Field Photography

In addition to photographs taken as part of the photobatch process for making orthophotos and DEMs of spatial contexts, you should regularly take two other kinds of photographs: “progress” photos and “record” photos. Both types of photos require some tidying and cleaning of the area in addition to photographic scales of some sort. However, while progress photos might be taken on a tablet (for inclusion in daily journals) or a camera, record photos must always be taken with a higher-quality camera.

Progress Photos #

Progress photos are less formal, and require relatively less tidying and cleaning. Guidelines for taking progress photos are as follows:

  1. For each context, feature, or area, identify two or more angles or perspectives that will descriptively show the subject of interest. You should take photos from the same consistent perspectives throughout the excavation process so that the photographs can clearly illustrate change over time, both for “before” and “after” pairings and to show “during” progress.
  2. Progress photos should be taken with some sort of scale: it might be a formal scale like a meter stick, or an informal scale like a person, hand, or trowel. If using a meter stick, always place the scale parallel to one side of the photographic frame, preferably horizontally, near the bottom of the photographic frame.
  3. Progress photos should also include a north arrow, either included in the photograph or annotated.
  4. At the beginning of the day, after initial sweeping, you should take photos of each open context and any areas you plan to excavate that day, in even light and from the previously identified perspectives.
  5. At the end of the day, similarly, you should clean and then take photos of each open context from the previously identified perspectives.
  6. Additionally, take as many photos as are useful to document fully the sequential decision-making events that guide the process of excavation. Prioritize taking photos from previously identified perspectives, but you should take additional photos from other angles when necessary to illustrate detail.
  7. Raw photos (unedited, lacking annotations) should be archived in E:\gygaia\images\excavation\context\[easting]\[northing]\2023 folders. If you take photos using the Gygaia Projects app, this will be done automatically. If not, photos will need to be put in the appropriate folder and numbered by manually; thereafter, you should use the Context Photos Form to associate each photo with the appropriate context(s).
  8. Annotated photos will be embedded as part of the daily journal in the Evernote note.

Record Photos #

Record photos are formal photos that supplement progress photos are are meant to be publication quality. They require relatively more tidying, cleaning, and general care in their production.

  1. Record photos should have formal scales appropriate to the size of the context. Scales of various sizes are available, so make sure you keep a few options with you and in good condition when you are in the field. Always place the scale parallel to one side of the photographic frame, preferably horizontally, near the bottom of the photographic frame.
  2. Record photos should also have formal north arrows, also appropriate to the size of the context. North arrows of various sizes are available and should be kept on hand and in good condition. The north arrow should be placed just above (but not blocked by) horizontally placed scale bars, preferably centered on the scale bar.
  3. Record photos should be taken at established times, and in even lighting, and preferably from established perspectives (as is the case with progress photos):
    1. When a spatial context is opened—after its area has been cleaned but before excavation—take record photos from the ground at oblique angles.
    2. At a time in the excavation of each spatial context that appears to represent the “essence” of the context, take record photos, ideally from the same perspective as the opening photo. If the nature of the context is best captured from other perspectives, take record photos from those perspectives as well, even if they differ from the opening photo perspective.
    3. When the spatial context is closed—after cleaning—take record photos from the ground at an oblique angle, again from the same perspective as the opening photo. If the nature of the context is best captured from other perspectives, take record photos from those perspectives as well, even if they differ from the opening photo perspective.

Approximate Context Photos #

Excavators must also take photos of approximate contexts while the item that constitutes the approximate context is still in or near its original place of discovery. For example, take photos of in situ objects that are too small to be removed with spatial contexts (e.g., metal pins), objects that are close to in situ and have an interesting spatial relationship with a feature or other objects, etc.

  1. Photograph approximate contexts with progress or record style photos depending on the situation. If the item is a somewhat common find at Kaymakçı (e.g., a metal pin or wire, a spindle whorl) a progress photo might be sufficient. If the item is relatively rare or unique at Kaymakçı (e.g., a stone casting mould, anything with figural decoration or writing (!)), a record photo will be needed.
  2. Photograph approximate contexts from multiple perspectives that show the item itself as well as the item in relation to features in the excavation area.
    1. A single, closely framed photo of a metal pin, spindle whorl, or casting mould that shows only the item and nothing of its relationship to other features (i.e., “where” it was found) is not sufficient.
    2. Nor is it sufficient to take a single, widely framed photo that might illustrate the find location, yet is too far from the item to make its identification clear.
    3. Strike a balance in finding the right perspective to record the find and/or take multiple photos.
    4. If in question, ask a supervisor or leadership.

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