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Forensic Visibility - Lawyers & Judges Publishing Company, Inc.

Forensic Visibility

$ 29.00

  • Author: James L. Harris, Sr., James L. Harris II
  • ISBN 10: 1-933264-60-8
  • ISBN 13: 978-1-933264-60-8
  • Copyright Date Ed:  December 12, 2011
  • Pages: 142 pages
  • Binding Information: Paperback
  • Size: 6 ✕ 9 Inches (US)

Forensic Visibility is an important text that, in simple terms, explains many subtle and complicated aspects of forensic visibility. It begins with a broad introduction to the human visual system, including visual detection, visual search, contrast threshold, background luminance, complex backgrounds, and eyewitness testimony. This is a fitting introduction for any professional looking for insight into this complex topic.

Author Jim Harris, Sr. (along with co-author Jim Harris II) draws upon over 50 years in the field of visibility studies, including a prolonged tenure at the Visibility Lab at the University of California. He has served as an expert in over 1,000 cases involving the analysis of visibility issues in all types of accidents, each of which involved questions as to whether the parties involved would have been able to visually acquire information that would have allowed them to avoid the accident.

This book covers chapters pertinent to accident reconstructionists, including visibility related to pedestrians and automobile accidents. What roles did intersection lighting and pavement luminance play? How reliable are distance estimates given by eyewitnesses? How does disability glare affect the system of the eye? These questions and more are discussed in detail.

Also included in this book is a full chapter devoted to aircraft mid-air collisions. Harris has been retained as a litigation expert for over 120 midair collisions. Further chapters explore forensic photography and how to attain scene and photographic fidelity, as well as issues of resolution, camera type, monitor and printer calibration, linearity, light meters, and distance estimates from photographs.

Forensic Visibility is an important addition to your library if you are an accident reconstructionist, insurance professional, lawyer, or any professional involved in cases with visibility issues. Pick up your copy today!

This book is also available as an E-book. Click here to purchase and download:

Topics Include:

  • The human visual system
  • Visual detection
  • Forensic photography
  • Detection threshold
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Digital camera types and resolution
  • Monitor and printer calibration
  • Image linearity
  • Vehicle/Pedestrian accidents
  • Driver and pedestrian visual tasks
  • Intersection lighting
  • Distance judgment
  • Disability glare
  • Aircraft accidents and visual search
  • Collision avoidance
  • Pilot responsibilities

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: The Human Visual System
1.1 Introduction
1.2 The Lens System
1.3 Visual Performance as a Function of Light Level
1.4 Central Fovea Resolution
1.5 Daytime Peripheral Resolution
1.6 Photometric Quantities
1.7 Visual Detection Performance
1.8 Numerical Examples of Visual Detection Threshold Data
1.9 Visual Search
1.10 Application of Detection Threshold Experiments to Real World Situations
1.11 Non-circular and Non-uniform Luminance Targets
1.12 Visual Search with Complex Backgrounds
1.13 Eyewitness Testimony
1.14 Summary

Chapter 2: Forensic Photography
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Scene Fidelity
2.3 Photographic Fidelity
2.4 Viewing Distance
2.5 Camera Types
2.6 Digital Camera Resolution
2.7 Exposure Options
2.8 Depth of Field
2.9 Camera Calibration
2.10 The Concept of Linearity
2.11 Image Linearity
2.12 Correction for Non-Linearity
2.13 Printer Output
2.14 Monitor Calibration
2.15 Projector Calibration
2.16 Adjusting the Luminance of the Projected Image
2.17 Miscellaneous Photographic Techniques
2.18 Camera Use as a Light Meter in Scenes with High Range of Luminance Values
2.19 Distance Estimates From Photographs
2.20 Summary

Chapter 3: Pedestrian and Automobile Accidents
3.1 Pedestrian/Vehicle Accidents
3.2 The Collision Triangle
3.3 Driver Sighting of a Pedestrian Making a Mid-Block Crossing
3.4 Photographic Documentation
3.5 Pedestrian Sighting of an Oncoming Vehicle While Making a Mid-Block Crossing
3.6 Comparison of Driver and Pedestrian Visual Tasks in Mid-Block Crossings
3.7 Pedestrians Making Intersection Crossings in Crosswalks with Streetlights
3.8 Intersection Lighting Provided by Streetlights
3.9 Food for Thought—Streetlights
3.10 Pedestrian Trip/Slip and Fall Accidents
3.11 Rule for Safe Walking
3.12 Types of Trip/Slip and Fall Accidents
3.13 Vehicle/Vehicle Accidents
A. Types of Vehicle/Vehicle Accidents
3.14 Distance Judgment
3.15 Eyewitness Testimony
3.16 Sensing Closure
3.17 Following Distance
3.18 Importance of Signal Lights
3.19 Unlit Stationary Vehicles at Night
3.20 Disability Glare

Chapter 4: Aircraft Accidents
4.1 Midair Collisions
4.2 Flight Path Analysis
4.3 Capabilities and Limitations of Visual Search
4.4 Factors Influencing Visual Search Strategy
4.5 Visual Search Strategy
4.6 Collision Avoidance
4.7 Aircraft Wire Strikes
4.8 Visual Detection of Power Lines
4.9 Conductors Viewed Against a Terrain Background
4.10 Ball Markers
4.11 Tower Detection
4.12 Line Marking Criteria
4.13 Pilot Responsibilities
4.14 Wire Strike Summary

Appendix A: Midair Collision Worksheet

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
Joseph E. Badger
Washington Association of Technical Accident Investigators

It is important to understand that, unlike a digital camera, we do not store images. What we do place in our memory is our interpretation of what we believe are important details that we derive from our visual sightings. Each time we pull these events from memory and study them, we may refine our interpretations and end up adding detail not present in our original stored memory. Following that mental activity, we will once again store the information in memory and this updated memory will incorporate these new interpretations and details that were not previously recorded. The above paragraph comes from the latest release from Lawyers & Judges Publishing Co., a compact 132-page softcover book titled Forensic Visibility. Written by James L. Harris, Sr., and his late son James L. Harris II, the book covers a diverse number of topics for a variety of readers. It helps explain why witnesses change their stories after giving their initial statement to investigators. The involved person has time to revisit what he originally saw and tweak it into a version he finds more acceptable at least perhaps more in his favor. Anyone who has been doing crash investigations and accident reconstructions for even a short amount of time, know that eye witnesses generally make the worst witnesses and five so-called eye witnesses to an event may easily give you five separate and often quite different accounts of how the event occurred. James Sr. and his son James II, began working on outlines for the book some seven years ago, but in 2009, Senior concentrated on completing the book. He has an extensive background that equipped him. He told me that his early desire to write the book was actually triggered by the experience he had when he first joined the Visibility Laboratory in 1954. As I began to learn about the human visual system, I found myself, time after time, surprised as to visual system capabilities and limitations. I began to realize that from time of birth, I received no training as to how to use my eyes. As a child, I learned from a variety of experiences such as bumping into table legs, etc. I think this is the way it works for most people. The net result is that, as I became an adult, I took my eyesight for granted and had [many] false perceptions about my actual visual performance capabilities and limitations. One of the goals of the Visibility Laboratory was to apply what we learned about the human visual system to real world situations. Mr. Harris has some actual hands-on work investigating collisions as a police officer. He served as a Level 3 Reserve Officer with the San Diego Police Department for 9 years. According to Harris, The Level III program was an attempt to bring on board volunteers with specialized knowledge that might be of use to the Department. After graduation, I took some Police Academy coursework in accident investigation. In many accidents there are important questions related to visibility issues as to whether parties involved should have been able to make visual sightings that would have allowed them to take actions that would have avoided the accident. That brings us to the present and the book itself. Forensic Visibility has only four chapters: 1. The Human Visual System; 2. Forensic Photography; 3. Pedestrian and Automobile Accidents; and 4. Aircraft Accidents. The last chapter may be of only minimal interest to most who read this review mainly because the majority of us rarely, if ever, get to reconstruction or even investigate an aircraft accident. The chapter discusses a wide range of topics from midair collisions to collision avoidance to tower detection, pilot responsibilities and more. The second chapter should interest anyone who takes photographs at crash scenes. The chapter is probably bit too technical for most of us. I mean how often do we enter discussions about The Concept of Linearity or Adjusting the Luminance of the Projected Image? Or, does the equation 100*CS/C = 100*BB/(BB+BS) ring a bell? But technicalities aside, I am sure the conscientious crash reconstructionist will get something useful from the text. Although that first chapter discusses Central Fovea Resolution and Daytime Peripheral Resolution, there are sections to benefit the curious reader. But the third chapter, Pedestrian and Automobile Accidents, is worth the price of the book all by itself. The authors cover The Collision Triangle, Photographic Documentation, Pedestrian Sighting of an Oncoming Vehicle While Making a Mid-Block Crossing, Comparison of Driver and Pedestrian Visual Tasks in Mid-Block Crossings, Intersection Lighting Provided by Streetlights, Trip/Slip and Fall Accidents, Vehicle/Vehicle Accidents, Distance Judgment, Eyewitness Testimony, Importance of Signal Lights, and Unlit Stationary Vehicles at Night, among others. The senior author notes that he is a mathematically oriented engineer and he admits and recognizes that the equations and graphs may not be at all helpful to some reader...

Book News, Inc.
Book News, Inc.

Harris senior (emeritus, director of The Visibility Laboratory, U. of California-San Diego) has provided much expert evidence concerning the role of visibility in airplane crashes. His son James Harris II (d. 2009) contributed a computer graphics perspective to forensic visibility. Their guide to the practice covers the human visual system, forensic photography, pedestrian and automobile accidents, and aircraft accidents.

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