The purpose of intelligence or reconnaissance
photography is to gain information about an enemy or
potential enemy. Now that the Soviet Union has been
disestablished, the Russian threat to our national
security has been greatly reduced. This does not suggest
that intelligence photography is no longer required, but
that our focus on other threats has intensified. Whether
it be interdiction of drug smuggling operations from
South or Central America or the potential nuclear threat
of a third world nation, the need for intelligence
photography will always exist.
Many people think intelligence photographs are
always taken with highly sophisticated equipment from
an aerial or satellite platform. While it is true that a great
portion of intelligence is gathered through these means,
much information can be gathered at ground or sea level.
In this training manual, aerial collection of information
is not addressed. However, intelligence photography
from ships or shore, specifically the photography of
ships, aircraft, and ports is discussed (fig. 6-24).
When you are shooting photographs for intelligence
purposes, high-quality and sharp image definition is of
utmost importance. Black-and-white film is primarily
used for intelligence photography due to its finer grain
and higher resolution than color film. Whenever
possible, black-and-white and color film, as well as
motion video, should be used to document subjects of
interest for intelligence purposes. The best
black-and-white film for this purpose is Kodak
Technical Pan (Tech Pan 2415), because of its ultra-fine
grain and extremely high resolving power. For color
intelligence photographs, you should use Kodak Ektar
films, because of their fine grain, higher sharpness, and
the variety of speeds available (IS0 25, 125, 1000); they
also have the ability to produce high-quality
enlargements. Although the resolution of video is
inferior to that of film, the ability to view video instantly
is advantageous for subjects of special interest.

Basic Photography Course

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