Army Signal Center and Fort Gordon Fort Gordon, Georgia EDITION 5 3 CREDIT HOURS REVIEWED: 1988 GENERAL

The Tactical Documentation Photography subcourse part of the Still Photographic Specialist MOS 84B Skill Level 1 course, is designed to teach the knowledge necessary for performing tasks related to types and techniques of tactical documentation photography. The subcourse is presented in two lessons, each lesson corresponding to a terminal objective as indicated below. Lesson 1: PERFORM TACTICAL DOCUMENTATION PHOTOGRAPHY TASK: CONDITIONS: Describe the photography. types and techniques of tactical documentation

Given information about terms relating to types of tactical documentation photography and techniques for shooting a series of photographs, panoramas and flash recording photography. Demonstrate competency of the task skills and knowledge responding to the multiple choice test covering methods operational record photography. supports STP Task 113-578-1018, Perform Operational by of


(This objective Photography.)


Lesson 2: PERFORM AERIAL DOCUMENTATION PHOTOGRAPHY TASK: Describe the techniques used in aerial documentation photography.



Given information about techniques used in pinpoint obliques, horizontal and vertical photography, types of film used in aerial documentation photography and step used in planning an aerial mission. Demonstrate competency of the task skills and knowledge by responding to the multiple choice test covering techniques used in aerial documentation photography. supports STP Task 113-578-1018, Perform Operational Record


(This objective Photography.)


TABLE OF CONTENTS SECTION TITLE PAGE ........................................................... TABLE OF CONTENTS .................................................... INTRODUCTION TO TACTICAL DOCUMENTATION PHOTOGRAPHY ................... Lesson 1: PERFORM OPERATIONAL RECORD PHOTOGRAPHY .................... PAGE i iii v 1 1 4 19 22 23 23 31 38 40 41

Learning Event 1: Define Terms Related to Tactical Documentation Photography .............................. Learning Event 2: Describe Types and Techniques of Tactical Documentation ....................................... Practice Exercise ............................................... Answers to Practice Exercise..................................... Lesson 2: PERFORM AERIAL DOCUMENTATION PHOTOGRAPHY ..................

Learning Event 1: Explain What is Meant by Aerial Documentation Photography ................................ Learning Event 2: Explain the Uses and Capabilities of Aerial Documentation Photography .................... Practice Exercise ............................................... Answers to Practice Exercise .................................... FINAL EXAMINATION ....................................................

Whenever pronouns or other references denoting gender appear in this document, they are written to refer to either male or female unless otherwise indicated.




INTRODUCTION TO PERFORM TACTICAL DOCUMENTATION PHOTOGRAPHY These two lessons on Tactical Documentation Photography are designed to teach you the methods of photographic tactical documentation within your unit. Army visual information units are becoming more tactically oriented and will require efficient documentation procedures. Most of this documentation will be performed in the field. Your ability to support the Army with usable combat documentation may well spell the difference between mission failure or mission accomplishment. The term "visual information" is replacing "audiovisual" in the tactical Army.



LESSON 1 PERFORM TACTICAL DOCUMENTATION PHOTOGRAPHY TASK Describe the types and techniques of tactical documentation photography. CONDITIONS Given information about terms relating to types of tactical documentation photography and techniques for shooting a series of photographs, panoramics, and flash recording photography. STANDARDS Demonstrate competency of the task skills and knowledge by responding to the multiple choice test covering methods of operational record photography. REFERENCES None Learning Event 1: DEFINE TERMS RELATED TO TACTICAL DOCUMENTATION PHOTOGRAPHY 1. Introduction.

a. Tactical documentation photography provides the local commander up to the Joint Chiefs of Staff with a visual record of official military operations and activities (including combat) which will be used for intelligence, training, conduct of operations, briefings, command information, public affairs, and historical purposes. (1) Combat documentation is performed by visual information teams to provide still photography, motion media (television or motion picture), and audio documentation; photographic laboratory services; video and audio editing and duplication services; graphic illustration; visual information product files, distribution and presentation; and visual information equipment maintenance and repair. (2) Commanders of Theater Army and corps are provided audiovisual and graphics documentation teams to support tactical documentation missions throughout the theater of operations. b. Visual information activities support command and Army missions, and US national objectives.


c. Combat documentation teams will be engaged in still and motion media operations on day one of any battle. In some cases the documentation may start 24 hours before hostilities begin. 2. Tactical documentation covers the following:

a. Battlefield documentation, which extends from forward of the FLOT to Corps, consists of the following types of media coverage: (1) Document military operations from day one of the battle and audio information of immediate value to commanders and their staffs for use in planning, conducting and evaluating combat, combat support, and combat service effectiveness. (2) Document military operations to furnish HQDA staff, training developer, and military historians with combat and doctrinal material in the forms of visual, audio, and graphics information for evaluation, developmental and historical purposes. (3) Document friendly positions before, during and after the battle. This includes providing front and reverse panoramics, camouflage discipline, and fields of fire. (4) Opposing forces (OPFOR) positions should also be possible, to detect camouflage and possible avenues of approach. documented; if

(5) Document battlefield damage of friendly force equipment to provide operational tacticians and logisticians immediate information to develop effective countermeasures. (6) Document battlefield damage to local civilian property for Civil Affairs in settling claims. use by

(7) Document battlefield damage of OPFOR equipment to provide operational tacticians and logisticians immediate information on effectiveness of friendly weapons and tactics and to provide information for long-range research and development activities. (8) Document field medical procedures to furnish visual information of immediate value. (9) Document initial battle engagements of new weapons and support systems and revised tactics to provide HQDA staff commanders and their staffs at all levels, and combat, doctrinal, material and training developers, visual information for validation of new equipment and doctrine.


(10) Provide visual documentation of captured opposing force supplies, material, equipment, personnel and documents for commanders and their staff at all levels for use in planning, conducting and evaluating combat, combat support and combat service support activities. This material may be of immediate importance to the Intelligence, psychological operations, (PSYOPS), Military Police and Public Affairs communities and will be ultimately used by military historians. (11) Provide on operational traffic identification. the scene close-in terrain analysis, documentation supportability planning and barrier location for and

b. Aerial spot imagery is used to provide still coverage of friendly and OPFOR positions to augment intelligence photography. 3. Tactical documentation in the Corps consists of the following:

a. Support PSYOPS by providing documentation of enemy prisoners of war (EPW), including morale, welfare and condition of clothing and equipment and the effect of battle on the civil population. b. Support military police by providing documentation of: (1) EPW identification and enclosure construction. (2) EPW morale and welfare. (3) Adequacy of control procedures. (4) Document plans and procedures for the rear battle camouflage discipline, fields of fire and reverse panoramics. (5) Audiovisual support for investigation as required. c. Support military friendly equipment. d. Audiovisual required. intelligence teams with documentation augment public of damaged OPFOR or which includes





when and

4. Documentation support is provided by documentation processing distribution teams and multimedia maintenance teams. These teams provide:

a. Still and motion picture film processing, video and audio recording, editing and duplication services to commanders at all levels. b. Processing captured OPFOR motion picture, still photography, audio and video products. 5. Use of personal equipment or supplies.


NOTE: Army photographers on official assignment, except when off duty, are not permitted to engage in photography for personal retention or for any other purpose not directly related to official Army activities. It must be understood that when by choice or agreement, personally owned equipment or supplies, camera or film are used during an official assignment, all photographic material exposed while on that assignment will be turned into a DA photographic facility as property of the Department of the Army. Learning Event 2: DESCRIBE TYPES AND TECHNIQUES OF TACTICAL DOCUMENTATION PHOTOGRAPHY 1. Ground Documentation.

a. Tactical ground photography records terrain features and tactical activities, actions, and objects. Its most immediate application is to assist local intelligence and operations personnel and of combat units. b. The effectiveness of Army documentation in tactical ground photography is dependent upon an understanding of the tactical problems. Needed is a thorough knowledge of all photographic means to satisfy requirements, and an ability to adapt to unusual processing and dissemination problems. c. The following are types of documentation that can be used to provide single ground photographs, a series of photographs, comparative photographs and frontal and reverse panoramics. (1) Location of probable location of OPFOR positions. (2) Signs of improvements in positions. (3) Camouflage discipline of both OPFOR and friendly forces. (4) Terrain photography to show avenues of approach, barriers, and fields of fire. (5) Detailed coverage of river crossing sites. (6) Trafficability operations. of roads to be used in offensive and retrograde

(7) Pertinent tactical details recorded during reconnaissance missions. (8) Documentation of captured enemy positions.


Figure 1-1.

Tactical ground photograph

(9) Detailed documentation of the effectiveness of friendly artillery, mortar, and rockets on captured enemy positions, equipment, and weapons. (10) Pictorial documentation of troops in tactical operations. (11) Comparative photographs of suspect areas or enemy installations, positions, or strong points within sight of friendly observation posts. (12) Location fires. of targets for countermortar, harassing and interdiction

(13) Determination of local changes in the enemy defensive dispositions.


(14) Analysis of damage to friendly defenses by enemy fire. (15) Analysis of terrain features, such as types of vegetation in specific areas. (16) Damage assessment coverage of enemy installations during advance. (17) Detailed coverage of enemy positions, strong points and installations during an advance. (18) Location of targets for counterbattery, harassing fires, and those appropriate for attack by nuclear weapons. 2. Terrain Documentation. and interdiction

a. Natural terrain features. Requests for terrain coverage are usually concerned with landmarks, general topography, major stream routes, critical slopes, stream crossings, type of field boundaries, swamps, marshes, and various kinds of terrain obstacles. (1) Photographic requirements consist primarily of panoramics. However, closeups will often provide valuable information on the types of soils, degree of erosion, condition of beaches, and similar details of tactical importance. (2) This landmarks, and landscape. coverage is further supplemented by distant views to tie in medium views to locate and relate landmarks to the overall

b. Man-made features. Man-made features are installations and facilities that might become military targets. Types of man-made features are cities, harbors, bridges, tunnels, dams, locks, reservoirs, transfer and transshipping facilities, and weather and observation stations. (1) Pictorial documentation concentrates on site locations, relation to basic servicing net, structural features, road width, clearances, and similar aspects of each kind of terrain detail. (2) Photography is accomplished from distant viewpoints to disclose the area and approaches. (3) Medium views and close-ups show structure and detail. targets, panoramics are essential. For extensive

c. Flora. Flora generally consists of underbrush, grasses, trees, or swamp and marsh plants. Of primary interest are the location, size, shape, structure, density, branching habit and other vital features of the principle type of flora of a given region. (1) In areas where vegetation is a real obstacle in terms of military tactics, complete pictorial documentation of these conditions


is desirable. study. 3.

Where vegetation is dense, stereo photographs are preferred.

(2) Stereo pair separate plants from background and simplify analytical Distant views give a clear idea of the vegetation coverage of the area.

Photography of Soil Types.

a. General. Pictorial documentation of various types of soil within a specified area, indicating rock outcrops and positive or negative conditions relating to trafficability, is an important supplement to terrain photography. Features to be emphasized are: (1) Details of soil and rock texture. (2) Soil firmness or lack of firmness. (3) Terrain slope. b. Coverage. Appropriate documentation is accomplished through medium and close-up views, both single frame and stereoscopic. Stereo pairs are produced to show rock outcrops and soil conditions. Soil texture can be indicated by photographing a handful of soil. c. Trafficability. Documentation photography, both aerial and ground, can be used to determine trafficability. For example, the tracks of a vehicle with varying loads can be photographed on a representative road or cross-country area for purposes of comparison. The impressions made by the wheels will indicate wheel-bearing characteristics of that type road or soil. A ruler should be included in each photograph to illustrate the depth of the impression. The amount of loading carried by the vehicle must be stated on the data control sheet of every photograph. d. Supporting documentation. Close-up photographs can be supported by one or more long shots to establish the location of the pictorial target with respect to pertinent environmental terrain features. 4. Panoramic Terrain Photography.

a. Panoramics are a series of overlapping photographs carefully matched and joined to form a composite wide-angle view of selected terrain of targets. There are two basic types of panoramics, varying in respect to image detail and to method of production. (1) The first and most common, known as swing panoramic, involves the selection of an ideal viewpoint and the exposure of a series of still negatives by rotating the camera on its tripod after each exposure to provide a series of overlapping images.


(2) The second, known as a moving panoramic, requires production of individual exposures from camera viewpoints that are generally parallel to the terrain feature and separated by the same distance. Figure 1-2 illustrates the technique for a swing panoramic and figure 1-3 shows procedures for a moving panoramic. b. Engineers find aerial views and swing panoramics especially useful for construction planning. Tactical commanders have many uses for panoramics, a few of which are listed below. (1) Terrain identification for assault troops. (2) Spotting enemy positions. (3) Map orientation and updating. (4) Identification of coordinates in artillery fire control centers and observation posts. (5) Orientation of new personnel to enemy and friendly areas. (6) Liaison with adjacent units. (7) Reverse panoramics: That is, panoramas of our own position as seen through the eyes of the enemy, to check friendly cover, concealment and camouflage, as well as to determine possible avenues of enemy approach.

Figure 1-2.

Procedures for a swing panoramic 8

c. Usually wide-angle, normal and telephoto lenses are used to achieve desired coverage of an area. However, occasions do arise when the subject extends beyond the field of view of a wide-angle lens. In such cases, several exposures are taken of the subject in such manner that they can later be fitted together to produce the desired coverage. d. In "swing" panoramic, an ideal viewpoint is selected from which can be seen the entire area to be included in the completed panoramic. The camera is set firmly on a tripod, and a series of exposures is made of the target, swinging the camera from left to right, beginning at the left end of the target and making successive exposures until the right end of the target has been photographed. e. The "swing" panoramic procedure must incorporate a 50 percent overlap between exposures. In practice, the photographer follows these steps: (1) Place the extreme left viewfinder and make an exposure. of the target in the exact center of the

(2) Swing the camera, without moving the lens up or down, until the object which occupied the center of the viewfinder in the first photo is now at the left edge of the viewfinder. (3) Now make exposure #2, then swing the camera to the right again, until the object which occupied the exact center of photo #2 lies at the left edge of the viewfinder for exposure #3. (4) This procedure is repeated until the right end of the target is dead center in the viewfinder, at which time the final exposure is made (fig 1-3). f. The other type of panoramic is termed a "moving" panoramic and is useful when foreground obstructions exist or if the area is too narrow, making it impossible to view the target successfully by use of the "swing" panoramic technique. Here, too, the camera is placed firmly on a tripod and a series of exposures made. But the difference is the fact that the camera is pointed in exactly the same compass direction for each of the exposures. The photographer takes exposures at equally spaced points, traveling along an axis exactly parallel to the target being photographed. (fig 1-4). g. Just as with the "swing" technique, the "moving" technique must incorporate a 50 percent overlap between exposures. In practice, the photographer shooting a "moving" pan does the following (fig 1-4): (1) The photographer sets the camera up directly across from the left end of the target, so the lens-board is parallel to the subject being photographed in the exact center of the viewfinder. The photographer then makes exposure #1.


Figure 1-3.

Procedures for a moving panoramic

Figure 1-4.

Sequence for "moving" panoramic


(2) The photographer then picks up the camera and tripod and moves to a point nearer the center of the subject, maintaining the distance from the subject, traveling along an imaginary line, parallel to the subject. The photographer finds a spot where he can get the object which occupied the center of the viewfinder in #1 to lie at the left edge of the viewfinder. Once this has been done, the photographer takes the second exposure. (3) The photographer continues the procedure until the right end of the target is centered in the viewfinder, then makes the final exposure. Throughout the above procedure, the lens-board must be parallel to the subject. h. In following: both swing and moving panoramics, the photographer must do the

(1) Overlap 50 percent between exposures. (2) Keep the camera level from one exposure to the next. (3) Exposure in all photos must be consistent so as to result in a uniform appearance. Should lighting conditions change while a panoramic is being made, the photographer will compensate with shutter speeds rather than apertures since different apertures will result in variations of depth of field. (4) Focus must remain the same throughout a strip, for variations in focus will result in variations in image size and the prints will not match. F/16 or smaller apertures should be used. Hyperfocal distance should be used if there are foreground objects, but infinite focus is satisfactory if the foreground is unimportant. (5) The sky, ideally, should be free of clouds which cast detail obscuring shadows over the subject. Filters may be used to penetrate haze. i. Emphasis must be placed on the necessity for a 50 percent (fig 1-5) overlap. In assembling the prints of a panoramic, the laboratory specialist will cut off and throw away 25 percent of the picture's right side, leaving only 50 percent in the photo's center with which he will assemble the strip. The reason for this seeming waste lies in the fact that the greater distortion lies at the outer edges of the photo. Were the lab technician to utilize these edges he would be unable to find satisfactory matching points. If the negatives have been made with all the above points in mind, assembly of the prints can be done as explained in the following paragraph. j. All the prints are arranged side by side and overlapped 50 percent, so they will appear the same way as they look through the camera viewfinder. The edge of the upper print will now register with the scene in the lower print. Overlapping edges are then lightly tacked down with an adhesive which can later be removed without damage to the print. Both


prints are then cut through down a line midway between the overlapping edges (25 percent is cut off each edge). Now when the prints are matched edge to edge, the two sides of the join will register perfectly and be almost invisible (fig 1-5).

Figure 1-5.


5. There are many different techniques used in shooting panoramics. Panoramics are normally shot with the photographer facing enemy territory. These are called frontal panoramics. Occasionally a photographer will be called upon to make a "reverse" panoramic. a. A reverse panoramic is exactly the same as in shooting "frontal" panoramics, but the photographer depicts the friendly territory as it would appear to the enemy. This will enable commanders to spot weaknesses in their defense, failures in camouflage, possible approach routes, etc. b. The photographer may also be called upon to make a "complete" or 360degree panoramic. This must be done by use of the "swing" technique, and has the advantage of producing a set of prints which can be measured in degrees of arc representing specific measurements. Bearings between any two points on the assembled 360-degree panoramic can be approximated, and if North is known, relative bearings become true bearings. This type of panoramic can be laid out so that when its two ends are joined, the interpreter can stand in one spot and be surrounded by the strip just as if he were actually on the scene, looking about himself. c. Large military targets often require pictorial coverage in addition to that provided by a simple panoramic. Sidelapping is identical with overlapping except that it occurs either above or below the horizontal theme of the panoramic. Through sidelapping an important military terrain feature can be effectively recorded. The completed panoramic employing sidelapping is far more valuable then a standard panoramic (fig 1-6).


Figure 1-6.

Panoramic showing effective sidelapping

d. Another specialized technique involves the use of infrared film for panoramics. Infrared may be used in any of the panoramic techniques listed, and in many cases is shot along with panoramic emulsions to provide interpreters with comparative views. Infrared has the advantage of detecting camouflage, since it reproduces all living vegetation as white and all inanimate objects not covered with special camouflage paint in shades of grey and black. It is also excellent for penetrating haze, and therefore results in prints having more detail than other emulsions. e. Filters are used in shooting virtually all panoramics, in order to increase detail by cutting haze. All filters which subtract blue from the visible spectrum are used in this type photography, since haze is made up primarily of blue radiations. No filter, of course, will penetrate fog, mist, or smoke. f. Because of considerable reduction in scale, panoramics and overall terrain photographs lack minute details. Therefore, photographers must, in many cases, supplement panoramics and overall terrain images with large-scale, detailed, close-up, pictorial records. The number of photographs required and the amount of detail to be included depend entirely on photographic assignments. g. Panoramic photography under combat conditions must be modified in certain respects from what has already been covered. Often, use of a tripod will not be possible, and although hand-held photos will not match as well as those shot from a stable support, any photos which get back to friendly areas are better than nothing. A documentation photographer


should raise his head from cover only long enough to make his exposure and should raise his camera only at irregular intervals. A change in camera position might prove necessary, but prints will not match well on a swing panoramic should the photographer be forced to change locations. h. With all the disadvantages of shooting and assembling panoramics, the Army continues to consider them one of the more important aspects of photography. The reason behind this lies in the many uses to which panoramics are put by the military. Some of these include: spotting enemy positions; map identification and orientation; liaison with adjacent units; terrain identification for assault troops; observing terrain changes caused by enemy construction, new emplacements, seasonal variations and damage caused by friendly action. i. The panoramic is one of the most used techniques in tactical ground photography. 6. Proper Use of a Tripod. The correct use of the tripod plays an important role in obtaining a good panoramic. Applying the following procedures in using a tripod can help in obtaining the best of results. a. Check the tripod. (1) Legs slide freely. (2) Legs lock properly. (3) Legs spread and can be extended fully. b. Attach camera with tripod legs fully extended and spread; tripod should hold about 10 pounds of weight. (1) Position tripod in center of area to be photographed. (2) Ensure tripod is level and camera is level on tripod. (3) View area through the viewfinder or ground glass of camera. 7. Tripod Adapter. When shooting panoramics, especially with a camera that has a bellows, such as the 4 by 5-inch view camera, it is important to use an adapter on the tripod. This adapter, (fig 1-7), allows the optical center of the lens to remain directly over the rotating axis of the tripod. You cannot obtain a matched panoramic unless the optical center of the lens remains over the rotating axis of the tripod. The adapter should be made from metal stock. A hole is drilled to accept the tripod screw instead of the camera. It is necessary to obtain an additional tripod screw to attach the extra tripod screw. The camera can be moved back and forth on the adapter until the lens is directly over the rotating axis of the tripod.


Figure 1-7. 8. Comparative Photography.

Tripod adapter

a. Any photographer who has tried to duplicate or reshoot a landscape photograph knows that an exact duplication of the scene is next to impossible. Factors entering into the difficulty of such an attempt include seasonal and climatic variations, lighting differences depending on the time of day and/or natural or man-made changes in vegetation and landmarks. Two photos taken within minutes of one another will appear different upon close taken hours apart will be so different that even a casual observer will note their dissimilarities. (1) Knowing that such a difference will occur in two photos of the same scene, the Army photographer does all within his power to exaggerate this effect. Such exaggerated differences result in a class of photographs which the Army terms "comparative photography." (2) By definition, comparative photographs are merely two photos taken with a time lapse between exposures, the amount of time elapsed depending on the results desired. The amount of elapsed time might be days, weeks or even months. However, it might be no more than the few seconds required for the photographer to change over from a panoramic to an infrared emulsion or from a skylight to a G (yellow) filter.


(3) Although peacetime applications of comparative photography techniques are numerous, their major application comes in combat, where the primary purpose of such photographs is to show tactical changes in enemy positions, strengths and weaknesses. b. Comparative photography techniques. (1) Before-and-after-action. The simplest of the comparative techniques requires only that the photographer get coverage of an enemy sector or emplacement both before and after friendly forces have attacked it. Such pictures will show graphically the extent of damage to the enemy and whether the attack has "softened" the enemy enough to permit the advance of friendly troops. The same techniques have, of course, innumerable other applications such as before-and-after medical or dental photography, before-and-after construction photography, etc. (2) Time-lapse. Although all comparative photography must by definition require two or more prints for comparison, possessing dissimilarities usually obtained by shooting the photos at different times, there is a special class of comparative photographs known as "time-lapse" photos. Although this term is commonly used for such things as "speeding up the action" on cinematography (i.e., the opening of a flower), the Army uses the term to identify two or more photos, taken at intervals of days or months, which depict changes in enemy positions or strengths resulting from "buildups" or "withdrawals." Often the unit photographer is assigned to take these photos on a regular basis so that a dayto-day check is kept on enemy fortifications. Such comparative photos will often reveal whether the enemy is massing for an attack or preparing for defense, and foreknowledge of enemy intentions is invaluable to friendly forces. (3) Flash recording photography. A field commander is often faced with the problem of where to direct his firepower in order to make it most effective and a comparative photography technique called flash recording is made to order for his purposes. Basically the technique merely makes use of "muzzle flash", the instantaneous burst of light which occurs when a weapon is fired at night, recording these "flashes" photographically. There are, however, various procedures for performing the technique. Among them are: (a) Night exposure. Exposure of the film is begun at dusk, when there is sufficient light to allow a fairly short exposure and yet enough darkness to enable the flashes to stand out against a dark background. Polaroid film has proven itself ideal for such work, not only because of the rapidity of processing but also because of its extremely high emulsion speeds. (b) Daylight and night exposure. In this method, a partial exposure is given the film during the daylight hours, with the camera mounted on a tripod. The film is then given a second exposure at night, usually a time exposure, to record the muzzle flashes. This technique has the advantage of giving a record of both the flashes and a good image of the terrain unobtainable with a night exposure technique alone (fig 1-8). Its


disadvantage, of course, is that the camera must remain on the tripod until both exposures are made and prevents the use of the equipment for other purposes in the interim. Polaroid film may also be used to good advantage in the day-night technique. A Polaroid print is made during the daylight hours or at dusk. Then from the same camera position, Polaroid transparencies may then be used as overlays on the print to pinpoint enemy fire. Such imaginative use of Polaroid materials shows again the many uses to which this versatile process may be put. (c) Supplementary techniques. It is not always necessary for the photographer to wait for changes in order to make comparative photographs...the cameraman can himself initiate changes which will vastly aid photo-interpreters. To do so he has to avail himself of such well-known techniques as infrared film and filters. No lengthy explanation of infrared or filter theory will be covered here. Knowing that infrared will lighten vegetation and that filters may be used selectively to either darken or lighten any color, the tactical photographer will immediately see that both techniques may be applied to almost any phase of ground tactical photography. Note is taken of infrared and filters at this time only because photos made with either device are usually accompanied by another photo of the same subject made on panoramic film without a filter. Infrared panoramics, etc. are often required, but unless the nonfiltered panoramic photos accompany the infrared--enabling comparison--commanders can glean little knowledge from them.

Figure 1-8.

Night flash recording photography 17


Equipment Photography.

a. Photographs are often required for Material Deficiency Reports (MDR), Equipment Improvement Recommendations (EIR), and captured enemy equipment. (1) MDR. When a piece of equipment is deficient and is too large or too much time and money would be wasted sending the piece of equipment back to the manufacturer, MDR in the form of photographs and captions explaining what the deficiency might be are sent to the manufacturer. In this procedure, maintenance would be able to fix the equipment faster and at a less costly rate. (2) EIR. When equipment needs improvement or the improvement has already been completed, EIR photographs with captions are sent off to the manufacturer or to a higher echelon. b. In shooting such pictures, the photographer will first shoot four basic three-quarter view, showing three slides of the equipment, and then three other photos, each of which shows only one of the three sides depicted in the three-quarter view. If he has additional time and/or film, he then will shoot other three-quarter views and the sides not shown in the original four photos. He may also shoot close-ups of some particular area on the equipment, such as nameplates, intricate machinery, etc. 10. Series Photos.

a. Simply stated, series photos are merely a group of exposures which, having been taken one after another with a very short time lapse in between, arrest or stop action so that the action can be studied and analyzed. For example: A team of men in the act of launching a grenade against a tank, shown setting up and arming their weapon. The photographer makes an exposure each time the team performs a different task, i.e., loading a grenade into the launcher, taking aim, firing the grenade, etc. Effects of the action--such as the destruction of the tank--can also be photographed as part of the series. b. There are dozens of uses to which series photos can be put, including behind-the-lines study by time-motion personnel to determine wasted action; or analysis by designers to determine how improvements in handling ease of the weapon might be brought about.


LESSON 1 PRACTICE EXERCISE 1. What is the main purpose of tactical photography?


What are the two types of tactical photography?


Photographs of natural terrain features, constitute what type of documentation?






Study of camouflage discipline, liaison with adjacent units, and construction planning are some uses of what type of tactical photography?


What is comparative photography?


What makes the "flash" in flash recording photography?


What is MDR photography?

Explain its use.



What is a panoramic photograph?


What are the two types of panoramic photographs?


How much overlap is there between frames of a panoramic?


If the lighting conditions change while shooting a panoramic, how is the exposure corrected?


What can a photographer use to penetrate haze?


What is a reverse panoramic?


How can infrared film be valuable in tactical photography?



In comparative photography, the Army photographer is trying to exaggerate what?


ANSWERS TO PRACTICE EXERCISE 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. To provide the commander and his staff military operations and activities. Ground and air. Terrain documentation. Panoramic photography. Two or more photographs taken over a period of time. Muzzle flashes. Material Deficiency Report photography is used to report defective equipment when it is too large or expensive to move. A series of overlapping photographs, matched and joined to form a composite wide-angle view of a subject or terrain. Frontal and reverse. 50% ± 10%. Only the shutter speed should be changed. Filters or infrared film. A panoramic photograph taken of the friendly positions from the enemy's point of view. Infrared film can penetrate haze and show camouflage. The difference between two or more photographs. with visual record of official


LESSON 2 PERFORM AERIAL DOCUMENTATION PHOTOGRAPHY TASK Describe the photography. CONDITIONS Given information about aerial documentation photography. STANDARDS Demonstrate competency of the task skills and knowledge by responding to the multiple choice test covering material on aerial documentation photography. REFERENCES None Learning Event 1: DEFINE THE PURPOSE PHOTOGRAPHY AND ADVANTAGES/DISADVANTAGES OF AERIAL DOCUMENTATION techniques and planning steps used in aerial documentation

1. Introduction. Aerial photography, provided by Army Aviation is supplemented by Army photographers with hand-operated cameras, extends coverage beyond the limits of ground photography. The principle purpose of aerial photography is to get detailed pictorial documentation, tailored for specific requirements, in a minimum of time. Resulting negatives, transparencies and prints augment aerial photography produced by the Air Force and Army surveillance organizations. 2. Aerial Documentation Photography.

a. Most of the aerial photography is shot by the Air Force. The Air Force uses large sophisticated aircraft flying at fast speeds and very high altitude. The Army flies at low altitudes and in slower aircraft, at present the OV-1 Mohawk, which uses sophisticated reconnaissance and surveillance equipment. Army photographers supplement this type of photography. The techniques and type of aircraft and cameras used will be discussed in this lesson. b. Aerial documentation photographs--called pinpoint photographs, are intended for soonest possible interpretation and used by units engaged in the fast-shifting day-to-day maneuvers of modern warfare. This type of photography is of paramount importance to tactical commanders, and it is in this aspect of aerial photography that the Army excells. The ADP is sometimes used with ground photography.


c. As with all aerial documentation-type photography, speed is the determining factor in deciding the value of the product. Photos which, once taken, cannot be placed in the proper hands within a matter of hours, quickly lose their tactical importance. Units and agencies requiring air photos of specific areas and objects route their requests through G2, G3, S2 or S3. The following chart itemizes some uses to which photos are put at regimental, division and corps levels (table 2-1).

Table 2-1.

Uses for photographs

d. The using or perhaps the requesting agency will specify the type of information needed in the photos as well as the desired scale and the number of prints required. Units below division level usually require oblique photos, while larger units require vertical strips and stereo pairs, (stereo pairs are usually shot by the Air Force). e. G-2, S-2, or S-3 inscreening all requests coming through him, will first consider whether the information requested is on file, having been already shot at an earlier time. If not, several factors will enter into his decision whether to utilize Army documentation photography or to instead send the request on to the Air Force. Some such factors are:


(1) Whether the mission is within the capability of Army aviation. (2) Whether the time deadline could be better met by Army or Air Force coverage. (3) Whether the normal scale of Air Force instead of the much larger scale of Army coverage. (4) Mission priority. 3. Army tactical air photography has a number of unusual capabilities which it does not share with Air Force coverage. Some of these capabilities, which will also be weighed in making a decision, are as follows: a. Local pilots and photographers assigned to the local (organic) unit who are fully aware of the mission, the terrain of the area, and the target, are used. b. Local or organic photo interpreters are used, soldiers familiar with the terrain of the area. c. Low altitude missions are possible for all the reasons previously mentioned. This permits coverage on a large scale which increases detail in the pictures, enabling interpreters to spot small objects such as pillboxes, bunkers, artillery pieces, road blocks, etc. d. The negatives produced are local, that is they are not usually sent to a rear area, making it possible to pull additional prints from them if necessary. At times they are sent to the rear area or sent to a higher level for evaluation. e. The Army system will function regardless of weather conditions. Missions can be flown between rainstorms and under cloud formation, whereas the Air Force craft may have difficulty getting below the clouds. f. Certain disadvantages or limitations are also inherent in the system, however. Among these are: (1) Ability of Army aircraft to hover over enemy terrain. Because of the low altitude and speed of the operation, the aircraft are more easily hit by enemy fire. (2) Deep penetration into enemy areas is something Army photographers and air crews are unprepared to do under normal conditions. g. Should the G-2, S-2, or S-3, after considering all of the above, decide to utilize Army aircraft, crews and photographers, the request will come through channels until it reaches the military photographic agency who will carry out the mission. This, of course, is where you come in. coverage would be adequate


h. Planning is extremely important in aerial mission, and a joint briefing may be held with the photographer, the requester, the pilot, G-2 and a photo interpreter present. Together they will go over the photo request. The request should show the scale desired, number of prints, period during which the work is to be done, a map of the area to be photographed and the type of photos needed. Requests should also include a statement of the desired objective, area of coverage and whether approaches and surrounding terrain are to be included in the coverage. (1) The pilot and photographers should get together and determine the flight plan, number of passes to be made, altitude, etc. (2) In short, planning aircraft is airborne. 4. should be done on the ground, not after the

Planning an Aerial Photo Mission.

a. Army aerial photographic missions are flown to obtain information about enemy defenses or activities. Aerial photographs can show weaknesses in our own defenses and aid in the planning of our actions. b. To get the most from an aerial photographic mission you must carefully plan each step. The duration of the flight is usually short, and seconds are important, especially over enemy territory. You may not be able to reshoot the mission, so your first attempt must be successful. Thus, you must plan the mission carefully before the flight. c. Map reading skills are very important to an aerial photographer. should know exactly what course the aircraft will fly. You should have a showing the target, and what should be shot. Know where the target is on map. The pilot will usually tell you when you are in the area, and point out target, but sometimes he may be too busy just flying the aircraft. You, as photographer must know what you want and how to get it. You map the the the

d. Be prepared to shoot anything that may seem out of the ordinary. Keep your eyes open and stay alert. Remember, you are the reason this aircraft is here. e. To plan an aerial photographic mission, you must define the final product, then determine the camera system, equipment, and materials required, and determine the flight pattern. 5. Define the Final Product.

a. Before performing any aerial photographing, you need a goal. The goal of an aerial photographic mission is pictures--pictures that meet the needs of the requester. When you plan an aerial photographic mission, describing the final prints by writing out the answer will aid you in your planning.


b. The requester tells what he needs and it is up to you as a photographer to produce the most useful pictures possible. The first step toward top notch results is good planning. To plan your assignment, get the following information from the requester: (1) What is the picture content? If the print is maplike, define the area by stating its size, location, and boundaries. For example: an area, grid coordinate 2623 on map sheet 6063 I; the area is bound by Pemberton-Wrightstown road to the east, Rancoss Creek to the north, dirt road to the west, and by an imaginary line just south of the airfield. If the print is a picture of an object, describe the object and the view in this manner: "A four-story building with a good view of the front (high oblique)." (2) How soon does the requester need the pictures? A photomap is worthless for tomorrow's trip if it takes a week to produce the map. Extreme urgency may require you to use a diffusion transfer (Polaroid) system and material. When there is no urgency, you might delay the flight until the weather conditions are ideal for flying and photography. (3) The type and location altitudes or long focal length infrared film. Emergency plans territory. The location of the a specific camera system. of the target. Small targets require either low lenses. Camouflaged objects can be seen with are different over targets in enemy and friendly target may demand a specific type of aircraft of

(4) Will the prints be in black and white or color? You should make a note if the picture is to be an infrared photograph. (5) Will the prints be pinpoint pictures, or overall (wide area)? (6) Will the views be vertical, high or low oblique, horizontal, or a combination of these? (7) How many exposures are required? An accurate tally may not be possible at this point in your planning, but with experience you should be able to make a good estimate. (8) The type and amount of coverage. Fine detail requires a large-scale reproduction. Vertical pictures are good for photomaps, while obliques and horizontal pictures give a more natural view. Large land areas require many exposures. (9) The purpose and use of the final prints. Planning attack routes or laying out campsites require photomaps and perhaps some obliques to show the variations in elevation. To study the enemy's movement at night means using a camera system that can take night pictures. Slides may be the best final product for a briefing.


c. The DA Form 3903, Training-Audiovisual Work Order (figs 2-1 and 2-2) is designed to aid in your mission planning. A properly filled out 3903 should answer most of the above questions. If the photographer has any questions about the mission, they should contact the requester before the mission and clear them up. With all this information, you will be able to plan the mission to best suit the requester's needs.

Figure 2-1. DA Form 3903, Training-Audiovisual Work Order (Example 1) 28

Figure 2-2. DA Form 3903, Training-Audiovisual Work Order (Example 2)




a. The equipment used to shoot aerial photographs will depend on the type of photographs needed. If a large number of photos or slides for a briefing are needed, then a small or medium format system is best. Polaroid prints or the need for a larger negative will require the use of a larger format press camera. b. Usually, 35mm or medium format cameras are best suited for aerial work. They are easy to handle in the relatively tight confines of an aircraft. They also offer the advantage of interchangeable lenses, for shooting pinpoint photos. A wider variety of films are available for these formats as well. c. If Polaroid photos are required, then a large format 4 by 5-inch camera must be used. Care must be taken not to subject the fragile bellows of the camera to the violent airstream outside the aircraft. d. Occasionally, because of insufficient data, some detail of your planning must be omitted until you reach the target. It is therefore a good idea to take along a complete camera system, including a variety of lenses, filters, films, etc. It is always better to have the equipment with you and not need it, than to be unable to complete the mission because of a forgotten item of equipment. e. Whatever camera system is used, it should be one that the photographer is familiar with. A tactical aerial photographic documentation mission is not the time or place to experiment with new techniques, equipment, or film. 7. Film.

a. Your choice of film will also depend on the type of mission, and final product desired. As in general photography, you should use the slowest film practical to achieve the desired result. There is a wide variety of film materials available to allow you to produce almost any requested final product. The following are some of the most commonly used. (1) Kodak Tri-X-Pan. This is a fine grain, ASA/ISO 400 film of excellent sharpness. It is a good general purpose black and white film. (2) Kodak Plus-X-Pan. Because of its grain and enlargements. A fine grain, medium speed (ASA/ISO125) film. excellent sharpness, it can yield excellent

(3) Kodak High-Speed Infrared. When used with an 89A or a 25A red filter, this film is best for detecting camouflage and penetrating haze. This film requires special handling and processing techniques. Refer to the data sheet with the film, and practice with the film before using it on a mission.


(4) Kodak Ektachrome. A transparency (slide) film available in a variety of film speeds from 100 to 3200. (5) Kodak Vericolor or Kodacolor. Color negative materials for producing color prints. Available in ASA/ISOs from 100 to 1000. b. Film processing is an important part of the mission planning. Once a mission is flown, you don't want the film ruined during processing! If special or speed processing is required, be sure arrangements are made with the photo facility. Any special processing requirements should be noted in the Special Instruction section of the DA Form 3903. Learning Event 2: DESCRIBE THE TECHNIQUES USED IN AERIAL DOCUMENTATION PHOTOGRAPHY 1. Techniques.

a. Grid coordinates are required pinpointing the location of targets, and the photographer should have a working knowledge of them should it prove necessary to refer to coordinates while in the air. They provide a quick, precise means of establishing targets, and eliminate misunderstanding between pilot and photographer as to objectives. b. After planning the flight with the pilot, the photographer exercises his knowledge of techniques. The pilot's responsibilities lie in the realm of getting the cameraman over the target area at the desired height and/or angle. The rest is up to you. You may talk to the pilot through an intercom or by prearranged hand signals to make additional passes over the target, go higher or lower, bank, etc. 2. Types of Photos.

a. Once over the target area, exactly what types of photos will you be required to shoot? Many of the techniques covered earlier under Army tactical ground photography are similar to those of ADP after suitable modification. b. Obliques. (1) Oblique aerial photographs are made with the axis of the camera and lens deflected from the perpendicular. They fall into one of two categories: (a) High obliques, which include the horizon line in the picture area (fig 2-3). (b) Low obliques, which do not include the horizon line but do take in a large area of terrain (fig 2-4). (2) All obliques have the advantage of showing the terrain features from a more natural viewpoint, that is as the scene might appear


to an observer from atop a mountain or from the window of a commercial aircraft. (3) However, oblique photos cannot be made to any scale, since the closer to the camera the objects are, the larger scale they will be.

Figure 2-3.

High oblique

Figure 2-4. c. Verticals.

Low oblique

(1) Vertical aerial photographs are made with the axis of the camera and lens perpendicular to the earth, that is, with the lens pointed straight down at the ground with the film parallel to the ground (fig 2-5). (2) Vertical photos appear similar to a map and can be used to make photo maps since they also have the capability of being made to scale. Since they give a birds-eye view of all terrain and man-made features, an


untrained viewer of the prints finds that he has difficulty identifying objects. (3) Shadows are very important in looking at prints taken with the camera in the vertical position. In viewing a vertical print, the shadows should fall toward the viewer and the light source should be in about the same position as the sun was when the picture was taken. If the prints are viewed with the shadows falling away from the person viewing them, hills will often appear to be valleys and valleys, hills.

Figure 2-5. d. Horizontals.

Vertical photograph

(1) Horizontal aerial documentation photos seem almost to have been taken from a viewpoint on the ground with the lens axis parallel to the subject. They can be taken only in mountainous terrain when the aircraft can fly below the crest of the mountain (fig 2-6). (2) Using this technique, profiles of ridges, slopes and approaches to mountain crests, can be photographed, often enabling photo interpreters to see under enemy camouflage. e. Pinpoints. (1) A pinpoint merely shows a small selected area in detail. Pinpoints may be vertical, oblique, or horizontal. Their main value lies in the fact that they enable interpreters to study the subject more closely. (2) Pinpoints may be made in one of two ways, the aircraft approaches the target at a low altitude or the photographer uses a telephoto lens.


Figure 2-6.

Horizontal photograph



General Factors. Some

a. Certain rules may be laid down for the shooting of all air photos. of these are:

(1) Selection of F/stop. The basic exposure: A bright sunny day with an average subject would be F/16. Dark subjects might be heavily wooded areas, while brilliant or bright subjects would be deserts or bodies of water. (2) Clear, sunny days are desirable for all air photographs in order to get the greatest detail in the subject. Midmorning or midafternoon are the best shooting times since the shadows from the subject will fall at good angles for interpretation purposes. Shadows which are too long may actually obscure detail or make interpretation confusing. If at all possible, the sun should be behind and to one side of the camera. (3) Selection of shutter speed. The fastest shutter speed possible under the prevailing light conditions should be used. Since the camera will be focused on infinity, depth of field is no problem, therefore small apertures should be sacrificed to fast shutter speeds if necessary. (4) These faster speeds are necessary for two reasons. Not only is the aircraft vibrating, causing camera movement, but the ground is also moving in relation to the camera. The lower the aircraft's altitude, the faster the relative ground movement and the greater chance of subject blur. (5) Panning the camera is another technique to help reduce blurring of the object due to aircraft movement. (6) No portion of the camera or the photographer's body from the waist up should come in contact with the aircraft, since the vibrations of the plane will be carried through to the film plane. (7) Selection of lenses. Normal lenses are best for most Signal Corps type air photography. Wide angle lenses produce images that are too small for practical use, and telephoto lenses, which do give larger images, increase relative subject movement, making objects is on the ground appear to move even faster than when viewed with a normal lens. (8) Filters. It is a good practice to have a filter on the lens of the aerial camera at all times, even if the day seems clear. Even on bright, cloudless days, atmospheric haze is present. You, as the photographer, may not detect it, but film emulsions, being more sensitive to blue, will pick up this detail-obscuring haze. (a) For black and white film, yellow filters will eliminate some haze, depending upon their degree of saturation. A dark yellow (No. 15), the most often-used filter in aerial work, will cut more haze than the light yellow (No. 6 or f) filters since the No. 15 will eliminate


more of the blue light than the other two. through even a heavy haze.

A medium red (23A) filter will cut

(b) When using color film, AUV or haze filter must be used. (c) When photographing water (river, lake, filter can be used to reduce reflections on the water. or ocean), a polarizing

(9) Care must be taken at all times to avoid getting portions of the aircraft itself into the picture area. (10) The photographer and his equipment, must be strapped securely into the aircraft. Never attempt to shoot without safety restraints. b. Captions are equally as important in air photography as they are in any other type of photography. DA Form 3315, Audiovisual Caption Book, (fig 2-7) is used for collecting information while on the job taking photographs either ground or aerial. Sufficient information must be obtained to enable the audiovisual activity to prepare a complete and factual, final caption. Supplies of DA Form 3315 will be requisitioned through normal AG Publication channels.


Figure 2-7.

DA Form 3315, Audiovisual Caption Book


PRACTICE EXERCISE 1. What type of aerial documentation photograph includes the horizon line?


What type of aerial documentation photographs are made with the camera axis perpendicular to the ground?


Horizontal aerial photos can only be taken in what kind of terrain?


What are two ways in which pinpoint coverage can be obtained?


Rules which apply to exposure calculation in aerial photography differ from those used in ground photography. True False


What form is used to write captions for a photo mission?


What film is best suited to shooting for a briefing?


What are two ways to reduce image blur when shooting aerial photographs?


What is the principle purpose of aerial documentary photography?



What is the first step in planning an aerial photo mission?


What form should contain the information necessary to shoot an aerial photo mission?


What type of film is used to detect camouflaged objects?


What type of aerial photograph gives a more natural view?


What is the most important factor in aerial photography?


ANSWERS TO PRACTICE EXERCISES 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. High oblique. Verticals. Mountainous. The aircraft can fly lower, or a telephoto lens may be used. False. DA Form 3315, Audiovisual Caption Book. Ektachrome. Shoot a high shutter speed or pan with the subject. The principle purpose of aerial photography is to get detailed information, tailored for specific requirements in a minimum of time. Determine the final product. DA Form 3903, Training-Audiovisual Work Order. Infrared. Oblique. Speed.


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