Skip to content

Clandestine Photography: Basic to Advanced Daytime and Nighttime Manual Surveillance Photography Techniques

Clandestine Photography: Basic to Advanced Daytime and Nighttime Manual Surveillance Photography Techniques for Military Special Operations Forces, Law Enforcement, Intelligence Agencies and Investigators. By Raymond P. Siljander and Lance W. Juusola. Charles C. Thomas,; 672 pages; $69.95; also available as e-book.

This fine reference publication updates the 1975 work by Raymond P. Siljander, Applied Surveillance Photography. The earlier work filled a void at the time, and this vastly expanded later work does the same today. Those of us who came of age using and “push processing” 35mm Kodak Tri-X, 2475 Recording, and High-Speed Infrared films will appreciate the comprehensive explanation of the digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera bringing us into the 21st century. 

The introduction explores the need for clandestine photography to meet today’s investigative challenges of sophisticated criminal and terrorist activity. The book progresses through cameras and lenses, photographic accessories, techniques and methods, night vision applications, tactics and strategies, and the challenges of atmosphere and weather. In addition to DSLR cameras, the authors address the use of various camcorders. Tips are offered on camouflage, concealment, and near infrared signature management.

The visual presentation is professional with quality materials and clear type. Descriptive and explanatory drawings, tables, and photographs are found throughout the book. There is a comprehensive index and an impressive listing of current bibliographic references. The authors cite many government and military sources, and they clearly indicate that this book is to supplement—not replace—the photographic instructional material used by various agencies. They caution that this work is directed at the technical aspects of clandestine photography and that practitioners must be acutely aware of the legal issues in any jurisdictions in which they may be operating.

This book is strongly recommended for those involved with special surveillance challenges. It may be beneficial as a training text in courses for investigative personnel required to obtain photographic documentation and the application of manual photographic skills in extreme conditions. It would be a welcome addition to any investigative photographer’s library.

Reviewer: Paul D. Barnard, CPP, CISM (Certified Information Security Manager), SFPC (Security Fundamentals Professional Certification) is a security manager for the Department of Defense. He has been a member of ASIS International since 1975. The opinion expressed is solely that of the reviewer and does not imply a view of the U.S. government or any other organization.