WLPG: Date/Time Stamp Corruption

Windows 7Remember the WLPG GPS disaster of 2010? Well, that’s over, I guess. I don’t know. I haven’t been back.

I remember someone complaining about date/time stamp corruption in WLPG long after I recovered from the GPS/Exif damage. You know how things slide past you because you’re too busy. I thought it was probably just the latest screw-up and I was long gone, whew.

If you use WLPG, you might want to run over to your photos right now and have a look at the date/times taken.

I’m not an out-of-control camera nut. I only took 2,577 photos between 2004 and the Fall of 2010.

The problem started with what looked to be a time difference of 8 hours. Having supper at 3:30 AM in broad daylight, friends on the street in broad daylight at 4:41 AM, photos taken at night showing as mid-afternoon, etc. Clearly times that don’t fit. That’s relatively easy to repair using an option in Photo Mechanic to “Adjust Capture Times and Dates” or a similar option in GeoSetter.

I put it on my to-do list months ago and didn’t get back to it until today. What awaited me today is this:

WLPG Date/Time Stamp Corruption

Note the dates in the second column.

The mess goes on like this folder by folder. What I’ve come to think from looking at these pictures in GeoSetter is that WLPG wiped out the ‘date-taken’ and replaced it with ‘last modified date’.

GeoSetter Exif Info

So, for instance, if I added GPS or tags to a photo some months or years later, that date is now considered the date the photo was taken.

Although you wouldn’t know it by looking, the information above refers to a photo that was taken on January 2, 2005 at 7:02 PM.

How do I know that? Well, back in the Fall of 2010, when WLPG mangled my 12,000 photographs with its GPS madness, I was able to restore most of them from my Carbonite backup. It took about six months to replace the damaged photos one by one and I wasn’t sure where the damage ended, (one thing after another kept cropping up) so I decided to keep the restored files. Just in case.

The restore date on most of them is August 2010, prior to the WLPG disaster and the numbers on the photos and the dates-taken line up as they should. I cannot find a single photo with a 3 o’clock in the morning time stamp on it because, frankly, I’m not usually up and about with my camera at 3 in the morning. The other reason I know is because my 2011 photos are 100% fine.

The restored files are a step backwards in terms of GPS and IPTC annotation work. I have two choices. I can restore them as they are and spend weeks or months re-naming and re-tagging the photos because they came from Carbonite in this format:

2009-jlb-0583 (Restored) 08-07-2010 16.34.jpg

Or I can copy the correct time and date stamps to the present set one at a time. Yippee.

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