Memory card relieves newlywed quake crisis

A Christchurch couple thought their wedding memories had been lost after the February 2011 earthquake claimed their digital camera, only to find the precious pictures saved 18 months later thanks to a hardy memory card.

The couple were married just days before the magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck the area, when the compact camera used to document the wedding ceremony was washed away in silt.

Having just returned from his honeymoon, groom Martin Burley told The Press he and his wife had their life turned upside down by the quake and didn’t notice the camera had gone right away.

“We didn’t actually notice we lost the camera at the time, but a day or two later we were looking for it and couldn’t find it,” says Burley.

The camera had six months’ worth of photos on it, including shots of the couple’s wedding and honeymoon.

“We said, ‘OK, there’s nothing we can do about it’. We just put it out of our minds and carried on.”

However, late last month the couple rediscovered the consumed camera embedded in the driveway of their home – it was destroyed but the 4GB Adata SDHC card was fine.

With a little tinkering The Press reports Burley was able to retrieve all 2.5GB worth of data stored on the card.

“I really didn’t expect to find it there at all. Everyone’s pretty amazed.”

Post-quake Canterbury in pictures

One year on from the devastating February 2011 earthquake that struck the Caterbury region an ‘online living memorial’ has been erected for people to tell their stories and share images of the damage and recovery.

QuakeStories is a website developed by New Zealand’s Ministry of Culture and Heritage to give anyone affected by the disaster a space to upload their own personal experiences in words and images.

Just in time for the first anniversary of the 2011 quake the website has hit 300 shared stories and images and it continues to grow; the Ministry invites anyone with photos of the affects to upload them to the memorial site.

Initially dedicated to written stories, the website has grown rapidly after introducing the photo submitting functions says the Ministry’s chief historian, Neill Atkinson.

“We have been highly impressed by the quality and emotional intensity of the stories people have been submitting to the site and we’ve already amassed a great collection of photographs from our visitors.”

Head to the website if you have images to share or a story to tell, or just take a few minutes to browse what has already been uploaded on this day of remembrance.

Fell free to share your images with us on our Facebook page too.

New Japan-inspired Lomo cams

The Lomographic Society International is releasing three new cameras with designs inspired by Japanese culture.

Originally conceived as a celebration of Japan’s Golden Week of public celebration, the cameras are now being used to help raise funds for the quake-hit nation.

The society it is in awe of the strength the Japanese people have shown in the face of disaster and encourages everyone to pitch in for the relief effort.

“After what happened, we decided to launch this edition but add a charity aspect to it to show respect and offer help to our Japanese friends.

Sales of the new range, comprising Diana Mini Jiyu (Freedom), Diana F+ Kirameki (Sparkling) and Fisheye 2 Shiawase (Happiness), will go towards a €20,000 (about NZ$) to Red Cross Relief Japan.

“The Red Cross will use the donation on site to make sure that our Japanese friends find some relieve and hope while we are involving our community in various online actions through our Lomography Loves Japan initiative.”

The society’s Tokyo-based members have also organised free workshops under the banner ‘Smile Everyone!’ to encourage people to stay busy, creative and happy during the difficult restoration period.

You can follow the Japanese Lomography chapter as they blog about life in post-quake Japan on the society’s website.


Leica wants you to help Japan

Camera manufacturer Leica is calling on its fans and customers to pitch in and help raise money for quake-stricken Japan.

The company, which has already donated 72 pairs of binoculars to rescue teams in the disaster area, has started an online drive to raise funds for the relief effort.

Donations to the Leica appeal fund can be made online through PayPal with all proceeds going to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

In a statement the company says the Japanese government estimates the cost of recovery for the nation will be in the area of €218 billion (about NZ$406 billion).

“The scenes of the terrible disaster in Japan have deeply moved us all.

“As is the case with many people around the world, we also feel a need to help the people of the region so badly hit by this catastrophe,” the company says.

With the March 11 quake having killed many and left many more homeless photographers from across the globe have also been coming together to help raise money for Japan.

Japanese photographer Yasuteru Kasano has pledged to donate all money from website sales of his independently published photography books to the aid effort.

Skye Hohmann, a photographer selling prints on her PhotoShelter website, is donating all proceeds from her print sales to the Japan relief effort through the Canadian Red Cross.

Photographer Wynn White is giving away prints in return for a website donation of US$50 or more in the Give Help, Get Art initiative.

A collection of photographers are auctioning photos at the Photos for Japan website to raise money to help fund organisations working on the relief effort.

X100 back in production

Production of FujiFilm’s FinePix X100 has resumed after unexpected global demand quickly dried up initial stocks.

Scarce availability during the early-March launch was made worse when the Japanese manufacturer’s Taiwa-Cho factory had to be closed after the March 11 quake struck.

FujiFilm has since announced that none of the factory staff had been seriously injured and production of the X100 has now resumed, with shipments expected to begin in early April.

The beautifully crafted compact did make it briefly to the New Zealand market on March 11 but most camera retailers reported selling out on the same day and are still waiting for replenished stock.

The FinePix X100 features an APS-C CMOS sensor, new EXR processor, 23mm F2 prime lens, ISO range of 200 to 6400 (boosted to 12800), ND filter and analogue-digital ‘Hybrid Viewfinder’ housed in a retro, rangefinder-esque chassis.

When stock does trickle back to our shores the FinePix X100 will have a recommended price tag of $2199 (though most retailers were putting it out for around $1700 the first time around).


Christchurch: shots of the damage

Checking in with Christchurch’s photo retailers post-earthquake, D-Photo was happy to learn that Merivale Mall’s Photo and Video International was still standing and open for business.

Though the store had suffered considerable damage all staff escaped unhurt and a concerted cleaning effort soon had the doors open again in the wake of the February’s earthquake.

Below are some photos essaying the shop’s triumphant reopening despite some rather shaken foundations.

For a full rundown on the effects of Christchurch’s earthquake on the photographic community be sure to pick up the next issue of D-Photo, on sale March 28.

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Japan’s aftermath

Immersed in the surreal and tragic images of tsunami-hit Japan, headlines ringing with nuclear warnings, the world slowly begins to take stock of the damage.

For the imaging industry this has meant the closure of two major manufacturing plants, one Canon the other Nikon, after employee injury and structural damage in last week’s quake.

Canon has confirmed that 15 employees sustained injuries at its Utsunomiya plant, which is responsible for a large portion of the company’s lens production, with operations suspended indefinitely.

Nikon experienced similar disruption at its Sendai plant where an unspecified number of employees, working on the company’s professional DSLR models, were injured and the plant shut down.

Despite these blows both companies have pledged large sums towards the country’s relief effort.

Canon has pledged 300 million Yen (about NZ$5.8 million) and Nikon is making a cash donation of 100 million Yen (about NZ$1.69 million) to the Japanese Red Cross.

Update: Panasonic has also reported staff injuries in one of its its digital camera manufacturing plants, as well electronic materials and washer and dryer factories, ceasing opperations in one unspecified location.

The company has pledged 300 million Yen (about NZ$5.8 million) along with 10,000 radios and flashlights, 500,000 dry batteries and 4000 solar LED lanterns to the recovery effort.

On a smaller but no less generous scale, Japanese photographer Yasuteru Kasano has pledged to donate all money from sales of his independently published photography books to the aid effort.

You can view and purchase Kasano’s work at his website.

Update: Skye Hohmann, a photographer selling prints on image hosting website PhotoShelter, is donating all proceeds from her print sales to the Japan relief effort through the Canadian Red Cross.

You can view the photos and order prints at the artist’s website.

Putting the terrible sweep of damage in perspective is no easy task, but Google Earth and Maps team along with mapping company GeoEye have done their best.

The team has provided a KML file that can be uploaded to Google Earth in order to digitally survey the affected area, or a series of before-and-after shots can be accessed in this Picsa album.

The D-Photo team’s thoughts certainly go out to the nation, if our readers are aware of any other photography projects seeking to help the relief effort please let us know.

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