This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
178. The photographing of architectural details is extremely interesting, yet until recent years little of this class of work was undertaken except by the amateur photographer. Architects, designers, contractors and builders all realize the value of photographs of this nature. In consequence, the commercial photographer of today is giving this class of work more careful attention. Perhaps a reason for lack of interest along this particular line, by the photographer doing general photographic work, is that such subjects do not lend themselves easily to pictorial treatment or afford scope for artistic rendering; yet a series of such photographs properly produced will create far greater interest than many others of pictorial value. There is hardly a church or public building of any description that does not abound with excellent subject material, and especially those of stone and concrete construction. The capitals of pillars, ornamental panels, bosses, and endless carvings, all form excellent subject material.
Outfit Necessary. Some amount of work can be done with a hand camera, but the ordinary view camera with long bellows extension and the addition of a low power telephoto lens will be found most useful. In the absence of the regularly constructed telephoto lens, a single combination of the ordinary rectilinear lens will answer very well, for with the single combination, working from the same viewpoint, you produce double the size image on the plate. The proper use of even the ordinary rectilinear lens enables one to obtain records of many interesting subjects which the untrained user might consider quite out of range and beyond the capabilities of the ordinary lens. Illustration No.
44 is an excellent example of this class of work. For detailed description of how this picture was made see the department, How Studies were Made.
Avoid Vibrations. Great care must be taken to avoid vibrations during the exposures, when using the telephoto attachment, or even the single combination of your regular lens, for the distance between the lens and sensitive plate is so great that the slightest tremor is fatal to good results. A firm tripod is, therefore, a necessity, and when the bellows is fully extended an additional brace from the base part to the tripod is advisable (see Illustration No. 45), for a sudden breeze or even the uncapping of the lens, is apt to cause trembling.
Illumination - Clear Atmosphere. To obtain the best results for detail work a clear atmosphere is essential, but direct sunlight is generally a disadvantage, for with the sun shining on the object you have heavy shadows to contend with, which are undesirable for this class of work, as clear detail is the essential feature. For general field work, of course, where the single combination lens is employed, in order to bring the object closer to you, then strong sunshine is essential, as this gives strength to the view, where without strong sunlight, the view is very apt to appear flat.