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Photographing Prints on Bottles and Glasses

While in Toronto, Canada doing a Gizmos and Gadgets class to crime scene officers, Constable Ray Kaastra with the Aylmer Police Department in Aylmer, Ontario, gave me his technique in photographing processed latent prints on bottles and glasses.

When a clear bottle or glass is processed for latent prints, have you noticed that you need to place a white backing card or white paper in the bottle or glass to give a white background so you can see the processed latent print? When you photograph the processed latent print, you get a shadow of the processed latent print on the backing card or paper causing a double image in the photograph. The reason for the shadows is that the backing card or paper is not up against the surface of the bottle or glass.

The solution is to take a white balloon and place it in the bottle or glass and blow it up. When the balloon is inflated it will be right up against the glass eliminating the shadow and the double image. If you are using fluorescent powder or have super glued the glass or bottle, use a black balloon which will give you a dark background, allowing you to easily see and photograph the processed latent print, even when using a portable light source.

With the balloon in the bottle you can even carry the bottle by the balloon without handling it.

A good place to purchase the balloons (assuming your children do not have any), is at the Paper Warehouse. They have a large selection of various colors and cost $0.15 each.

Copyright 2011 - Richard Warrington
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