A tip to follow before you lose your camera

Published 8 June 2012

Smile!  You're on camera

Got a camera? Go out walking with it? Ever thought about what might happen should you lose the camera?

Well here’s a handy tip. As your first photograph on your memory card take a photograph of a piece of paper that has your name and address on it – maybe even a phone number or email address too.

This simple, effective method means anyone finding your camera can get in touch with you simply and easy. If it’s handed in to the police, they can let you know. If a kind stranger finds it, they know what to do with it.

Such loss does happen on walks. It’s easy to do. I have almost dropped my camera several times without me noticing. And others do too. In 2011 whilst walking the Glyndŵr’s Way we found a camera near the Clwedog Dam, several miles on from Llanidloes. It had several photos from someone’s holiday on a beach, and a picture of four people’s backs as they explored the ruins of the nearby Bryntail Mine.

Without a car and being a day and a half’s walk from our next police station, we were thankful to entrust the camera to a nearby tea stand who said they’d keep it for the day then send it on to the police station if no one claimed it. Obviously we never knew if it was claimed by its rightful owner. If they’d followed by handy tip, we could have sorted it out.

Such things do work. Indeed a month earlier I’d lost my wallet in the Sussex town of Alfriston. I only found out when I got to a train station several miles away and found myself unable to pay for a ticket (the guard very kindly let me off the £2 fare.)

On returning home I was just about to start the painful process of cancelling cards when I found a voicemail message on my home phone. My wallet had been found and because my driving licence was in it, the person who had picked it up got in touch. Bizarrely, despite me losing it 50 miles away, it was picked up by someone who lived a mile and a half down the road.

So what are you waiting for? Take that picture of your contact details. Put it as the first photo on your memory card.

Oh and do one other important thing too. When you reformat your memory card, take another photo of your memory card. Every time. Always.

Because that’s the bit I often forget. And unfortunately the time you forget to do so is the time you actually do lose your camera.

If you happen to find a battered looking, eight year old Kodak Easyshare CX7530 in a black Lowepro case somewhere near Burneside, it’s probably ours. Unfortunately Catherine mislaid it in bad weather when she was walking the Dales Way. And, foolishly, when I formatted the memory card for her I completely forgot my own advice.

The camera’s not worth much. It was our spare – rarely used and replaced three years ago by a better model. Catherine had only taken it because I’d had the main camera. The camera can be replaced. But it would be nice to get the memory card.

Hopefully someone will find it and hand it in to the police. We’ll see. But it would have been much easier had we had our contact details as the first photo…

Go. Do it now. One day it may be useful.

In case you’re wondering, the photo above is of Catherine’s dad’s mega camera. The lost one was just a bit smaller…

Update: Monday 11 June – the good news is is that the camera has been found safe and well and handed in to the Cumbria Police.


WAyne Harris

21 March 2017 at 3:13 am

Better still don’t loose your camera. I use a Peak Design Capture Clip to attach my camera to my belt, with a Peak Design Leash light weight neck strap as backup. The quick release button on the capture clip means I can quickly bring the camera to my eye even while walking and then return it to my belt. Peak Design also make a great rain cover so you can use your camera in the rain without it getting wet. Details are on their web site.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

21 March 2017 at 9:06 am

Hi Wayne – I always have my camera in a case with a neck strap to keep it safe. Not helped me when I’ve unclipped it at rest stops though! Thankfully I have always spotted it when I have inadvertently left it on the grass.

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