Believe it or not, but the photography merit badge – awarded to Boy Scouts who showed they’d studied and completed the tasks required – turns 100 this year. The requirements have been updated along the years, and are surprisingly complex:
This is the current-day requirements needed before a boy scout earns his badge:
Explain how the following elements and terms affect the quality of a picture:
Light-natural light/ambient, flash
Exposure-aperture (f-stops), shutter speed, depth of field
Composition-rule of thirds, leading lines, framing, depth
Angle of view
Explain the basic parts and operation of a film camera or digital camera. Explain how an exposure is made when you take a picture.
Discuss with your counselor the differences between a film camera and a digital camera. List at least five advantages and five disadvantages of using a digital camera versus using a film camera.
Do ONE of the following:
Produce a picture story using the photojournalistic technique of documenting an event. Share your plan with your counselor and get your counselor’s input and approval before you proceed. Then, using either a film camera or a digital camera, produce your approved picture story. Process your images and select eight to 12 images that best tell your story. Arrange your images in order, then mount the prints on a poster board. If you are using digital images, you may create a slide show on your computer or produce printouts for your poster board. Share your picture story with your counselor.
Choose a topic that interests you to photograph for an exhibit or display. Get your counselor’s approval, then photograph (digital or film) your topic. Process your images. Choose 20 of your favorite images and mount them on poster board. Share your display with your counselor. If you are using digital images, you may create a slide show on your computer or produce printouts for your poster board.
Discuss with your counselor the career opportunities in photography. Pick one that interests you and explain how to prepare for such a career. Discuss with your counselor the education and training such a career would require.
It’s pretty amazing to see the difference digital cameras have made to the requirements over the years. Take 1948’s, for example:
Show that he is thoroughly familiar with the essential parts of a camera and explain the purpose of each of the following: finder, lens, shutter, diaphragm opening, bellows, focusing scale.
Understand the basic principles of composition, selection of background and handling of light and shade.
Name the chemicals found in one standard developing solution and one fixing solution, and explain their purpose.
Submit six good quality pictures taken, developed and printed by himself, putting into practice his knowledge of the principles in Requirement No. 2. (Not more than two pictures may be submitted from any one of the following groups, and the collection must include one from each group.)
GROUP A.. Landscape or water pictures.
GROUP B: Groups of persons or street scenes.
GROUP C: Person, domestic animal or bird; wild animal or bird.
GROUP D.. Architectural subjects.