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Chapter 15 - Camouflage:
The Visibility of Airplanes
1   2   3   4   5   6   Chapter 15 - Camouflage:
The Visibility of Airplanes, Mean Reflection-Factors, con't

Chapter 15 - Camouflage:
The Visibility of Airplanes, Mean Reflection-Factors

Mean Reflection-Factors

  Per Cent
Woods 4.3
Barren ground 13.0
Fields (grazing land and growing crops) 6.8
Inland water (rivers and bays) 6.8
Deep ocean water 3.5
Dense clouds 78.0


Wooded areas are the darkest general areas in a landscape and possess a very low reflection-factor. From above one sees the deep shadows interspersed among the highlights. These shadows and the trapping of light are largely responsible for the low brightness or apparent reflection-factor. This is best illustrated by means of black velvet. If a piece of cardboard is dyed with the same black dye as that used to dye the velvet, it will diffusely reflect 2 or 3 per cent of the incident light, but the black velvet will reflect no more than 0.5 per cent. The velvet fibers provide many light traps and cast many shadows which reduce the relative brightness or reflection-factor far below that of the flat cardboard. Cultivated fields on which there are growing crops are nearly twice as bright as wooded areas, depending, of course, upon the denseness of the vegetation. Barren sun-baked lands are generally the brightest large areas in a landscape, the brightness depending upon the character of the soil. Wet soil is darker than dry soil, owing to the fact that the pores are filled with water, thus reducing the reflection-factor of the small particles of soil. A dry white blotting paper which reflects 75 per cent of the incident light will reflect only about 55 per cent when wet.

Inland waters which contain much suspended matter are about as bright as grazing land and cultivated fields. Shallow water partakes somewhat of the color and brightness of the bed, and deep ocean water is somewhat darker than wooded areas. Quiet stagnant pools or small lakes are sometimes exceedingly dark; in fact, they appear like pools of ink, owing to the fact that their brightness as viewed vertically is almost entirely due to surface reflection. If it is due entirely to reflection at the surface, the brightness will be about 2 per cent of the brightness of the zenith sky. That is, when viewing such a body of water vertically one sees an image of the zenith sky reduced in brightness to about 2 per cent.

The earth patterns were extensively studied with the result that definite conclusions were formulated pertaining to the best patterns to be used. Although it is out of the question to present a detailed discussion of this important phase in this resume, attention will be called to the manner in which the earth patterns diminish with increasing altitude. The insert in Fig. 100 shows the actual size of an image of a 50-foot airplane from 0 to 16,000 feet below the observer as compared with corresponding images (to the same scale) of objects and areas on the earth's surface 10,000 feet below the observer.

For simplicity assume a camera lens to have a focal length equal to 10 inches, then the length x of the image of an object 100 feet long will be related to the altitude h in this manner:

Chapter 15 - Camouflage: The Visibility of Airplanes, Mean Reflection-Factors

By substituting the values of altitude h in the equation the values of the length x of the image are found. The following values illustrate the change in size of the image with altitude:

Altitude h in feet Size of image x in inches
1,000 1.00
2,000 0.50
3,000 0.33
4,000 0.25
10,000 0.10
20,000 0.05

Chapter 15 - Camouflage:
The Visibility of Airplanes
1   2   3   4   5   6   Chapter 15 - Camouflage:
The Visibility of Airplanes, Mean Reflection-Factors, con't

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About This Book Preface Chap 1, Introduction Chap 2, The Eye Chap 3, Vision Chap 4, Geometrical Chap 5, Figures Chap 6, Angles Chap 7, Depth/Distance Chap 8 Brightness/Contrast Chap 9, Color Chap 10, Lighting Chap 11, Nature Chap 12, Painting/Decorating Chap 13, Architecture Chap 14, Magic Mirror Chap 15, Camouflage

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