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Need to take pictures of an injury for a custody hearing...help? EDIT: All done!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by wgilles, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. wgilles

    wgilles

    Apr 25, 2008
    NJ
    Hello, I need to take pictures of a cut on a babies arm for a custody hearing. I am doing this is a favor for the Dad.
    I have an 18-200 VR lens and a 50 1.8 lens. I have a set of extension tubes and a SB-600.

    What lens should I use, extension tubes? Flash?

    EDIT:
    Thanks everyone, I took the pictures yesterday and they turned out pretty good. I talked to the guys lawyer and he said if he needs me he will be in touch. Thanks for all the help.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2008
  2. I don't think it matters what you use, just get a full body shot including her arm, and then a close up of the injury. As long as you can see what's there, then it will work. I'm sorry to hear about the hurt baby.....nothing more spineless than child abuse.... :( 
     
  3. wgilles

    wgilles

    Apr 25, 2008
    NJ
    I don't think it was really abuse, but rather neglect. We shall see what the courts decide. Thanks.
     
  4. I think you also need to prove that the photos have not been "photo-shopped." There's a term for this (that I"m blanking on right now).....but I think you can shoot in JPG and then have something on in D300 the menu that will save in the file, and then later if the file is altered, the "something" puts up flags that there have been alterations.

    Maybe google "taking photo as evidence?" Sorry I can't remember the term! :redface:
     
  5. wgilles

    wgilles

    Apr 25, 2008
    NJ
    Image authentication. You just have to turn it on I think.
     
  6. That's it!! :biggrin:

    Between the two kids, I was up at 11:30p, 2:30a, 4, 4:30 and 5:30a last night....brain's a tad fuzzy today. :rolleyes: 
     
  7. wgilles

    wgilles

    Apr 25, 2008
    NJ
    I do have a question about the image Authentication. Once I take the picture and deliver the image's on a CD, does anything need to be done with the image Authentication or can I just hand them the pictures?
     
  8. You might want to place a "ruler" next to the injury when you shoot it so you can have an exact reference as to actual the size of the injury.
     
  9. wgilles

    wgilles

    Apr 25, 2008
    NJ
    Good idea
     

  10. I'd use natural light, and the 50/1.8 would be my choice. Place the baby near a window to get some outside light, and shoot in aperture priority mode at f/2.8, so you have some DOF. If necessary, increase ISO until your shutter speed is at least 1/100, which will allow you to hand hold the camera while avoiding camera shake. Imo it would be better to take a closeup than a macro, since you need to relate the size of the wound to the size of the baby.
     
  11. wgilles

    wgilles

    Apr 25, 2008
    NJ
    Good point. Thanks
     
  12. Its OK to just take the pictures. You do not have to "prove" that they were photoshopped. If someone thinks they are then they will ask when you are under oath that they are not. If you take the pictures you would have to testify that the pictures are a fair representation of the object you were taking a picture of. If you think your credibilty is going to be seriously attacked then worry about the image authentication. But I wouldn't worry about it too much.
     
  13. Are you prepared to go to court?
     
  14. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Will :


    Other folks have mentioned being prepared to go to court. Think on that. As another has mentioned, you'll need to be able to swear under oath that you took the photos, that the photos are unaltered, and provide information on time, date, and location. I personally burn a CD-R with my photos (RAW+JPEG) directly when transferred from the camera, then sign and date the CD-R.

    Now, if you're doing forensic photography (which is what this is), you need to have several things in place.

    First, take a full body shot of the child. Close into an overall limb shot, and then a close-up. Depending on the kind of injury (depth, bruising, etc.), you may need to take a shot of two that's sidelit, possibly with a flash off-camera. If you do this, you want the flat lit and the sidelit photos taken immediately after each other.

    The essence of your work should be to show the context of the injuries with the specific child. Don't worry so much about aesthetics as an accurate record. Do make sure that you nail the exposure, and I mean nail the exposure. If you are required to do EV compensation or shadow recovery or suchlike to make the photos usable, it will dilute the evidentiary value of your work.

    The use of a ruler or an evidence scale in the closer photos is good if one is available.

    The bottom line is to be as straightforward a witness as possible in any legal proceeding, with a minimum of explanation required beyond swearing that your photos were taken. The best case is that your photos "speak for themselves".

    Bear in mind, you will likely not be called as an expert witness, so your opinions on any subject are not relevant. You will be called to provide matters of fact for the court to weigh and use as appropriate.

    FWIW, I've been taking forensic photos for roughly twenty years, and had to testify in cases from inquests through homicides, so this advice isn't given in a vacuum or through watching specious television programs on the subject.



    John P.
     
  15. wgilles

    wgilles

    Apr 25, 2008
    NJ
    Thanks, that was really helpful!
     
  16. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Will :


    Glad to help.

    As much as the CBS show CSI has made all of this stuff popular, and even considering some of the "reality shows" that address forensic work, the rules of conduct are pretty simple and straightforward, but nowhere near as exciting and sensationalistic as TV makes them seem.

    If you're ever in doubt about what you're doing to take the photographs, or processing the photographs, or "enhancing" something for later, you probably already know they won't be allowable in court.

    Good luck with this.



    John P.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 15, 2008
  17. the_traveler

    the_traveler

    Mar 22, 2007
    en route
    Since you probably don't have much time to get ready to do this (cuts on children heal very fast), you could get a plastic ruler for scale. I used to use the little round adhesive dots with numbers to ID the shot. These adhere to skin and they are a standard size. Plus, the out-of-roundness provides some estimate of how close to perpendicular your film plane was to the wound.

    Many dentists, most orthodontists, have a camera with ring or bilateral flashes with a lens that is optimized for closeups. If you have a dentist friend or colleague, perhaps you can borrow one. (Ask for his/her clinical camera)

    Depending on how far your client wants to go with this, UV light can be used to illuminate the skin, UV reveals wounding that is invisible to the naked eye.
    (I was also involved in this field for quite a while)
     
  18. Lurker

    Lurker

    Jul 21, 2007
    NJ
    I always extrapolate the way my field of expertise is "translated" on TV to everything I'm not familiar with. As of such I have no illusions on how reality relates to forensics, the court room, a hospital, or being lost on an island in the southern pacific.

    Out of curiosity: would it for that matter make a difference if you shoot raw or jpg? Are jpg files more "credible" given that they need no computer processing at all?
     
  19. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Bart :


    Television forensics is to real forensics like soap operas are to everyday life. Much less glitz, much less drama, a heckuva lot more of hard work... :rolleyes: 

    I haven't tried being lost on an island in the South Pacific. Do I get to choose who I'm stranded with ?

    :eek:  :Curved: :Love:​

    Well, that's actually a bit of judgment call.

    I did a major investigation two years ago at a chemical plant where we couldn't have full access to the fire scene because of safety concerns, and shot many GB of photos from overhead either on top of an ethylene distillation tower, or from a fire department ladder truck. This lasted for roughly two weeks before we had in-depth hands-on opportunities in the guts of the scene scene. I ended up digitally stitching some massive amounts of photos together for comprehensive overhead views, and the investigation team pored over these magnified on both a projector and on a large scale display.

    I shot RAW+JPEG out the camera. Used a lot more compactflash cards, chewed up a lot more storage space, and spent a fair bit more time on file management as a result. It was just the right decision as it turned out.

    RAW format with the higher quality of image was an enormous asset to this work. Enlargements that wouldn't be anywhere as solid from the JPEG were still usable by the team, and then presented in turn to regulatory authorities and insurance companies, who accepted these given that we could show a very clear evidentiary trail (it didn't hurt that all of our physical evidence was handled in the exact same manner that I used to follow for arson-homicide cases, with the full measure of tagging, chain-of-evidence records, a locked evidence room with complete in-out logging, etc., which all showed a pretty serious level of due diligence).

    I had the JPEGs as "proof" of the initial shots, and had I been required to go to court, these would likely have sufficed. However, I was also free to enlarge,sharpen, etc. on the RAW files for the fieldwork and eventual determination of cause without worry of having my work impeached at a later date as "inaccurate" or some other condemnation. The RAW files ended up filling a couple of external HDs in the end with the bulk of shots taken, and these formed a rather imposing data record of the investigation in the best resolution that a Nikon D200 could bring to bear.

    Now this case stretched over a fair part of the late spring and far into the summer being an extremely large capital and production loss, so as it turned out through those months of effort, that judgment call to have both JPEG and RAW out the camera turned out to be an inspired one.

    YMMV, as they say... :wink:



    John P.
     
  20. As I recall, the Image Authentication feature requires a separate & special Nikon software - see Nikon website or use search function to see a thread about this on this forum
     
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