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Archive 2014 · Long time no see! (20)
Conrad Tan
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Long time no see! (20)

Congratulations to Conrad Tan for winning Feature Thread of the Week with 7 votes - View Previous Winners

Hello everyone. I know a lot of you have emailed and messaged me, wondering where I've been and why I've not been posting photographs. There is a short story to that, one that ends in a horribly. I'm sure you all know I've been doing photography going on 5 years now. Like many of you I can't wait to get off work and spend as much time as I can out there shooting! I used to spend nearly 360 days out of a year for a minimum of 4 hours in the field, 4 hours post processing at home. This plus working 7 days a week at my day job with no break or pause. Itís been such a fun hobby I didn't realize somewhere inside I was burning out. Then it hit me all at once, that the spark was not there anymore for some reason. I needed a break. I couldn't explain why.

I just needed time to recharge my creative batteries. I needed to distract myself in other ways. Well one of those distractions turned out to be fixing up my car. Everything was going great. I successfully turned my truck from looking plain and factory-stock, to something completely different. Sort of like David Banner turning into The Hulk. Hours were spent researching different ways modding could be done, and triple those hours were spent putting my own spin on those mods. The results were enthusiastically applauded by my fellow automobile forum buddies.

The best part was, it seemed to be just what I needed to get back into photography. I found myself pulling my dusty lens and camera out and taking a few pictures. These fresh files prompted an urge to organize, edit, and back up older files. So I gathered my three hard drives, laptop and headed home. Unfortunately, contained inside these electronic devices was stored every single photograph I have ever shot and shared in the last 15 years. One hard drive was the back up for the next newer one. I know it is a terrible system and is technically not a true backup method for data. I don't own a desktop and use only a laptop because I travel extensively for my day job.

Well you can imagine what happened next. I stopped to get Chinese food and was only gone for a few minutes. When I returned, BOTH of the windows were smashed in and all my computer gear and work tools were gone. All my original files were gone forever. Hours in the mud, rain, sun, brush, thousands of dollars spent on traveling to exotic places to get just one shot of something special, notes, maps, images, all gone. The only evidence that I ever took them are files sized less than 500 KB on my website. I just drove home in shock, only barely grateful that the thieves didn't gain access to my camera and lenses.

I struggled to find the spirit to get over this. I felt like selling all my gear and doing something less potentially devastating for a hobby. Equally devastating was the loss of my work documents. The last year of hectic travel did not allowed for any time to off-load my notes, reports and work files up to my work's server. They disappeared along with my laptop. So that is over $100,000 worth of business documents and chicken scratch which only I can decipher and turn into what my clients have already paid for, which I now have to re-create from memory. 100+ reports, from memory?!? Yeah right.

I shared this story with friends and family, as well as on a couple of social sites, and was overwhelmed at the sheer generosity and support I got. The well wishes were so relentless that after a couple of months of moping around, I made plans to recover, and hopefully, exceed in file count and quality, my lost files. So now itís a mad scramble to scrape up my pennies so I can start booking flights! I have since picked up a new laptop (itís pretty bad-a$$ by the way) and am trying subscriptions to a couple of auto-backup services for my future files. I still have some of my main gear - Canon 1DX, 600mm f/4, 16-35mm f/2.8 and a medium capacity tripod. I guess that's really all I need! I am looking forward to hitting the road and doing my best to replace what I lost. I have been told I'm crazy for planning it this way, but I hope to re-visit every place I've shot at in the last 5 years, all within ONE year!! I lost over 20 Terabytes of data or about 800,000 files, spanning 13 countries and 30 states. So like a crazy man, I hope to have a million files this time next year and if I fail in this quest, hey I know it be fun trying. So far, the places already carved in my stone calendar include:

1. Northern Minnesota - Snowy Owls, Great Horned Owls, Northern Hawk Owls and a Wildlife Game Preserve. (Completed Ė results to follow below)
2. Budapest, Hungary - Hortobagy Preserve promises 25 or more species all at one of my most favorite countries on Earth. I literally live on Goulash the entire time I'm there.
3. Seattle, Washington - Eagles, Short Eared Owls, and who knows what else, all with the company of great friends.
4. Sarasota, Florida - best place in North America to eat authentic Cuban food while photographing all manner of critters!
5. High Desert Landscapes - a whirlwind spin around the southwest area of the US. I just gotta get my landscape fix in!
6. Long Island, New York - one of the best places I've shot for shorebirds on the cheap!
7. Coastal Texas - so much action here, you better consult your doctor first to make sure you're healthy enough to have this much fun haha!

Iíd like to start with a couple of brand hew shots from this day.

My first Rufous Hummingbird.

Acorn Woodpecker

Snowy Owl

Northern Hawk Owl

Stellarís Jay

Great Grey Owl

Mountain Lion (captive)

Bobcat (captive)

Black Timber Wolf (captive)

Scrub Jay

Siberian Goshawk

Finnish Goshawk

Aplomado Falcon

Tree Swallow

Lewisís Woodpecker

Yellow Billed Magpie

My bird-photography mobile!

Redwing Blackbird


Western Bluebird

Edited on Mar 23, 2014 at 11:49 AM · View previous versions

Mar 23, 2014 at 11:30 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Long time no see! (20)

I'm first...glad to see you posted at 4:30 your time...I'll be back after a cup of coffee.
Welcome back CT and glad to see you are replenishing the larder.

Mar 23, 2014 at 11:41 AM
K mueller
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Long time no see! (20)

Glad to see your back Conrad! All i can say is wow, your off to a great start! good luck reaching your million file goal - way to put that 400,000 shutter lifespan to the test

PS - clean looking rig! I have it's modded cousin.

Mar 23, 2014 at 11:58 AM
David Leask
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Long time no see! (20)

Great to see your work again Conrad. I was aware of your image and file loss but I still cringed as I was reading your post. I feel for you buddy. These bad people might have your files but they don't have your spirit nor do they have your skill - these are yours to own forever! Good luck in your quest to replenish the vault. I hope to see and follow your progress

Mar 23, 2014 at 12:06 PM
Herb Houghton
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Long time no see! (20)

Hey Conrad, sorry to hear of your loss, but I'm sure you'll make up for it in the next few trips. I keep dual copies of my images on separate drives or mirrored drives in the same enclosure. Excellent set of images. I like that acorn launch shot.

Mar 23, 2014 at 12:20 PM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Long time no see! (20)

Horrible indeed Conrad but it looks like you're on your way in the rebirth. I'm super glad you were able to get out of the funk to begin Conrad Tan Part Deux, it would be terrible not being able to view and appreciate your work.


Mar 23, 2014 at 12:20 PM
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Long time no see! (20)

Hello Conrad
So sorry to hear about your loss of all your files, I know that I would be sick, I only hope that you get back out and return with even better images, best of luck my friend & I will wait to see your upcoming post. Everything happens for a reason. Welcome back Conrad.

Mar 23, 2014 at 12:29 PM
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Long time no see! (20)

This is a terribly way to learn a lesson Conrad and Iím terribly sorry to hear this. At least they left you the truck!

You are off to a good start building a new collection and all of these are a delight. When you come to Long Island, make shore to contact me and Iíll show you the best spots for the time of year you come.

Iím glad to see you are also gotten past the burn out and sound enthusiastic.


Mar 23, 2014 at 12:50 PM
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Long time no see! (20)

Only 20 What a slacker But what a great diversity of subjects you managed to put in this one post. The birds are wonderful and the captive cats and wolf are a joy. Have you pre-ordered your shutter replacement....wouldn't want you to be thousands of miles away and the clicker doesn't work
Glad to see you back and hope this means you'll be posting at least semi-regularly. Get some more Z's and then get out there and start abusing your shutter.

Mar 23, 2014 at 12:57 PM
binary visions
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Long time no see! (20)

So sorry to hear about the loss of the backups, but it's good to see that you're taking it as a chance to start new.

20 terabytes is a lot of data, and there are a lot of difficulties in getting that backed up to the cloud. Whatever you do is likely to be expensive. There are some options, though. Crashplan (the online backup service) actually allows you to do a free computer-to-computer backup, and you can seed your initial data at the far side by just copying it to a hard drive and delivering it there. If you have a friend or family member with a good broadband connection, you can have one of your data copies there, and the cost is mostly just hardware - maybe buying a small, cheap computer and a big storage block.

You could also create a backup collection of files, such as fairly high quality JPGs. That would reduce your storage size by quite a lot and, while you potentially could lose your RAW files, at least you're not restoring web sized photos.

Good luck with your quest to re-create!

Mar 23, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Search in Used Dept. 


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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Long time no see! (20)

Knowing the terrible story from your FB page and seeing you post new images lately there I'm glad that you are back here with your real friends.
Excellent captures, Conrad.
You are rising and shining again.

Mar 23, 2014 at 01:04 PM
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Long time no see! (20)

Nice set, stay strong you can do it.

Wacky roger

Mar 23, 2014 at 01:15 PM
Russ Welke
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Long time no see! (20)

Welcome back my friend!


Mar 23, 2014 at 01:26 PM
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Long time no see! (20)

Conrad, get a NAS that is remote accessible. I have a 10TB server raid 1 (8 drives) that I can access anywhere with an internet connection. Makes for safe offload when offsite!

Terrible story you have, mine was basiccaly the same but with cars being my original hobby and now photography is the main. (Except the dramatic stuff).

Good luck on your crazy adventure, sounds expensive and fun!


Mar 23, 2014 at 01:28 PM
Karl Witt
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Long time no see! (20)

Hello Conrad............the journeys you have taken and the journeys you are on I am sure are all for reason buddy
Very few people would recover in a positive way the way you have You have lots of friends and lots of people who will silently be rooting for you along the way, I had a feeling that you would find your own inner strength for a strong comeback and couldn't be pushed in doing so. I am glad to hear of your plans!

I have a few favorites here from this set, I have a few nits too But most of all I have a big to know you are baaaaaaack in the game
Let the games begin.................

Welcome back my friend

Mar 23, 2014 at 01:43 PM
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Long time no see! (20)

Welcome Back Conrad...
We definitely missed your presence around here. Your work has always been a picture of excellence, and it looks as if you have picked up where you left off.

I am looking to see more as you rebuild the magic in your portfolio.

Mar 23, 2014 at 01:55 PM
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Long time no see! (20)

Glad to see you back and I am enjoying seeing the photos. It makes me want to head up the Bog today.

And it just reminded me to upload 49 photos to the cloud. Thanks!

Edited on Mar 23, 2014 at 02:03 PM · View previous versions

Mar 23, 2014 at 01:59 PM

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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Long time no see! (20)

Blue Jay landing is my favourite.

Mar 23, 2014 at 02:01 PM
Paul Hokanson
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Long time no see! (20)


It is great to see you back on the forum.

I'm sorry that you had to go through this horribly bad experience!

One way you could look at it is that your canvas was blank and you can now start to redraw it, in a way that only you can do!!! A new challenge, with new experiences!!!!!.


Edited on Mar 23, 2014 at 03:40 PM · View previous versions

Mar 23, 2014 at 02:05 PM
Ted ellis
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Long time no see! (20)

Conrad, you had to show off and put your SUV in the series. Great collection of shots


Mar 23, 2014 at 02:12 PM
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