Digital Photography

Working on a Recovery


Froggatt Edge, The Peak District. Nikon D800, 70-300 lens, f/11.0, 1/6″ at ISO100. Tripod mounted. Exposed for the sky.

It’s been four days since my image library storage corrupted and the data recovery software is still running. To be completely honest I wasted two days switching between different data recovery solutions because I thought they were too slow. The current one has been running for 48 hours and is 59% complete. I think this is going to be a long job.

Whilst I’m in limbo waiting for the results of the scan, I did remember the above image.

This was shot on a Nikon D800 and was shot to produce a silhouette of the three people sat on the rock. It was only once I got the RAW file into Lightroom that I realised I had huge flexibility to recover the shadow detail. With a few selective adjustments, I found I could reveal lots of detail in areas that I thought were black and with very little noise.

Technology is absolutely amazing.

12 comments

  1. Hi Robin, do you only have one copy of your image library storage then? In case you didn’t know TechTool Pro makes a copy of the directory of a disk and in the event of what has happened to you can rebuild that directory. i have used it a couple of times successfully but now have a different back-up strategy and no longer use it for that purpose… although it has made me think again!

    1. I have two copies of the image library which are cycled to store at different locations. It’s that last three trips I made that I need to recover the files from. They were done back to back and downloaded to the Drobo. I didn’t have time to do the backup and thought I would do it the next day. My mistake was in doing a full format on the memory cards too quickly. I have tried a few photo recovery solutions on the cards but nothing has been able to recover them. It would also be nice to recover the Drobo without having to do a complete format and load everything back onto it. Thanks for the suggestion about TechTool Pro. I will take a look at it.

  2. Hi Robin,
    I just signed on to your blog yesterday and found much of what you’ve written to be of interest. I am curious however that you are now photographing with your Nikon D800. Are you still using your mirrorless micro 4/3? I recently gave up on my Nikon film camera and my Canon digital in favor of a new Lumix micro 4/3 GX8. The camera is incredibly portable and has an array of wonderful lenses including my favorite landscape lens, the amazing Vario 7-14 mm lens. I now use this camera exclusively and find it to be an excellent alternative to the full frame heavier cameras available. As a newcomer to your blog, I’m hoping you could weigh in on this. (no pun intended!)

    1. It’s quite funny that I’ve had so many comments about two images I have shown that were shot with a D800 on the same day. But to answer your question, I was still shooting with Micro 43 as my main camera until a year back. I also used a Sony A7R full-frame mirrorless around 40% of the time. About a year ago I switched to the mirrorless Fuji X-T2 as my main camera and I think I have used the Fuji A7R once since then. The Fuji is my main camera and I love the benefits it brings. I also have a Bronica SQAi medium format camera but I never get any comments when I publish a photo from that.

      I think you made a good choice with the GX8. A friend has one and the results are very impressive.

  3. Recovery time is another reason that devices like Drobo and Raid 5 are a flawed concept. I had a number of NAS boxes fail on me. It’s normally the controller which forces you to buy another of the same, hopefully. After a few incidents, I went to Raid 1 using Mac formatted drives. That way you never end up with a dead box with disks not Mac formatted. The worst you can get is slowish performance while the rebuild goes on. You can also use CCC to build a quick copy as an interim backup prior to recovery.

    1. Perhaps they are flawed but they also serve a need. I have almost 16Tb of media files I need to store and have access to. I use CCC already but the size of the drive you need to backup to becomes a problem. The issue I have is with my last three trips which were done back to back. I need to recover the files.

  4. An amazing picture, Robin! We have just arranged our club competitions for next season and one will be titled “Sunrise or Sunset” – I hope I can produce something as good as this!! Hope you are not affected by the fire near you.

    Best wishes,
    Roy Pearson

    1. Thanks Roy, I rather like this one myself.
      Thanks also for your thoughts on the fire. The wind has changed direction since this morning and we can see more clearly now. This morning the smoke looked like heavy fog when I got up and yesterday the ash was falling on me as I walked into the village. The main part of the fire is a couple of miles away and hopefully, they the fire brigade seem to be bringing it under control. The moors catch fire at least a couple of times a year but this one seems particularly bad.

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