Corrupt CF card while shooting a wedding: My story.

michaelglennmichaelglenn Major grinsPosts: 442Registered Users Major grins
edited November 11, 2014 in Weddings
I'm going to start off by saying that I'm not looking for sympathy. Now I know how I could have better prepared myself for this situation. It's too late to turn back, but I'm using my story as a way for other photographers to learn or understand how this could really happen to anyone. If you have a dual card slot..USE IT. I made the mistake of not using one.

Two weeks ago, I photographed a wedding. Gorgeous bride and awesome groom. The day was hectic, families were running around, but we were able to capture everything we needed and in a way that was natural and beautiful. I was shooting with my Canon 5d Mkiii, and shooting in high speed continuous mode. Halfway through shooting the portraits, I notice that the shutter starts to slow down a little bit. I look through my view finder, and the images are showing up fine. I shrug my shoulders and continue shooting. I get to the reception and it's time for speeches. I switch cards and start photographing with my second shooter. At the end of the speeches, people start to eat. I swap back to my first CF card to check out portraits and I get an error message, "Card cannot be accessed". My heart drops and I turn off my camera, remove the battery, wait 15 seconds, and reinsert the battery. I turn on the camera, and the images show up on the viewfinder. I'm relieved and I start looking through the images. I look through the first 15 images and the camera freezes. I start to panic.. turned off the camera and turned it back on: "Card cannot be accessed". At this point, I'm thinking it might be the battery. I remove the battery and replace it with a new one, "Card cannot be accessed". I tell my second shooter to take out the laptop and he runs card recovery software on it. The software cannot detect the card. He runs it on a second program...card cannot be detected. Mind you, he is doing this while I'm photographing everyone on the dance floor. I'm feeling sick to my stomach, but I can't show that anything happened. In my mind, I figured it can still be recoverable.

Side note: When I inserted a new battery and CF card, the camera's shutter went back to it's normal speed..no slow downs. This lead me to believe that maybe the battery had a voltage drop and caused a read and write error when taking pictures.

At this point, I have an hour left to shoot. I convince the bride and groom to do more portrait shots inside the mansion away from everyone. I wanted to get these in the event that I can't recover the card. The hardest part about shooting, is trying to pretend like nothing happened. This couple trusts me with all my life, and I felt completely awful. I maintain my composure, get the shots I wanted, and send them back to the party to enjoy themselves.

We finish everything and pack up. They thanked me for the "amazing" job I did, and I leave the wedding. I photographed this for another company. We were gonna meet halfway since they had a wedding that same day and we were crossing paths geographically. I explain what happened, and they are just as nervous as I am. I give them my camera and card, and they work on it that night. Software recovery on their end didn't work, so we took it to the next level and hired a data recovery specialist who specializes in CF card recovery.

At this point, we decide to not tell the couple. We don't want them to stress if we can get these images recovered. After talking to the data recovery specialist, he is confident he can recover the data. We give the card to him, and I pretty much have anxiety attacks for the next two weeks. The problem was complicated, and he had to rebuild the card. We got the phone call yesterday, and he couldn't recover the images. He said it's possible the files are damaged, but not fully certain.

At this point, I'm devastated. Next step is contacting the bride and groom. I shot them an email yesterday to discuss their wedding images at a time when both her and her husband are available. I sent a text today, but haven't received any response yet. I want to be strategic about when to lay the news, as I don't want it to happen at a family dinner or some kind of event. I know what I will say, and I will update the story with what happens from here.

About the card/what I think happened: The corrupt card was a 3 year old Lexar Pro high speed CF card. I bought new batteries for my camera, thinking it might have been a voltage drop which caused a read and write error on the CF card. I shoot a wedding the following weekend, and halfway through the wedding, the shutter starts to slow down again with a brand new battery in the camera. This leads me to believe that the problem is my 3 month old Canon 5d Mkiii. I will be contacting Canon and getting it serviced soon.

UPDATE: We brought the card to another recovery place called Secure Data Recovery. They are one of the recovery places out there. They evaluated the card and have dealt with issues similar to this card, and they think the data is recoverable. They have to order a bunch of parts and it should take them a month to complete, and hopefully the outcome is recoverable images.

UPDATE 2 I spoke to the Bride and Groom. I called and had them on speaker. I asked how their honeymoon went and they told me how great of a time they had. I told them that the images that we have are absolutely beautiful and that I was really happy to be a part of their day and deliver these images. Then I said, however, I wish I could say this was a happy phone call..something happened to one of the memory cards, and I just want you to listen and understand the steps we have gone through to recover your images. There is still hope, but I need to let you know what we have done to fix this situation.

After talking about the software recovery and how we brought it to two specialists, I mentioned how there hasn't been a day that has gone by that I haven't thought about those images. I was shakey in my voice, and I cried a little bit. The bride was very calm and she was positive about the situation. She told me not to worry and stop stressing. She knew from the start how passionate I was about the day and how I made the day run so much smoother with her crazy family. What mattered most to her was how much fun she had on her day, and how we were there to add to that experience.I let her know that I will not stress over it, but I won't stop caring. I told her that we are treating this as if it was our own wedding images, and we will do whatever we can to recover them.

Under the circumstances, this is the best case scenario. I do feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Hopefully this other company can recover the lost images. If not, we will be offering a refund, family portraits, and B&G pics.

UPDATE 3

So about 6ish weeks into the situation, we have recovered some images! The second card recovery place was able to recover over 1,000 images. However, this only covers footage from bridal prep up until the ceremony. Still missing family portraits and B+G portraits. The company has one more option, where they can do something called a flash dump? (I'm not sure if this is the correct terminology) to recover deleted images. The only downside is that the file names will be all messed up and out of order, but it could recover more images as a result. I'll keep you guys posted with what happens from here.

UPDATE 4

AWESOME news:

The card recovery company did the second method, and I'm proud to say we have a full recovery!!! 1600+ images safely recovered. I'll be contacting the bride very shortly with the great news. I'm incredibly thankful for the outcome, and this experience will forever change how I protect/backup my work.


So what have I learned? Use a dual card slot! Immediately back up your work and back up to back ups. Losing images is an awful pit in your stomach feeling. I'm very lucky and very thankful to get these images back.

I hope this thread has provided some insight on my mistakes as well as the steps taken to get the images back. It took about 8 weeks since the wedding to get a full recovery of the images.
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Comments

  • divamumdivamum Major grins Posts: 9,021Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 27, 2014
    Oh, Michael! Everybody's worst nightmare, and it hurts my heart to know it's happened to somebody as conscientious as you are. So, sorry. Knowing you, and how good your people skills are, I have no doubt you'll salvage this situation one way or another to the best of anybody's ability, but talk about STRESS. Big, big hugs to you, my friend. I wish I could do something to help :(
  • SamSam San Jose CA Posts: 7,418Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 28, 2014
    OUCH!!! I seriously feel for you.

    What would be very informative would be to find out what happened technically. I am sure you were chimping through out the wedding, so that means the card was functioning prior to whatever happened.

    What can happen to a memory card that will not only stop it from working but also destroy all the images that have previously been recorded separately.

    I wonder if Lexar's technical department would have an interest and the expertise to look at your card and find out what happened?

    Good luck with the couple.

    Sam

    ps: If you were shooting this for another company why isn't that company handling the CF card issue?

    I understand you feel responsible but the other company is the contracting entity and the one who has the ultimate responsibility. I hope they will be there while you have this painful conversation with the couple.
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 21,279Super Moderators moderator
    edited September 28, 2014
    Michael, some more information please.

    Were you using a vertical/battery grip on the 5D MKIII?

    Which firmware version?

    When you say, "The problem was complicated, and he had to rebuild the card.", do you know if they transplanted the memory chips from your card into a new, donor card? Otherwise, just what did they do to try to recover your card?
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • jheftijhefti Hyperope Posts: 734Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 30, 2014
    What a nightmare! I've had three Lexar CF cards fail in the past two years, but I didn't lose anything as important as wedding images. (I did lose the images from the second half of a US Women's National Team soccer match, but just on one camera.) I switched over to SanDisk cards, and have yet to have any issues.

    I should also say that I was very unimpressed with customer service at Lexar. I've tossed all my Lexar cards, even the ones that still work, because I just don't trust them anymore.

    I do have my first wedding shoot coming up and plan to run dual CF cards in all cameras. That said, the clients know I am not a wedding photographer and they get what they get. The only reason they wanted me to shoot the event is because I shot another wedding solely as a participant and they liked the images.

    I've said this before, but wedding photography seems like soooooo much pressure!
  • Matthew SavilleMatthew Saville Wedding Photographer Southern CaliforniaPosts: 3,352Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited September 30, 2014
    I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend continuing to pursue card recovery options. It may get expensive, but from the sound of it you may be able to recover at least some of the images. I'd highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend contacting the pros I turn to, "DriveSavers". They are, literally, the recovery specialists that the CIA / FBI turn to when THEY need data recovered. Yeah.

    Unless a voltage surge / drop in your camera has literally physically fried the entire storage sectors of the card, some of the images should still be recoverable. It might cost a few thousand bucks, but IMO it's a small business expense to pay, and there's insurance for stuff like that too if you can purchase it. (PPA gives a DriveSavers discount I believe)

    Good luck! Please do continue to report back, especially if you discover what the actual culprit was, etc.!

    =Matt=
    My first thought is always of light.” – Galen Rowell
    My SmugMug PortfolioMy Astro-Landscape Photo BlogDgrin Weddings Forum
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Posts: 21,315Administrators moderator
    edited September 30, 2014
    This is not the first Lexar horror story I've heard. In the three that I've heard, they've taken cards back and been able to rescue most images. Still, I'd prefer not to be in that position to begin with.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • michaelglennmichaelglenn Major grins Posts: 442Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 1, 2014
    divamum wrote: »
    Oh, Michael! Everybody's worst nightmare, and it hurts my heart to know it's happened to somebody as conscientious as you are. So, sorry. Knowing you, and how good your people skills are, I have no doubt you'll salvage this situation one way or another to the best of anybody's ability, but talk about STRESS. Big, big hugs to you, my friend. I wish I could do something to help :(

    It's definitely been a huge stressor. I think about it everyday, and I know exactly what was on that card. I feel absolutely awful, and I feel like this has taken a toll on my livelihood. But, this is a real thing that could happen to anyone, and it will certainly change how I shoot future wedding events.
    Sam wrote: »
    OUCH!!! I seriously feel for you.

    What would be very informative would be to find out what happened technically. I am sure you were chimping through out the wedding, so that means the card was functioning prior to whatever happened.

    What can happen to a memory card that will not only stop it from working but also destroy all the images that have previously been recorded separately.

    I wonder if Lexar's technical department would have an interest and the expertise to look at your card and find out what happened?

    Good luck with the couple.

    Sam

    ps: If you were shooting this for another company why isn't that company handling the CF card issue?

    I understand you feel responsible but the other company is the contracting entity and the one who has the ultimate responsibility. I hope they will be there while you have this painful conversation with the couple.

    The other company is handling the CF card, but keeping me posted. They aren't mad at me, but just upset at the situation and rightfully so. I have their company on the line, and I want to make sure I use good business practices when I talk to the couple, so they know we are doing everything in our power to get back those images if possible. Right now, we are taking the CF card to another card recovery place to see what we can do. I hear Lexar has a free service to look at damaged cards, so we may bring it to them next if this second place doesn't work.
    ziggy53 wrote: »
    Michael, some more information please.

    Were you using a vertical/battery grip on the 5D MKIII?

    Which firmware version?

    When you say, "The problem was complicated, and he had to rebuild the card.", do you know if they transplanted the memory chips from your card into a new, donor card? Otherwise, just what did they do to try to recover your card?

    No battery grip, and I'll get back to you on the firmware. I'm not sure what the CF card company has done..mainly because the photo company I shot this for is relaying the info back to me..so I'm not hearing it from the source. But I know they replaced parts in the card, just not sure what methods they have taken. The owner wrote down everything he did, so when he called up our second option, he was able to see what that person offered in case there were other recovery options available.
    jhefti wrote: »
    What a nightmare! I've had three Lexar CF cards fail in the past two years, but I didn't lose anything as important as wedding images. (I did lose the images from the second half of a US Women's National Team soccer match, but just on one camera.) I switched over to SanDisk cards, and have yet to have any issues.

    I should also say that I was very unimpressed with customer service at Lexar. I've tossed all my Lexar cards, even the ones that still work, because I just don't trust them anymore.

    I do have my first wedding shoot coming up and plan to run dual CF cards in all cameras. That said, the clients know I am not a wedding photographer and they get what they get. The only reason they wanted me to shoot the event is because I shot another wedding solely as a participant and they liked the images.

    I've said this before, but wedding photography seems like soooooo much pressure!

    Eek! It makes me feel weary of having Lexar cards, but I'm telling you..I'm pretty sure there is something wrong with my camera which caused the CF card to malfunction. Definitely shoot dual so you have piece of mind.
    I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend continuing to pursue card recovery options. It may get expensive, but from the sound of it you may be able to recover at least some of the images. I'd highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend contacting the pros I turn to, "DriveSavers". They are, literally, the recovery specialists that the CIA / FBI turn to when THEY need data recovered. Yeah.

    Unless a voltage surge / drop in your camera has literally physically fried the entire storage sectors of the card, some of the images should still be recoverable. It might cost a few thousand bucks, but IMO it's a small business expense to pay, and there's insurance for stuff like that too if you can purchase it. (PPA gives a DriveSavers discount I believe)

    Good luck! Please do continue to report back, especially if you discover what the actual culprit was, etc.!

    =Matt=

    We first turned to Drive Savers and they were unsuccessful in recovering the card. They had it for about two weeks and performed a bunch of tests and replaced parts that may have been damaged. We are taking it to another place. My true feeling is that the card is recoverable. There were two moments when I popped the card into my camera, I was able to actually view images on the card. Then I would get the error. I know they are on there..it's just out of my scope of expertise. I'll just keep praying and hoping it's not a lost cause.
    ian408 wrote: »
    This is not the first Lexar horror story I've heard. In the three that I've heard, they've taken cards back and been able to rescue most images. Still, I'd prefer not to be in that position to begin with.

    Ugh, I should have switched to SanDisk when I bought new cards.


    As for an update: I'll be speaking to the B&G this weekend. I'm considering skyping with them. I have an outline written, so if I break down and start crying I can be sure to cover all points. I'm hoping things go over well, but just with anything..I need to be professional about it. I will handle this professionally, and I'll let you all know how it pans out. This is the hardest thing I've had to do in my career so far. I guess it's better to happen earlier rather than later. Although I just wish it never happened at all.
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  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Posts: 21,315Administrators moderator
    edited October 1, 2014
    I don't want to project too much negativity but the more you have people look at the card, especially when they take it apart to work on it, the better the chance there is of the process affecting the outcome.

    In data recovery, you want to try and get to the best recovery service first.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • michaelglennmichaelglenn Major grins Posts: 442Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 1, 2014
    ian408 wrote: »
    I don't want to project too much negativity but the more you have people look at the card, especially when they take it apart to work on it, the better the chance there is of the process affecting the outcome.

    In data recovery, you want to try and get to the best recovery service first.

    I agree. I mean, that's why we went with Drive Savers since we've heard that they have had a high success rate. At this point, I'd rather keep trying than just give up on it. I want the couple to know that I care enough to do anything in my power to get those images back. I'm treating this as if I lost my own wedding images.
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  • Matthew SavilleMatthew Saville Wedding Photographer Southern CaliforniaPosts: 3,352Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited October 1, 2014
    I will say this though, don't second-guess your choice of cards. Lexar Pro cards are used by plenty of high-end pros everywhere, and they're just as safe as Sandisk, if not moreso. For every Lexar horror story I've heard, I've heard an equal or greater number from every other maker.

    No reason to switch card makers, really. However, it is wise to retire cards after a few years, though. They all have a limited read/write cycle life, and if you're a wedding photographer there is a great chance that you're putting more than the 100,000 read/writes on that card in the course of a year or two. Always retire old cards.

    http://www.slrlounge.com/memory-card-backup-tips-for-surviving-any-apocalypse/

    [edit]
    I hate to be "that guy", but this needs to be said: Were you shooting on a 5D mk3, and NOT taking advantage of its dual card slot capability? I really, really hate to say this but I just lost a teeny tiny bit of sympathy for your situation, if that is the case. Get yourself a 64 GB or 128 GB SD card, leave it in for the whole wedding day, and card corruption should never be a problem again...
    My first thought is always of light.” – Galen Rowell
    My SmugMug PortfolioMy Astro-Landscape Photo BlogDgrin Weddings Forum
  • SamSam San Jose CA Posts: 7,418Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 1, 2014
    Again, I am very sorry about your situation, but still don't understand why the contracting photographer isn't the one dealing with the client.

    The liability is with the contracting entity. if you want to be there I do understand and commend you for stepping up and facing a VERY difficult meeting, but it really is the contracting entity responsibility.

    Why aren't they dealing with this?


    Sam
  • michaelglennmichaelglenn Major grins Posts: 442Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 1, 2014
    I will say this though, don't second-guess your choice of cards. Lexar Pro cards are used by plenty of high-end pros everywhere, and they're just as safe as Sandisk, if not moreso. For every Lexar horror story I've heard, I've heard an equal or greater number from every other maker.

    No reason to switch card makers, really. However, it is wise to retire cards after a few years, though. They all have a limited read/write cycle life, and if you're a wedding photographer there is a great chance that you're putting more than the 100,000 read/writes on that card in the course of a year or two. Always retire old cards.

    http://www.slrlounge.com/memory-card-backup-tips-for-surviving-any-apocalypse/

    [edit]
    I hate to be "that guy", but this needs to be said: Were you shooting on a 5D mk3, and NOT taking advantage of its dual card slot capability? I really, really hate to say this but I just lost a teeny tiny bit of sympathy for your situation, if that is the case. Get yourself a 64 GB or 128 GB SD card, leave it in for the whole wedding day, and card corruption should never be a problem again...

    Thanks for the link and your input on cards. And I mentioned it as the first thing in my post. I did not use it. When I bought the mkiii back in July, I noticed it had the dual card slot capability. I realized after purchasing it, that it took SD cards not CF for the backup option. I should have purchased one after realizing this, but I didn't. I waited and this happened. So yes, I'm aware I could have had one extra line of defense that I did not utilize, and I'm paying the price for it.

    It happened, and now I'm learning from my mistakes. I bought a 128GB high speed SD card to record as backup for peace of mind. But the purpose of this thread was for others to learn/observe what I am doing in this situation, while also taking advice/comments from you guys. I don't want sympathy for what happened.
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  • michaelglennmichaelglenn Major grins Posts: 442Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 1, 2014
    Sam wrote: »
    Again, I am very sorry about your situation, but still don't understand why the contracting photographer isn't the one dealing with the client.

    The liability is with the contracting entity. if you want to be there I do understand and commend you for stepping up and facing a VERY difficult meeting, but it really is the contracting entity responsibility.

    Why aren't they dealing with this?


    Sam

    The owner wanted to reach out first, but I insisted. I am letting the bride know this as well. I feel it would be better to hear it from me, before hearing about it from the company. They will be in contact with them after I tell them the news.
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  • SamSam San Jose CA Posts: 7,418Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 1, 2014
    The owner wanted to reach out first, but I insisted. I am letting the bride know this as well. I feel it would be better to hear it from me, before hearing about it from the company. They will be in contact with them after I tell them the news.

    Thanks, that answers that question. I was concerned this co was hanging you out to dry.

    Sam
  • Matthew SavilleMatthew Saville Wedding Photographer Southern CaliforniaPosts: 3,352Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited October 2, 2014
    Sam wrote: »
    Thanks, that answers that question. I was concerned this co was hanging you out to dry.

    Sam
    I'd have to agree with MG on this one, contractual obligations don't matter nearly as much as personal connection. If the bad news has to come from someone, I'd want it to be me, too. Being hung out to dry didn't even cross my mind, in fact as a wedding photographer myself I'd feel like it would be a cop-out to let the contracted studio handle things. So, kudos to the OP for sticking with this and seeing it through.

    =Matt=
    My first thought is always of light.” – Galen Rowell
    My SmugMug PortfolioMy Astro-Landscape Photo BlogDgrin Weddings Forum
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Posts: 21,315Administrators moderator
    edited October 2, 2014
    I'd have to agree with MG on this one, contractual obligations don't matter nearly as much as personal connection. If the bad news has to come from someone, I'd want it to be me, too. Being hung out to dry didn't even cross my mind, in fact as a wedding photographer myself I'd feel like it would be a cop-out to let the contracted studio handle things. So, kudos to the OP for sticking with this and seeing it through.

    =Matt=

    100% agree.
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  • Gaby617Gaby617 Major grins Posts: 218Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 2, 2014
    I got a bad stomach feeling reading this. Im interested in the potential problem w/ your 5dlll. I have a few cards and batteries I rotate and to my knowledge never experinced a shutter slowdown w/ any comnination of them. I bought mines used of another photographer in 2/14 and he bought it on 4/13. Have you looked into if that paticular problem has been a issue for other owners? I remember one time I was tying to transfer images from a second shooter and the images wouldn't show. They appeared as icons. I just transfered the icons to the same folder I had my images on and opened up the whole folder in LR w/ no problem. Funny things happen w/ electonics. Hopefully it all works out for you.
  • SamSam San Jose CA Posts: 7,418Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 3, 2014
    I'd have to agree with MG on this one, contractual obligations don't matter nearly as much as personal connection. If the bad news has to come from someone, I'd want it to be me, too. Being hung out to dry didn't even cross my mind, in fact as a wedding photographer myself I'd feel like it would be a cop-out to let the contracted studio handle things. So, kudos to the OP for sticking with this and seeing it through.

    =Matt=

    Perhaps I did not convey my thoughts well. I do understand, and yes if it were me I would definitely be talking to the couple face to face, but at the same time I would not be pleased if the company that hired me washed their hands of it and through be under the bus.

    I was not implying the OP should back off and wash his hands of the matter.

    I hope this clarifies what I was trying to say.

    OH, and boy am I thankful this didn't happen to me.

    Sam
  • michaelglennmichaelglenn Major grins Posts: 442Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 5, 2014
    Sam wrote: »
    Thanks, that answers that question. I was concerned this co was hanging you out to dry.

    Sam

    No, not at all. The company is still hiring me for other events even with this happening. We have been in close contact with each other through the entire situation. It has been a team effort.
    Gaby617 wrote: »
    I got a bad stomach feeling reading this. Im interested in the potential problem w/ your 5dlll. I have a few cards and batteries I rotate and to my knowledge never experinced a shutter slowdown w/ any comnination of them. I bought mines used of another photographer in 2/14 and he bought it on 4/13. Have you looked into if that paticular problem has been a issue for other owners? I remember one time I was tying to transfer images from a second shooter and the images wouldn't show. They appeared as icons. I just transfered the icons to the same folder I had my images on and opened up the whole folder in LR w/ no problem. Funny things happen w/ electonics. Hopefully it all works out for you.

    I have done a few google searches and it seems like some newer models have had this problem. I still need to investigate it further. It is concerning because what happens if this happens to someone else, ya know?


    UPDATE: We brought the card to another recovery place called Secure Data Recovery. They are one of the recovery places out there. They evaluated the card and have dealt with issues similar to this card, and they think the data is recoverable. They have to order a bunch of parts and it should take them a month to complete, and hopefully the outcome is recoverable images.

    UPDATE 2 I spoke to the Bride and Groom. I called and had them on speaker. I asked how their honeymoon went and they told me how great of a time they had. I told them that the images that we have are absolutely beautiful and that I was really happy to be a part of their day and deliver these images. Then I said, however, I wish I could say this was a happy phone call..something happened to one of the memory cards, and I just want you to listen and understand the steps we have gone through to recover your images. There is still hope, but I need to let you know what we have done to fix this situation.

    After talking about the software recovery and how we brought it to two specialists, I mentioned how there hasn't been a day that has gone by that I haven't thought about those images. I was shakey in my voice, and I cried a little bit. The bride was very calm and she was positive about the situation. She told me not to worry and stop stressing. She knew from the start how passionate I was about the day and how I made the day run so much smoother with her crazy family. What mattered most to her was how much fun she had on her day, and how we were there to add to that experience.I let her know that I will not stress over it, but I won't stop caring. I told her that we are treating this as if it was our own wedding images, and we will do whatever we can to recover them.

    Under the circumstances, this is the best case scenario. I do feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Hopefully this other company can recover the lost images. If not, we will be offering a refund, family portraits, and B&G pics.
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  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Posts: 21,315Administrators moderator
    edited October 5, 2014
    Sounds like you have a promising outcome on both fronts.
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  • divamumdivamum Major grins Posts: 9,021Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 5, 2014
    Michael, I know how good you are talking to people, and was confident that even with the inevitable disappointment the situation would cause, you would come out of this with a couple who appreciate your efforts for them. Now just crossing all fingers and toes that some of the images can be recovered so there will be a happy ending all round!
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAPosts: 11,522Administrators moderator
    edited October 5, 2014
    Regarding the Lexar... was this a UDMA-7 card? And if so, have you always used a UDMA-7 compliant reader with it? Lexar Support admits that card readers that aren't UDMA-7 compliant can actually slowly damage the card over time. Nowhere will you find this stated in any Lexar supporting documentation, although it's been repeated by the head of Lexar marketing (Jeff Cable) here on Dgrin and in other public forums.
  • Matthew SavilleMatthew Saville Wedding Photographer Southern CaliforniaPosts: 3,352Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited October 6, 2014
    Glort wrote: »
    Then seriously, Don't Cry! That would make you look totaly Unprofessional In my mind. Especially from a bloke. They are Photos. No one died. Yeah, I know all about the precious memories and most important day of you life scenario and ironicaly enough, some of my wedding pics were lost when the film processor stalled so before people chip in about the importance of the images and how they affect the clients lives etc, don't bother, been there done that. It really isn't the end of the world.

    Had a relative died the day before or morning of the wedding, one of the bridal party been in an accident and hurt or killed or the reception place burned down the night before, Then tears, although probably not your's, would be in order. These are all things that have happened and more than once so the fact this couple had a perfect day otherwise with no real disasters other than missing out on some of their pics need to be kept in mind. Pictures are the memory of their wedding, not the reason they got married. It should also be remembered that lots of people don't even have a photographer at their wedding but they still have very enjoyable days and happy marriges despite that.

    I think you need a bit of harden the heck up. Shift happens. Things fail through no fault of your own and nothing is perfect. If you weren't negligent in some way, the situation is unfortunate but there are a lot of potential area's for problems in this game and sometimes technical failures happen. You can get new gear and things will still fall over. Never seen any camera equipment yet with a " Failure Imminent " warning light or buzzer on it.

    Those of us whom have been doing this long enough have all had it happen and while you can take precautions to minimise the potential problems, you can't gaurantee against them.

    My own thing is to back up the images between every section of the day. When going from the grooms home to the brides, I back the card up on the laptop or the portable drive reader. When I'm going from the Brides home to the church, same thing and so on through the day. I'll do it again after the bridal waltz so I have the official part of the reception backed up. This way, I'm more likley to lose just one part of the day than potentialy the whole day.

    And there is also the potential to go back and do a lot of the pics again. I have done this heaps of times. People werent happy with the original shooter they had on the day was a big one and I have also done a fair few of my own because the weather on the day was total crap. The feedback I have got from the people that have done this is they liked those pics better and for a reason I had no control over.
    They weren't tired, stressed, NERVOUS, had the hair or makeup the way they REALLY wanted it, had more time, groom wasn't shifting bricks about making his speech and so it goes. The fact it wasn't THE day has only been a plus not a detriment.
    This is a fallback you can look at if you need/ they want to after seeing what you have got.

    In this case it sounds like you did the smart thing and shot more backup pictures on the day when you realised a potential problem , and probably a lot of pics even though I'm guessing not the multi thousand you probably normaly do. You were also very professional in keeping it to yourself and sussing the problem before letting the B&G know. Did you have the second shooter with you the whole day? If so then you would have their pics as well and this is far from a total disaster you should be breaking down and crying about. Yeah, it's not fun and it is demoralising but everybody lived and will continute to do so just fine with or without pics.

    These things happen and you probably have enough pics to put together a very decent album or disk, whatever you do, so keep it in perspective and do handle it professionaly as you have been but without the tears.
    1.) I think I qualify for falling into the "those of us who have been doing this long enough" category, finally, and I gotta say that "I think you need a bit of harden the heck up" sounds pretty cold-hearted for a wedding photographer. I've lost count of how many hundred brides I've met, but I'd still cry if I lost a wedding, or even just half of one. Call me a sissy, but I feel an emotional connection to each wedding day that I document, and a strong, deep obligation to, well, not break that bride's heart. Even if they're just pictures.

    2.) I'm amazed that you're downloading to a laptop all throughout the day, while driving here and there, etc. I think we had this conversation before though, and IIRC you're not actually trying to download photos to a laptop WHILE driving, of course. ;-) But either way, in my humble opinion as a post-production manager for a large wedding studio, as a system it's still highly sub-optimal to have to fiddle with all that stuff. Let alone the thought that you'd take a memory card out, download it, and then put it back in the camera to continue shooting? (Again, not sure if that's the case, but I hope not...)

    If you're a wedding photographer in this day and age, your #1 goal for image safety should be to get a camera with dual card slots, then use a single high-capacity card in one of the slots while swapping out smaller cards throughout the day. As someone who shoots ~1-2K images for 10-14+ hour days, I roll with a 64 GB SD card and 8 GB CF cards in my Nikon D800e. This concept is, hands-down, the absolute safest thing you can do. You're not putting all your eggs in just one or two baskets, and yet neither are you juggling the eggs or needlessly risking their loss / damage.

    =Matt=
    My first thought is always of light.” – Galen Rowell
    My SmugMug PortfolioMy Astro-Landscape Photo BlogDgrin Weddings Forum
  • SamSam San Jose CA Posts: 7,418Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 6, 2014
    headscratch.gifscratchheadscratch.gifscratchheadscratch.gif

    "I shoot cheer where I -Literally- put cards in and out of the camera over 300 Times a day to download after every routine."

    Help me out here. The longest cheer event I found in the US was a 12 hr day with an hour for lunch. That's 11 hrs of shooting. 11 hrs times 60 minutes equals 660 minutes divided by 300 card insertions means you are removing a card every 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

    Seems a little off to me.

    Matt's recommendation of using a camera with dual memory card slots is a very sound practice.

    I would love to know some of the "don't subscribe to 90% of current Photographically correct thinking" is. :D

    Do you have any explanation as to why you seem to have an aversion to FF cameras? FF sensors do produce a superior image. While it may not be an absolute necessity why not have a higher quality image to start with?

    The OP cried....big deal, I have no issue. What is does show is his level of concern, commitment, and the ability to feel empathy.

    Matt and I have had our online differences but he does have demonstrable (I and everyone else can see this for themselves) photography, and image processing experience. I believe it is wise to consider what he is saying and not dismiss it out of hand.

    Sam
  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,621Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 6, 2014
    Glort wrote: »

    ///
    Out of interest, is the current "approved" thinking use large cards now? Wasn't so long ago where people were professing use a whole bunch of small cards. Is there any sort of factual, tested, supported policy on what is best issued by a card or camera manufacturer based on their testing or is it just based on photographers perceptions?

    ///

    Strange to think that we seemed to manage reasonably ok in the past with such low numbers of frames on any bit of media, before having to change a roll or whatever?

    Maybe returning to swapping media after every 50 (say) frames would positively affect things on several different fronts too ?

    Doubt that anyone can say it's more difficult / takes longer to swap current media than changing a roll of film ...

    Fingers crossed re data recovery, btw ... and interestingly, the only card that I've had problems with was also a Lexar pro (512mb), bought from the US in my 10D days.

    pp
  • Matthew SavilleMatthew Saville Wedding Photographer Southern CaliforniaPosts: 3,352Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited October 6, 2014
    Glort wrote: »
    Grown men crying because some wedding pictures were lost ? I don't get it?
    I'm very sad to hear that you have that many client-related deaths in your career, and I hope I can escape this career with fewer. Wish me luck...

    Glort wrote: »
    Put the card in, start the download, start the car and drive. Remove card when I get to next destination. It downloads sitting on the passengers seat while I drive with no further input from me. I don't see the big deal. Works the same for the laptop or the downloader.
    Again, I'm pretty sure we already had this debate...

    2X memory cards that are safely in my pocket and/or bag, versus 1x memory card out in the open, plugged into a laptop, while driving. One does indeed involve less risk than the other.

    But like I said, we already had this debate. I'm sure you've never had a card reader unplug, or a laptop battery die, mid-transfer. I'm sure you've never been in a car accident, or been mugged. I'm also pretty sure that with your level of care, those things will probably never happen. Unless something truly horrible happens, we're both fine.

    But that won't stop me from strongly encouraging new (wedding) photographers to get a camera with dual card slots, and use the backup system I described. If you want the least possible amount of risk, especially for folks just starting out in the industry, nothing beats having all your images instantly on two separate solid-state media, and one of those copies going directly into your pocket every 300-400 clicks.

    Landscape shooters, do whatever the heck you want!

    Portrait photographers, a dual card slot camera with two big fat cards that you never need to swap is probably fine, just don't let your camera out of your sight, or drop it in a lake.

    Sports action (or red carpet / fashion show) shooters, you've got media deadlines to meet so you should do whatever you gotta do to get images to your editor asap. That's just the norm for the business.

    So, Glort, please keep in mind that I understand how safe your workflow is, for YOU, but my input in this discussion is largely meant for folks who simply don't have ANY backup system yet, and are considering their options.

    =Matt=
    My first thought is always of light.” – Galen Rowell
    My SmugMug PortfolioMy Astro-Landscape Photo BlogDgrin Weddings Forum
  • Matthew SavilleMatthew Saville Wedding Photographer Southern CaliforniaPosts: 3,352Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited October 6, 2014
    Strange to think that we seemed to manage reasonably ok in the past with such low numbers of frames on any bit of media, before having to change a roll or whatever?

    Maybe returning to swapping media after every 50 (say) frames would positively affect things on several different fronts too ?

    Doubt that anyone can say it's more difficult / takes longer to swap current media than changing a roll of film ...
    pp

    As a writer for a photography publication, I deal with this debate quite often. It really is true, too; just a couple decades ago we were swapping rolls of film every 12-36 exposures. Some people still didn't even use autofocus, or zooms, or whatever. We certainly didn't have facial recognition during image playback, to check for sharpness and blinking eyes on every single face in a 10-person group shot in literally 1.5 seconds.

    But you know what? Technology is simply allowing us to do more things in less time, delivering a larger AND better collection of images than possible before. The level of creativity seen today is unparalleled, in many ways. (Although in others, traditional skill & talent may have leveled off or declined, who knows...)

    So, it's apples and oranges. Today's standards for delivery aren't what they were 20 years ago, even 10 years ago.

    =Matt=
    My first thought is always of light.” – Galen Rowell
    My SmugMug PortfolioMy Astro-Landscape Photo BlogDgrin Weddings Forum
  • codecancarecodecancare Beginner grinner Posts: 1Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited October 7, 2014
    Hello, I am truly sorry to hear of the stress of the error on the cards.. I just got married 2 months back, and am 6 months into a data recovery position (been a computer programmer for 25 years now).

    If they luck out on the recovery and you are in need of some help let me know, I've specialized in jpeg data recovery, knowledge of how the headers and image content work and can repair pretty much any jpeg as long as the data it not random content :)

    I know how much my wonderful wife would be saddened by the loss of our photos from the day.

    Wishing you an otherwise happy day :)

    -Eric
    [email protected]
  • Matthew SavilleMatthew Saville Wedding Photographer Southern CaliforniaPosts: 3,352Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited October 8, 2014
    UPDATE: We brought the card to another recovery place called Secure Data Recovery.

    Small world! That was the other service I was going to recommend after DriveSavers. I've used them too and they're great people. Unfortunately they weren't able to help my studio because the hard drive they worked on had already been re-written to capacity numerous times; it was an accidental deletion issue and not a physical corruption / damage issue...

    =Matt=
    My first thought is always of light.” – Galen Rowell
    My SmugMug PortfolioMy Astro-Landscape Photo BlogDgrin Weddings Forum
  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,621Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 8, 2014
    As a writer for a photography publication, I deal with this debate quite often. It really is true, too; just a couple decades ago we were swapping rolls of film every 12-36 exposures. Some people still didn't even use autofocus, or zooms, or whatever. We certainly didn't have facial recognition during image playback, to check for sharpness and blinking eyes on every single face in a 10-person group shot in literally 1.5 seconds.

    But you know what? Technology is simply allowing us to do more things in less time, delivering a larger AND better collection of images than possible before. The level of creativity seen today is unparalleled, in many ways. (Although in others, traditional skill & talent may have leveled off or declined, who knows...)

    So, it's apples and oranges. Today's standards for delivery aren't what they were 20 years ago, even 10 years ago.

    =Matt=

    Whilst all of these topics / issues / benefits etc may well be true - although there are big ?? re quality v quantity issues ... I was only really addressing one ... that of changing cards after a relatively small number of images has been taken.

    Unless there is a fault with the cam, then it unlikely that user would (potentially) lose more than one group of pics.

    It's taken as read that many technical advances have some positive use and impact on the final image.

    pp
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