INTRODUCTION TO FORENSIC PHOTOGRAPHY
The word PHOTOGRAPHY is derived from a Greek word PHOTOS which means LIGHT and GRAPHOS meaning WRITE.
In the field of forensic photography, your work is scrutinized for the with which the topic of interest has been depicted.
Forensic photography is one of those forensic sciences that is not very glamorous, but which time and time again has proven to be an invaluable tool in solving cases.
The most important advantage of forensic photography over other forensic sciences is that it is based on relatively cheap equipment, it can produce evidence much faster and the evidence produced is usually unbeatable and beyond any doubt.
 

TOOLS OF TRADE

A basic knowledge of the principles of photography is necessary, both for creating a photographic work and defending its accuracy in the court of law.
 

CAMERA
It collects the reflected light images and record them on light sensitive film. The light enters the camera through an opening called a 'lens aperture.' Whether the lens is fixed, telephoto or zoom, collects the reflected light images to be recorded in focus on the film. The primary purpose of forensic photography is a true and accurate representation of the subject. Focusing is an integral part. Depending on the capabilities of the lens and camera being used the focusing capabilities vary from inches to a great distance.

A camera consists of seven basic components: a viewfinder, a focusing mechanism, a shutter, an adjustable aperture, a lens, a body, and devices for controlling film alignment and advancement.
LENS

The optical component of the camera is the lens. At its simplest, a lens is just a curved piece of glass or plastic. Its job is to take the beams of light bouncing off of an object and redirect them so they come together to form a real image -- an image that looks just like the scene in front of the lens.

The lens is made up of several individual lenses which in essence form a compound lens. Located between the front and rear lens is the aperture opening .Adjusting the aperture controls the amount of light entering the camera to be recorded on the film.
 

SHUTTER

The purpose of the shutter is to control the amount of time the light is allowed to focus on the film. The shutter is generally activated by depressing the shutter release button. IT may be fixed or adjustable.
Shutter Speed Control - This know controls the length of time the shutter remains open. Typical shutter speeds are measured in fractions of a second, such as: 1/30 1/60 1/125 1/250 1/500 and 1/1000 of a second.
 

DEPTH OF FIELD

It is defined as range of object distances within which objects are imaged with acceptable sharpness.

 

SURVEILLANCE PHOTOGRAPHY

Surveillance Photography is a secretive and continuous visual documentation of objects of importance to an investigation. Documentation of people, groups , places or objects. It is important in establishing the identity, and obtaining a permanent record of activities , in both civil and criminal proceedings.

It is sometimes called Covert Photography.
It may be used in a variety of situations:
1. Fixed or mobile CCTV surveillance in public areas.
2. Stalking by photographers of celebrities.
3. Hidden camera investigative journalism.
4. During industrial espionage.
5. During intelligence gathering by police and private investigators.
6. As a prank.

COUNTER SURVEILLANCE
Counter surveillance is the practice of avoiding surveillance or making surveillance difficult. Before computer networks, counter surveillance involved avoiding agents and communicating secretly. With recent developments — the Internet, increasing prevalence of electronic security systems, and computer databases — counter surveillance has grown in scope and complexity. Now counter surveillance involves everything from knowing how to delete a file on a computer to avoiding becoming the target of direct advertising agencies
CAMERAS AND ACCESSORIES
Because surveillance work by its very nature is secretive , the equipment should be compact and easy to use and produce accurate photographic documentation.
The best all-around format camera is the 35mm.Usually a faster film is desirable. The rule of thumb for selecting lenses is to use a wide angle lens [ 28 mm- 35 mm ] for close proximity surveillance. Telephoto and variable zoom lenses [ 80mm and above ] are used for extended distance photographic documentation.

Telephoto Lenses : Lenses that give a narrower angle of view than a standard lens are called telephoto lenses, though strictly speaking this is a particular way of making lenses. Most long focal length lenses in use on cameras today are telephoto lenses. Taking pictures through a telephoto lens is like using a telescope or binoculars - it makes everything look larger.

Narrow Field of View : These lenses have a narrower field of view than a standard lens. For 35mm format cameras we think of lenses from 70-120mm as short telephotos (often called portrait lenses), of those around 135-210mm as moderate or normal telephotos, and those of 300mm or more as extreme telephoto lenses.

Details : The main use of telephoto lenses is enabling you to select a small part of the subject - to pick a detail. You also use them when you can't move closer to the subject - perhaps if there is a river or a busy road in the way.

There are accessories for aiding in the reduction of blurred photographs frequently encountered in low- light , slow shutter speed. Tripods, monopods, straps and shutter release cords are essential for the use of long focal length lenses.

IMPACT OF SURVEILLANCE
The greatest impact of computer-enabled surveillance is the large number of organizations involved in surveillance operations:

The state and security services still have the most powerful surveillance systems, because they are enabled under the law. But today levels of state surveillance have increased, and using computers they are now able to draw together many different information sources to produce profiles of persons or groups in society.
Many large corporations now use various form of "passive" surveillance. This is primarily a means of monitoring the activities of staff and for controlling public relations.
 
But some large corporations actively use various forms of surveillance to monitor the activities of activists and campaign groups who may impact their operations. Many companies trade in information lawfully, buying and selling it from other companies or local government agencies who collect it. This data is usually bought by companies who wish to use it for marketing or advertising purposes.
 
Personal information is obtained by many small groups and individuals. Some of this is for harmless purposes, but increasingly sensitive personal information is being obtained for criminal purposes, such as credit card and other types of fraud.

 

PHOTOGRAPHIC TECHNIQUES FOR VARIOUS TYPES OF SURVEILLANCE
Although most surveillance photography is done from a fixed, predetermined position/ location, there are times when moving surveillance is desirable.
1. MOVING SURVEILLANCE ON FOOT
The equipment involved must be kept to a minimum. The new throw-away cameras use ISO 400 film. Cannot be used at distances closer than five feet. Use natural hand shots. Hold the camera concealed in your hand and held down alongside your hip, waist or leg. As you walk , aim the camera in the direction of your subject.

2.TWO-PERSON FOOT SURVEILLANCE
Affords better security against detection. Less chance of loosing the subject. Allows more latitude in choice of films. Usage of extra shots.

3.MOVING SURVEILLANCE WITH VEHICLES
It affords more opportunities to use a variety of photographic equipment.35-mm cameras and videotape are very adaptable to this technique. The equipment used can be either held or mounted on the vehicle. Inexpensive mounting material is VELCRO.

Aerial surveillance techniques do not require special equipment. Many modern automatic focus 35-mm format and video cameras with high speed film are fast enough to catch up acceptable identification photographic documentation.

4. FIXED SURVEILLANCE
Active : requires a presence of an individual in operating the camera or video equipment.
Passive : uses remote activation. Requires telephoto and variable zoom lenses.

5.COMPUTER SURVEILLANCE
At a basic level, computers are a surveillance target because large amounts of personal information are stored on them. Anyone who can access or remove a computer can retrieve information. If someone is able to install software on a computer system, they can turn the computer into a surveillance device.

Computers can be tapped by a number of methods, ranging from the installation of physical bugs or surveillance software to the remote interception of the radio transmissions generated by the normal operation of computers.

Spyware, a term coined by computer security expert Steve Gibson, is often used to describe computer surveillance tools that are installed against a user's will. High-speed Internet connections have made computers more vulnerable than ever before.

 

HIGH SPEED PHOTOGRAPHY

High speed photography is the science of taking picture of very fast phenomena.
Many physical events occur too fast to be discerned by the unaided human eye or photographed without blurring.
However, many of these events can be captured by camera , and the photographs analyzed. Some rapid processes can be analyzed by using a very short time exposure.

This latter technique is called HIGH SPEED PHOTOGRAPHY.

Early application and development

The first practical application of high speed photography was Edward Huybridge’s 1878 investigation into whether horses feet were actually all off the ground at once during a trot The D.B .Miliken company developed an intermittent , pin registered, 16mm camera for speed of 400 frames/s in 1957. Hitchell, Redlake Laboratories, and photo-sonier eventually followed in the 1960’s with a variety of 16,35, and 70mm intermittent camera.

High speed photography and cinematography
LIGHTING

A strobe lighting is used for this technique in which the activation of the total flash must be accurate as premature or late activation will not give us desired result. The easiest method involves darkening a room so that only strobe light has to be synchronized with the event.
The flash is activated by the action of the subject to be photographed. It is preferred to use large aperture ,fastest film and dark or non-reflective background .

METHOD OF ACTIVATION

There are numerous techniques for triggering the camera and subjects action simultaneously. The simplest method is manual activation. Others are mechanical contacts of optical and audio sensors.


CRIME SCENE PHOTOGRAPHY:

INTRODUCTION

Almost every day, photography provides new evidence of its value as a powerful weapon in the war against crime. More and more departments are coming to realize that--even in routine incidents--simple pictures taken with simple cameras can make an impressive difference in Court.

Furthermore, police departments are continually finding new ways to use photography, both as a tool for investigation and as a means to record data quickly and accurately.

Every defense lawyer knows that testimonial evidence may be proved inaccurate. Even signed confessions do not necessarily prove guilt in Court. But, photographs of physical evidence can show what happened so clearly and convincingly that juries convict and judges sentence.

Even pictures which never get to Court may make cases. Departmental workloads often make it impossible to collect all the right people at the right place at the right time. In such cases, pictures made by the first patrolman on the scene can be an indispensable investigative tool.

Photography works! You can make it work for you. Here's how:

GETTING THE EVIDENCE INTO COURT

Any picture an officer takes may wind up in Court. You will be safe if you keep this in mind for every photo you shoot. Experience has shown that attention to a few simple rules can make pictures acceptable to most judges.

Rule 1 - Do Not Disturb the Scene

This is the cardinal rule of crime scene photography. Both later investigators and jurors need to see the scene as it was when the police arrived.

Some Courts have held that a scene is disturbed by the addition of even such simple things as measuring scales and labels. Leave them out of your first series of pictures.

As far as possible, plan your pictures before you shoot. Make sure to cover the whole scene before it is touched or altered in any way. After the scene has been photographed in its original state, you may shoot a second series of pictures with minor changes. You can add measuring scales, remove obstacles blocking the view or do anything else which will make the scene clearer. If you are working with a partner, take pictures of him moving objects or adding them to the scene. This will show the jury exactly what was done and why.

Rule 2 - Get a Complete Series of Pictures

You must move around the scene to see everything. So must the camera. Generally speaking, each important object in the scene should appear in at least three pictures: an overview; a mid range shot; a close-up.

The overview should cover the entire scene to bring out the relationships between the objects. The mid range shot shows and important object and its immediate surroundings. Finally, each close-up shows a key detail clearly.

All of these pictures are important. A close-up alone does not indicate where the object was located. an overview alone does not bring out all items sharply enough to permit a detailed examination.

Rule 3 - Pay Attention to Camera Angles

Relationships of size and distance may be distorted by the wrong viewpoint. Examine the scene in the view finder. This shows the scene as your camera will see it.

Ask yourself questions such as:

Does this picture reveal the true position of the witness to the crime?

Do the skid marks seem longer or shorter in the viewfinder than they are in real life?

How large is the lead pipe used as a weapon?

Shoot most pictures with the camera at eye level. This is the height from which people normally see things and that makes it easier to judge perspective.

One practical way to assure complete coverage and to provide correct perspective is to follow the FOUR CORNER APPROACH. (Fig.1)

 Rule 4 - Record all Data

You will often want to stress key details in a picture. If you do that by marking on the print itself, a defense lawyer may accuse you of altering it. For this reason, it is wise to do your marking on a transparent overlay which can be removed to show the untouched print.

Another way to avoid possible objections is to label the negatives from which your prints were made and take them with you to Court.

Finally, you may want to support your prints with a "sketch map" of the crime scene and indicate the camera position for each shot. This is not a must; however, in your first few cases this procedure may be useful. In our Canadian Judicial System another member who was present and accompanying the photographer at the time the photographs were taken may enter the photographs as exhibits. Surely, you can attest to the question imposed by the Courts, "Do these photographs truly depict the scene as you saw it that day?" An answer, "Yes" is all that is required to enter the photographs as evidence.

If you follow these guidelines, you should have no trouble in getting your photographs accepted as legal evidence. But in order to be useful, pictures must also be: Sharp, Focused and Properly Exposed.

SHARPNESS

Taking sharp pictures is easy; but it is also important. A photograph that is not sharp can be less useful than a NEAR SIGHTED WITNESS! The following are some causes of photographs that are not sharp and suggestions as to how to remedy the matter.

Movement:

Research has shown that camera movement is the chief cause of pictures that are not sharp. If you keep your camera steady, you will probably keep your pictures sharp.

A heavy tripod is your best aid in keeping your camera steady. Use one whenever you can. However, if you do not have a tripod, there are other things you can do. For example, you can use any solid object such as a table top, a tree trunk or the roof of a car (not running) to brace the camera.

Always squeeze the shutter release as you do the trigger on your gun. If you jerk it, the camera may wobble even on the sturdiest tripod.

Be on the lookout for other methods that will help you keep your camera steady. Everything you learn and apply will make your pictures that much sharper.

Dirt:

Pictures that are not sharp are often due to foreign materials on the lens. This may be dirt. It may also be condensation which formed when you moved your camera from a cool area to a warm one. Either problem can be cured quickly by cleaning the lens with tissues made especially for the purpose. Always use LENS CLEANING SOLVENT to soften the tissue and the dirt, otherwise, you may scratch the lens.

LIGHTING

Lighting is critical in photography. The direction from which the light comes determines where shadows fall. Sometimes these shadows completely obscure details in the picture. On the other hand, shadows may reveal details which would otherwise be invisible. Here are basic rules that will help you to understand lighting and judge how each scene should be lit:

Direction:
The most important consideration is the angle from which the light comes. Light may be directed from the front, the side or the back. Other lighting arrangements are variations and combinations of these.

Back lighting:
This has little value in crime scene photography. A light directly behind the subject creates a silhouette. The subject may be entirely concealed by its own shadow. Furthermore, any light shining directly into the lens can cause "FLARE". This may make the whole picture foggy, streaked or spotty in appearance.

Avoid back lit situations when you can. If you are forced to shoot toward a light, try to keep it from shining into the lens. Place the lens in the shadow of the subject or shade it with a notebook or any other hand held object. Shade the lens as well as possible without actually blocking the camera's view.

Side Lighting:

This may be very good or very bad, depending on the situation. Side lighting puts shadows on the unlit side of the subject. These shadows are often essential to bring out the fine texture that is found in a cloth sample, a footprint or a tool mark. Try to use side lighting in all such situations.

On the other hand, when you shoot into a subject, the shadows obscure important interior details. When subjects such as automobiles, handbags and closets are side lit, even large objects inside them may not appear on the negative. You usually want to avoid side lighting in these situations.

When you need side lighting, you can obtain it by detaching the flash from your camera and moving it one side of the subject. If your flash is not removable, you can often dispense with it entirely and place another light source such as a table lamp or an automobile headlight where it will shine light from one side.

Front Lighting:

This is essentially shadowless. It, therefore, gives the best representation of most crime scenes. When you do not have a specific need for shadows in a scene, you will normally be wise to light it from the front. In daylight, be sure that the sun is behind you or at least over your shoulder-- Right or Left, it does not matter.

Watch for one special problem that arises when using flash. A highly polished surface in a scene can cause strong reflections which you may not see until after the film is processed. The bright reflection of the flash shining directly back into the lens causes some of the same problems that back lighting does. You can tip the head of the flash unit up sometimes to an angle of 45 degrees. and bounce the light off the ceiling. This technique may require you to use a different "f" stop on the camera lens or different Auto Flash setting. More on this matter on the next page(cf. "Using a Flash").

Reflection problems can usually be avoided by shooting at an angle of 45 degrees. to the reflective surface. If, on the other hand, you must shoot directly toward a highly polished surface, try an extra picture without the flash(this may require the use of a tripod since you will be using lower shutter speeds).

EXPOSURE (with available light)

In addition to the direction of the light, you must also consider the amount of light. This is governed by the "exposure".

Modern cameras with automatic metering systems can greatly simplify exposure problems, especially when you have to shoot quickly. Nevertheless, no camera can "think" for you. The photographer is ultimately responsible for the exposure.

Your Pentax K1000 camera has a built-in exposure meter. In most cases, "centering the exposure needle" is all that is required. Do not take photographs looking into the sun. The exposure meter will be fooled by all the light.

STEPS TO FOLLOW TO OBTAIN PROPER EXPOSURE
(using Available Light Photography, i.e. No Flash)

1) When inserting a roll of film in the camera, you must always set your ASA dial according to the film speed as stated on the film cartridge. This adjusts your built-in light meter to the film's light sensitivity.

2) For crime or accident scenes, the shutter speed on the camera should be set at 1/125 sec. This is usually a good starting point for the shutter speed. Your shutter speed could change from a slower speed to a faster one depending on the light intensity at the time the photograph is taken.

3) Adjust your light meter needle as seen in the viewfinder by turning the aperture ring located on the barrel of the lens until the needle is properly lined up. When the needle is properly lined up, this tells the photographer that the light entering the camera will produce a properly exposed photograph.

4) Your final step in available light photography is to COMPOSE your shots and FOCUS.

NB: Use a shutter speed faster than 1/30 of a second for all hand held photographs. The camera must be supported (tripod, etc) for shutter speeds of 1/30 of a second or slower.

EXPOSURE USING A FLASH (artificial light)

Your flash will be so important to you that it deserves special consideration. The flash is your light. It is with you at all times. You can, therefore, learn to control it more predictably than you can the available light that you happen to find on the spot. With experience, you may be able to learn to use the flash to duplicate almost any type of natural lighting.

Even without experience, the flash can help improve crime scene photography a great deal. You normally need front lighting and the flash mounted on the camera will provide that automatically.

Steps to Follow to Obtain Properly Exposed Photographs in Artificial Light (i.e. FLASH) Photography

NB: When using a flash as the light source, adjustment must be done to both the camera and the flash unit in order to obtain a properly exposed photograph.

1) Your flash unit, now being your main light source, must be adjusted to the proper ASA setting according to the speed of the film being used-for the same reasons you adjusted the camera light meter to the film speed being used.

2) The Vivitar 283 has four AUTOMATIC settings as well as the MANUAL MODE.

3) These AUTOMATIC settings are indicated via COLOUR codes (yellow, red, blue, mauve) on the flash scale dial on the side of the flash unit. These colour codes will indicate the maximum distance capability as well as the required corresponding "f" stop(lens aperture setting).

4) Once you have decided on the most appropriate setting, note the colour. You must now adjust the the Thyristor Sensor on the front of the flash so that the colour code on it corresponds to the one on the flash scale.

5) When choosing a setting you must keep in mind both the distance requirement and the desired DEPTH OF FIELD (DOF). That is to say, colour code yellow used to shoot objects about 40 feet away requires "f" 2.8, but there is little DOF. Colour code mauve which requires an "f" stop setting of "f" 11 will give you the greatest DOF, but the light from the flash will only properly expose objects up to 10 feet. You will have to come to some sort of compromise here.

6) When using the MANUAL MODE, always ensure your Aperture setting corresponds with the distance indicated on your flash scale. Also, check the Thyristor Sensor to ensure that you have set it "M" position.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, THE SHUTTER SPEED OF THE PENTAX K1000 MUST BE SET AT 60X AT ALL TIMES WHEN USING FLASH!!!!

For those of you who understand how a thyristor controlled flash functions, you need not follow my instructions. However, if you have never used a flash before and you follow the above instructions, I will guarantee that you will get a very acceptable photograph.

Unusual Lighting Depth Problems encountered with Flash:

You will sometimes need to take a picture in which there are important details both near and far from the camera. These situations can be particularly troublesome because the near objects get too much light while the far objects get too little. That creates OVEREXPOSURE and UNDEREXPOSURE in the same picture. One solution to this problem might be to remove the flash from the camera and take an extra picture using only the available light found at the scene and metering it with the camera's light meter. Again, you will probably have to use a tripod because you will be using very slow shutter speeds(less than 1/30 of a second in dim lighting).

EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE

Even the simplest camera is a precision tool. Like your gun, it will do its job for you only when you take care of it.

Case: The best maintenance for your camera is protection. If you have a camera case, put your camera inside it when not in use. If you have no case, at least keep the lens covered. Also, avoid the common mistake of leaving the camera open when the film is removed--this will let in dust.

Lens: Take great care of the lens. As even cleaning causes some damage, clean your lens only when there is a genuine need. On the other hand, when the lens does need cleaning, never put it off. Fingerprints, exhaust fumes and ocean salt will permanently damage the coating on many lenses if they are left uncleaned.

Mirror: NEVER! EVER! touch the mirror you see inside the camera body when the lens is removed--it is extremely delicate. Although the mirror may be filthy, the mirror flips out of the way when you take a photo and none of the dust on it will show up in your photos.

Contacts: Corrosive environments can also damage the electrical contacts in the camera and in the flash. This may be puzzling if you do not realize that it can happen. The solution is easy - just polish the electrical contacts with an ordinary pencil eraser.

Film and
Batteries:
Keep fresh film and fresh batteries on hand. You can no more afford to have expired film and batteries in your camera than you can to have outdated bullets in your gun.

Kit: Finally, keep your photographic equipment TOGETHER as a kit and READY to use. If you have any sort of a carrying case, it will not only protect the equipment, but will help you to avoid misplacing anything. You may have heard stories about professional photographers who have reported for an assignment with a load of elaborate equipment and NO FILM! Some of these stories are true. You can escape this sort of embarrassment by keeping your kit together.

IDEAS TO CONSIDER

If you practice the basics contained in these notes, you will be able to get usable evidence on film in most crime scenes. After you master these basics, however, you may want to seek out ways of using your ability to obtain even better results.

Pictures need not be pretty or artistic to supply convincing evidence. Nevertheless, a higher degree of technical competence will occasionally secure convincing pictures in situations where you might otherwise get nothing.

Flash - Try experimenting with different ways of placing your flash. Sometimes, lifting the flash high overhead and pointing at a spot just behind the most distant subject will enable you to light a large area evenly. Also, try pointing the flash at the ceiling. By doing this, the whole room is used as a flash reflector--but you needs lots of flash power and a light coloured, low ceiling to do this.

By experimenting with your procedures, you can discover numerous techniques. As you get into more varied situations, you will find problems in police photography which civilian photographers seldom encounter. You will have to invent ways of dealing with them. Just remember that any experimental technique must be backed up with the conventional approach until it has proven itself in practice.

POINTS TO REMEMBER

1) Always take preliminary photographs before the scene is altered in any way.

2) Take a complete set of pictures (Overall Mid Range & Close - up). Shoot from different angles and distances. Film is cheaper than lost cases.

3) Use fresh film and keep it away from heat.

4) Keep your pictures sharp. Use a tripod if possible. Focus carefully. Be sure your lens is clean.

5) Avoid back lighting. It creates silhouettes and may cause flare. If you must shoot toward a light, shade the lens as best you can.

6) Use side lighting to bring out texture, accident damage, tool marks and any other irregularities on a surface. Avoid it when shooting recesses, containers and closets.

7) Front lighting is normally the best in police work. Use it unless three dimensional details need to be recorded (then use side lighting).

8) The flash provides portable and easily controlled light. In sunlit scenes, it fills in the shadows and brings out details that they might otherwise hide.

9) Aiming your flash at a highly polished surface may cause "glare". Point the camera/flash at the surface from a 45 degree. angle.

10) Cover the flash with a clean white handkerchief for close subjects to prevent the flash from "burning" the subject in with overexposure or harsh light.

11) When some important objects are near you and others are far away, use your flash but expect those objects closer to you to be overexposed and those further away to be underexposed. Try taking an extra shot without a flash if there is some "available" light but you will most likely have to use a tripod or rest the camera on some solid stationary object to prevent a blurred or unclear image.

12) Keep all your equipment in good condition and readily available. It will then give maximum usefulness and minimum trouble.

BEFORE SHOOTING: A CHECKLIST

Every photographer, even a skilled professional, occasionally makes careless mistakes, like shooting with an empty camera or forgetting to remove the lens cap. To avoid such fundamental errors, experienced photographers have developed mental checklists to run through before putting the camera to use. Here is one such list, suggested by veterans of the photographic staff of LIFE magazine:

1) Is the camera already loaded?

Many a photographer has lost precious exposures because he opened the back of his camera to put in new film without checking to see that the camera was empty. Check the film window in the back of the camera or the automatic frame counter. If there is any doubt, test the film advance; if there is film in the camera you should be able to feel a slight resistance to turning. On cameras with rewind knobs, the knob should revolve if there is film in the camera.

2) How many exposures are left?

If there are only a few frames remaining and you expect to be shooting rapidly, wind the film through and put in a new roll.

3) Is the camera free of dust and film chips?

Before loading up with fresh film, look for loose fragments of film which sometimes are broken off by the windup spool and jam the camera mechanism. Both chips and dirt can leave long scratches on new film as it moves through. Dust on the film or the back of the lens can spot or blur pictures. To clean out the inside of your camera, use a soft brush or special blower brush; you can do a good job simply by blowing into the camera and then gently wiping out any remaining dirt with a clean, wadded handkerchief which has been laundered enough times to be free of lint.

Never try to brush off any dirt or dust on the mirror inside the camera body. It is very delicate and merely touching it can damage it. It swings out of the way when the photo is being taken so any dirt on it will not show up in your photo anyway. You can blow on it to try to remove dust.

4) Are you loading the film in subdued light?

Instant loading film cartridge and 35mm film cassettes are light tight, BUT with regular roll film such as you use with the Pentax K1000, load it in subdued light since light can actually travel down the sides of the film and back into the unexposed film in the cartridge thereby ruining it.

5) Is the film moving properly to the take-up spool?

When you load a fresh roll of film, make certain that the film's tapered beginning (leader) is firmly inserted in the take-up spool. Then advance the film at least one full frame while the camera back is open. If you use 35mm film, make sure that the sprockets remain engaged in the holes along with the edges before closing the camera back.

6) Is the camera back tightly latched?

After closing and latching the camera back, try to open it without releasing the locking mechanism.

7) Is the take-up spool turning?

To be certain that the film is advancing properly, work the film-advance mechanism at least once, feeling for resistance. If the camera has a rewind knob, it should revolve. If it does not, open the camera and repeat step five.

8) Is the lens securely in place?

If you are using a camera with interchangeable lenses (such as the Pentax K1000, the standard RCMP camera across the nation), try to wiggle the lens barrel; if it moves at all, take the lens off and remount it properly.

9) Is the lens clean?

Do not try to clean the lens with an ordinary cloth which may scratch the glass. Do not use silicone treated eyeglass tissues which may damage the special coatings on the lens. Liquid eyeglass cleaners can get down into the barrel of the lens and dissolve the cements used in there. The BEST WAY to clean a lens is to blow away dust and then "fog" the glass with your breath or a special photographic lens cleaner. Then wipe the lens very gently with special photographic lens tissue(they are provided in your camera case at Depot).

10) Is your light meter set correctly for the speed of the film you are using?

11) Is your light meter battery fully charged? Keep spares.

12) Have you removed your lens cap or lens filters?

With single lens reflex cameras such as this Pentax K1000, the lens cap poses no problem since you are actually viewing the scene through the lens. If the cap were on, you would see nothing. But with other cameras, you should always check to see if the lens cap is on. Other colleagues in your office may have been using the camera for special assignments and might have used special light filters which they left on the lens and which may ruin your photos. It's always a good idea to have a quick look at the lens before you start shooting.

GOOD LUCK!

Source: http://www.rcmp-learning.org

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