exif data

Keep track of your camera with CameraTrace

Being the dutiful and conscientious photographers that we are, it's likely that our camera kit is insured to the hilt, and then some more for good measure. (If not, please go sort it now. Right now. This'll be waiting for you when you get back.) That way, if some miserable thief should steal away into the night with your Canon 5D Mk II, your Nikon D3s should meet a watery fate tumbling from your hands into the murky blackness of a canal, or some other grim and grisly fate should befall your Sony A77, you'll be able to - doubtless after much sighing, frustration, and possibly even blood-letting - replace it with something new and shiny. But wouldn't it be awesome if you knew that there was a way to help locate a lost camera, or potentially bring a thieving git to justice? Well, bring on CameraTrace.

It's an online camera registration service that'll set you back the princely fee of $10 per camera. If some dastardly sod does waltz off with your treasured kit, you can fire up CameraTrace's search technology to trawl the EXIF data of photographs on famed photo-sharing sites Flickr and 500px to look for camera serial numbers that match yours. When you've located your camera in the clutches of AN Other, CameraTrace will help you complete the necessary police paperwork to try to reclaim it, too. (As they rightly point out, you shouldn't try to recover it all by your lonesome - you don't know who might have it.)

Of course, this will depend on the new user taking photos with your camera and uploading them with EXIF data intact to Flickr or 500px. Without the serial number, you're scuppered, and if they use Picasa, you're out of luck, too. At least for the moment, anyway. GadgetTrak, the developers, are working on increasing the websites covered.

More than just that, though, they also provide camera identification tags so that should you somehow manage to leave your camera on a train and it's picked up by a Good Samaritan, there's an easy - and anonymous - means of returning it to you, via an identification number and a website. And they'll ship the tags world-wide, too, so even if you live in Outer Mongolia, you can still tag your camera.

Sound like a good idea to you? You can sign up for it here.

Shoot a headline; win a prize!

I loves me a bit of street photography, so when the details of a December-long contest specifically for street photographs landed in my inbox, I sat up and took some notice. Especially when it's a comeptition that respects photographers' rights (the rights remain yours; all yours) and has a decent prize to boot!

It's been organised by Thomas Leuthard, a Swiss photographer whom you might happen to know by his moniker 85mm. He takes some impressive street photos and wanted to inpsire others to have a go, too. So came about the December 'Headlines' competition.

Yep, all photographs need to include a headline of some description. It can come from a newspaper, from a shopfront, from a carrier bag... whatever. Being a street photography contest, they need to be candid shots, which is pretty obvious, really. And it has to have been taken in December 2011, too.

Thomas has also added a couple of extra rules to get you to think about your photography a bit more. All entries need to be black and white and square format.

When you've taken your photo, you submit it to the 85mm contest pool on Flickr, with its EXIF data intact, geo-tagged using the Flickr widget, and without any watermarks. It's one submission per person and then its a case of waiting.

The pool will be closed on 31 December 2011, after when Thomas and the four other judges will choose their favourites, with a $500 prize going to the winner.

All the rules and regulations are up on Thomas' site, and if you've any more questions, he'll answer them over in the discussion threads in the Flickr group.

What are you waiting for? Get snapping!