CardRescue, I think I love you

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 2, 2010

This story starts long before Christmas. It begins back in the late summer, after Bill, our brother-in-law, got the diagnosis everyone prays never to hear: the “C” word.

Next thing you know, all of the Gerlach progeny are headed to his and Carol’s house for Christmas.

Carol, who was delighted to have her family together at Christmas for the first time in 19 years, asked if she should hire a photographer for a group picture.

“Not a problem,” I told her. “I’ll bring my camera.”

Truly, it wasn’t. Rarely am I caught without a camera and think of myself as a family historian. My own parents have almost stopped bringing cameras to our family’s events: I always get double prints!

So off I went to the family gathering in St. Augustine, armed with my “real” camera and the “toy” one that fits in my pocket. Dutifully, I pulled the group together, made them stand up straight and smile just like when we go to the elementary schools, and took a half-dozen pictures.

They looked great in the viewfinder. Driving home Sunday, I was anxious to upload them and get busy on my next planned project, an album commemorating the event.

Seven-plus hours, two cups of coffee, four bottles of water and three bathroom stops later, we were in sweet home Andalusia. Finally!

I set up all the electronics, put the card into the reader and … nothing.

I unplugged and replugged. It was worse … Error message!

Put the card back into the camera.

“Damaged files.”

I felt physically ill. Why, oh why, hadn’t I at least shot the group with two cameras so we’d have a backup? I knew better!

I dreaded telling my husband. I dreaded telling his sister worse. But I wasn’t giving up yet.

Back at work Monday morning, I tried loading the pictures at a different computer, with a different card reader, with just a cable connection, every combination I could imagine. Still nothing.

“I’ll tell Carol,” Honey volunteered.

Not yet. I’m not giving up.

Finally, it dawned on me. This has happened to other people before; heck, it’s happened to me. So I turned to my trusted friend Google. Several searches later, Google introduced me to a very smart program called CardRescue, which I could own for a mere $39.95.

The demonstration revealed that some files were still there, so I fed my credit card number into the computer. Two hours and four repair tries later, I had not only the Christmas pictures, but every file I had deleted from the camera since late October.

CardRescue, I think I love you.

And for all those young parents out there who are only capturing images digitally and are way behind on printed photographs, print and/or back up those precious files now.

There’s only so much CardRescue can do.