Beneath the Clouds – Dante’s View, Death Valley
The wonderful thing about hard lessons is that they create such strong and lasting convictions.
A couple of years ago on my annual Death Valley trip I was using my new Canon 5D Mk III and had hastily set it up before leaving on the journey. When I got home I realized that I had been recording in B&W JPEG mode and not in Color RAW mode. That was a very hard lesson because I lost many of the images and the remaining ones were not “what they should have been.”
And now Death Valley has once again been the location for another hard lesson.
My Mk III has two card slots and I have always set the camera to write to both cards simultaneously, using the second card as a backup. But after years of never having a card failure, I switched the camera to record to only one card.
Ironically I made that change on this trip and as fate would have it, the card died mid-trip.
I could not read the card with the camera and I could not read it with the computer. Windows could not even see the card (never a good sign) and I tried using three different recovery programs on it…without success.
So I started calling around to disk recovery services and after hearing prices as high as $2000 to recover the images, I finally went with a company that charged $650 and only if they successfully recovered the data. That’s a lot of money for some images, but after all the time and money I had spent on this three week journey, it is worth it to me.
The company was able to recover some of the images and the card is on the way back to me. Soon I’ll know how many of my images were saved. The image above and about 25 other dune images were captured on my second card, the one that should have been a backup of my data.
I’m always lecturing my kids that decisions shouldn’t be based on probabilities, but rather on consequences. The probability of a card failing is very low, in fact I’ve never had it happen once since I started using digital in 2004. But the consequences are high “if” it fails (some say “when” it fails).
The probability of my card failing was low, but the consequences were high.
The lesson learned? Write to both cards even if there is only a one in a million chance that the card will fail.