Running head: different aircraft accident photography procedures

Running Head: Different Aircraft Accident Photography Procedures Aircraft Accident Photography David M. Merckson Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach, Florida Worldwide Online Instructor: John Kuborn January 26, 2013 ABSTRACT In this paper I will briefly go over and describe the various types of Aircraft Accident Photography procedures and equipment used to perform those duties. I will support and also will oppose the different types of accident photography with rationalization and past data. I will go over the most prominent photography styles that are used today in more detail. Introduction Since the beginning of flight, there has always been a need to capture the aircraft mishaps in photography as a way to permanently have a recollection of what the scene looked like for investigation and maintenance purposes. There are many different styles, and types of photography performed at the accident scene. With that being said there is various types of equipment that you need to have to perform all the different angles of photography at the scene. The different pieces of equipment will produce many different kinds of quality photos and create ideas of how things happened prior to the accident occurring. To start taking photos of accidents you will need some basic equipment such as a camera, film for some cameras, lenses, flashes, tripods, light, and batteries, etc. As a photographer you want to take as many color photos of the accident scene you can. The color photos put realistic life into the photos, it also will help you piece the pictures together since you will be taking multiple pictures of the scene. Take pictures of anything that is perishable at the scene before you take pictures of anything else. These photos are critical to the investigation and to helping you put your photo library all together. If you wait to take these pictures you could lose some valuable information of what may have contributed to the accident. Some examples of what I am referring to are ice on the aircraft, various fluids from the aircraft, human beings, the cockpits, any panel readings that can be located and seen, rescue efforts, any fire or smoke that is seen around the plane. The colors in the picture of the smoke will help decide what is burning. You will always want to take more pictures than you need. You can’t ever recreate the real deal. If you have any way possible when you first get there you should try to get aerial photo of the accident scene. This will help everyone see a perspective of what happened at the scene they cannot normally see from just the ground. Once you are able to take that photo try to then move into at ground level by taking photos from a distance and the eight points of the compass. Then after getting those pics move inward and get the close up photos you want to take or those pictures you know everyone will say, “ Boy we should have gotten one of the…” Continue taking pictures of anything you could possibly think of that will help you later put this all together. The Need for Accident Photography After you leave the accident scene from taking pictures you will then have to go back and start to create your basic photo plan. This plan will encompass all the photos you deem necessary important to aiding in the aircraft investigation and mishap report. You will need to put all of you photos into sequential order of how you took them. If needed use reference items to aid in helping decide what happened first, great method is numbering the back of each photo. You will want to break in down into different parts, the perishables using the photos of victims, gages, and any other perishable items. Next would be photos of the scene. You could place here your aerial photos if possibly have, also any pictures of the aircraft that you took. You would place your four corners of the aircraft photos, your perspective shots, and any other aircraft photos in this section as well (Sweggins, 2006). You as the photographer you want to create the “ Hollywood Perspective” of how everything came together (Sweggins, 2006). This is the most common form of photo plans that everyone likes to use. This perspective will put your photos in order by their size such as the large picture items: the terrain, airport, trees, or surrounding area. Next are the medium pictures which include any ground scars which is the parts of the ground where the aircraft impacted the earth, and also pieces of the aircraft go into this part as well. Your following section would be the small picture: this is where you take a picture of all four corners of the aircraft if possible. After the small picture is taken then comes the smaller picture which encompasses the detailed shots of aircraft. Lastly are the smallest pictures which will include your technical close up shots of anything you were able to get photos of. Items that are need for performing Aircraft Photography The up most important thing you will need to do your job as a photographer is a camera, without a camera you cannot take pictures. The cameras these days come in many shapes and sizes and are capable of doing many things to enhance the quality of your photo or making it easier in taking the photo. Most of the cameras on the market are 35mm, some use film and some do not. The ones that do require the use of film it is best to use a high speed because it will permit more latitude. The faster film works under low light conditions as well. With film you can blow up pictures to an 8 x 10 photo with it still being clear and not have all of grains in it. In most cases it best to document photos in color film rather than black and white. It is now cheaper for you to buy the color rather than the black and white. If need be you can print a color negative in black and white. Most of these have a range of 100 to 1600 some even up to 3200 (Sweggins, 2006). One good advantage of having film is it is not able to be altered, what you take the picture of is what you get in the end. Cameras come in mainly two different styles, one which is the “ Point and Shoot” and the 35 mm Single Lens Reflex (SLR). The point and shoot is more for the novice photographer because of the convenience that it has since the camera will do everything for you, no focusing or any extra effort required. The more advanced, more experienced photographer will probably be using the SLR (Single Lens Reflex) for their camera of choice while photographing an accident scene. The Single Lens Reflex cameras were invented back in 1930’s by the GOMZ of Leningrad, Germany (Burnside, 2011) . The SLR is capable of using film or being digital which does not require any film but a memory card that can come in many sizes. Since you will be taking allot of pictures at the accident scene you will want a memory card that has allot of memory space to hold all of your pictures. It is always better to have too much space than not enough. The great advantage of taking pictures with a digital camera rather than not you are able to see the photos immediately after taking them. You will be able to know whether you need to change something to get a better picture or not. If you don’t like it you can always erase it and not take up any space on your memory card. The disadvantage of using digital photography is that people can alter your photos into a way that may not be good for you. When you are taking high quality photos you want to use a good lens. There are many different styles to choose from all depending on what you are taking photos of or how you want the photo to turn out. The normal lens that most photographers use is to be a 50mm in size. The down fall to that particular lens is it will not allow you to get a clear picture of anything within two feet. The next lens that has any value in an accident investigation is a 24 or 28 mm wide angle lens. With this particular style lens it will allow you to do the close up photos (Sweggins, 2006). A telephoto lens doesn’t really serve a purpose in doing this job. The only time that it would be beneficial is if you actually saw the aircraft falling out of the sky. Flashes for a camera come in handy many times; it will be especially nice in those tight spaces where this is no room for lights to be put up or where there is no light. This will also help control shadows put out by the sun. When you are looking to purchase a flash it really doesn’t make that much of a difference in which one that you buy. You should invest in a PC extension cable to aid you in putting the flash in different places not just in one stationary location. This is just one of the extras that will aid in your job of being a professional photographer. This is the biggest solution to low light digital photography (Rowse, 2006-2010). Tripods will reduce your cameras movement and improve your picture quality helping you take that perfect still shot. This will be handy in taking photos that need extra time to be staged and have items put in place for the photo. Telephoto lenses tend to be difficult to steady. Their long focal length magnifies any vibration caused by the camera shutter and mirror, wind, or by the photographer themselves. Their slower maximum aperture also causes a frequent need for slower shutter speeds which exacerbates the problem even more. A good rule of thumb for deciding whether hand-holding a telephoto lens will cause you problems is that a shutter speed of at least 1/ the focal length is required for a sharp picture. For example, if you are using a 500mm. lens the minimum shutter speed you would normally need to use without a tripod would be 1/500th second. When using a shutter speed slower than this simple rule of thumb suggests, a tripod is in order. A good tripod will help steady your camera and ensure sharp pictures (Unknown, 2009). One of the most important things that you need to have your camera work is batteries. Being that there is various styles of cameras there are various styles of batteries to power your camera. In the 35mm camera that most professionals use they will need to have a 6 volt rechargeable battery or some will take AA batteries to operate the camera. Some require special batteries that the company of the camera manufacturer will recommend where you pick them up at. With this knowledge it is in your best interest to make sure that you have enough of what ever style battery that your camera needs to do the job at hand (Sean, 2011). Conclusion From the beginning with Orville & Wilbur Wright’s expenditure in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina with their multiple attempts at flight to any of the most recent aircraft accidents we have have had there is the need for aircraft photography. With people doing this we are able to further do various types of research to prevent the further event of any duplicate accidents. The pictures aid in helping researchers find out how the accidents happen. Knowing what equipment you need to have for each of the different types of photography you will be performing is a great help in deciding on what to buy and how much or what type. There is so much technology out there to help you in your purchasing of items. Do your research and buy a product that you can afford and that will do the best job you can. Bibliography Burnside, K. (2011, June 20). The First SLR Camera Invented. Retrieved December 28, 2012, from EHow : http://www. ehow. com/info_8668900_first-35mm-slr-camera-invented. html Rowse, D. (2006-2010). How To Get Better Digital Photos In Low Light Conditions Without Using A Flash. Retrieved December 28, 2012, from Digital Photography School: http://www. digital-photography-school. com/how-to-get-better-digital-photos-in-low- light-conditions-without-using-a-flash Sean. (2011, October 7). What batteries do I need for my camera? Retrieved December 29, 2012, from Photography: http://photo. stackexchange. com/questions/16254/what-battery-do-i- need-for-a-35mm-film-canon-rebel Sweggins, R. H. (2006). Aircraft Accident Investigation (Second Edition). Casper: Endeavor Books. Unknown. (2009, November 25). 7 Reasons Why You should use a Tripod. Retrieved January 2, 2013, from Photography Blog: http://www. photographyblog. com/articles/7_reasons_why_you_should_use_a_tripod/#comments