Digital media preserves photos of last moments of tsunami victims

Regarding the Indian Ocean Tsunami of December 2004, one has to notice that the level of detail that the rest of the world had of this crisis is amazing compared to other natural disasters.One reason in my opinion is that many "normal" people own gadgets such as digital cameras and video camcorders. The people on the scene were able to take photos and footage of the disaster as it was happening. In other disasters, the rest of the world had to wait for professional photographers and camera crews to go into the disaster zone and send back images of an after-the-fact.One amazing set of photos were taken by John and Jackie Knill of Vancouver, British Columbia, who were in Thailand when the tsunami hit. They both were killed by the initial waves. Their digital camera was later recovered by a Seattle, WA man, and since digital cameras use memory cards to store images, the data in it was intact. The pictures were given to their family, who graciously allowed the rest of the world to see them.The tourists seem to be initially curious of the receding waters. One can even see boats on the sand in one picture. Then the waves came roaring by, and the Knills kept taking pictures!You can see the pictures at the CBC Photo Gallery or the Yahoo slide show.One lesson here is that this could not have ended up the same way if this was a film camera. The sea water would ruin the film, and render it useless. The use of a solid state digital medium was key to us seeing those last pictures.

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