The Dog Ate My Homework… But Somehow I Recovered It

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."
--Douglas Adams

Like a lot of photographers, I take some things for granted. When inserting a CompactFlash card into a camera and capturing lots of images, I assume that I'll be able to transfer those files onto my computer. That's the way it's supposed to work, anyway.

Lexar's Professional series of CompactFlash cards have a lifetime warranty that includes image recovery. Thanks, Lexar. As I approached deadline I had the identical problem with the same EOS 5D using a different brand of memory card, leading me to deduce ("just call me Sherlock") that the camera, not the CompactFlash card, caused my image file problem. I sent the camera back to Canon for a diagnosis. If they discover the problem I'll report in a future issue.

Crème de la Chrome showcases some of the classiest hot rods, sports, and muscle cars in the Rocky Mountain West. Armed with a Canon EOS 5D and EOS 20D, fitted with wide angle zooms, I was excited to photograph it for the first time. The fun faded after the shoot when I inserted a 4GB Lexar Professional ( CompactFlash card in my reader and it refused to copy the image files to my hard drive. If I put the card back into the EOS 5D, I could see the pictures, making the process more than a bit frustrating.

I first reached for DataRescue's ( PhotoRescue software, which recovers images from CompactFlash cards that were reformatted, but it couldn't hack it. Next I tried Prosoft's ( Picture Rescue but it wouldn't work on this card either. Image Rescue software is included on every Lexar Professional CompactFlash card and can recover lost or deleted JPEG, TIFF, and raw files from erased, reformatted, or corrupted memory cards but after recovering a few files it stalled.

This gorgeous hot rod truck was one of the 500 images that were rescued by Lexar from a problematical CompactFlash card. Image was captured with a Canon EOS 5D with EF 22-55mm zoom. Exposure was 1/25 sec at f/4.5 at ISO 800.
All Photos © 2006, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved

Since Lexar Professional cards have a lifetime warranty, I contacted Customer Support, FedEx'ed my card off to Fremont, California, and waited with my fingers crossed. A week later (rescue time varies depending on their workload) I had a stack of CDs with 500 recovered images and a replacement 4GB CompactFlash card. (See "Care And Feeding Of Memory Cards" for some tips on how to prevent this from happening to you.)

Author's Note:
To any wise guys out there: This is not the same Lexar memory card I repeatedly washed and dried in my Maytags ("Shutterbug," September 2003 issue). That card continues to function perfectly, thank you.

The Histogram in SilverOxide's Color Landscape Filter plug-in represents the entire image, regardless of the enlargement in the preview window. The Histogram display can be moved by right-click and drag (Windows) to wherever you want it to be.

Plug-In Of The Month
SilverOxide ( is well-known for their black and white Photoshop compatible plug-ins and recently announced their first color product called Color Landscape Filter. It builds on their monochrome Landscape filter (Shutterbug, April 2005 issue) and includes a BANG (Blue Algorithm Neutral Gray) setting. The BANG setting reacts to the blue content of each pixel and acts like a polarizer, deepening the sky and water and giving greater depth to trees. If you need a less dramatic contrast, red and orange color filter settings are available.

SilverOxide's Bill Dusterwald told me that "you can get a similar effect by fooling around with Curves but this is faster, less intimidating." The Color Landscape Filter plug-in includes a Histogram function that lets you see if you're clipping highlights and works with 8- and 16-bit images, including 16-bit layers supported by Adobe's Photoshop CS and CS2. I tested a beta copy of the Windows version, but a Mac OS version should be available by the time you read this.

iView MediaPro 3 has been engineered to provide a complete workflow management solution for photographers. Here's a look at the images captured at "Crème de la Chrome" with Tamron's spectacular 11-18mm lens.