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The Barnet Book of Photography A Collection of Practical Articles

Do not place your camera too high


photographing exteriors great care should be taken in the placing of the camera in a suitable spot. Try and so arrange it that the short side of the building does not run off too violently, indeed, it is often much better to leave out a portion of the subject rather than to cram the whole subject upon the plate.

General views are much better if photographed when there is a little sunlight. This gives to the subject a sharp, clean-cut appearance.

Details on the other hand are better if photographed in a subdued light and slightly over-exposed.

In focussing very high subjects some difficulty will be found in getting bottom and top in focus at the same time, especially if the lens be strained by either altering the back or front of the camera.

The best place to focus is a little way above the centre of the screen, so that when stopped down the bottom of the building is quite sharp. A slight softness towards the top of the subject is scarcely noticeable in the final print.

The exposure of exteriors varies between three seconds at _f_/64 to ten minutes, and no correct guide can possibly be given. To the beginner a Watkins' exposure meter will here be of some service.

If people are continually passing and repassing stop the lens down to _f_/64 and give as long an exposure as is

possible; this will as a rule completely obliterate them. I have found that an exposure of from ten to twenty seconds entirely destroys all trace of moving objects.

Another method of making an exposure where there is much traffic past the building, and perhaps people standing about whom you cannot very well ask to move, is, to break the exposure as many times as possible. Expose for two seconds, then wait until the traffic has somewhat altered; then give another two seconds and so on until finished. By this means I have been able to photograph buildings in the centre of a crowded street or thoroughfare without a trace of anybody showing.

It is often interesting for the student to be able to successfully tackle the photographing of drawing-room, ball-room, or other apartments either of his own or friends' houses.

This work is considerably more difficult than it seems; and it is in such subjects that the taste of the operator becomes manifest. A great deal depends upon the point of view chosen and also upon the arrangement of the furniture.

If a long room, the camera should be placed at one end at about a quarter of the width of room away from one side and from the end wall. Keep the camera parallel with the sides of the room and use the sliding front so as to obtain more of the opposite side of the room. This will give the ceiling a true square appearance and the side of the ceiling will not run off with an unpleasing effect.

In some subjects it is perhaps necessary to include one or more windows. This can of course be accomplished by the aid of backed plates, but it is always better to block those particular windows out. This is usually done by covering the outside with black cloth or brown paper or pulling the sun blinds down. To get the effect of the windows you must remove the paper or cloth at the end of the exposure for a few minutes, three minutes being generally sufficient. By this means it is possible to show the landscape as seen from the window. Do not place your camera too high. Four feet to four feet six inches is quite sufficient. If the camera is higher you look over the immediate foreground objects, touching the ground past them, which is undesirable.

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