bounty of nature bestowed on Canada. We could be world leaders and celebrate our abundance before it is gone forever. Many other countries have learned this lesson, the hard way… they don’t appreciate what they had until it’s gone. Rather than mourn what we had, let’s work hard not to lose it in the first place. We need to think bigger picture and longer term than just the immediate future. The election of the NDP in Alberta is a signal that people want more than just “business-as-usual” short-term economic riches. Most Canadians want an ethical social fabric, a diverse economy that rewards quality of life over quantity of goods, and we want to keep the awesome nature that we all benefit from and enjoy.

One of the best ways to preserve natural habitat and the species that live there is to preserve watersheds. Thinking watershed is thinking holistically… we all need water to live and saving water requires saving large chunks of habitat (which saves many species at once)! A common statistic flaunted about Canada is that we have 20% of the world’s fresh water.  But according to Environment Canada:

…less than half of this water — about 7% of the global supply — is “renewable“. Most of it is fossil water retained in lakes, underground aquifers, and glaciers.

For Canada’s 30 million people — about half a percent of the world’s population — this is still a generous endowment. But, more than half of this water drains northward into the Arctic Ocean and Hudson Bay. As a result, it is unavailable to the 85% of the Canadian population who live along the country’s southern border. That means the remaining supply, while still abundant, is heavily used and often overly stressed.

This blog post is part celebration and part exhortation. Let’s call upon our governments  (and ourselves) to take action and protect our water and riparian habitat.

And so in celebration of Canada Day, I present images from across Canada showcasing our water (both fresh and salt water).

Samantha and I will continue to vote with our ballets, our wallets, our conservation habits and our time to do our part to keep Canada biologically and socially diverse. Canada, we toast you (with a cool glass of fresh water!) Happy Canada Day!

Waterton River, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta - ©Darwin Wiggett - oopoomoo.com

Waterton River, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta – ©Darwin Wiggett – oopoomoo.com

Mountain stream in the British Columbia Rockies - ©Darwin Wiggett - oopoomoo.com

Mountain stream in the British Columbia Rockies – ©Darwin Wiggett – oopoomoo.com

Hecla Prov. Park, Manitoba - ©Darwin Wiggett - oopoomoo.com

Hecla Prov. Park, Manitoba – ©Darwin Wiggett – oopoomoo.com

Cape Enrage, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick -  ©Darwin Wiggett - oopoomoo.com

Cape Enrage, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick – ©Darwin Wiggett – oopoomoo.com

Gros Morne National Park as viewed from the Trout River Lighthouse Trail - Trout River Newfoundland -  ©Darwin Wiggett - oopoomoo.com

Gros Morne National Park as viewed from the Trout River Lighthouse Trail – Trout River Newfoundland – ©Darwin Wiggett – oopoomoo.com

Fall Colours, Mersey River, Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia -  ©Darwin Wiggett - oopoomoo.com

Fall Colours, Mersey River, Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia – ©Darwin Wiggett – oopoomoo.com

Nahanni Range, Laird River, Northwest Territories -  ©Darwin Wiggett - oopoomoo.com

Nahanni Range, Laird River, Northwest Territories – ©Darwin Wiggett – oopoomoo.com

Lake Huron, Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario -  ©Darwin Wiggett - oopoomoo.com

Lake Huron, Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario – ©Darwin Wiggett – oopoomoo.com

Elephant Rock, Norway PEI -  ©Darwin Wiggett - oopoomoo.com

Elephant Rock, Norway, PEI – ©Darwin Wiggett – oopoomoo.com

Riviere du Diable, Chute du Diable, Mont Tremblant Park, Quebec -  ©Darwin Wiggett - oopoomoo.com

Riviere du Diable, Chute du Diable, Mont Tremblant Park, Quebec – ©Darwin Wiggett – oopoomoo.com

Waskesiu Lake, Prince Albert Nat'l Park, Saskatchewan -  ©Darwin Wiggett - oopoomoo.com

Waskesiu Lake, Prince Albert Nat’l Park, Saskatchewan – ©Darwin Wiggett – oopoomoo.com

Kathleen River, Yukon -  ©Darwin Wiggett - oopoomoo.com

Kathleen River, Yukon – ©Darwin Wiggett – oopoomoo.com

17 June

A Small Selection of New Work

Samantha and I have had a busy spring doing photography workshops across the country. Our workshops take a lot of advanced preparation to give our participants the best experience possible. Between our heavy prep time and the fact that we don’t shoot during our workshops, we’ve had very little time to shoot for ourselves. Now that our workshop schedule is done and we have the summer for our own photography we thought it might be nice to show some of our recent work (newly shot and/or processed images). I’ll start off first with some fresh work. Watch for Sam’s new stuff in a follow up post!

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

23 April

Celebrating the 10 Year Anniversary of “How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies”

It’s hard to believe but it was 10 years ago this week that my guidebook How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies was released!


In 2004, my career as a photographer was suffering because my main source of income, stock photography, had taken a big hit after the market shocks following 9/11 in 2001. I needed something to rejuvenate my career. So I came up with the idea of writing a photographers’ guide book to the Canadian Rockies, a region I knew and loved well. I pitched the idea to a publisher and in April of 2004, with an advance from the publisher in my pocket, I headed to the Rockies to shoot new images and do on-the-ground research for the book. I finished shooting and writing in September of 2004 and turned the manuscript over to publisher who released it in April of 2005. Once the publisher saw the photos I submitted for the guide book, they asked if I would also be willing to do a coffee table book as a companion piece. They called the book Dances with Light – The Canadian Rockies and it was released at the end of April 2005. Both books became Canadian best sellers and each went through three sucessive printings. I’m sure the books would have sold even more copies but the publisher went bankrupt because they expanded too big, too fast. Unfortunately, both books are now out of print. New copies of How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies now sell on Amazon starting at $250.oo! It’s original price was $14.95. Crazy.


Once the publisher went out of business, I bought the remaining copies of How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies (HTPTCR) and sold them through my website – sales were brisk! Once those books were gone, I asked Stephen DesRoches to help me update and design the content as eBooks for specific regions of the Canadian Rockies – we called these eGuides. I took the original content of HTPTCR, added new locations, more photos and updated the descriptions and sold the eGuides by park and by season. Later, when Samantha and I formed our joint company, oopoomoo, we added new locations (the Kootenay Plains) that were not in the original book. And finally, we asked John Marriott, the premier wildlife photographer of the Rockies, to write a title on wildlife photography for the HTPTCR series of eGuides. The result is our eight title library on the Canadian Rockies. Many, many photographers have used our eGuides over the years and our inbox is full of high praise from photographers grateful to us for saving them time and getting them to awesome locations in the right light. In fact, we know of several photographers who have used our eGuides to help them take people on Canadian Rockies photo tours. You know you did a good job when others can take your information and successfully design a photo tour!


©Darwin Wiggett

To celebrate 10 years of guiding photographers to the right place at the right time either through our eGuides or through our tours and workshops, we are bundling our complete collection of Rockies eGuides into one specially priced package. To buy these eGuides individually costs $80, but now you can buy all eight eGuides for only $60 (basically, you get two eGuides for free). Happy Anniversary!

How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies

How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies – The Complete Collection

Stay tuned to this blog because Sam and I will be celebrating this milestone by sharing some of our unpublished Canadian Rockies photos. It’s still a place that makes my heart swell with happiness. We would only add one little plea to this post…please, as Albertans, Canadians and passionate photographers from all over the world, let’s take care of this region and treat it with the respect it deserves.

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Samantha Chrysanthou

©Samantha Chrysanthou

18 December

Lessons from Antarctica

We were very fortunate to have been invited on an 18-day cruise with One Ocean Expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula with stops at the Falkland Islands and South Georgia as part of a Photographic Symposium. We thought we would share with you some lessons learned from this adventure to the bottom of the world.

Cruising out of Ushuaia, Agentina

©Darwin Wiggett – Samantha cruising out of Ushuaia, Argentina

Darwin on the Antarctic Peninsula

©Samantha Chrysanthou – Darwin on the Antarctic Peninsula

Nature is Awe-Inspiring!

We all need nature in our lives and the more we connect with nature, the more we feel whole. We could see the impact that this wilderness had on people… many were moved to tears by the overwhelming enormity of the place or by the interaction they had with the wildlife. While we were not to approach wildlife, if we were quiet and still, it would eventually pass close by. Even the most hardened among us will melt when a penguin waddles up for a face-to-face encounter or an elephant seal pup snuggles near your leg. For most people, Antarctica is one of the most intense direct encounters with nature they will ever have. This place leaves its mark!

©Darwin Wiggett - Penguin encounter on the Falkland Islands

©Darwin Wiggett – Penguin encounter on the Falkland Islands

©Darwin Wiggett - Who needs a telephoto lens?

©Darwin Wiggett – Who needs a telephoto lens?

Yet the World is Smaller than We Think

For modern humans, traveling to the end of the world is really no big deal. What used to be epic and dangerous and scary is now just a little inconvenient. The hardest part of the journey is waiting in lines at airports and deciding what movies to choose while you jet across the stratosphere at 600 MPH. Even in Antarctica, where one might think travel is extreme, our toughest choices were whether we should skip the bacon for breakfast and eat the healthy selection of fruit instead. Excursions ashore were safely negotiated in zodiacs with rarely a drop of water splashing us in our expedition wetsuits. The only danger we really faced was that of our own making when we got so carried away with photography that we forgot to watch our step and slipped in some penguin guano. We were impressed (or depressed) by just how accessible the Antarctic wilderness is. Humans are everywhere on this small planet and you can see our ‘footprint’ no matter where you go. Can this wilderness survive the sheer demands and impact that humans have on this planet?

©Darwin Wiggett - Humans are everywhere, are impact is felt to the ends of the earth.

©Darwin Wiggett – Humans are everywhere; our impact is felt to the ends of the earth.

©Samantha Chrysanthou - Chinstrap Penguins on the run!

©Samantha Chrysanthou – Chinstrap Penguins on the run!

When it Comes to Gear, Less is More

Big cameras, big lenses and travel just don’t mix. This trip was full of photographers with the latest full-frame dSLRs and large, fast telephoto lenses. The amount of camera gear weighing down the zodiacs was astounding. Giant bags of gear and bulky expedition wetskins meant most photographers’ walks on shore maxed out at 100 meters. Hauling all that gear made people tired and soon they had no energy to be creative. Some of the best photos we saw on the trip were made by the spouses of more ‘serious’ photographers: with just a point-n-shoot in hand, the spouses could be more spontaneous in the changing conditions and grabbed great photos while their gear-laden partner fiddled with their equipment.  A small lightweight and responsive kit is the way to go. It wasn’t long into the trip when photographers with two systems (e.g. dSLR versus small mirrorless camera or a point-n-shoot) were leaving the big guns behind in the boat for the joy of a small camera.

©Darwin Wiggett - The burden of big gear!

©Darwin Wiggett – The burden of big gear!

©Darwin Wiggett - The joy of small gear!

©Darwin Wiggett – The joy of small gear!

Speaking of Cameras, They Sometimes Get in the Way

This trip was full of photographers. They take pictures, constantly. A camera is always in front of their face. Some photographers never really saw Antarctica except through the filter of the camera. They interacted more with the box than the environment. In fact several of the staff who have done dozens of trips to Antarctica told us that this group was the most disconnected from nature of any group they have ever seen. Nature photographers disconnected from nature? But it was true – to really appreciate this place, we learned that you had put the camera down and just look and be in the moment. In our busy lives, we have forgotten how to just take things in… we are so programmed to do and to produce. Some of our favorite memories are not the photos but the quiet moments of observation.

©Darwin Wiggett - We often kept our gear packed away and just spent time observing nature.

©Darwin Wiggett – We often kept our gear packed away and just spent time observing nature.

Speaking of Observation, Fur Seals are Scary!

We admit it’s hard to concentrate on photos or quiet nature observation when you are fearing for your life! Fur seals love to charge and bite humans. We can’t blame them, we are passing through their territory and they want to chase us out. But dodging fur seals can be stressful. Take us back and put us in the Canadian Rockies with a few grizzly bears and we’ll feel much safer!

©Darwin Wiggett - Clearing the path of fur seals

©Darwin Wiggett – Keeping the fur seals off the human path

Being Offline was Awesome!

We were offline for over three weeks and we loved it. The constant barrage of email and social media is just so much noise in the modern world. Being disconnected so we could fully connect with nature was just so great! We highly recommend at least one sabbatical away from the internet per year!

©Samantha Chrysanthou - Being offline and constantly in nature was amazing!

©Samantha Chrysanthou – Being offline and constantly in nature was amazing!

And Finally…You Don’t Have to Travel Far to be Inspired

For us, our trip to Antarctica reinforced something we already know. Here in Canada we live in a country of awesome natural beauty. There is a lifetime of inspiration here… let’s not take what we have for granted. No matter where you live there is little need to travel far if inspiration is what you crave.

©Darwin Wiggett - Inspiration happens anywhere you are and anywhere you look.

©Darwin Wiggett – Inspiration happens anywhere you are and anywhere you look.

To watch a video of our trip with photos from the symposium’s participants compiled and produced by Daisy Gilardini and David MacEown, please see this link.


31 October

Happy Halloween – Spiritual Prayer Flags

Before there was the crazed hunt for candy, Halloween was a celebration of life before the dark and decay of winter. Like all good ancient holidays, its a nuanced tradition which reminds us to keep close and treasure our loved ones and while remembering and honouring the spirits of our ancestors – lest they become peeved and spoil our morning cereal milk. In a world of uncertainty, it’s a good idea to hedge your bets (you never know who may be lurking about). So, in the sense of paying a little homage to that which we don’t always understand, we are sharing a couple of images made on public lands of the prayer flags ceremoniously placed by the First Nations people in the area. Without knowing the prayers behind the placement of the strips of cloth, we can still appreciate and respect the haunting and lovely nature of the objects themselves.

Happy Halloween, everyone!


©Darwin Wiggett - Do the faces in my head bother you?

©Darwin Wiggett – Do the faces in my head bother you?

ribbons and prayer flags in field

©Samantha Chrysanthou – Little Lost Soul

3 July

Online Shopping. For Better or Worse?

One of my recent blog posts about having the ability to print your own accessories or replacement parts raised some more questions about its impact on the environment and how our culture is built around the shopping mall.

I have worked for two retail companies. One was a small specialty computer store and the other a large big box store. The owner of the small electronics store would display visible anger when you didn’t buy and support locally. Although I understand the logic of keeping the money locally, at what point does this argument to support local business begin to break down?

Competing on price is tough and I’ll not argue the value of having a good relationship with a small service company. It’s nice to have someone to call that you trust. Or beneficial to have a place to try before you buy. But for the purpose of this post, my focus is on the big box store model. Fifteen years ago when I was working in retail, the complaint was the big box stores moving into town. Today, we could compare to the growing popularity of shopping online.

My question is raised from a debate from guilt for having everything shipped to my door. My argument and all things considered, if they are not shipping an item directly to me, a much bigger shipment is going to a warehouse with the hopes it will be sold. If it is not sold, it will be discarded or shipped back.

Today we can have just about anything shipped right to our door but from an environmental point of view, is it better that we have buildings in every town stocking inventory, providing heat and electricity to this building, shipping back or trashing what doesn’t sell, and having thousands of visitors drive to the store every day… or is it better to have several courier trucks who will deliver exactly what you wanted from much fewer warehouses? Case in point, Amazon only needs 49 buildings spread across 8 countries — 2 of which are in Canada.

Hypothetically, if we were not required to maintain inventory in every town and city across the country with every possible product you may or may not want…

  1. Would it reduce traffic? How many drive from store to store looking for items or sales?
  2. Would it reduce the required energy with fewer buildings?
  3. Could it reduce how much is being shipped around the world? So much product is moved that will never be sold.
  4. Would it slow down the development of new buildings due to constant expansion?
  5. And would we all purchase less?

So many questions without any answers.

©Darwin Wiggett -Shopping is just a connection away!

©Darwin Wiggett -Shopping is just a connection away!

25 June

Heads Up: Watch for our Newsletter Resubscription Notice

Hello oopoomoo faithful. You may have seen in your email inbox the latest oopoomoo Newsletter (for those of you who subscribe). Canada has passed new anti-spam legislation (read about CASL here) which requires anyone who sends a commercial electronic message in Canada to be able to prove that they had consent to send such a message. There are a few other ins and outs at play here, so to ensure we are onside with this new legislation (which comes into effect July 1, 2014) we have asked all of our Newsletter subscribers to resubscribe.

Darwin and Sam and friends

©Darwin Wiggett – Join our growing newsletter list where you can be sure we’ll always respect your privacy but expose ourselves for the goofs we are!

No doubt many of you have already received requests from other organizations to resubscribe, and we apologize for having to add to the ‘noise’ around this issue. Ironic that an anti-spam law has generated more annoying emails recently than usual! We especially apologize to those who just subscribed. Our list delivery host, mailchimp, is highly regarded in the industry and uses a double opt-in feature to discourage you being added to lists without your permission. It’s why we chose mailchimp in the first place. While we first thought we were covered by mailchimp’s policies, we’ve been advised to err on the side of caution by taking this step and asking you to resubscribe. If you do not resubscribe, you won’t receive the Newsletter but you can still subscribe to the blog (note you don’t need to resubscribe to the blog) to hear about what we’re doing. And of course, you can unsubscribe to both the Newsletter and our blog at any time, no questions asked.

To sweeten our apology, there’s also a link in that last Newsletter to download our latest and just published eBook, Born Creative: 12 Ways to Feed Your Creative Soul. All new subscribers going forward will be able to download a copy of this free eBook when they sign up.

Born Creative cover 643px

Free when you subscribe to our Newsletter!

If you didn’t see this latest Newsletter from us, check your email’s spam folder (and mark it ‘not spam’ to your email provider to find it next time).

Finally, if anyone has any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us. From day one oopoomoo has taken your personal information seriously and we respect your privacy. We don’t sell your personal information and only share details as far as is necessary to complete or carry out such services or purchases you may have made through oopoomoo. Our privacy policy is here (beware: there’s a flashy picture of Darwin on this page!)

Thanks for your continued support of oopoomoo goodness!

17 June

Update on the Ultimate Clear the Clutter Challenge – Processing or Deleting the Image Backlog

Samantha started it all off on May 22 when she gave herself until June 30 to tackle her horrendous backlog of unprocessed raw files gathering digital dust on her hard drives. Sam said that whatever was not processed by June 30th would be deleted forever. Wow, harsh eh?

But after thinking about it for some time, it sounded like a good idea… and so with some fits and starts and hesitation, I opted to join Sam on the Ultimate Clear the Clutter Challenge. And even Stephen, our eBook designer and website guru was inspired to join us albeit without the big bad ‘delete’ part of the equation.

And so what’s the progress? Sam started with 89 folders. As of today, she only has 13 folders of images left to do! Two or three more days of concerted effort and Sam will be done – yahoo! For me it’s so great to see Sam’s images come to life. She was ruthless and many images did not make the cut and hit the trash bin but the ones she kept I find really inspiring. Good job Sam!

©Samantha Chrysanthou - A visit to Kamloops area in .

©Samantha Chrysanthou – A visit to Kamloops area in 2011.

Aspen trees near Kamloops, British Columbia

©Samantha Chrysanthou – Our friend and fellow photographer Kelly Pape from Kamloops is hiding in this shot. (Check out her diverse talent on her website; she can shoot anything.)

Aspen trees near Kamloops, British Columbia

©Samantha Chrysanthou

For me progress has been much slower. I had to deal with my thousands and thousands of slides from the film days first. What to do with those images? How should I store them for our one year creative sabbatical? In the end I have them in a cool dry place all packaged up safely but that took many days. Progress on the digital front is much slower. I started with 199 folders to edit and process and I am still at 149 folders left to date. Yikes! But as I look over my folders I am going to take Sam’s lead and delete ruthlessly keeping only top drawer stuff to process. If I already have stuff that is better, delete it. If the image is just more of the same, delete it. If the image is flawed in any way compositionally, delete it.

Sam does not think I will get my backlog edited and processed by June 30. I think I can do it (even with all the  house packing that still needs to be done). So I made her a bet. If I don’t get done, I will give one of our newsletter subscribers a 20 image portfolio review for free (drawn at random). The subscriber gets detailed feedback on their images in the form of a personalized PDF (value $200). If you don’t think I will get done either, then sign up for our newsletter if you haven’t already (upper right of this post). You can unsubscribe at any time, and even if you don’t win a personalized portfolio review, we often have special contests and advance notice of workshops just for subscribers. (Check out our privacy policy too.)

And If I do get my images done, then what should be Sam’s punishment for losing the bet? I am open to suggestions ; )

©Darwin Wiggett - Another from 2005; unlike scotch, images do not get better with age!

©Darwin Wiggett – Shot in September 2005, not processed until June 2014!

©Darwin Wiggett - Workshop participants from September 2005 on Abraham Lake

©Darwin Wiggett – Workshop participants from September 2005 on Abraham Lake.

©Darwin Wiggett - Consolation Lakes hike from September 2005

©Darwin Wiggett – Consolation Lakes hike from September 2005.

13 June

Backing Up Your Prints


A Collection of Prints

CD’s Won’t Open,
Hard Drives Crash,
Flash Drives Get Corrupted.
Cloud based businesses close.
The only thing that works every time is…
A print.

The message varies slightly but it’s a message that is shared over and over again, week after week. Excluding the fact that it might be scare tactic marketing to sell prints, I can sometimes appreciate the intention of these tongue-in-cheek quotes. However in my humble opinion, the message is often too extreme and misleading.

A print is still one of the best ways to enjoy a photograph but lets not ignore the fact that as quickly as a hard drive will crash or a business will close, that print will suffer from light, water or fire damage.

And I want to reprint again and again.

I want to be able to create new prints of today’s images 25 years from now when technology is much better. I want to see it on paper, on canvas, on metals. I want the freedom that is not limited to that of a single print.

We should all enjoy, print and celebrate our work; but we should also be paying specific attention to the files in which a print is born from. The negative is everything and by ensuring that we all have a strong backup solution of our priceless files, there should be no need for print restoration services when we have all the tools necessary to maintain the files necessary for reprinting.

Would you rather a 25 year old print or a 25 year old digital file? It horrifies me that I have relatives who print from the memory card and once a print is in hand, proceeds to delete because they are making room for more.

When our ultimate clutter challenge comes to an end this month, we must ensure that we have a safe storage solution for the remaining image files.

Either it be prints or files — images are moments in time you can never have back. They simply can’t be replaced once lost and ensuring that you have a proper archival plan will ensure your life’s work will never be lost.

So the real question is: When was the last time you backed up your image files?

1 June

The Ultimate Kill the Clutter Challenge – One Month to Organize My Image Backlog

I’m always up for a good challenge and when I heard that Sam and Darwin were aggressively cleaning up their backlog of unprocessed files, I first thought they were both crazy for committing to a file bankruptcy day. Why would anyone artificially delete potentially great work simply because of time.

My second thought was… hmm, it’s probably worth playing along too. Several months (maybe a year?) ago, I started reorganizing my image library with the daunting task of cleaning everything up. I quickly became side tracked with more exciting projects and my images remain in an unfinished state.

So I’m going to join the bandwagon but with different goals. I will not be processing any files and I will not be deleting everything untouched come July 1st. What I will attempt to do, is finish cleaning up, keywording, gps tagging, adding meta data with everything neatly organized into categories. The only files that I will be deleting are the clearly bad frames. If there is any hesitation at all, the file stays and is appropriately filed away.

The Current Structure

To kick things off, I feel it’s probably necessary to explain how I manage files with the use of Adobe Lightroom. My images fall into 3 distinct categories.

  1. Fine Art & Stock. My first catalog contains all of the images that I consider my “artwork”. This is mostly my landscape and nature work and are the images that I license for use or make decor prints from. This body of work contains all of the images that I share with the public.
  2. Personal. This catalog contains all of my family photos. It’s a catch all from my camera, my wife’s camera, occasionally my parent’s camera, our phones, etc. This is a large collection of every day photos that are primarily a documentation of my life.
  3. Assignments & Events. Each commercial job or event that I’m hired for, I create a new Lightroom catalog. All of the image files from that project live here in isolation and once the files are delivered to the client, the catalogs are archived. These catalogs will not be part of this challenge.

The 30 Day Goal

For both my Fine Art and Personal image libraries, which combine to approximately 100,000 files, I will clean up the many folders titled “sort” and “fix these” and “missing XYZ data”. I will delete what’s clearly trash and move the rest into a well structured catalog, rich with keywords and location gps data.

Lightroom Catalog for Fine Art and Stock Image Files

Lightroom Catalog for Fine Art and Stock Image Files

I’m a bit obsessive with organization but at the same time, I don’t necessarily need to process or finish an image file until it’s needed. Especially considering that if I need a file created 5 years ago, there is a decent chance that I’ll want to reprocess the file again with newer raw conversion software.

Lightroom Catalog for Personal and Family Image Files

Lightroom Catalog for Personal and Family Image Files

So we’re now all at the starting line with a goal in sight. This clearly contradicts my desire for less computer time.