The power of the Internet is amazing. Just yesterday we reported on how a man found a battered memory card that apparently spent four years in the ocean and recovered 104 photos from it. After the story went viral and was widely reported, the owner of the camera has now been found. The girl nearest the camera in the photo above was visiting relatives four years ago when she accidentally dropped the camera into the Pacific Ocean from a wharf Santa Cruz. Read more…
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. Read more…
The Stolen Camera Finder is a new search engine developed over the past two years by programmer Matt Burns. His idea is to search the web for photographs that have a stolen camera’s serial number embedded in the EXIF information. It uses two web crawlers — the first is a standard one that accesses Flickr’s API, while the second is a Google Chrome browser plugin that silently runs in the background and peeks at the serial numbers of images on any webpage viewed. These serial numbers and URLs are stored in a database, and if you’d like to volunteer your browsing for this you can download the Chrome plugin here.
On June 6, 1944 — also known as D-Day — war photographer Robert Capa braved the defenses of the heavily fortified Omaha beach, swimming ashore with the second wave of soldiers. Using two Contax II cameras, a 50mm lens, and several rolls of film, he managed to capture 106 photographs documenting the first couple hours of the now-famous invasion (Omaha beach is the one seen in the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan). After he raced back to London to have the film processed, a Life magazine darkroom technician make a tragic mistake: the dryer was set too high and the emulsion on three and a half of the rolls melted, completely erasing 95 of the 106 photos. The 11 remaining images were all published and became Capa’s most famous work.
If you ever accidentally nuke some photos, whether film or digital, just remember Capa’s three and a half rolls of melted history and you might not feel so bad about your lost images.
February seems to be the month when lost photographers’ lives are saved thanks to their camera flashes. Last year around this time a German tourist was miraculously rescued when a woman spotted his desperate flashes on a live webcam feed.
Earlier this week a 29-year-old photographer was hiking in Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin when darkness fell, causing him to became lost, wander off the trail, and fall 15 feet into a boulder field. The man spent two hours on the phone with rescuers before they were able to locate him in the darkness thanks to flashes he was firing off with his camera. He had developed hypothermia from the snow, but his camera flash saved his life.
Todd Bieber was skiing in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park after the recent blizzards when he stumbled upon a white canister of film hidden in the snow. He had the roll developed, and found photographs taken in the area documenting the blizzard — photographs that are quite good. He then decided to create this nicely narrated video in an attempt to locate the owner. If you recognize anyone in these images, you can contact Bieber via email.
On May 16, Coast Guard investigator Paul Shultz was walking along a Key West, Florida marina when he came across a red Nikon L18. Although the underwater housing surrounding the camera was battered from what appeared to be a long period at sea, the camera was in tip top shape.
After finding nothing in the photos and videos on the memory card that pointed to the owner, Shultz turned to the Internet, posting the photos to Scubaboard.com. Within days, it was determined from clues in the photos that they were taken in Aruba, about 1,100 miles from where the camera was found. Read more…
Recovering your camera after losing it is one of those things that most people don’t really think about until the situation actually arises. If you were to lose your camera today, would anyone be able to return it to you?
Andrew McDonald‘s solution is to always keep his email address in a photograph that never leaves his camera.
In fact, he keeps a whole series of photographs that help him “speak” to the stranger (or thief) that found his camera.
It’s a pretty clever idea, since someone who finds a camera is bound to look through the photographs stored on the memory card. You don’t even need to take a fancy photograph – a simple hand-written note should suffice:
The reason you should save your contact information as a photo on the memory card rather than as a text file is because the text file won’t show up when viewing the photographs using the camera. Even if the person who finds your camera is tech-savvy enough to browse through the card using a computer, they might not see a text-file intended for them no matter what you title the file.
A problem with this simple approach is that simple altruism isn’t enough of an incentive for some people to return the camera rather than to keep it or sell it. Thus, the following “digital dog tag” might have a higher chance of success:
Notice how the prize is completely ambiguous. This might be a good way to get the finder to email or call you so you have some tangible link to your camera. What you choose to offer them as a “prize” is up to you. How much is your camera worth to you?
For the rest of Andrew McDonald hilarious set of images, check out the following link: