Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Last IFGA

If you don't know what you are looking at, this is a Stained glass version of Navy's Photographers Mate rating badge. Worn on the left arm of enlisted personnel, it designates the sailors job description. Nickname "IFGA" it gets it name from the real formula (I:F::G:A) it represents. The (I)mage size can be measured on the negative and is to the (F)ocal length of the lens as the (G)round is to the (A)ltitude. The three known factors (I,F and A) then can be used to determine the size of an object on the ground, like a trailer truck loaded with a missile. Remember the Cuban missile crisis? This beautiful glass piece was made by my wife, for my work space, the IIS Department in the lower center wing of Building 251 NASNI.  I removed it when I retired in July of 2006. It's been hidden in a "safe place" since then waiting to have a  frame made so we could properly display it. Now hanging in our music room, back lit by the morning sun each day, it really brightens my day. We interpreted this colorful version to represent the "Secondary colors" Yellow, Cyan, Magenta, on top, of the negative passing through the lens and diaphragm of an enlarger and creating the "Primary colors" Red, Geen, and Blue in the print.

Here is Deinna in November 2005 after we installed it my office. 
The "Crow" shown below is the last version of the many transitions that this rating badge has gone through for the Photographers Mates since 1944. Another version was a bellows type camera in place of the IFGA. Another version of the IFGA had wings for aerial camera men.
Photographer Mates did all phases of photography: shooting ground and aerial pictures, processing film and paper, both by hand and machine processors, and recording all events of historical and newsworthy interest. PH's also used motion picture camera equipment to record film documentation, pioneered the use of Video recording in the fleet, and basically subsidized the growth of digital photography. In the 90's, we paid Kodak $2,500 apiece for a one megapixel camera. 

Also, in the year 2006, the Navy began consolidation of the Photographers' Mate (PH) with the Journalist (JO), Draftsmen (DM), and the Lithographers (LI) into the new rate Mass Communication Specialist (MC).
So if you ever have a need for an IFGA fix, keep the post handy.

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