Where did my pictures go?

So here’s the scenario.

I have my card in its reader in my computer. Instead of doing what I usually do — copying the pictures from the card to the newly-created photo folder, I use “move to” instead.

The Duke barks. My finger slips. The photographs disappear. Where did they go? They had to go somewhere, right? So you look in all the logical places: the download file, the last folder you opened. No pictures. So I look in the “default” photo locations which I never use, but they are empty. The pictures I took were of our tree, so I can take them again. It’s not that I’m going to lose treasured, impossible-to-replace photos but I really wanted to know where they went.

For all you Mac users? The same things happen on Macs and PCs. Those accidentally “dropped” pictures disappear. No amount of searching unearths them. This has happened to me maybe half a dozen times over the years. I’ve gotten very careful about copying photos, not “moving” them. If you copy them, the originals stay on the card. When you move them, they vanish.

I spent a couple of hours trying to figure out where the pictures might have gone. I tried looking them up by date (“today”) and by name (“Christmas-Tree-2022”) and I eventually got one link. When I tried to open it, it was black, blank and unreadable.

Somewhere on this — and on every computer I’ve ever used — exist hundreds of photographs that disappeared. Where did they go? That had to go somewhere, right? I re-took the pictures but it’s hard for me to accept that pictures really disappeared. Somewhere in time, somewhere in virtual space … my pictures are somewhere. The one place they aren’t is here.

Don’t you hate when that happens?

Categories: #gallery, #Photography, Anecdote, Word Prompt, Words, You can't make this stuff up

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20 replies

  1. Here’s a funny, weird experience. I was loading some photos, into my software, and it seems the software programs decide it would help me? I was not paying attention, so as I was loading many of the images would briefly show up as “loading”, but there were hundreds and I didn’t think I had to worry. Well when the load-in was over I looked for one particular shot and couldn’t find it. It puzzled me, but I figured, Oh well, gain some lose some. Weeks later I’m looking through some stuff on my Pen-F and there it is. Now, you have to know that during the original load-in that camera was in another room, on a shelf, far away from my main computer. My only guess is the WiFi function had enabled those images to pop up on the screen momentarily, but not actually load into the software. Go figure!??


  2. OK, I’m a dedicated Mac user and this problem has an easy solution. Rather than moving your photos, which might delete them from the actual card, use COPY and PASTE. I will do this to the folder I use to store them (one for each camera)..,AND also copy and paste to an external B/U drive containing the same titled folder names. Now I have these on TWO drives in addition to my regular system B/U drive. Of course you need to remember which camera you used that day, making sure you COPY and PASTE to that folder on the computer and the again to the external drive.., it will make it much easier to hunt them down again if need be. Trust me, I’ve got photos from 2003, not to mention negatives and some prints from the 60s. I learned this the hard way working with folders and drives used in my music recording business.


    • I do know that and that is what I usually do. For some reason, I glitched. Obviously an unfortunate choice. I won’t to THAT again!

      I back up everything on two SSD backup drives. You were the one who talked me into buying those SSDs instead of the older, slower drives. I have been grateful ever since. They are a huge improvement if for no better reason than speed. I can move a couple of thousand photographs in a minute or two, depending on how big they are.

      You may not remember, but I lost ALL my early photographs to the first massive virus that hit a lot of people at in May 2000. Most of us didn’t have serious protection at that point. I wasn’t backing up everything yet except for documents I was working on. For some reason I didn’t think my photos were important. Boy was I WRONG! I was backing all the documents because most of them were work-related.

      When that virus arrived, it looked like code, but I was used to getting messages using code because I was working with developers and I could read code. I still can, but I don’t read it as quickly — and code has changed a lot since I stopped working. “I love you” destroyed every single photograph on my computer. It would have taken down the documents too, but they were backed up on a tape drive (which was what we were using and were also backed up to the server at my office. They came up with a “fix” for the virus, but it was too late for me.

      So ALL my early photographs that were in that computer were destroyed. If I didn’t have a print, they were gone. The earliest stuff I have are a few small things from 2005 through 2007 which my cousin Roberta had stored and sent me later.

      I back up EVERYTHING.


      • I guess this s the first time I have actually realized the true extent of your losses of those early photos. Personally I feel that Apple has a much simpler way of performing back-ups with less chance of making a mistake/glitch.., but we live and learn, right?

        I also recently found a cache of negatives, in my garage, dating back to the 60s. The most surprising things is, that with the extreme heat we experience out here (we’re talking 40yrs), those negatives were in very good shape. Bottom line: So much for new technology.., the old is surprisingly robust,,,!


        • Doing backups is incredibly easy and extremely fast. If I had a desktop computer, I could set it up to automatically back itself up but since this is a laptop and I don’t even have a desk, I have to take five minutes each month to move pictures. When my computer starts to get full, I clear off the oldest year to make more room. So far, so good.

          I have a big box of negatives in an even bigger box in the basement. I refuse to open it. It’s also got a lot of Garry’s old tapes and scripts and HE doesn’t want to open it either. We already have too much stuff. We don’t need any more stuff! I know what’s in the box because I wrote exactly what’s in it ON the box. I had it up here for a couple of weeks and finally I asked Garry if he really wanted to dive into it or maybe we could just put it back in the basement please? He said ” Absolutely!” and that’s what we did.

          No more stuff!


          • “JUNK R US”, is my new motto. I have a garage that I nick-named “Grandma’s Attic”. When I moved to this house I decided that this garage would be the perfect place to store excess stuff to be gone through later. What about the car(s)? No problem, as one of the features of the properties is enough space under the car port, thanks to a leaning tree, extending beyond the farther most edge of the actual structure, to shield two cars from the sun. The result is that the garage is so densely packed with stuff (to be gone through) that I don’t even want to go in there anymore…


  3. That’s happened to me too. Sometimes I can find them but other times not. Then a year later you suddenly come across them in a folder you rarely open, and wonder how on earth they got there!


    • It’s infuriating. Which is why normally I don’t “move” items. I copy them because if my finger twitches, everything goes somewhere …

      The other day I found a huge folder of pictures we took in Arizona in January 2016. Wrong year, wrong month, and never opened. Out there somewhere all those missing pictures still exist. Somewhere! I’m just glad these were pictures I could easily replace.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What the…? A bunch of photos of someone’s tree just showed up on my computer. Oh well, I guess I’ll delete them. lol. OK, I have no idea where the photos go, but the one or two times it has happened to me the above scenario plays through my mind….


    • I find myself spending a ridiculous amount of time searching for them NOT because they are important, but because I hate when my computer defeats me. Why don’t they automatically go to the “picture” folder or the download folder or some standard location? Does no one else ever have a finger twitch unexpectedly?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So, annoying when that happens. I don’t like having photos on my computer that are not in their designated folder. I don’t have as many as you, at least I don’t think so but I do have a hell of a lot of them and I have a system of filing that works for me. I have had the finger slip too and sent photos to folders that they were not meant to go to. Sometimes takes quite a while to find them too.
    I do only use copy when I transfer photos from the card to the computer. I like to keep the originals on the card as back up. I do back up the edited photos to a portable drive but I like to have the originals as well. Cards are not that expensive so I don’t mind not reusing them.


    • I keep the cards until I back things up. I have two backups, both SSDs and very fast, so after I back up the month’s photos, I may clean the card — or not. Sometimes, I just really like the pictures and there’s always a lot more room on the card than I will ever use. I don’t think in the past 20 years I’ve ever filled a card completely.

      I just want to KNOW WHERE THE PICTURES GO. It’s just so annoying!


    • It’s weird and I don’t understand why there isn’t a “repository” — like the download file — for accidentally dropped photos — or documents. There OUGHT to be a place, but neither on a mac nor a PC is there such a place. Your finger slips and poof, vanished. If you back it up, you can recover it but if it’s from a card, good luck EVER finding them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. They are like single socks. Disappearing into the void. I think cutting or moving option should NOT be used. It can end in us losing the photo


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