Photography in the Navy has long been an important
tool for monitoring the strength and improving the
methods of our nation's fighting forces, as well as
serving to record for historical permanence the
significant events that have shaped our nation's destiny.
From the moment that Matthew Brady exposed his
photographic plates on the decks of the federal ironclad
ship, Monitor, in 1862, the Navy has used photography
as a significant recording medium. It has influenced the
development of weapons and ships in the Navy and has
been an invaluable aid in training the men and women
who make up today's Navy.
Today we can go to the archives and look back with
pride at the visual evidence of the Navy's growth,
generation after generation. The historical record tells
us where we have been, what we were, how far we have
progressed, and how we have changed-enhancing our
perspective of the past and clarifying our perception of
the future.
The "grandfather" of our profession, still photog-
raphy, is the oldest of photographic skills in the Navy.
Where events of historical significance occur, such as
military exercises, ships being commissioned and de-
commissioned, and newsworthy events of interest to
Navy personnel, there are Navy photographers
recording events as they happen.
Planning prevents disappointment.
If only I had
an idea of what to expect, this picture might have been
better. How many times have you said this to yourself?
Planning does not cover all the bases on every
assignment, but it can be valuable on many of them.
Color or black and white . . . small, medium, or
large format?
This question may sound basic, but you
should consider it thoroughly when preparing for an
assignment. Take time to consider the finished product
and its intended use.
Punctuality is the only policy.
As a minimum, be
on time. However, why not get there 10 or 15 minutes
ahead of the assigned time? You can use this time to
look over the area for lighting, background, props, and
so forth. Also, discuss the assignment and what you need
with the people connected with them. Take charge
courteously. Politely ignore harassers. Begin work at
once and give clear, concise directions. But do not think
this approach takes the place of your responsibility to
Dependability versus creativity.
Strive to shoot for
the results that your customer requested. Then shoot
what you consider to be an improvement on the original
Pictorial details are important.
Before the shutter
catches that moment, make sure you have checked or
considered the foreground, background, arrangement,
expressions, clothing, angle, and lighting. You have to
mentally put all these items together and say to yourself,
Will this tell the story?
When the photograph has been recorded,
begin taking identification Caption information should
include name, grade, and title. If possible, you might
have someone on the scene taking identification while
you are shooting.
Always check your equipment before leaving for a
shooting assignment. As a minimum, you should take
several extra rolls of film and a spare synchronization
(sync) cord. When using a flash and a large number of
photographs are to be taken, you may need an extra
battery pack. Always be prepared and attempt to
overcome the unexpected.
After learning the nature of your photographic
assignment and making a complete analysis of the
assignment, you must choose the proper equipment to
get the job done. The variety of photographic equipment
available and suited for location assignments is
extremely broad; for example, the assignment may
require the use of a 35mm, medium format, or even a
4x5 view camera The lighting equipment you choose
may range from a small, compact electronic flash unit
to a complex array of lighting equipment and reflectors.
Exposure meters, color temperature meters, tripods, and
interchangeable lenses are just a few of the other
accessories you may need on a location assignment.
"Be prepared." At one time or another we have all
heard that familiar quotation. But have you ever thought
what this could mean to your assignment? For want of

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