I came back from the states one year, I had been all prepared, I had my trusty Nikon F4 with my 35mm, 50mm and a lovely 70-300mm lens. In a lead bag I packed rolls of black and white film, a real mixture of speeds because I knew that I would be photographing through the day. I was very careful when traveling to make sure the film was safe. I got quite bad jet lag on the return trip and it was two days after I landed before I headed to the darkroom and developed all my film. Elated I spent days in the magic room creating images and sculpting memories.
In the days of film to lose a shot on a roll of film, there was usually quite a good reason; the image was lost on the film due to over/under exposure or similarly over/under development. Your image could be lost because it was never captured because the lens cap was left on the camera or your simply lost the roll of film. In a way these types of loses are human made the answer to “Where did the shot go?”.
When I arrived back from the mountains I plugged two things into my computer, one a portable hard drive and the other a SD card. I had used the hard drive to back up my images on the go when I am travelling, though on the last day of my travels I did not back up my SD card and left in in my camera. I simply transferred the files over to my main photography drive and felt job done and went off to unpack the rest of my bags.
I returned to my images yesterday, I wanted to go through them and begin my editing workflow. When reviewing my shots I got to the end of the files slightly earlier than I expected.
“Where were the shots from last day?”
I quickly looked back at the SD card and it said that there was 12gb of 16gb used on the card. I browsed the files and after about 60 frames there were no more.
“This is not right”
60 images at an average of 30mb an image would be about 2gb.
“Where is the missing 10GBs?”
I rack my brain trying to remember the backing up process to the main computer. No I don’t remember how many files there were. I then search my photography drive for what would be the next file in the sequence thinking, “….well I most likely transferred the file to the wrong folder.”.
Search result is 0.
At this point I come to the realisation that the files are like Schrodinger’s Cat, the pictures are there and not there. There because the volume is being taken up on the card. Not there because I can’t see them.
Of course I had heard of data recovery before my photographer physics conundrum. Data recovery allows you to bring back files from corrupted cards or drives and even bring back deleted data.
In my panic at the time, I was now overwhelmed by the needing to do data recovery as I had not needed to do it before and really had very little knowledge about what I should do. Of course I went to the internet for its limitless uselessness.
When looking at the internet search results there are many companies and programs, all with their glittery promises, all with somewhat questionable recommendations in the commets. After going through several sites and trying to work out which would be the best I actually settled with “Uflysoft Photo Recovery”. They had a trial version of the software that would show you what would be recovered but to recover it you would need to actually buy a license for the program.
I started the recovery program by scanning the SD card. A nervous 50 minutes went by and the program informed me that it had found the missing 10GB of files. I knew the files were there and the cat was alive. I paid the license fee of $29 and recovered the images. Bacon saved.
It was a great relief that the images had been recovered and the cost of the program was worth the added security of the future.
My only question now is, why and how did the images disappear? I did not delete them and the card is not corrupted. These questions I will continue to be investigated as it was very bizarre. At least with film you knew what you had done to lose an image and at least with digital I can recover them.
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