AN OOPS CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE, EVEN THE MOST EXPERIENCED PHOTOGRAPHERS. A TRUE TALE OF SCREWING UP ROYALLY
Their is an old adage. “DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO.”
I have always tried to make a point that there is always something new to learn everyday and even more important is the need to firm up the foundation of knowledge we have accumulated in our travels to become photographers.
Beginners and super pros alike have a need to do just that. For beginners, the simple mistakes in the entire photographic process which include the basics of formatting your cards, keeping sensors clean, saving data to several places (A BACK UP SCHEME), knowing our camera gear, etc., are inevitable but do form the basis for a strong foundation down the road. Another old adage is “WE LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKES.”
I’ll add one more brand new quote that may become an adage. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR MEMORY CARDS OR YOUR COMPUTERS WHEN YOU ARE DIRT TIRED BECAUSE YOU WILL BRING DOWN THE RATH OF THE SANDMAN AND HIS ELVES.
I have a tendency to strongly stress certain subjects relevant to photography and beyond the learning process of the exposure triangle, shutter speeds, apertures, composition, tripods and the like, I always tell students and anyone else who will listen about saving their images. Not just one time, but several times to different hard drives. Do not do anything to your data on the memory cards until you have saved in three places. Really!
After returning from a field trip yesterday, and having had about 3 hours sleep the night before I sat down and loaded my images from the day to my computer that were on my 16 gig SD card.
I then remembered that my wife wanted a series of pictures of the front of our house so I formatted the SD card and went out and shot about 25 images and loaded them to the computer.
It was then that a series of events began that should never have happened to an experienced photographer and image processor. But start they did.
I began to organize the desktop where the image folders were:
1-I did not save my images to 3 different drives and formatted the card without checking to make sure my loaded images were truly saved.
2-I did not title my folders, so they were untitled 1 and 2.
3-I was tired and not thinking clearly
4-In the the process of organizing my desktop I sent one of the untitled folders to the trash.
5-I emptied the trash instead of double checking what was in the trashcan folder.
What was the result?
I destroyed 256 images from the days work
This was all so far from my normal way of operating that it at first panic set in. Then a calmness as I searched for a way to possibly recover my images even though I had formatted my card and shot images on a part of the card over what was there before.
I could not believe that someone like myself with all of my experience could make such a disastrous mistake.
I went to google to find out about recovering images and what was available to do that. I came across several listings and decided to try one. I put my card back into the SD card reader and launched the program called Photorecovery Professional 2014.
I have always known that even by formatting a card in the camera that some of the data remains even though we are told that a format completely erases all the data.
What I did not know when I started the software what was about to happen. Remember I had lost 256 images by formatting my card and then shooting images over what was there before.
SIX HUNDRED EIGHTY FOUR. (684) That is the number of images that were recovered by this incredible software. Buried deep in this card were images I had shot from May 2012 to the present and everyone of them both RAW AND JPEG were brought back to life.
What this boils down to is no matter how good you think you are and no matter how much of an experienced photographer you think you are, there will be a time when all of us for reasons unknown, screw up. In this particular place I really felt all was lost that I had shot that day but never would I have believed that I would recover several years of photographs from this one single card.
Was this a lesson learned? Yes. Hopefully it set me on a course to never ever take anything for granted. Thankfully because of a very good piece of software my butt was pulled from the fire. If that great piece of software did not exist and did not work I am sure I would have been a very unhappy camper for quite some time. From here on in “PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH” another great old adage is one I shall endeavor to live by.
And just to be clear opps according to the internet slang dictionary is defined as the wrong spelling of oops.