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Thread: Requirements and standards for HABS/HAER photography

  1. #1

    Requirements and standards for HABS/HAER photography

    Now that my first HABS/HAER shoot is in prospect, I'm scrambling to find informa tion about the film and paper processing requirements. The National Park Servic e pub is only a buck, but allowing "three to four weeks for delivery" is too slo w. Can anyone point me to a web resource or summarize the darkroom requirements ? I'm particularly interested in how people alter typical clearing and washing procedures to make sure negs and prints meet the archival specifications. Do yo u adhere strictly to the specifications, or adapt your own procedures to produce the desired results?

  2. #2

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    HABS/HAER Help!

    Steve, I assume that you've been to the NPS website, right?? I've never done any HABS/HAER stuff, although I'm a little bit familiar with the guidelines based on the site documentation that goes on in- state within my agency...that said, I can't really give you specific guidelines...I do know there have been a few people who've posted here that do this sort of stuff, if you can hold on, I'm sure they can help.

  3. #3

    HABS/HAER Help!

    i do HABS/HAER recordation for a living. if you email me your fax number, i can fax you the standards. the process to prepare these materials for submittal to NPS i quite involved, and i have a full- time assistant that does nothing but process all my work for submittal. all the work is large-format and black-and-white, unless LF CTs are specifically requested by paul dolinski (HABS) or eric delony (HAER). each negative must be archivally processed, and labelled in the margin with the accession number. each print is on fiber-base paper, also to archival standards, and labelled on the verso. each negative goes in its own archival sleeve which also must be labelled, and each print is mounted on a card, also labelled. for many projects, we also must process the historic narrative materials. all materials are tested upon receipt at NPS, and if they do not test properly for archival stability, they are rejected. btw, i use permawash :-)

  4. #4

    HABS/HAER Help!

    Just a follow-up for anyone interested. This site, which for some reason did not show up on my previous search, has a good bit of information: http://www.cr.nps.gov/habshaer/haer/manual/chapter3.pdf.

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    Re: HABS/HAER Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by james norman View Post
    i do HABS/HAER recordation for a living. ... ... ... all materials are tested upon receipt at NPS, and if they do not test properly for archival stability, they are rejected. btw, i use permawash :-)
    James, how does HABS/HAER test for archival stability? How can I ensure that my film and prints are properly processed? Is it a matter of longer washing time? I see that you use Perma-Wash and I am reading about that now -- do you use Perma-Wash after a long water wash? Thanks, Paul
    Dallas Texas HABS / HAER / HALS Photography
    Photographer/Author Marfa Flights: Aerial Views of Big Bend Country (Texas A&M University Press)
    Petroleum Oil Pics

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    Re: HABS/HAER Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by james norman View Post
    i do HABS/HAER recordation for a living...all materials are tested upon receipt at NPS, and if they do not test properly for archival stability, they are rejected. btw, i use permawash :-)
    Quote Originally Posted by pchaplo View Post
    James, how does HABS/HAER test for archival stability? How can I ensure that my film and prints are properly processed? Is it a matter of longer washing time? I see that you use Perma-Wash and I am reading about that now -- do you use Perma-Wash after a long water wash? Thanks, Paul
    I regularly applaud posters who add on to an existing thread, regardless of its age, rather than starting a new, redundant one. However, two bits of searching argue against awarding kudos in this case.

    First, James Norman's profile indicates he was last active here on December 6, 2001. Second, a quick Google inquiry leads to this page


    that provides the current standards (as of June 2015) for processing. It's not clear to me from this document that the HABS/HAER office actually tests submissions for residual hypo. To obtain a definitive answer, I suggest you contact them directly at the provided email address:


  7. #7

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    Re: HABS/HAER Help!

    Thanks, Sal -- I lull myself to sleep each night with the June 2015 Update of the Photography Guidelines on my lap. BTW, the transmittal info was also updated in June! In any case, I will experiment with washing and test my own negs for hypo simply for humble craft and endless curiosity.
    Dallas Texas HABS / HAER / HALS Photography
    Photographer/Author Marfa Flights: Aerial Views of Big Bend Country (Texas A&M University Press)
    Petroleum Oil Pics

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    Re: HABS/HAER Help!

    Hi All, I’ve talked to NPS about the testing aspect. but I’ll start a new thread since this one has so much antiquated info ... Fax machine? That’s like one of those cameras with a bellows ;-)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails schaf-DC2011-schafphoto-1010273.jpg  
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

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    Historic American documentation programs HABS, HAER, HALS as of 2015-2016

    In order to update a badly outdated thread from 2001 about HABS/HAER/HALS (H3) standards, there are new standards for H3 Large Format Photography.

    Available as downloadable PDFs from the National Park Service (NPS) who administers H3 through it’s Heritage Documentation Programs (HDP) department which administers the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), the Federal Government's oldest preservation program, and its companion programs: the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) and the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS). Documentation produced through HABS/HAER/HALS constitutes the nation's largest archive of historic architectural, engineering, and landscape documentation. (A study in acronyms, no?)

    Search online for "HABS Photo Guidelines” when this link no longer works: http://www.nps.gov/hdp/standards/PhotoGuidelines.pdf
    Search online for "HABS Transmittal Guidelines” when this link no longer works: http://www.nps.gov/hdp/standards/Transmittal.pdf

    HABS recording combines drawings, history, and photography to produce a comprehensive, interdisciplinary record. The documentation ranges in scope depending largely upon the level of significance and complexity. The large-format, black-and-white photographs record the environmental setting, elevations, and significant details, both inside and out to create a comprehensive understanding of the site.

    The photographic artifacts are housed as a special collection at the Library of Congress (LoC), Prints & Photographs department. All H3 photographs are available for high resolution download for free and all photos in the H3 collection are in the public domain. Some very famous photographers and architects have worked for H3 and I have HABS images from Julius Schulman and Marvin Rand hanging in my Darkroom. If you want to lose a Sunday afternoon exploring the LoC’s collection of H3 photos you will be amazed. Just go and enter your city or county into the search bar here: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/hh/

    Of interest to photographers on this list is: “How do I take photos for H3?” Large format photos, if produced to the H3 standards, can be donated by any photographer. If the subject is an historic, unique or significant building, landscape, or engineering example (bridge, mine, canal, ship) the negatives and a single set of contact prints can be donated and put into the public domain. Obviously H3 is trying to document the most significant properties like the California Missions, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. In addition though they want the “Complete resume of the builder’s art.” Vernacular houses, folk-art environments, public art and a one-of-kind hot dog stand are some of the documentations I have donated along with the first skyscraper in San Francisco and an art deco high school auditorium for clients.

    Of note is that H3/NPS/HDP does not test the film for stability any longer. It is assumed you know what you are doing. It is a responsibility to create work for future generations to meet the Life Expectancy 500 Year standard (LE500) and so even in California’s drought I make sure that the negatives are washed, cleared and rewashed and then rerewashed again. I have a FAQ and more info on my website and the HDP/NPS website and downloadable guidelines above explain the very deliberate and complex process for creating and delivering the photos. if there are questions, post them here, there are a number of H3 photographers who are always answering questions. Just put HABS in the title since that makes searching easier.

    Good luck!
    `
    –Stephen Schafer HABS | HAER | HALS & Architectural Photography | Ventura, California | www.HABSPHOTO.com

  10. #10
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    Re: Requirements and standards for HABS/HAER photography

    Merged, with an updated title.

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