Tag Archives: Froggatt Edge

Friday Image No. 189 and the Continuing Drobo Saga


Froggatt Edge rocks in the Peak District.
Froggatt Edge rocks in the Peak District. Nikon d800 with 24-120 lens. ISO100, f/16.0, 1/3″. 0.9 soft ND graduated filter. Tripod mounted.

I’m going to start with an apology for not posting earlier in the week. Firstly, I’m trying to finalise my latest book and it’s taking longer than expected. Secondly, I still haven’t recovered my image library on the Drobo.

What’s interesting though is that with the ongoing Drobo saga, I have received a few comments and a lot of email from people saying they won’t buy a Drobo because of this. So, I need to set the record straight. This isn’t a fault with my Drobo and I would still go out and buy a new one tomorrow if I needed to.

Let me explain what’s gone wrong as it may help some readers.

My Drobo was formatted using something called the Windows NTFS format.  When I bought it, I only used a Windows PC and the NTFS format was the only realistic option. When I switched to using a Mac, I had too many images to reformat the Drobo, so it continued to use NTFS. What corrupted on Drobo’s disks was something called the Master File Table or MFT. This is the thing that keeps track of all the files on the disk. If it corrupts, you lose track of all your files. They are still on the disk but effectively invisible.

Something that you may not have realised is that it’s virtually impossible to repair a corrupt MFT, which is why there is a mirror copy also held on the drive. This all happens automatically behind the scenes and the only time it’s ever used is if you run Chkdsk in Windows to repair your drive. But if the mirror copy is also corrupt (which can easily happen) it’s bye-bye data. This is what happened to me and it can happen to any drive formatted using Windows NTFS. This is not related to the Drobo design.

So, what caused the MFT corruption?

It was nothing more than the Drobo loosing connection to the Mac whilst data was being written to it. If you aren’t familiar with the Mac, you need to eject any drive before removing it. This ensures all data has been correctly written to the drive before it’s disconnected. Thinking about it, you should also be ejecting drives on a Windows PC or you run the same risk.

So why did the Drobo loose it’s connection to the Mac?

The Mac had something called a Kernel Panic which caused it to crash. That’s why the Drobo lost connection whilst data was being copied to it. And yes, the same thing can happen on a PC; it’s called the Windows Blue Screen of Death.

Tracing the root cause of a Kernel Panic is much more difficult as it can be hardware or software related. In my case I traced the problem to a faulty USB port in a USB Hub I was using. When I tested the port by reading a memory card, I found it would sometimes drop the connection to the Mac.

Initially I was confident the faulty USB port was the source of the problem, but it doesn’t appear it’s the only source. There appears to be something else going wrong as my Mac is still crashing from time to time. This happens whilst I’m trying to copy data from a backup drive to the Drobo. Initially all is well but after around 30-45 minutes the Mac will Crash. After that it crashes more frequently. As there was only a Drobo and it was directly attached to the Mac when this happened, I thought it must be related.

I decided to check the disks using the Drobo tools and they were all reported as being healthy. But, for some reason I decided to pop the front of the Drobo and look at the actual drives. Ultimately, I found that two of the disk drives (the two very old ones) are heating up and one of them becomes very hot to touch. Whilst the drives are cold the Mac is fine but when these drives become very hot the Mac crashes. This seems a little too much of a coincidence.

I’m going to replace the two problem disks in the Drobo and hopefully it will solve the problem. Ultimately, I don’t believe the Drobo is at fault in the slightest here.

As for the image, this is one of the images that I recovered from the crash. These rocks are on Froggatt Edge in the Peak District. As soon as I saw them I could imagine a black and white image. What haven’t yet been able to do is create the image in my head. Hopefully with more time I will be able to. Until then, I hope you like this version.

Have a great weekend.

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.

Friday Image No. 186


Froggatt Edge, The Peak District
Froggatt Edge, The Peak District. Nikon D800, 16-35mm lens, ISO100, 2.5″ at f/16.0. Kase 3 stop Reverse ND Grad.

Last night I ventured out with a good friend to shoot Froggatt Edge in the Peak District. In all honesty, I never have any luck shooting sunsets in the Peak District. Typically, the cloud will close in at the last minute and the sunset is lost.

But this friend seems to be one of the luckiest photographers I know. Every time he goes out with a camera he has good light. And last night was no exception as you can see from the image. We were treated to a truly spectacular sunset. It was also refreshing to see a group of youngsters sat on top of the rocks on the right. They had driven over to the area and walked up on the edge just to sit and watch the sunset.

I hope you like the photo and have an equally spectacular weekend.