And I have more... Frame no. 34 (continued)Film no. 1
Frame no. 34 is part of Film no. 1 and is attributed to Krivonischenko. Film no. 1 is the only film in the Dyatlov archives that is complete. The standard length of old skool films is 36 exposures and all 36 frames are there: https://dyatlovpass.com/resources/340/gallery/Dyatlov-pass-film1.jpg
. The film is cut in 6 strips of 6 negatives each, as is (nowadays) standard practice, except for the last strip. The one that contains frame no. 34 has an additional, sloppy cut, made with scissors, between frames no. 31 and 32.
When Koskin and Kuntsevich researched the photo archive in 2009 they cut up the films/longer film strips in the usual 6-frame format. It’s safe to assume they are responsible for the overall cutting of film no. 1. The sloppy scissor cut was made by someone else at an earlier date, possibly during the 1959 investigation. The cut off strip
The cut-off strip starts with two shots of the group on Feb 1, going up the pass. The next photograph is frame no. 34 and the last two frames are blank. They appear completely blank, as if never exposed to light. When you take a picture in the dark you get a blank negative as well (blank negative means a black print) but usually you can see a few vague lines or spots or blotches on a negative because complete darkness (as a natural phenomenon) is extremely rare. There’s always a stray photon hopping around. But there’s nothing here. I’m confident that frame no. 34 was the last photo taken. A snippet of paper
Near the back of the case files there’s an envelope containing three pieces of paper. On each of these snippets is something written like “film from…” followed by a serial number from one of the three cameras initially retrieved from the tent site. https://dyatlovpass.com/case-files-volume-2-17?rbid=19667
And luckily for us one of the pieces has even more information on it. It says: 488797 Zorkiy
film № 1
missing 3 frames
That last line, missing 3 frames, is written with different ink and in a different handwriting. The handwriting of the rest of the note is, if I’m not mistaken, Ivanov’s.
So now we have two films no. 1: “our” film that contains Frame no. 34 and the one mentioned on the snippet. “Our” film has the last three photographs cut off, and the “snippet” film has three frames missing. There’s every chance that these two films are one and the same. And we can more or less figure out what happened to it.What happened to Film no. 1
Initially they found three cameras (I’ll get to that shortly). Somebody (Ivanov?) had the films from these cameras developed but not cut. He received three continuous strips of 36 negatives. He looked at the films to see if they contained any information about what had happened to the hikers. He took an interest in the last three negatives of Film no. 1, cut them off and gave them to a technician, asking for prints.
Nowadays having prints made takes you… what?... 30 minutes? Something like that. Back in 1959 it was a time consuming business. They had to feed all the negatives one by one into a device called an enlarger. The enlarger projected the image onto photographic paper. Next the paper had to go through a number of chemical baths: developer, stop bath, fixer, washing. Finally the paper had to dry. One film took you hours. It’s common sense that the prosecutor’s office didn’t print all of the photos made by the group. They only printed a small selection.
At one point photographic films started to come with preprinted numbers on the edge so you could easily identify each frame. The Dyatlov films didn’t have any numbers. The person requesting prints could not send the whole strip of negatives (all 36 of them) and say: I’d like a print of frames no. 6, 21, and 32 to 34, please. The surest way to get the photographs you wanted was to cut the film up and only send the negatives that had to be printed. So I don’t think there’s anything nefarious about the Dyatlov films being cut up. The man with the scissors didn’t work for the KGB. He was just making a selection of negatives he wanted to see in print.
It seems that the strip with the three frames from film no. 1 never got reunited with the rest of the film. And when somebody else went through the case files afterwards, archiving the whole shebang perhaps, he found that the information on that piece of paper did not match the number of negatives filed with said paper. And that’s when he wrote: 3 frames missing. That’s Soviet bureaucracy for you
But let’s move on to the best bit of information on this little piece of paper: the tripod!A tripod attached
According to this piece of paper Film no. 1 belongs to a camera with serial number 488797 but that’s not all. This camera was mounted on a tripod. It says: screwed on. It says: attached. This is not a report on how they found some camera accessories lying around and managed to link them to a certain camera. No. This is just a little note saying: this film comes from that camera. That camera being the one with serial number 488797 and A TRIPOD ATTACHED. I repeat: A tripod attached. A tr…
To state the obvious: when you’re on a skiing trip you don’t ski around with a tripod attached to your camera. You carry the tripod in your backpack and the camera (in its protective casing) wherever it suits you: around your neck or in side pocket of your backpack or something like that. On the rare occasion you want to take a tripod mounted photo while on the go, you disassemble the whole thing and store the tripod away before taking off again. You don’t mount your camera just for the heck of it; you don’t leave it mounted when you go off to bed. 99% of the time your camera and your tripod are not
But according to this piece of paper camera no. 488797 had a tripod attached to it. And this strongly suggests that the camera was “abandoned” (for lack of a better word) just before, or shortly after someone took (or wanted to take) a tripod mounted photograph of something. And if there’s one kind of shot that screams Tripod! it’s nightscapes. Long exposure time, slow shutter speed photography under low light conditions. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First I need to follow the paper trail of this camera and it’s tripod all the way back to the tent site.Inspection protocol – Camera no. 488797
One of the first documents in the case files is a joint inspection protocol by Tempalov and Maslennikov about their findings on 27 Feb 1959. That’s the day they found the bodies of the first five hikers. Tempalov wrote the report on the spot. He, Maslennikov and three witnesses (including Slobtsov, who discovered the tent the previous day) signed it. It’s as official as it gets.
The report contains a list of documents and valuables retrieved from the tent site. There are three cameras on that list, identified by their serial number. The number of frames shot with each camera is also recorded. And “our” camera is described as “with” a tripod and broken light filter:1. Camera "Zorki" with a tripod and a broken light filter. Camera № 488797. Filmed 34 frames.
2. Camera "Zorki" № 486963. Filmed 27 frames. Deep scratches on the case. Strap is torn.
3. Camera "Zorki" № 55149239. Filmed 27 frames.https://dyatlovpass.com/case-files-3-6?rbid=17743
And again, this is not a report on how they found a couple of cameras and some accessories and how they managed to link the accessories to a certain camera. No. This is merely a list of things retrieved. If the camera, the tripod and the light filter were found separately they would have been itemized separately. Because this is an official protocol. Besides, Tempalov, or the search party had no way of knowing that the tripod and light filter belonged to that one particular Zorki unless they were attached to it. Not while they were on that mountain. Not on 27 Feb.
I’m perfectly satisfied that when Tempalov was presented with the camera, it was attached to a tripod, and there was a damaged light filter on the lens.
There are two other instances in the case files where camera no. 488797 is mentioned,https://dyatlovpass.com/case-files-3-6?rbid=17743https://dyatlovpass.com/case-files-volume-2-42
and on both occasions it is described in the same way, as coming “with” a tripod and a broken light filter.A broken light filter
So I disagree with the claim on this site that the light filter was found in its casing:That is the other strange detail - the light filter has its own protective case and to brake [sic] the filter one has to either stomp on top or take it put and brake [sic] it. The filter was found cracked inside its protective case. https://dyatlovpass.com/cameras
The case files show otherwise. It was mounted on the lens. And that makes perfect (old skool photography) sense.
The type of light filter is not specified in the files but there’s a 99.9% chance that it’s a UV-filter. That was the first filter people would buy and very often the only one. Other kinds of filters only made sense when you were quite serious about photography (and you had a high quality camera). A UV-filter is useful when photographing snowy landscapes. It’s the one filter I would bring on a skiing trip.
The good thing about a UV-filter is that it has hardly any negative side effects. You can leave it mounted, make all the photographs you want under all kinds of circumstances and they won’t be any worse for it. That’s what people did, back in the day. You left the filter on 24/7, unless it cracked of course. A cracked filter would leave a mark on all subsequent photos.
Camera filters are rather fragile. They’re just a thin disk of glass in a metal frame. Drop it, step on it and they’re gone. But when mounted on a camera, in front of the lens, you need to slam the camera, lens first, into a solid object. That’s not your average camera accident. Something violent happened to that camera before it reached Tempalov and he wrote: Camera "Zorki" with a tripod and a broken light filter.
Camera no. 488797, which belongs to Krivonischenko, was found with a broken light filter mounted but as far as I can tell none of Krivo’s photographs show any sign of cracks, lines, spider webs, spots, in short a damaged filter. Everything suggests that the damage occurred after the last photograph was shot. The last being our notorious frame no. 34. And that brings us to the last bit of information from the Inspection protocol: the number of photographs taken.The number of photographs
It is suggested on this site that the number of photographs taken with each camera (34, 27 and 27) was determined by taking the film out of the camera, developing it and then counting the number of negatives. I disagree. There was no need to do that. Besides, the Inspection protocol was written on the spot, according to the witness testimonies of Tempalov, Maslennikov, Slobtsov, Brusnitsyn and every other person on the mountain that day.
Those old cameras had mechanical counters. Every time you pushed the advance lever (or turned the advance knob) the counter would add one. That’s how you knew how many photos you had taken and how many frames there were left. That’s how Tempalov knew right away the number of photos taken with each camera. They didn’t take the film out, had it developed and counted the negatives. No. They just wrote down the number shown by the counters.And this ties all the evidence together:
Frame no. 34 comes from a camera that was found mounted on a tripod and with a broken light filter attached. The counter of that camera stopped at 34 frames. Frame no. 34 doesn’t show any signs of damage to the light filter, nor does any of the earlier photographs. This strongly suggests the damage occurred after someone took photo no. 34 but before Tempalov registered the light filter as broken. This essentially refutes the theory that frame no. 34 was a random technicians’ shot.
There is a slim possibility that Slobtsov, or one of his mates from the search party, is responsible for our mystery photo. They had custody of that camera for a couple of hours before Tempalov wrote his report. But then, did they smash the light filter as well after taking that shot? What for? And what about the tripod? Were they responsible for mounting the camera? If so, why? It just doesn’t make sense.
There’s only one logical explanation for the state of that camera + film, as recorded by Tempalov on the 27th. Krivo, or one of his friends, took photograph no. 34 during the night or in the early morning of Feb 2. In order to do so they mounted the camera on the tripod. They managed to take that shot but then something happened that sent the camera, with the tripod attached, flying. It slammed, lens first, into a solid object, causing the filter to crack. And that’s how Slobtsov and friends found it.