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Photography Magazine

Behind the Lens

The Mystery Product, Part Two


10 December 2014

It's becoming clear to me: the shot may be graphic and colourful, but I need a solitary figure just in the right place on the beach to give it all a human dimension. In the absence of Wendy, who is inexcusably back in Dorchester keeping the NHS functioning, I enlist Evan, my guide and fixer here in South Africa, who is simply stoked to stand in. He's a natural; it works. I'm not convinced that this will end up being the shoot of the trip, especially after yesterday evening's epic session at Kogel Bay, but it's another session using the Mystery Product nailed, and with every session in the can the pressure eases a touch. Maybe I won't be stacking shelves in Wincanton Morrison's by next Easter?

Or maybe I will. I come to back up my shoots after breakfast at Monkey Lodge. The late return last night and early start this morning mean I've not managed to back up either shoot yet, and as I insert the CF card into the reader, nonchalance morphs into initial dismay, which threatens to turn quickly into total panic – neither shoot is there. What? My mind reels. I know the Kogel Bay session could have yielded The One, but it’s not on the card! I last backed up 24 hours ago, and all seemed fine. What could have gone wrong? 

Luckily, I've a secondary SD card in the 5DS' dual slot; I thought I'd set to read to both for added security, but clearly not. My rising sense of doom is abated when I see all the RAWs there on the reserve SD card, but I need to ascertain what caused the glitch. Somehow the camera had reset to read to just one card, the SD, after the first backup. I double-check the settings, but crisis averted, mercifully. I guess these are the kinds of hitches that transpire when using unfamiliar gear, but for a minute there I was standing on an abyss.

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