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Bad Cards Happen to Good People

In all of my classes I always point out the importance of taking care of memory cards, after all these are your ‘negatives”. I explain the consequences of not taking care of cards properly. Always make sure to have the camera off before taking out the card, a card should be properly ejected before removing it from a card reader. In addition, I tell all of my students to “format’ their cards before they use them and to make a habit of formatting cards when they want to remove all of their data. All memory cards should be formatted before use in camera using the ‘format’ function. Formatting a card that has been in use clears all data including residual folder data that may stay on the card. Consider formatting a card a ‘fresh start’ for the card.

For me, I practice what I preach. I always do all of the aforementioned. However, I recently had an experience where a card went corrupt on me for no apparent reason. I had just done a product shoot at my studio and when I went to download the images onto my Mac Pro laptop using a card reader I got that very shocking dialog box that says “ the disk cannot be read”. Not panicking I figured let me go home and try it on my Mac Pro desktop with a different card reader. I tried the card again when I got home and still nothing. Corrupt card affirmative. Still no panic because I know that there are

many programs available that successfully recover corrupt cards all the time. After many attempts to retrieve the data there was no success. I regretfully had to contact the client and explain that my card somehow got corrupt and the images were gone. Thankfully my clients were totally gracious and understanding and I went to the studio that night and reshot it. The product was a fantastic line of home and personal fragrance for the 'travel inspired'. Check out their website

In theory there wasn't much I could have done to prevent it-cards break. It doesn't matter what manufacturer made it. The card was relatively new maybe less than 6 months old (I have cards that are 5-10 years old). I took care of it the way I would tell all my students to. However, that being said I have to take precaution next time.

I shoot with a Nikon D3X which has dual memory card slots that will take two CF cards. Many cameras on the higher end have dual slots and you can choose the function that you want.. For instance I could tell it to send ‘overflow’ to the other card. If i shoot JPEG+ RAW have the JPEG’s go to one card and the RAW go to the other. Or choose the other slot as ‘backup’. From now on my new workflow will always be to have two cards in my camera at all times and have it set to ‘backup’.

For anyone looking to purchase a new camera I would definitely consider one that has dual slots-because bad cards can happen to good people!

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