Don’t Turn Your Camera Off Too Fast

Yesterday I went to upload some recent pictures from my Canon XTi’s memory card into the Photoshop Elements 7’s Organizer. This is very routine for me having done it hundreds of times.  This time things did not go as expected.

To begin with, I had become lazy and had not emptied my card for some time, although I had previously uploaded all but the most recent batch of photos. In fact, my card had almost 600 images with about 2.5 Gb of its 4 Gb capacity was filed.

As I proceeded to upload the images using File > Get Photos and Videos > From Camera or Card Reader, things went smoothly at first. The memory card was quickly previewed but then I noticed that the actual preview thumbnails were not being generated at some point.  I had seen PSE slow down generating thumbnails in the past, especially if I had a lot of RAW files, but never this bad.

But, I proceeded to the next step, and clicked on the Get Photos button. Nothing happened. PSE 7 had stpped wotking. I had to exit PSE via the Task Manager. I tried multiple times using different card readers with the same results. I began to worry, and was thankful that I had previuosly uploaded the vast majority of the images. But I did not want to lose my recent batch.

At first I thought maybe I was trying to upload too many from the card. Since I had uploaded most of them already, I decided to erase a bunch of them manually from within my camera. I quickly abandoned that approach. I can only do one at a time, or erase them all  and it was going to take a lot of concentration and time to delete them without inadvertently clicking on the Erase All button in my camera.

I then used Windows Explorer to copy the pictures to a folder. I was able to do this. As I was randomly opening the images with Windows Explorer, I clicked on the last picture I had taken, and it had an error that prevented it from being opened. I also noticed, its file size was somewhat smaller.

I put the card back into my camera and deleted that image, the last one I had taken. I put the card back in the reader and proceeded to upload the images using the Get command of PSE 7’s Organizer without any problems. 

I then wondered why that last image was bad. It obviously brought PSE 7 to its knees. Then I remembered. I was shooting RAW,  and my camera takes a few seconds to transfer the RAW image to my memory card. I do not have a high speed memory card. I remember that after shooting the last image, I immediately turned my camera off. I suspect it was in the middle of closing the file and for whatever reason it did not properly complete that operation before shutting down.  

Just to be on the safe side, I reformatted my memory card in my camera rather than just erasing the images. Many people recommend doing this all of the time anyway,  rather than just erasing the images from the card.

So, don’t be in such a hurry to shut your camera off after taking that last shot. That may not have caused the problem, I am not going to take any chances in the future.

Great Shortcut

I have been reading one of my many Photoshop Elements books. This book is by Mark Galer and is called Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 – Maximum Performance. Unlike many books, this one seems to be aimed towards those readers who have been using Elements for awhile and are ready to take their work to the next level. The book comes with a DVD that includes some very useful plug-ins. Well, enough for my endorsement of the book, for whatever use that is.

One of the many things I’ve learned from the book is a very handy Keyboard shortcut that I’ve never seen before. Galer refers to the shortcut as “Stamp Visible”.

Here is how it works. Before learning this shortcut, after I would adjust the brightness, contrast and color of the overall image using Adjustment Layers and felt I was done with these types of corrections, I would flatten the image. I would then move on to other enhancements such as cloning, fixing blemishes etc.  I did this so that my layer stack would not get to complex. I also teach my beginning students this basic approach for the same reason.

This is where the Stamp Visible comes in. After and whenever you have applied several adjustment or other layers to an image and you are thinking of flattening it, create a layer that combines all of your layers to that point on a single layer instead. The shortcut to do this is Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E. This composite layer is then created that combines all of the layers onto a single layer. If the this new layer does not appear on the top of the stack (because you did not have the top layer highlighted), just drag it there. You now can begin working on that layer to do additional editing. If you want to delete it later for some reason, your adjustment layers are still available.

Here is a screen shot That shows the Stamp Visible layer on top of the layer stack.


 Note, I did rename the layer to Stamp Visible – Composite. When it was created it was named Layer 1.

Try this shortcut out. Getting to all of those keys is a good execise for testing the dexterity of your fingers. 🙂