Visual Impact Assessment Guidebook
Table of Contents
Photography and photograph presentation
criteria in perspective view
- Take photographs that provide the best view of the proposed operation.
- Take photographs on clear days and with sun behind or perpendicular to you for best
- Use a 50 or 55 mm lens to maintain the same proportions on photographs as the ones seen
in the field. Avoid wide-angle or telephoto lens. A wide-angle lens (e.g., 28 or 35 mm)
provides a wider angle of vision, but "pushes" landforms away from the viewer; a
telephoto lens (e.g., 200 mm) "pulls" landforms closer to the viewer.
- Take enough photographs to capture entire landforms on file (i.e., panoramic shots),
even if no proposals are planned for adjacent landforms. Once juxtaposed and mounted,
these photomontages provide the visual context necessary to assess the overall visual
impact of specific proposals.
- Mark photo locations(s) on map (i.e., identify photo point on the topographic map to
within 50 m on road or water).
- If producing visual simulations on a computer, use a Global Positioning System (GPS) to
more accurately determine the x, y, and z UTM co-ordinates of each viewpoint. Use the same
co-ordinates to produce models for comparison to the photographs taken from the same
viewpoints. Also record the horizontal view direction (using a compass) and vertical angle
of view (using a clinometer) for each photograph or set of photographs for panoramic
- Produce a stereographic pair by offsetting the viewpoint; an approximate offset of 100 m
per km of distance from the target provides an easy-to-view, three-dimensional image.
Several offsets may be necessary to produce the desired image.
- Minimum print size for presentation is 4 x 6 inches, preferably 5 x 7 inches or larger.
A large print size helps to overcome the illusion of compression created by small print
sizes and is easier to work with.
- Splice together overlapping photographs to present broad panoramas.
- If the photomontages will be used for public meetings or for displays, mount them on a
rigid backing such as foam core boards.
For each individual photograph or set of photographs making up a panorama, print on the
backing material the photo location (e.g., "Viewpoint #1 or name"), the date
photographs were taken, and the lens used (e.g., 50 mm). Photocopy the relevant portion of
the topographic map to show the photo point, direction of view, and the immediate
landforms seen; cut and paste this adjacent to the photographs for easy reference.