Bad move. When I plugged it back in, all it would do was make clicking, whirring noises and my Mac would not recognize its existence.
I panicked. This was the 3TB hard drive that had all of my images from this past year. Everything. All the RAW images, processed JPG's, TIFF files for making large prints. All the hours and hours of images from my telescope's CCD camera. Every Florida State football game with thousands and thousands of game images including the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, every men's basketball game, every women's basketball, the entire FSU baseball season, volleyball, soccer. All of my images from Madrid and Barcelona. Studio photo shoots.
Could this really be happening? Over an entire year of work gone from one minute to the next?
I called every local computer place in town. Nobody could help as none of them have a clean room in which to assess the situation and perform data recovery. Finally, I found a data recovery place with great reviews. I contacted them and shipped the drive off that morning. I felt better. They would surely be able to help me. I figured even if there was some damage to the drive they would be able to recover most of the images.
So I waited. They called back after a week. The drive needed new parts. They would install them so they could get it running and then perform a ghost image of the contents to see if any data was recoverable. Progress, I thought.
Time passed. I had heard nothing. Then I got a call - the drive was running and the ghost image was 85% finished. They still couldn't tell me if any data would be recovered but I was certain it would all turn out OK.
Until yesterday. That's when I got the email. No data was recoverable. They were very sorry and were returning the drive. It should make a nice desktop paperweight. And a vivid reminder of what a moron I am.
The reason I'm a moron is because I was lazy. As I was downloading cards to the hard drive and processing away I was not backing up the images on a second drive. The same goes for a couple of other hard drives that I had never gotten around to backing up. I told myself that I would eventually get around to backing all of them up but I just never got around to it. How stupid was that?
The lesson has been learned. Very painfully, but it has been learned. I've gone back and made sure every hard drive is backed up.
But, everything I've done for the last year or more is gone. Well, most of it. I will be able to retrieve all the Florida State sports images I turned in to a client that has them all in the cloud. That will get me all of the processed game JPG's for FSU football, basketball, etc. I can go to Facebook, Google+ and my website and copy/save all the photos I uploaded into galleries on those sites but those will all be 72dpi, 1600 pixel on the along end, watermarked images that will never make any kind of print. But at least it's something.
If you have never backed up your images, don't be a moron like me. Go out, pick up one or two drives and back everything up. When you least expect it, a hard drive failure can wipe out all of your work in one fell swoop.