I’ve written about this subject in the past but I’m going to write about it again: sometimes it’s hard to work on the photos I’ve taken over the years. It’s like they’re a glimpse into a world that was once my everyday world but now it’s gone away. It’s gone to wherever time puts things when it’s done with them. It can be emotionally draining. Especially working on a lot of them at once.

First off I’ll give you the technical details. It has to do with my iPad and Apple’s need to change things around over the years. In the early 2000’s I scanned in all of the negatives of my photos so I could have them in a digital format. That took a lot of time but I got it done. At that time it was only a dream to have something like an iPad or iPhone to act as a portable digital photo album but I wanted to be able to carry all my photos with me. I knew it was on the horizon but it wasn’t there yet.

I didn’t get an iPhone when they first came out but when the iPod Touch came out in 2007 I got one right away. It was small but it could do the job that I wanted it to do. It could be a portable photo album.

When I scanned in all of my photo negatives I did it at a high resolution and saved then as tif files. That’s the file format I save all my work in. It keeps things high resolution with no lossy compression. If I were to save the files as jpegs it would make them much smaller but jpegs throw out information to compress the file. Jpegs are fine for making things smaller so they fit on an iPod Touch but you still want your master tif file too.

Since the iPod Touch had a small hard drive and a small screen I had to resave all of my scanned photos jpegs and also make the DPI smaller. I think I went from 600 to 150 DPI with them. I now had two sets of all my photos. Full size and iPod Touch size.

The first iPad come out in 2010 and the second came out in 2011. I let the first model pass me by and bought an iPad 2 in 2011 to use as my newer and bigger portable photo album. But the screen resolution wasn’t particularly good on the iPad 2. That meant that I could still use the 150 DPI versions of my photos and they’d look fine on screen. Everything was all right. I rolled with that iPad until 2018.

In 2018 I got a ten inch iPad Pro. That machine has a lot more power and screen resolution. I still use that one five years later. But the 150 DPI photos were too low resolution for this iPad. I had to figure out what to do. It ended up being fairly easy. The new iPad could convert my tif files itself to use the converted files on the iPad. I hooked the iPad up to my computer, pointed it to the folder I wanted it to sync with, and it converted all the photos and put them on the iPad. It took a long time and this is the only time this process went smoothly.

Anytime I wanted to add photos to the iPad I had to click on their new folders and sync the iPad. That worked for a couple of years until it didn’t.

With one OS update Apple added in some facial recognition into their photo app. You could put names to faces and the software would find all photos of that person. I spent some time putting names to faces. Then the next time I had to add new photos on I went to sync the new folders with the iPad and things went Kablooie! When I hit the sync button it took all the photos off my iPad and put them all back on again. Plus the new ones. This took forever and wiped out all the facial recognition names I already put in there. After that I didn’t bother with facial recognition and only added new photos to my album maybe once a year.

Just a couple of months ago I decided to add some new photos for the first time in ages. I did the same thing I did in the past except this time the iPad erased all the photos, supposedly put them and the new ones on the iPad, and then crashed. This process took about three hours, I tried it three times, (which took nine hours) and I ended up with no photos on my iPad. My iPad stood empty of photos for weeks and weeks.

Finally I decided to try something new. All of my photos from about 1990 until about 2010 were all tif files (I had 23,000 photos on the iPad) so I thought if I converted them to jpeg files at full resolution (unlike my 150 DPI versions) the iPad might have an easier time with them.

It took a week to do. I used a Photoshop action to covert the photos to jpegs and that went quickly but keeping everything in order is what made it take a long time. It also made me wonder where time goes.

I had to take frequent breaks as I was doing this and spread it out over time because it was like watching my life go by. It’s not even like I was checking each photo but I saw enough of them to get that “Time is passing” feeling. That’s not always easy to deal with.

In the end the conversion of the photos to jpegs did the trick. I set up the new folder full of photos in folders for the iPad to sync with and it did. All of them copied over and fairly quickly too. It took about 90 minutes instead of three hours. It somehow even had a the names I entered a while ago. I don’t know why it did this time.

On the day after I finished this task I got to see a bunch of my friend who were in a lot of these photos over the years. The strange thing was that as I was talking to them I would sometimes see a photo flash by in my minds eye. It was a little weird. For a brief moment I would see the past. What a strange thing.