A photograph is an image of an object, person or scene recorded by a camera on a light sensitive film or paper.
Types of Photographs
- Ground Photographs
-Taken from the ground. They are of 2 types:
Ground Horizontals- taken with the camera at the same level as the object. They are of 2 types.
Ground close ups/particular view photographs-taken from the ground with a camera focused on one particular object.
Ground General View Photographs-taken from the ground with camera focused on general scenery.
Ground Obliques-taken from the ground with a camera slanting/held at an angle.
- Aerial Photographs
–Taken from the air e.g. from aircrafts, balloons or satellites. They are of 2 types:
Aerial Obliques-taken from the air with camera tilted towards the ground.
Vertical Aerial Photographs-taken from the air with the camera directly above the object or scenery.
Parts of a Photograph
|Left back ground||Centre background||Right background|
|Left middle ground||Centre middle ground||Left middle ground|
|Left foreground||Centre foreground||Right foreground|
Uses of Photographs
Used in learning geography because they bring unfamiliar features in the classroom enabling the students to understand them better.
Photographs showing vegetation and human activities can be used to deduce the climate of an area.
Aerial photographs show vital information on land use.
Photographs showing land forming processes help us to understand those processes.
Limitations in the Use of Photographs
Coloured photographs are generally expensive to produce.
Black and white photographs don’t show the real colours of objects or scenery e.g. it’s difficult to distinguish ripe coffee berries from green ones.
Some aerial photographs have objects which are far away and hence unclear which may lead to the wrong interpretation.
Vertical aerial photographs are difficult to interpret without special instruments like stereoscopes.
Photographs are difficult to interpret if they are brulled because it’s difficult to distinguish objects which look similar e.g. wheat and barley.
Interpretation of Photographs
-Means to explain the meaning of the objects or features on a photograph. It involves the following:
Determining the Title
Photographs show human activities, physical features, natural catastrophes etc e.g. nomadic pastoralism, drought, flooding, etc. when determining the title examine the photograph carefully and apply the knowledge you have learnt in geography.
-In the tropics the shadows are short at noon and longest in the morning and afternoon.
If the camera is facing south and the shadow is cast to the right it’s in the morning and if cast to the left it’s in the afternoon.
Bright clear skies
Light clothes e.g. shirts and T-shirts since temperature is high (also an indication of high temperature.
Heavy clothing e.g. pullovers or jackets since temps are low (also an indication of cool season).
Determining Compass Direction
It it’s in the morning and the shadow of flag pole is cast to the left the photographer is facing north and if cast to the right he was facing south.
It it’s in the morning and the shadow is facing towards you the photographer was facing east and it taken in the afternoon and the shadow is facing towards you the photographer was facing west.
Interpretation of Physical Features on Photographs
- Rice crop
- Combine harvesters
- Oxbow lakes
- Inselbergs (isolated hills)
Hilly/Mountainous landscape/Highland Area
Tea, wheat crops which grow at high altitude
- meanders and oxbow lakes
- flood plain
- Indigenous species
- Dense undergrowth
- Trees grow haphazardly
- Different species of trees
- Not of the same height
- Exotic species
- In rows
- Little undergrowth
- Same species
- Same heights
Tropical Rain Forests
- Broad leaves
- Umbrella shaped
- Grass and short trees (woodland).
- Thorny leaves
- Baobab and acacia
- Scrub-land covered with shrubs and underdeveloped trees (shrubs).
High Temperatures and low rainfall
- Sugar cane
- Scrub and bush land vegetation
- Dense forests
- Light clothes
Cool Temperature and High rainfall (Sufficient, Reliable and well distributed)
- Dairy farming
Acidic and Volcanic Soils
Black Cotton Soils
- Horticultural crops
Human Activities and evidence
-Group of dwellings where people live.
- Semi permanent houses
- Farming or fishing activity
- Uneven distribution of settlements
- Presence of villages
- Permanent buildings
- Storied buildings
- Heavy traffic presence
- Regular street patterns
- Temporary and permanent houses
- Small pieces of land
- Mixed cropping
- Simple implements
- Local and exotic breeds of livestock
- People preparing land or weeding or Harvesting
Commercial Crop Farming
- cash crops
- feeder routes
- processing factories
- Single crop on extensive piece of land e.g. tea, coffee, etc.
- Many labourers
- Nucleated settlement within farms
- Cattle grazing in a grassland or semi-arid region
- Zero grazing
- Cattle with big udders
- Wind mills
- Large open pits
- Large excavators
- Lorries carrying loads of rocks
- Buildings with large chimneys
- People engaged in a processing activity such as Jua kali artisans.
- People cutting trees using power saws
- People loading timber into lorries
- Logs pilled near a saw mill
- Forests with stumps
- Logs floating on a river
- Vehicles on roads
- Railway line
- Flat tarmacked piece of land
- Telephone lines
- Telephone booths
- Post office
- Satellite masts
- V and radio stations
Sketching Diagrams from Photographs
- Draw a rectangle the same size as the photograph.
- Divide it into squares using faint lines.
- Subdivide the photograph into 9 sections.
- Insert the features in their exact positions using simple lines being guided by the squares.
- Label the important features e.g. vegetation, land use, prominent buildings, transport, and communication.
- Give the sketch a suitable title.