How I almost lost nearly 200 photos

Chris Lane / Business, Camera parts / / 2 Comments / Like this

…and what I learned from it.

I recently went to do some location/event photography at the county fair for the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council I was there for a number of hours and took a slew of photos (around 162 give or take) and promptly backed them up to my desktop when I got home. The following weekend I was going on another trip for the NWMNAC for photography so I dumped all my cards, just in case I had forgotten previously. Since there were many gigabytes of data, it took a considerable amount of time to move. So, not wanting to waste time just sitting in front of a screen waiting, I left it to go and went to do something else.

When I came back later, the transfer was finished. So, popped all the cards into my camera and formatted them, so that I would have the space for the weekend. Weekend went well, took another 200 or so photos and dropped them onto the desktop when I got home. Everything was going really well.

That is, until I found the time to edit them a couple days later. I looked in the folder that I titled fair and there was nothing there. I think I probably swore a little. Then I looked elsewhere on my computer. Nowhere could the images be found. So I did a search for what the image number should have been. Nothing. I think I might have sworn again. It might have been a little more severe. I checked my memory cards. As I thought, they were all formatted clean except for the one from the weekend. Now I was really starting to get worried. I didn’t know what to do.

Luckily I remember a few years ago I had a hard drive go bad and was able to get at least JPGs back from that with some free software. Of course, I always shoot in RAW, so there wouldn’t have been JPGs to recover, but I thought maybe they’ve improved the software by now. I couldn’t remember whatsoever the one I used back then, so I just searched memory card recovery and a slew of them came up. I ended up trying Card Recovery (clever name, eh?)

Card Recover site

I initially tried the trial version, popped in the formatted card and hoped for the best. It had me choose the drive letter (I assume with this I could also do my hard drive, but I haven’t tested that theory) and what kind of camera the card was used in.

Card Recover screen shot

It took some time but it found a number of files in the RAW format. Problem was, I couldn’t preview them, nor could I recover them. The preview I think would have worked in the trial version if it were JPGs, but not with RAW. I couldn’t recover them because it was just a trial.

The program was $40, so I thought, eh, it had better work. If it doesn’t I’ll be pissed and maybe ask for my money back. If it works, I’ll make more than that with the job, plus it’ll save my dignity. Also, though I have never lost photos from a memory card before, I can certainly foresee this software being useful in the future. So I plunked down the money and downloaded the license key, entered it, hit recover, and said a little prayer.

And what do you know, it worked! I recovered not only the photos from the fair, but some others that were on the card that I had forgotten about! So I was saved. Now, if you are thinking I’m only writing this review because I will get a kickback from Card Recovery, you would be wrong. They have no idea who I am, I just had really good success from their software and like to recommend things that work well. And it’s not a bad price for what it does.

So, what did I learn from this? First and foremost, double check to make sure the files did indeed transfer. Never assume anything, especially with computers. And I should have backed them up to another hard drive as well, so they would be in multiple locations. My wife knows I am fairly good at losing things, so this is really no exception. So, once I have double checked and double backed up the files, then, and only then, should I format the cards.

Have you ever ran afoul of the computer gods? Had a hard drive fail, a memory card fail, or just plain lost stuff? Let me know in the comments.

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