Don't put all your pictures on one memory card (or eggs in one basket)

It's tempting: buying a 8GB memory card with your digital camera so you can hold 2,500 pictures and never have to worry about switching cards. You can go days, even months without connecting your camera to the computer and show pictures of Christmas parties at Halloween balls. That is, until something goes wrong with your memory card and you lose everything on it. The ability to store 2,500 pictures means you can also lose 2,500 pictures, at once.

That's what happened to me the other day when I was shooting my cousin's wedding (don't these things happen at the worst possible timing?). Two thirds through the reception, my camera gives me a "Card not formatted" error. This was a split second after I took my 250th (roughly) picture of the day. I panicked; here was someone's once in a lifetime (hopefully) event, and I just lost 250 pictures portraying it (for those that don't know me, I used to shoot for a newspaper in college, and still shoot as a hobby). Luckily, besides the 1GB card that died, I also had an old 256MB card which allowed me to keep shooting, albeit conservatively (I once shot 360 pictures in a 2 hour span, and that was on film).

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. After trying the 1GB card on numerous card readers, I took it to a professional data recovery service, and they were able to salvage all the pictures except eight. They charged by the MegaByte, so recovering a 1GB card cost me about $70, the cost of many GigaBytes of CF cards, but it was worth every penny (or in this case, yen).

Having learned my lesson, I will now go purchase two or three 512MB cards (or 1GB, if the price is no different) and be adamant about changing cards during a shoot. I carry my camera in a camera bag so holding several extra cards is no problem. As for the criminal 1GB card, I will ceremoniously destroy it by driving nails through it. Actually, I'll label it as risky and only use it if all my other cards spontaneously combust and I'm hundred miles from the nearest electronics store.

As for the images above and below, the data recovery service had an interesting side effect of recovering pictures I deleted long time ago. Many of these reappeared, and some of the images were garbled together. None of these pictures are edited in Photoshop. I'm simply uploading them as I found them on the recovery CD. The one on the top is actually a mix of two weddings, one of my college roommate back in December in Kansas City, and my cousin's in Japan two weeks ago. Call it accidental art.

Another Kansas City Wedding Image.

Class mugshots.

For some reason, this guy kept getting resurrected.

Isn't it kind of creepy? It makes me want to take a lot of random photos and and take a hammer to the memory card to see what the recovery service will pull together. Maybe I'll do that with this no longer reliable 1GB card.

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ZA is a blog about ideas: cool ideas, existent ideas, pointless ideas, crazy ideas, my ideas, your ideas, interesting ideas, funny ideas, product ideas, meaningless ideas, great ideas, shrimp ideas, etc. It’s here for people to rant, rave, share, and satisfy. Any idea here (if original) is free for you to use (I take no responsibility) as long as you credit the originator of the idea (be honest). Feel free to send me any ideas, but a blog is considered to be public disclosure so you will lose all rights to patent it. Enjoy.


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