Lesson Learned – Make Sure To Upload Before Reformatting

/, Birds, Davis County, Peregrine Falcons, Utah/Lesson Learned – Make Sure To Upload Before Reformatting

Peregrine Falcon on a cold winter morningPeregrine Falcon on a cold winter morning – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1600, ISO 250, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Yesterday afternoon I made a mistake, one that could have been worse, because I was thinking about something else when I was getting ready to go down to the local pond in the afternoon. For a short trip down to the pond I usually check my battery level, grab my memory card from the card reader in my computer, stick it in my camera, reformat it and head out the door.

Let me start with the morning first though so I don’t get ahead of myself…

Around 10 am I went to the grocery store to pick up a few items and on my way home I drove down to the local pond to see if what birds were there and I found the female Peregrine Falcon I photographed on the 4th of January perched on a pole. I’ve seen her four or five times since the 4th and haven’t been able to get decent images of her for one reason or another. So I went home, grabbed my camera and went back down to the pond hoping the falcon would still be there.

She was still there sitting on top of the pole, the angle was a bit steep but the light was good and it was nice to see her back by the pond, so I took photos of her on the pole stretching, lifting her wings, pooping and just looking around. The images weren’t all that exciting but hey, the neighborhood falcon is always a delight to see and photograph.

I went home, put my memory card in the card reader and got sidetracked by other things. You know, like life.

About 3:30 pm the light was good and I started to get ready to go back down to the local pond, checked my battery level, it was only down one click so that was good. I grabbed my memory card from the card reader, inserted it in my camera, turned on the camera, hit the menu button, selected the XQD card slot and said “OK” to reformat it.

It was less than a tenth of a second when I realized that I hadn’t uploaded the photos to my computer that I had taken of the falcon in the morning to my computer. They were wiped right off of the card. Gone.

I thought I could recover the image files using the SanDisk Rescue Pro utility program I have on my computer but that was a no go, it wouldn’t recover the files and the program crashed. I don’t know if that is because my XQD card is manufactured by Lexar and not SanDisk or if it is because that program doesn’t work with Windows 10. I don’t even know if I ever used that program for myself before, I know I have used it for a friend who lost files because of premature reformatification.

I quickly searched the web for a Lexar file recovery application, found a free one from Lexar, downloaded it, installed it and got ready to recover the files. Only the free application has a limit of only 1054 MB (or something like that) and to recover more than that you need to purchase the “Pro” utility application. I knew I had taken more images than the limit would retrieve so I sat shaking my head at my self created folly.

At that moment I knew I would miss the “good light” at the pond if I purchased the Pro application and spent the time setting it up and going through the process of recovering the RAW image files which can be time consuming because the files are large and I came to the conclusion that  I should just accept that the files were gone and go down to the pond to photograph whatever I could find there.

The Peregrine Falcon in the photo above was taken nearly a year ago as it rested on a rock on the causeway to Antelope Island State Park. I guess I can take consolation in the fact that the photos I took yesterday morning weren’t quite as lovely as this one is.

I lost those Peregrine Falcon images because I had other things on my mind and prematurely reformatted my memory card. I spent the afternoon and evening kicking my own butt. From now on I will make double sure to upload my images files to my computer before reformatting my memory card. Lesson learned.

Life is good. Right?



  1. Marty K January 24, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Poop! I hate that “brain-fart” feeling. I’ve done stuff like that bunches of times and I hate myself every time. You’re definitely not alone and life IS good, even if you lost those images. 🙂

  2. sallie reynolds January 24, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    Right! Life is good. Hi-tech hijinks. I am working on a handbook for teaching about raptors. I was done! Then I ran a spell check. And the spell checker on my computer changed every scientific name in the handbook and many of the reference authors’ names. I haven’t figured out which button I pushed, but now I have lost the final copy of the handbook. It’s too compromised to risk using any of it. Misery loves company. . .

  3. Patty Ritter January 24, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    Life is good indeed. Sorry that happened! I imagine you’ll get more opportunities with that falcon!

  4. Ingrid January 24, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Oh, so sorry, Mia. It’s impossible to understand the creative agony of a situation like that until you’ve done it, right? Relatively early into my wildlife photography, I lost nearly all of the documentary photos I took during the Cosco Busan oil spill, never to be recovered. It was an egregious user error, combined with data corruption. My only consolation is that I wasn’t that great of a wildlife photographer then, and what was lost undoubtedly reflected that reality. 😉

  5. Pepe Forte January 24, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Great shot. The falcon is beautiful and I can practically feel the cold air.
    Sorry about your memory card…it takes awhile to shake off the loss doesn’t it? Back in the day when I did my own 35 mm film processing, I accidentally rinsed 18 rolls of photos [I had taken on a trip through northern Calif.,] – in hot water. All the emulsion melted off and I was left with 18 rolls of blank film. I lost some of the best photos I have ever taken. I feel your pain.

  6. Utahbooklover January 24, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Sweet image of the Peregrine. Yes, life is good and the mystery of it, including the cosmos, is truly amazing if not always nice. And now that I’m in my 70s I prefer to keep things simple: I always have my new iPod with its easy to use camera on my hip, and I love how the images automatically go to the cloud and then to my collection in my iPad Pro for better viewing an maybe processing; thank you Apple!

  7. evelyn gillson January 24, 2018 at 10:22 am

    That was me 2 weeks ago. I had taken over 300 photos of a Great Grey Owl. They were the best I have ever taken. Went home put them in my computer. Forgetting that this was from a New Camera. PREVIEW UNAVAILABLE. No matter what I did, nothing. I had a friend come over who knows about this Nikon D500 but NOW MAC Computers. I just said stop. I phoned the next day got a home service. Turns out there was a glitch in my LR5. He saved my photos. I ended up buying LR6 software, because I am still not comfortable with this Icloud thing. Anyway thankfully he saved every one of those photos.

  8. Laura Culley January 24, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Yes, distraction is the bane of my existence, too. To battle it, I’ve whittled the details of my life down to no more than five elements with the rest ordered in a permanent place. For example, when I go out with Jack, I only have to remember to put four elements into the Jeep–the hawk food/tidbits, the telemetry receiver/transmitters, my glove, and of course, Jack (who is connected to the glove)! Yes, I’ve tried to take off without the bird before. Thankfully, Maggie the Golden Wondermutt threw a hissy fit and I didn’t get far before I remembered. 😉 All of those elements are in a place where I can’t forget them and other things like my hunting vest, various other tools like my hawking stick and a water spray bottle live in the Jeep so I don’t have to think about them. They’re already there. But even with my system, ca-ca sometimes happens! That said, I’ve only forgotten the bird once.

  9. Patty Chadwick January 24, 2018 at 9:02 am

    These horror storise of lost images made me cringe!!! Glad you got this beauty…

  10. Glen Fox January 24, 2018 at 8:24 am

    One solution is to purchase a second card and able them.

  11. Steven Kessel January 24, 2018 at 7:29 am

    It happens to all of us. On a couple of occasions I’ve driven 40 miles to a site, turned on my camera and got the “no card” signal, realizing only then that the card was sitting in my computer at home. Or, I’ve driven the same distance only to discover that I’d removed the battery for some reason and hadn’t replaced it.

  12. Liz Cormack January 24, 2018 at 6:58 am

    Been there, done that. Hopefully the female Peregrine Falcon will be there this morning, tomorrow or the next day. So, yes, life is good!

  13. shoreacres January 24, 2018 at 6:53 am

    You have all my sympathies. I deleted over 400 images once, and the sinking feeling was indescribable. The good news was that I hadn’t reformatted the card, and was able to download a program to reclaim them. Amusingly, since I’d never reformatted the card, I didn’t get 400 + images back. I got about 2500. It was quite a learning experience, in many ways.

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