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Photos Recovered from Camera That Spent Four Years in the Ocean

We’ve heard of digital photos being recovered after lost cameras drift for 1,000 miles (in underwater casing) or spend a year at the bottom of the ocean floor, but is there any hope for a camera that experiences four years of abuse at sea? Turns out there is. A man named Peter Govaars was walking along a beach in California when he stumbled upon a battered camera “skeleton” with a memory card still attached. He took the SD card home, took it apart, spent 30 minutes cleaning it, and was surprised to discover 104 photographs taken within a 2 week period in June 2007.

Here’s how he went about cleaning the card:

I simply split the card with an XActo knife and cleaned the circuit board with some isopropyl alcohol to make sure there was no salt bridging the pins. Once you’ve cleaned it, put it back in the carrier and put the two halves together. Then simply insert the card in the SD slot of the reader. That’s all I did. [#]

If you accidentally drop your memory card in salt water and find that it’s no longer readable, you mind want to try deep-cleaning it this way and see if that fixes it.

Here’s one of the photographs recovered from the card:

Recognize any of the faces? If so, send Govaars an email and help reunite the photos with their owner! He has also uploaded some of the other photos to a Flickr account dedicated to finding the owners.

Found Camera (via MercuryNews)


Update: The owner of the camera has been found! Turns out the camera was indeed dropped into the ocean four years ago.


 
 
  • http://waterproofdigitalcamerablog.com/ WproofDC

    That’s really unbelievable! I hope they find the camera owner …

  • Nilton

    Interesting story, but I’m not sure the camera spent 4 years in the sea. The pictures might have been taken in 2007, but who knows when the camera was lost? Perhaps the pictures were left in the SD card for a long time and the camera was recently dropped in the water. Or maybe the camera date was wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/TrojanCentaur TrojanCentaur

    Stick it into Facebook. Someone’s face might be recognized through that… :P

  • http://twitter.com/killmodell kengoblue

    I think that’s Obama on the left…

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  • Halahala

    You think too much.

  • Anon

    try google goggles or tineye. you can use it to search for similar images.

  • http://www.probablynotagoodsign.com ProbablyNotaGoodSign

    Meanwhile, I’ve lost data from SD cards that were kept in pristine condition.

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  • Anonymous
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  • AmusedEngineer

    “If you accidentally drop your memory card in salt water and find that it’s no longer readable, you mind want to try deep-cleaning it this way and see if that fixes it.”

    That is horrible advice.  The guy who found this smartly realized that he had to clean the card up BEFORE trying to read it. He realized that if there were any residue bridging contacts, powering up the card to read it could permanently damage the silicon.  Here is the sentence you should have put in your article: “If you accidentally drop your memory card (or any electronics for that matter) in salt water (or any water) your best bet to save it is to quickly remove the power source and dry out the electronics.  Next step would be to carefully clean the boards with an Isopropyl Alcohol rinse and another thorough drying step.”

  • AmusedEngineer

    “If you accidentally drop your memory card in salt water and find that it’s no longer readable, you mind want to try deep-cleaning it this way and see if that fixes it.”

    That is horrible advice.  The guy who found this smartly realized that he had to clean the card up BEFORE trying to read it. He realized that if there were any residue bridging contacts, powering up the card to read it could permanently damage the silicon.  Here is the sentence you should have put in your article: “If you accidentally drop your memory card (or any electronics for that matter) in salt water (or any water) your best bet to save it is to quickly remove the power source and dry out the electronics.  Next step would be to carefully clean the boards with an Isopropyl Alcohol rinse and another thorough drying step.”

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  • derp derp derp

    You don’t think enough. 

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  • Sandu

    Thank Thank Thank you.  I can’t tell you how much your solution meant to me.  We went to a wedding and took pictures, dropped the camera in the salt and thought all was lost.  

  • Reidfalcone

    When I went swimming with the dolphins I left my camera in my pocket and it lost all are Mayan Ruins pictures, I hope this helps!

  • Amanda

    Thank you for sharing. This saved my pics. I also got salt water in my camera and I thought I had lost all my pics.

  • JB Clay

    My vacation snorkeling pictures are saved!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!