Friday, December 18, 2009

Learning From Your Mistakes

There's an old saying that those you do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. There's another saying that states that a true professional realizes they do not "know it all" and never stops learning.

I'm sitting here waiting for the recovery software I use to finish scanning my memory card. I'm trying to recover from a real bonehead move. On Saturday I went for a walk in Frick Park with #2 Son. Took a bunch of nature shots. I set the camera down when I got home.

Two days later I grabbed the camera and a flash to take photos at #1 Son's birthday dinner. The frame counter indicated that the memory card was not empty, so without thinking I reformatted the card and headed to dinner. I only took three photos at dinner. After I got back, I realized what I had done.

Fortunately, I only lost one image from the first shooting, because the first shoot was shot in RAW plus JPEG, while the second shooting was done in JPEG only (which takes approximately one-third the space on the memory card). I fired up the image recover software I have (thew free package "PC-Inspector") and managed to recover everything else from the first shooting.

In my old job, this was known as "Lessons Learned". There was an actual process you had to go through, and you (or your boss) had to write a letter telling everyone why you screwed up, and how you were going to make sure it didn't happen again.

So, what should I have done differently?
  • Always dump the cards as soon as the "assignment" is over with. Doesn't matter whether you took 3 photos or 300, empty the card and have it ready at a moment's notice. While you are waiting for the images to download from your card, make sure that your camera settings are what you always use as your "standard" settings. If you have to shoot something quickly, you don't want to waste time double checking your camera settings.
  • After you dump the card (and have made at least one backup) reformat the card. That way you are ready to for the next time you need to shoot something.
  • If you pick up the camera and there are shots on the memory card, chimp the photos on the card before you reformat it. If you remember dumping those photos, go ahead and reformat. If you don't remember dumping them, leave the card next to your computer and grab an empty card to put in your camera.

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