The Value Of Accident Documentation

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | February 2013, Vol. 68 No. 2
Ron Peterson, Utility Consulting Professionals

Common Ground Alliance, (703) 836 1709,
National Utility Locating Contractors Association, (888) 685-2246,

A Variety Of Cameras

The digital age has simplified photographing construction sites, including pictures to document accident investigations.

Compact digital cameras produce quality images without the use of film which must be processed and prints made from the negatives or slides. With most cameras, it is possible to instantly view the picture just taken; if it doesn’t clearly show what needs to be seen, another can be immediately snapped.

Many smart phones have cameras that produce images of acceptable quality.

Many phones and compact cameras can take both still photos and record videos with sound. Professional single-lens reflex digital cameras with zoom lenses are available at reasonable prices. Compact video cameras record picture and sound on digital tape for uploading on a computer. “Throw-away” cameras with built-in flash that use conventional film still are available.

Having a camera and someone who knows how to use it on every job site is important.

“Know your camera,” advises Ron Peterson, president, Utility Consulting Professionals, Inc. “Know how many shots your camera will hold,” says Peterson. “What is the closest distance the camera can be from an object? How far does its flash reach? How many shots will a digital camera hold? Is the date and time feature activated and correctly set?”

Digital cameras record images on a card, and cards are available with different capacities. The number of shots the card will hold also depends on the camera’s setting. Highest resolution setting uses more space than the medium or low setting.

Generally the medium setting is the best providing the largest number of quality photos before space is used up.

Compact point-and-shoot digital cameras have automatic focus, but there is a limit to how close the camera can be to the subject and be in sharp focus. Cameras with a macro setting can take closer close ups.

Be sure batteries in cameras are fresh and spares are readily available.

With smart phones and combination still/video cameras, know if the camera has sound capability for the video and whether there is a limit on the length of video the device can record. Also, remember that photos and videos require large chunks of space on a smart phones system.

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