Costa Rica 2012, Day 6

14 Feb

We had a lovely boat ride along the Tortuguero canals and rivers to our next hotel. We had pared our luggage way down — the rest safely stowed in our bus’ belly under the watchful eye of Paulo — as there was limited spare room on the boat. I packed in a glamorous, plastic bag from the supermercado (supermarket).

The day was gorgeous, and we arrived at the dock in time to be first in line for our boat. We were very lucky, as passengers from another group were delayed, and we had the boat to ourselves. Pity! The captain was terrific and made some detours that he usually didn’t make.

He slowed down for flora and fauna, turning the boat so passengers on either side would have a chance for an unobstructed view. Cameras clicked away, and Arnie and I gave hints and help where needed. Occasionally, we got to do some photographs of our own. When we arrived at the lovely Evergreen Lodge at the river’s edge, each of us thanked and tipped the captain. It was well worth it.

After checking in, all prearranged so all we had to do was collect our keys, we headed for a tasty buffet lunch. We had been given a large gazebo for our imaging, but the manager asked if we might like to be down by the river where there was a nice breeze.

It sounded great to everyone, and in spite of some screen glare from the river, it was lovely to sit and enjoy the view while editing images and preparing them for the critiques that would happen after a break.

With some noise interruptions of boats going by and others coming in to drop off arriving guests, we had to wait at times so we could hear one another, but the breeze was lovely, and libation in hand, everyone looked at one another’s selects for the day and made thoughtful comments.

Dinner was followed by a return to the river for some post-digestive revelry that left many of us with cheeks hurting from laughing so much, and everyone went off to bed tired, but content.

But what do I have to show for the day? Nothing. Nada!

I did it. I blew it! It’s happened to many of us. It has happened to Arnie. This was my first … and I hope last.

We were tired. I put my card in the card reader, and somewhere along the line, I was distracted. Maybe Arnie asked me a question. Perhaps we needed to go to dinner. Who knows what it was, but before we left the next morning, I carefully took the card out of the reader and formatted it in my camera. I have no one to blame but myself.

Yup, you know what that means. My favorite shot of a local man, one foot up on the raised walkway, ice-cream in hand, looking down the river. Phttt! Gone. The man next door to him, smoking a cigarette, similar stance on his front steps. Poofff! Gone. And the water buffalo, enjoying the shallows beside the river? Mmm-hmmm. Lost. And do I dare mention the humongous crocodile, jaws wide open, waiting patiently for a wading bird nearby to get too close (he/she never did, at least whilst we were there), also lost to the wonders of formatting. Arghhh!

I will carry the memory of those images forever, so in a sense, they are not lost, but I will never see them on the screen, nor can I share them with you or others. Instead, I will savor the memory of the wind in my hair as we cruised down the river to the Caribbean sea, the birds clustered here and there, finding things along the river bank to eat, and the feeling of camaraderie with our participants.

In the future, I hope that I will never, never, ever format my card without making sure I have downloaded them first, regardless of how tired I am. I have plenty of cards, so it isn’t really an issue. Cards are cheap these days, and the large capacities almost guarantee not filling one of Arnie’s or mine up in a day while we’re running a workshop. And Lightroom will not download suspected duplicates if you have that box checked.

I hope it has not happened to you, but if it has, you know how frustrating it is. And if you haven’t, please take this day as your warning to be careful.

By the way, for those who don’t know, formatting one’s card is an excellent idea (once you know you have your images and they are backed up). It marries the card to the camera, and it cleans the slate, so to speak. Simply erasing the images on the card is NOT the same thing. Just as some of us defrag our computers, formatting makes the card behave better.

One “trick” that Arnie and I use to distinguish between used memory cards and fresh ones in our little thinkTANK Pixel Pocket Rockets is to face unused cards right side up and right side out. For cards that are full, we put them into our little packs backwards and upside down. When one is in a hurry, and one usually is when one card is full, it’s an easy visual to know which card to grab next.

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10 Responses to “Costa Rica 2012, Day 6”

  1. David L. Robertson 02-14-12 at 3:57 PM #

    I am so sorry. First I lose 40 images to a malfunctioning card in my Leica and then you lose a whole day’s worth of a shoot. As with all of the other days, each one provided new opportunities. Thanks to you, Arnie, and our new friends in Costa Rica, Kathy and I had a great time. I will fill you in on the trip to Poas volcano and La Paz Water Garden we took on Sunday in a separate e-mail. Suffice to say, they would both be good candidates for your trip to Costa Rica next year. I already miss the people who were on the trip. Best wishes, Dave

    • TBC 02-14-12 at 7:03 PM #


      You lost 40 images which was far more than I lost. During the workshops, Arnie and I didn’t shoot that much, so what I lost was far fewer in numbers compared to your situation. Still, I would rather have had them than not.

      Yes, we did have a really special group. Quite international when you figure Italian, French, Costa Rican, and American participants.

      Can’t wait to hear about your last day in Costa Rica.

      Take care, and best to you both,


  2. Larry Boone 02-14-12 at 3:07 PM #

    After living in Costa Rica for 9 years, I am following your blogs with avid interest–a vicarious return of sorts. I could picture the scenes you describe very well. I shudder to think how much wildlife gives life to make those huge crocodiles get that size. Sorry about the lost images. I have enjoyed all of the images to date, and know those would have been gorgeous. Best of success with the rest of the workshop.

    • TBC 02-14-12 at 6:44 PM #


      Good to hear from you, and I’m glad you have been vicariously reliving Costa Rica. It has been gorgeous, and we can’t wait to return next year.

      Meanwhile, we’ll see you and Dorothy in Provence!

      Take care,


  3. Abby Gossage 02-14-12 at 8:46 AM #

    Nice to know that we are all in the same boat with inadvertently formatting our cards before off loading the photos! Sorry you lost your photos as I enjoy them.

    • TBC 02-14-12 at 8:51 AM #


      Indeed, but I hate to hear that others have inadvertently committed the same gaffe. You will see more photos in tomorrow’s blog, for sure!

      Thanks for chiming in,


  4. Nicole Richman 02-14-12 at 8:32 AM #

    OH NO Margo…I remember when Arnie did this in Acadia…so frustrating! I am so sorry you lost your photos!! Good advice for all! Thanks :)

    • TBC 02-14-12 at 8:49 AM #


      At least Arnie has his images! Andyes, I do so remember the frustration Arnie experienced last year in Acadia!

      Take care, and thanks for your comment,


  5. John Singleton 02-14-12 at 8:21 AM #

    I truly hate the loss. Your loss is our loss. Your descriptive imagery was beautiful though. I can see that man standing there watching the river while he enjoyed his eats. As always the description and information was great. Unfortunately, this was a lesson even the most seasoned photographer must remember. Continue with the great blog entries. I am having a great time visiting Costa Rica through your eyes.

    • TBC 02-14-12 at 8:48 AM #


      Hopefully, the blog serves as a reminder to us all. It can happen to anyone.

      I’m glad that at least my descriptions gave you a sense of what we saw that day.

      We’ll be back in Costa Rica next year. It is an amazing country, and we’ve only scratched the surface, so our itinerary will be somewhat different next year.

      As always, thanks for writing, and take care,


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