A couple of weekends ago I had the pleasure of teaching a photo workshop for The Nature Conservancy at their wonderful Carpenter Ranch property. What a great place to spend a long weekend!! We spent a lot of time in the amazing habitats of the Yampa River Valley photographing birds and wildlife, balanced with some time inside discussing equipment and technique. A few of the topics we dicussed included managing digital files and simple digital darkroom workflow. Whenever I teach about this I stress the importance of always keeping unedited originals somewhere and backing them up. I also mention that memory cards can sometimes wonk out, but that file recovery software may be able to rescue images that seem to be lost to the corrupt card. I never actually had to rescue images until my card went haywire as I was showing everyone how to download files quickly using a card reader (Murphy's Law, I guess.) Nothing like having a tech meltdown in front of an audience!
So I just switched to a previously downloaded photo file set for purposes of carrying on my discussion at the workshop, but when I got home I set about attempting to salvage the pics, running the Image Rescue software that came for free with one of my Lexar compact flash cards. It was able to scour 150 or so photos from the card, but that was it. I knew some great shots were missing, so I went online in search of a program that might get everything off of the bad card. I settled on trying PhotoRecovery. One of the really nice things they offer is a free demo download that you can run on a corrupt card to see what it finds. They have a watermark across the previews and you can't save them, but it is an ideal try-before-you-buy situation because you will know what you'll get off the card. In the free demo I could see that all but three images were recoverable (those three only had the top of the frame showing, with the rest just gray.) It also found images that I had trashed long ago, including some from my Utah trip in June (even when "deleted", files are still on the card until they are overwritten by new files.) $40 got me the full version to download, which let me immediately save my recovered JPEGS and NEF files- yea!!
The morning session that day targeted Sandhill Cranes. The neighboring Yampavian Ranch plays host scores of the birds that roost near the Yampa River that splits the property. One of the hay meadows is flooded for irrigation and the cranes find it irresistable, stopping there both on their way in to and out of the riverside roost. Interestingly, the cranes were dancing (not to mention cavorting, capering, and frollicking, accompanied by their gutteral bugles) a lot despite the fall season. I guess they want to keep their pair bonds going strong, and they might be teaching their fully-grown (but not red-headed yet) youngsters a little about how to boogie down. All of these shots were from the rescued batch of files- thanks, PhotoRecovery!!