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In case of lost camera card

After reading in the Italy forum about a poor poster losing their camera, I just wanted to mention something I do now before travelling.

I'm sure we've seen the postings on Facebook where someone found a SD card with images and is posting the pics in hopes of getting them back to their owner. I write my name/address/phone/email on a piece of paper and take a photo of it on all the SD cards I will be carrying (I always clear and format my cards before going, so I make sure it is the first photo on the card). Then if I had the misfortune of losing one of the cards, or losing my camera (and hoping an honest person found it) then the contact info is right there on the SD card. Or perhaps photograph your itinerary in the hopes it could catch up with you (tho I would say that would be unlikely, but you never know!)

I found an SD card once in a parking lot and would have looked for the owner, but it only had a few photos of someone's dental work, so I assumed it came from a local dentist office, but had it been loaded with photos, having an address or email on the card would have been a great help.

And that reminds me right now to clear and format my cards and do the info photo before my trip to NYC in a week!

Posted by
9361 posts

Yes, that is a good idea. I have done this same thing for years, sometimes changing the phone number if I change SIMs. Fortunately, I have never had to use it.

Posted by
1976 posts

Nicole, thanks for reposting this advice! I read that post on the Italy forum and feel so bad for the poster! A few years ago I went on a trip where my suitcase was lost for the whole 2 weeks of it...but at least I had my camera. Pictures make the best souvenirs.

I will add this to my list of things to do before my trip this fall.

Posted by
4686 posts

Because I format my memory cards almost every day when I travel (I take a lot of pictures and dump my cards regularly to my laptop), the "take a picture of your address" method would be hard for me to remember to do every day.

Instead, I simply print out a label with small text the size of my battery or memory card and stick it to the battery. (My DSLR uses CF cards that are bigger, so for those I put the label right on the flash card). On the label I put my name, email address, and US phone number.

FYI, it's a good idea to format your memory cards after you have filled them up, if you can, instead of simply deleting a bunch of photos each time. I've seen memory cards get corrupted more than once, after repeated delete pictures then add more then delete. Formatting them each time you've copied all your pictures off (and then backed them up, too!) is cleaner.

Posted by
3807 posts

Good idea to have your info on the battery as well (until my current camera, my cameras all took 'AA' batteries - so that wouldn't have worked for me!) :)

Having worked in a camera shop for a year and a half, I can attest to people having corrupted SD cards from too much random deleting...and one poor lady who accidently formatted her card while trying to do some random deletions - and lost her little girl's birthday and first trip to the exhibition photos - she was just in tears.

So folks - be careful about formatting your card unless you know everything is downloaded! I only delete photos once they are on my computer.

Posted by
4686 posts

Yes, it's important to be careful before formatting a camera card, to make sure all of your pictures are saved. However, formatting itself doesn't destroy any pictures, only the directory structure of the filesystem. File recovery programs like Photorec and Recuva can usually restore most files on a formatted card - unless you format a card, then start taking new pictures overwriting the old pictures in the free space.

Posted by
9361 posts

My dad accidentally formatted his card halfway through a trip in China. Fortunately, he asked me what to do (instead of just accepting the loss), so I told him to remove and store it and put in a new one. When we got home, he took it to a shop and they were able to retrieve all of his pictures.

Posted by
3807 posts

The lady in question who formatted her card - she didn't know any better and took more photos on it without realizing what she was doing...before bringing it to the store...

Posted by
3318 posts

In addition to marking camera / cards / batteries with contact info, another possibility is to take two cards and alternate them daily. Then if it all goes to &%** in a basket and you never get the lost card back you still have half your photos.

Posted by
635 posts

Maybe it's a product of combined OCD and paranoia, but every evening on a trip I back up the day's shots from the SD card to the iPad, and upload the best, irreplaceable images to a temporary Picasa album.

Posted by
276 posts

I treat my SD cards like film. So I do not back them up since I have never had one fail. I suppose one day that will change, but I don't want to carry the backup gear with me. I do use smaller capacity SD cards. I this way if I lose a card or the camera is stolen, I have lost fewer photos.

Posted by
2290 posts

Good idea!

I alternate cards every day and have a nightly ritual of loading the days photos onto my ipad, uploading them to dropbox, and saving the best ones to the ipad. A The rest are deleted from the ipad but live on the memory card and dropbox. The best photos from the ipad are sent to interested friends and family at home. I use large cards, so 2-3 of them (to alternate) are enough for a 3 week trip. If I were lucky enough to travel for longer, I would need more cards. But as it is, if I loose my camera, it's just that day's photos that are lost. Everything else is on dropbox, the best are also on the ipad and e-mailed to my friends (therefore in my email folder), and half are on the memory card that wasn't lost.

I'm all about redundancies, having things in multiple places so there is a very low chance of a huge loss.