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Lessons from an Arctic interlude

Today didn't start well. We were due to leave the Bergen hotel for our Aberdeen flight at 07.55, but I was still deep asleep when the phone rang to say the taxi was waiting. Adrenalin rush, rapid scramble for belongings, clothes and passport, and within 5 minutes I was at the front door, unwashed and apologetic. The silver lining was that my companions were forgiving and we were still in plenty of time for the flight. Mind you, two of them had similarly overslept on Saturday, so only two out of five had been on time every morning. This was an action-packed itinerary, and the mixture of midnight daylight, thousands of air miles and near-midnight meals had disrupted our sleep patterns. But I'm still feeling deeply mortified: I knew I was sleep-starved and should not have relied on a single alarm (its battery failed so it lost time). Lesson learned: if it matters, have a backup.

The homeward flight was lovely: Wideroe fly Dash 8s with twin props, and their flights always seemed prompt with fast turnarounds. They are efficient, modern and fly relatively low, so you get great views:

planeWindow.jpg

After a smooth, rapid drive home from Aberdeen, I was keenly looking forward to the morning's missed bath and picking up the threads of life at Landrick. Delighted to find my iPad waiting, but rather than let it distract me, I thought I'd download my 200+ digital photos (Lumix G1) from the trip. Total dismay/disbelief when I found that all but a dozen were missing from the SD card, although I had seen them clearly in camera where I had already done some weeding (strictly one image at a time). (Have always known that SD images are vulnerable, indeed one reason for wanting the iPad is a lightweight backup for images while travelling. So its arrival just after my first-ever photo loss felt deeply ironic.)

I'm still utterly baffled by this: I can't think of any accidental sequence of key-presses on the camera that could have deleted hundreds of pix without deleting them all. Bafflement gave way to panic: this had been a press trip and at least a dozen images would be needed for various publications. Panic gave way to the idea of searching for photo recovery software online and I found the simply wonderful PhotoRescue. I had always thought such software would be for hardcore techies, and couldn't imagine I could succeed, let alone as easily as I did. After all, a state of urgency, panic and sleep debt isn't the best combo for learning a new skill. However, this software works like a dream: you download the demo for free, preview exactly which images it will recover, then it asks you for money only if you want to proceed (and offers a full refund if recovery then fails). At this point, I'd have been ready to pay serious money to recover not only my images but also some shreds of self-respect. In fact it cost a mere £25: terrific value.

PhotoRescue has a superb user interface: no need to read instructions. "Quick recover" saved all I needed, really fast. (It even offered me all the images that had been on the card before I had deliberately formatted it at the start of the trip.) The photos are the ones I had intended, i.e. minus the ones that I had weeded selectively. (I guess those might be rescued too via Advanced, but once I had all I needed, it was time for huge relief and at last a bath.) I am still mystified as to how this selective disaster can have occurred, but am now feeling that I've got off incredibly lightly. (And have a rescue option up my sleeve for the future.)

We were due to celebrate our anniversary with dinner at the Kailyard, the only restaurant we can easily walk to. But before setting off, I burned a CD just to make sure: another lesson learned.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 7, 2010 5:54 PM.

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