Friday, May 19, 2023

Spring Cleaning In Reverse by Helen Henderson


Windmaster by Helen Henderson

Click the title for purchase information

It can be frustrating when you know you took a certain photograph but can't find it. So as the calendar turned over to May, I found myself in the midst of spring cleaning. No, not dusting and bringing out the lighter bedspreads and blankets in preparation of the warming temperatures, but organizing all the images from my professional and personal shots for easier use in blogs, talks, sharing with family, and for inspiration for the settings for my work in progress.

Captured the image during a camping trip to
Assateague Island National Seashore

Sorting three trunks of photographs was too daunting, so work began on the "supposedly" easier digital images first. The assumption of what is easier quickly went out the window. While prints could be identified by notes on the pictures or the developers envelope, I discovered the digital world was not as friendly. Even though names help identify time and place, that information is too easily lost when files are copied, moved, or renamed.

Inspiration for a setting
of my work in progress.

Although the names of the computer folders sometimes provided clues, unless I went in and renamed the individual files, there were  too many files with automatically generated names such as image100, image102, image103 or 100_2050, 100_2051, 100_2052. You get the point. Even if the digital files were named horses, it wouldn't tell me which show or farm I took them at, or whether it was the Chincoteague pony swim or a Texas mustang roundup.

Unlike writing where details need to be sprinkled so as not to overwhelm the reader, these files needed substantial amounts of information. So spring cleaning in reverse. Instead of decluttering and getting rid of things, the digital files were getting more information. Thank goodness properties can be can be changed for multiple files at once, minimizing re-keying.

So far 326 floppy disks and a file drawer of cds were organized, annotated, and backed up to more modern technology. The floppies and 10O cds were recycled.  

And the pictures that started the effort? You are looking at one of them. Now to find the rest of the pictures from a west coast trip. I also found a folder of missing shots taken at the dedication of a local 9-11 memorial. I knew I had taken shots the day of the event, but had not been able to find them. Turns out they were in an unrelated digital folder. Now they will be sent to the local history museum in the town as they had no images from any of the memorial services.

Been looking for our
sleeping friend for a long time.

I am just thankful that my search didn't end up as  involved as that of Captain Ellspeth and the Archmage Dal's for the magical tokens in Windmaster. Now if I can just find the camera that disappeared after my last trip.

To purchase the Windmaster Novels: BWL

~Until next month, stay safe and read.   Helen

Helen Henderson lives in western Tennessee with her husband. While she doesn’t have any pets in residence at the moment, she often visits a husky and a feist who have adopted her as one the pack. Find out more about her and her novels on her BWL author page.


  1. Sounds like a real chore. I don't take pictures as a rule but a son and granddaughter do. They can organize them, too.

  2. I have so many pictures, paper prints, cds, phone, and in computer folders, I can't even imagine filing them in any kind of order. Kudos for taking on the task. Thanks for sharing.


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