Saturday, February 7, 2009


When a journalist calls "corruption" it can mean they stumbled on a huge break in a story that will launch their career. When a photojournalist calls "corruption" it can mean something entirely different. Unfortunately this last week I have been dealing with the latter.

This is what the corrupted images looked like on the back of the Canon EOS-1D LCD screen. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

This last week I took pictures of the CSUC women's basketball game Friday night and headed back to the office. I put my card in the reader and acquired through to our editing program like normal. I walked away from the computer to get a drink. I came back to the computer to see that the acquire hadn't acquired any pictures.

I was confused and opened the card on the desktop. The title of the card which normally reads "EOS_DIGITAL" read "EOS_DIGITAD". The name was renamed. The files were also corrupted. I attempted to drag the files from the desktop to a new folder and only a few (10 out of 180) were able to be copied. I was frustrated because I lost all the files from the game. I didn't know what happened. I saw the pictures at the game on the LCD. They were fine. Then they weren't.

The corrupted CF card had a folder structure with endless repetition of folders that contained the same content repeating itself with no end in site. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)
My initial thought was sometime in the last couple frames of the night the battery might have popped loose cutting the file writing off in the middle of its process causing the card to go corrupt. My battery doesn't last long and isn't the most secure item. I was mad, but went back the men's game to get something for sports. Good thing we got those 10D's in.

I tried to see if anything was recoverable, but even the files that copied, some were blocked out and scrambled. The next day I figured things wouldn't happen again because I thought the problem was with the battery and I just would keep an eye on it. But it did happen again.

Contained in the corrupted CF card, there were little salvageable. Most were unreadable. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)
I came back from an assignment and after putting the card in wouldn't acquire. The same problem of corrupted images occurred. The second time the corruption didn't look the same. I was able to recover about half of the images, but most of those were blotched or discolored. There were differences in the types of corruption that occurred, but the fact remained the corruption occurred again. This time I don't remember the battery slipping out and shutting the camera off.The problem is that I don't know where the problem is coming from. It could come from the memory card, card reader, camera hardware or computer software. After the second time I decided to test each item to see what the problem might originate. The problem with the test is that when I actually tested all the items, it WORKED! ARRGH! It isn't suppose to work. Well it is suppose to work, but not work when I want it to not work, but work when I want it to work, just not when I tell it not to work.

The corrupted images were only represented by scrambled colors and patterns, nothing of which contained an image that I had shot. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

This is why it is frustrating. This is the conclusions that I have come to from this failed weekend.

- I don't think it is the reader, because the pictures from the other camera (10D) loaded fine, no corruption.

- I don't think it is the card, because I used another card in the same problematic 1D camera that worked and loaded fine.
- I don't think it is the card reader since it has worked after the cards were corrupted fine.

- I don't think it is the software because it has loaded the cards fine since the incident first occurred.

- It might not be the battery because during the test I pulled the battery out when the images were writing to the both cards and that had no effect. But that seems like a valid answer because the battery keeps glitching.

- My guess is something with the camera because all my other cameras work, and this one is 7 years old. So what does this mean? Something is broken.

Thankfully this didn't happen during the riot, otherwise the tone of this email would have been very different, but it did happen. And it happened during assignments. I can't afford to loose a major shoot.

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