Memory Card Failure (part 1)

Earlier this year I excitedly took a trip to a low lighthouse in the Southwest of England.  When the tide is high it sits beautifully in the water.  I got there before high tide at sunrise and waited.  And waited.  The tide came in and I waited.  At the peak of high tide, it was still several meters away from the lighthouse. ~sigh~

not enough water

Earlier this week I returned to the same lighthouse for a higher tide.  All of the conditions were perfect and I was very, very happy.  When I had all the shots I wanted, I moved on to the next location, 30 minutes drive away and set up to shoot again.  What a fabulous day!  And then it all came crashing down… card failure.  I took a photo, saw a beautiful result on the camera back and then the camera told me “card error”.  So I tried to review it.  No images.  None.  Not the one I just took and none of the ones from my amazing high tide sunrise.  GONE.  I took several more images and got the same result.

Trying not to get panicky, I took the card out, put it in my holder and put a new card in.  All was fine.  I went ahead and shot the location but by now my mood was a wreck and the tide was wrong.

When I got home, I tried the card in my computer, and it agreed with the camera.  No files.  I searched the internet for a recovery program, found one and ran it.  Viola!  It found many files and would recover them for me if I paid for the full software.  

It was expensive. 
I didn’t want to pay that much. 

I found and tried another program.  Same result.  Desperate to get my hard-earned files back, I paid for the full program.  It recovered my RAW files, but they were corrupted and unusable.  By a stroke of luck, I had been shooting RAW + JPG to test the camera’s film simulations and the JPG files were recovered successfully.  It was not ideal, but at least better than nothing.

corrupted image file

Saddened by my experience, I started reading about similar things that have happened to other people and all the potential reasons these card failures can happen.  With my trust completely lost, I decided to never use that memory card again and ordered a few new ones.

As I unpacked my new SanDisk cards I noticed that with a card purchase, they offer a 2 year FREE subscription to their recovery software.  Still hopeful, I tried it.  The results were not better, but free certainly is. So many hard lessons learned.  This is one of the recovered images.  I’m thankful to have any at all and planning to return again next year to reshoot the location a third (lucky?) time.


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