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Camera Basics

By TOMMY WILLIAMS / L’Observateur / October 5, 1998

For just a moment on Saturday I paused to listen to the sound of screaming electric skill saws and the pounding of hammers. The soundswere coming from every direction. It was at that moment I visualized 3 to5 feet of water rushing through my home. I could see the shell of myroofless home with all of our personal belongings scattered about the neighborhood. The car, the furniture, the jewelry and the family photos areall gone! This came within 65 miles, give or take a few, of being very real.

Other than sealing photos and photo albums in water tight containers or plastic, there’s not much else you can do to insure that they will weather a storm. Other items, such as your car, furniture and jewelry, are normallyreplaced by insurance. Video cameras and photographic cameras can be agreat asset when filling insurance claims due to hurricanes, fire or even theft.

If your going to use photographs as a method of recording your personal belongings, a manual focus 35mm camera will probably be your best choice because they normally provide greater detail when photographing smaller objects, such as jewelry. Automatic point and shoot cameraswould be sufficient for photographing large areas and objects, such as the outside of your home, car, boat or computer. I do recommend them forsmaller objects because automatic point and shoot cameras have greater minimum focusing distance than manual focus 35mm cameras, which is normally about 3 to 5 feet, too great a distance for photographing small items. Photographs are an easy way to provide yourself with a visualinventory of personal belongings, but they are difficult to keep organized when adding new items.

On the other hand, videos may prove to be a better choice over photographs. Most, if not all video cameras have a macro lens setting forextremely close-up recording, great for small items like jewelry. Videocameras are also equipped with a wide angle lens which would easily accommodate larger objects like your home or car. Videos are easier tokeep organized because you can designate one specific video tape as “Home Inventory” and continue to add new items to the inventory tape as you purchase them. Photographs of personal belongings when mixed in withother family photos can become a hassle to maintain and organize.

Photographing or video taping your personal belongings can provide proof, as well as visual cue to the items that are lost or destroyed by nature, or by man.

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