Daily Inspiration #196 by Will Storr

Hey Steve,

Just thought I’d send off a few pics from a recent visit to Istanbul with M9, the first with my Summicron 35mm f2.0 and the second two with my favourite lens, the trusty Voigt 50 f1.1. I hope they make the cut! The full set can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/willstorr/sets/72157625978437129/

Keep up the excellent work. I’ve enjoyed the amazing entries into your M9 competition. There’s such talent amongst you readers.

Take care,



  1. Well, if it is any consolation, film is not immune. I shot a sweet roll of velvia in New York last year and due to (I think) all the x-rays that you have to endure going into any building of note in New York, the film got nuked and was pretty much unusable when I had it developed when I got back to London. The C-41 stuff I shot was fine, just the e-6 went wrong. Might also have been the extreme heat last year as I shot it early July. Felt gutted!

  2. Well I guess that’s it – maybe I knocked the camera or something. I was able to shoot afterwards, though, so it must have been a marginal thing. If it happens again, I’ll replace the SD card. If again, I’ll have to go through the expensive, draining hell of dealing with Leica to get it looked at…

    David, you’ve been so kind in spending so much time trying to help me. Thank you so much.

    • .
      My pleasure (..or shared agony!) ..I thought it was worth investigating, as I’d rescued a few formatted cards – but then it struck me; 5 reviewable pics which had just disappeared ..and I had my own camera to hand, so I could just check and see.

      Sorry about your loss. But I’d check your card, ensure it clicks home, make sure the contacts are clean, make sure there’s no grit in the card slot, etc. And work the camera hard (at home) to see if anything similar happens again, or if it was just a ‘one off’.

      Yours, David.

  3. Thanks David – I’ve run the programme you recommended and it seems to have recovered them all except the ones that were deleted by hand. The portraits aren’t there and neither are one or two shots that I specifically remember deleting. Perhaps when you delete one shot on the M9 it just writes the next picture in the space that has just been ‘cleared’ for wiping.

    It’s still a mystery – how did all five delete by accident?

    I suppose I’ll never know…

    • .
      I think I know what’s happened – I’ve just checked with my M9.

      If the card is removed ..or becomes dislodged, or otherwise unavailable to use.. the M9 will record pics to its internal “buffer” memory. You can review these pics after you’ve taken them, and scroll through them, etc, UNTIL YOU SWITCH OFF THE CAMERA. That clears the buffer.

      Once you’ve switched off the camera, you can’t see those pics again. (There’s not much ..we-ell, there’s NO.. mention of this, that I could find, in the M9 instruction manual.)

      I’ve just tried connecting mine to my Mac to see if there’s any possibility that the pics remain in some kind of flash memory (..but they’d have been over-written anyway when you continued shooting..) and to see if they’d be downloadable via USB cable from the camera: no, sorry. Even if the camera isn’t switched off after shooting, those “buffered” pics are invisible to the USB connection, so they can’t be accessed by cable, and there’s no description in the handbook (that I can see) of how these might be saved to a card (..I think it should happen automatically..) when the card is subsequently seated properly in its slot inside the camera).

      Yup (..I just checked..) if you shoot to the buffer (if there’s no card in the camera) and then – without switching off the camera! – you open the bottom and insert a card, then the pic(s) in the buffer are written to the card. When the red “writing” LED stops blinking you can turn off the camera ..and then, after switching it on again, the pic(s) will be found stored on the card.

      The buffer will store 5 full-size jpegs ..any more, and the last one just over-writes the first one.

      So that’s where your 5 pics went: into the buffer, but not onto your card. And they would have been deleted from the buffer as soon as you switched off the camera. Sorry.

      What you need to look at now is WHY they went only to the buffer and not onto the card. You say the card wasn’t full, but it must have been not properly connected, or maybe you were shooting too fast for the pics to be stored (..I imagine that’s unlikely). If a card’s not LOCKED IN tight, by pressing it in with your thumbnail, say, then the card can be held in place just by the pressure of the baseplate. But if the baseplate is loosened, or hit, that can let the card move fractionally, and thus lose connection with the contacts inside the camera, and then pics won’t be stored on the card. Always fully press home the card when you insert it, so that it’s not held there just by the pressure of the baseplate against it.

      So I think that – unless this happens again – this is just a sad tale of the card not quite properly pushed home into the bottom of the camera and the baseplate holding it there until it was accidentally dislodged, five pics then being shot into the buffer, and then when the camera was switched off, they disappeared “like tears in rain” (as the man says in ‘Blade Runner’). That doesn’t explain why you could shoot further pics onto the card afterwards, if indeed you did. Or perhaps it’s a card fault, and for some reason the card couldn’t write those pics.

      But I think that those pics are now long gone, and were irretrievable once you’d turned off the camera after shooting. I’m sorry.

  4. David – thanks so much. I read your message with a great feeling of elation, as I use a 32 gb SanDisk card, of which only about half was used. But then I remembered… I formatted it yesterday. Ugh, I feel sick!

    Next time, though, I’ll know!

    Thanks again.

    • .
      Well, once again; formatting doesn’t actually ERASE anything: what I should have said instead of “..That wipes everything off the card..” was “..That marks everything as ready for being over-written..” so there’s still a chance that even after formatting the previous pics can all be retrieved – as long as you haven’t started shooting more pics on the newly-formatted card.

      If you HAVE started shooting more pics, then *some* of the older pics may still be retrievable ..but not all.

      I must check the spec and see if an M9 can “see” and use all of a 32GB card. (If 32GB is over the limit for what an M9 can normally use, then some pics may go astray, or get ‘orphaned’, as it may not know where to store them.)

      Ah; all’s OK: Leica’s M9 spec sheet (..the Technical Data .pdf download at the top of the small column on the right..) says:
      Storage medium: SD cards up to 2GB/SDHC cards up to 32GB.

      So that’s OK; things shouldn’t get ‘orphaned’ on a 32GB SDHC card.

      Try some pic retrieval software, though; it may still retrieve pics after formatting – it has done for me! ..All the best..

  5. Thank you everybody. I still get upset when I think about that set, which were taken last week. In the only full day of photography I had, I managed to a set of portraits of one guy that I was particularly proud of. The man posed perfectly – sad, soulful eyes – and the background was also perfect. A couple of hours later, I sat down with a coffee and excitedly went to review the pics – and they were gone. All five versions. And they were definitely on the SD card as, just after taking them, I double checked the focus on the eyes as I was shooting at 1.4. It’s still a mystery. I could almost buy the idea that the M9 knocking against my side accidentally deleted one picture. But five? Has any another M9 owner had this problem?

    Thanks again for looking.


    • .

      Have you tried searching the SD card with ‘photo-undeleting’ software? ..Something like CardRescue, or similar.

      As long as you haven’t *filled* the card with photos AFTER the others ‘disappeared’, there may be a medium-to-fair chance of recovery. (I’ve used this kind of software to recover other people’s photos after ‘deletion’, with excellent results. Deletion isn’t really deletion: it just marks the space on the card as ‘re-usable’, so pictures may be over-written by newer ones ..but they’re not necessarily over-written, they could still be sitting there, unseen ..it depends mainly on how much free space still exists on the card.)

      I haven’t had M9 photos *disappear* off a card, but I’ve very occasionally had photos fail to be written to a card. Some less mainstream cards are thought to be more vulnerable to that, and Leica recommends “mainstream” brands such as SanDisk, rather than cheapo “unknown” brands.

      It’s also possible that the pics may be in a different *folder* on the card, and that folder may not be displayed by the camera. This can happen if you’ve fiddled with the ‘Folder management’ choice within the M9’s Menu, OR if you’ve used the same card in a different camera, as different cameras tend to create their own folders, and sometimes the M9 may use another camera’s folder structure, other times not.

      You may have put the card in a card reader in order to get the pics out and onto your computer, or you may have just connected the camera to your computer with a USB cable. If you’ve connected only by cable, try putting the card in an SD card *reader* and exploring everything which is on the card ..you may discover your missing pics.

      Generally, between uses (i.e; after you’ve taken off all your most recent pics from a card) FORMAT the card in the camera (not in a computer). That wipes everything off the card, but also creates a new, reliable folder structure on the card every time, so that pics don’t get lost, and it avoids ‘fragmenting’ pics across the card, by creating one new empty space for all the pics to be stored in sequentially. Oh, and don’t be tempted by cheap or slow non-mainstream brands of SD card. I hope that’s of some use..

      Best of luck with finding them!

  6. Hi Will, excellent pics made with your M9, also like the flickr stream, really good street photography !


  7. I like also the feel you were trying to get across. Were you trying to show those in Istanbul who were not finding it easy. Had a feel of hardship these pictures for me. I saw some pictures taken by Michiel in China where he showed what was going on behind the construction, the life of real Chinese people and it was extremely good. I like it when photographers go to a place and show the viewer a side that is often hidden. That takes real talent. Well done.

  8. Will – Wonderful work. I can not stop staring at your first photograph due to its spectacular framing and composition. The linear qualities are what make it so special. The horizontal line of birds, the vertical lines of the gentleman which meld with the horizontal and vertical lines of the windows and masonry. These all make for an exquisite photograph. That hint of red in has scarf makes it pop. Wonderful capture, very inspiring. Love the focal length you selected!

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