The lost crab

By | June 12, 2022

This week Google presented me with ‘a memory’ and it was of a picture I took some years ago at low tide on a beach of the Atlantic coast. I remember that it was a cloudy day, a little bit glum, and I was the only one out there, because nobody seems to appreciate the even spread of light on days like that. I love it. It offers a lot of opportunities.

As I was happily browsing the rocks, I suddenly spotted this crab. I made a series of photographs of it, mainly to try and capture the depts in the scene. The crab was floating on the water, emphasizing the depth of the tidal pool. I assumed it was probably dead, it might not have been more than a shell, dumped after providing a meal to a seagul or some other critter. But I did not remove it to check for it. The screenshot above was the best shot of the series. But I lost it!

How is that possible in this digital day and age, you may wonder… Well…

I am usually meticulous about my back-ups. I keep originals and edits in several places. But in this particular month I shot so many photograph, that the counter on the camera was reset back to 1. I never thought about it. In a very busy period I decided to re-organise my archives. At the same time, I was also offloading new material. And on one fateful day the computer asked me: ‘Want to overwrite this image with the new one that has the same name?’ Before I knew it, I said ‘OK’. And the crab was gone, unbeknownst to me. Then one of my back-up units broke down. Nothing could be retrieved. My Time machine did not reach far enough back to restore everything. I got a backup-unit, moved my archives and never noticed that my favourite crab shot was no longer there. Until I wanted to have it printed. The only copy I found of the file was a web download of no more than a couple of hundred kbs… The original was gone!

I now have even more back-up locations and pay better attention when the computer asks me to overwrite or ‘save both’. So that there is a smaller chance of this happening. Don’t think it cannot happen to you. Who could predict that my backup unit, my Time Machine and, not long after, my main computer would die… Sometimes you lose stuff, it is what it is.

I was told to always make high resolution photographs or scans of my art. So that I can create art prints even if an original is sold. I really have to be mindful of doing that. Most of my wild horse pastels were sold years ago and all I have is video shots. Oops. Those are not good enough for a professional print. Neither are shots taken with a phone. I need to remind myself to use my camera for a good shot of any original. Before it is framed and behind glass. Lots of practical things you have to remember as an artist, when all you want to do is sit back and enjoy a finished painting…

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