A cautionary tale of memory card failure

by Paul Schmitt

Perhaps you recall the statement “It is not if a your computer hard drive will fail, but when”?  This was a foundation of my talk on a reasonable backup process.  No, I have not had a hard drive fail, but something near to it.   (But the hard drive in my spouse’s DELL did fail last week.  Put a new SSD in the C: location.  Yes, all her documents were backed up on a flash drive.)

The memory cards in your camera are really just a solid state version of a hard drive. Perhaps they are more reliable given that they have no moving disk whirling at several thousand rpm’s.

Earlier this week I shot some birds photos in my backyard and came inside to download them.  (Over 400 images.)  When I inserted the Lexar 32 GB  UDMA 7 card in my computer reader, I got this pop-up.

Never had this before.  I did the scan and the images came up on my FastRawViewer software. All the images seemed to be there. I use this software because it is ultra fast, has focus peaking to show if the bird is in precise focus and avoids some of the color errors of a JPG preview.  All was going swimmingly, and then FastRawViewer froze.  I restarted and re-inserted the CF card, feeling confused.  Same cycle of repair, working and then freezing.  It repeated this twice, telling me something was fishy.

I pondered this,and decided to test this again on my laptop with a different card reader and different software, LIghtroom.  Same result. Not the card reader, computer or reader.

Talked to my computer maintenance man, and he came to the same conclusion.   This CF card is failing. I researched the web for an app to test the Lexar card.  Lexar has an app, but it is targeting image recovery and not fixing.

Not worth chancing the loss of photos in the future. It’s the end of the road old friend.
If this ever happens again, I won’t hesitate to blame the card.  A good lesson to learn without any damage done.
Enjoy the weekend.
Paul Schmitt


January meeting cancelled; see you on February 1

A message from our president Brian Chabot:

Dear CN Photographers,

I and others are concerned that the low temperatures predicted or Thursday evening (and Friday and Saturday), will keep members at home. We feel that it would be best to cancel the January meeting and move the Best Photos of 2017 to our February meeting, hoping for better weather.
This is good weather for frozen waterfalls, if you want to add to your collection. Ithaca Falls is a good place to begin, but there are others.
The deadline for the State of the Art show is fast approaching (Feb 9). It is a good opportunity to share your work in our community. You submit digital versions for selection, but will quickly need prints for those selected. Details are at www.soagithaca.org
The Canadian American Photo Expo will occur in late April. See https://www.canamexpo.com for details. It has two days of workshops on a variety of photography topics. There appear to be three experts on nature photography. Two were at the Smoky Man workshop and were accomplished presenters. Registration is open.
Stay warm!

January 4 meeting info

In our first meeting of the new year, we will look back at out best images of 2017 and lay out plans for ourselves and the club for 2018.

  • Bring your best three images of 2017 and tell us why they are your best ones.
  • What are your New Year’s resolutions for photography?

According to a recent article by Thom Hogan, this is a good time to reflect on your photographic process and identify areas in which you want to improve.  According to the article, “Here’s the question you should be asking yourself: what did I do this year that improved my photography? What lesson did you learn and apply? What technique did you learn and apply? What process did you learn and apply? What new knowledge did you attain and put to use?”

By sharing our resolutions for the coming year, we may find goals we have in common, which may lead to working together or even a club activity.

If you haven’t yet, check out our latest newsletter.  Paul put together one of our best issues yet!  It’s full of information that will help your landscape and wildlife photography.

December 7 meeting info

The December meeting will feature a bunch of useful information from a program that Brian Chabot and Paul Schmitt attended in October.  The Great Smoky Mountain Photography Summit is a 4-1/2 day program that begins each day with multiple outings led by pro photographers to some of the best places in the National Park. Each day continues with a variety of presentations from those same photographers. There were sessions on editing, creativity, use of flash, travel and more.  Brian and Paul pulled together some neat photos, some useful references, and valuable tips to make your photographic skills even stronger.

Paul will also continue the discussion of backup options for photographers.  He just completed backing up his 1.2 TB archive using BackBlaze and will talk about his experience.
We will also be discussing future plans for club events, so your participation at the meeting  is important.



November 2 meeting info

Our photo sharing theme will be “best of fall”.  Bring up to three images to show us!

On a personal note from the CNP webmaster/post writer, I hope that you are all having a great fall in the northeast.  I’m in the Anza-Borrego desert, photographing cacti, ancient mountains, and wildlife, and it sure doesn’t feel like fall out here!

Update for October 5

Our next meeting is October 5, 7:30 in 404 Plant Science (our usual meeting room). This will be a technology-focused meeting.

Adam won’t be able to make it (see previous post), so Paul will present on approaches to storing and managing electronic images. He has a brief presentation on some new software he is learning to use. We will have time to share one or two images that you would like feedback on- any subject or topic. 

Drone photography and tech topics at our next meeting

Our next meeting is October 5, 7:30 in 404 Plant Science (our usual meeting room). This will be a technology-focused meeting.

Update:  Adam won’t be able to make it, so Paul will present on approaches to storing and managing electronic images. He has a brief presentation on some new software he is learning to use. We will have time to share one or two images that you would like feedback on- any subject or topic. 

Professional photographer and videographer Adam Baker will share what he has learned in getting involved with drone photography. This is a rapidly developing imaging technology. Although few of us may use this equipment, Adam will give us an introduction to what is involved.  We also will continue a discussion begun at the last meeting on how to store images. Paul will lead the discussion, but we will share and get feedback on the variety of approaches used by CNP members.

Our photo assignment for the November meeting is “Best of Fall.” How you represent the fall season is up to you. It is a major transition for the temperate natural world. There are lots of opportunities for creativity or an excuse to visit favorite or new locations.

Hope to see you next Thursday!

June 1 meeting info

Wild Columbine

Our June 1 photo sharing theme will be “spring fling”.  We will also discuss ways to create photo books.

In addition, please retrieve your photos from the Unitarian Church show by noon today (June 1).

Improve your Lightroom skills at our next meeting on April 13

Our April meeting is on a special date and time, 7:00 pm Thursday, April 13 in the Stone Computer Center in Mann Library.

This room is on the left as you enter the library itself. With guidance from Adam Baker, we will be working with Lightroom to develop our editing skills. Lightroom is a premier editor with a strong intuitive design. The RAW image file is central to this. Adam invites CNP members to send him a problem image in RAW format for a teaching example. This is a great opportunity for any skill level. Don’t miss this!

There will not be a meeting on April 6, our normal date.