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.
Exposure. Again referring to the six photographs of residences, you will observe that a sufficient amount of exposure was given to secure a full amount of detail even in the very deepest shadows, and in doing this it was not necessary to sacrifice the quality of the high-lights, which, also, are full of detail and do not appear at all chalky or blocked. The secret of good negatives, therefore, lies in full exposure and proper development. In fact, an architectural negative should by no means be over-developed, as the high-lights will immediately become hard and will not produce the best of results in the finished print.
Public Buildings. Although the general principles in the photographing of public buildings are approximately the same as for residences, there are some special features which need consideration. As a general rule, it is somewhat difficult to get far enough away from the subject to use a narrow-angle lens and secure all of the object on the plate. Especially is this true in large cities, where the buildings are tall and the streets too narrow to permit one to secure the proper view-point and include all of the building within the picture space. There are various ways of overcoming this difficulty; one is to use a wide-angle lens, but this is not always satisfactory, as it tends to give distortion and
Photo by T. E. Dillon
Illustration No. 8
School House See Paragraph 88
Photo by T. E. Dillon
Illustration No. 9
Court House See Paragraph 90 does not reproduce the building truthfully as the eye sees it.
87. Then, again, when photographing so near the building, especially if it be a tall one, the camera will have to be pointed upward, and if not provided with a swing-back, rising and falling lens board, or a swing-bed, the lines of the building will not be true. Even with these attachments to your camera the lens employed may not allow of all the building being admitted on the plate. The best method in such cases is to ascend to the second or third floor of some building opposite the one you are photographing, and from the window make the exposure. The height from which you take the picture will depend upon the height of the building being photographed. It is advisable to have the camera opposite the center of your object; then you will be able to secure the proper amount of foreground, as well as a sufficient amount of space above the building.
88. Not only is difficulty experienced from having to work in crowded quarters, but many times telephone poles, trees, fences, and other objectionable features are to be contended with. In Illustration No. 8 is reproduced the picture of a school-house. This was a comparatively simple subject, yet there was practically only one point of view from which it was possible to make an exposure. Even from this point the flag-pole in the foreground, which stands out white against the dark roof, is objectionable; yet in order to show the building to its best advantage, a view-point was selected admitting the pole where it would appear the least conspicuous, and yet enable one to obtain a good view of the building. It would have been possible to make a straight front view of the building, omitting the pole, but this would not give good lines to the building. It may be taken, as a general rule, that a front view of a building which is situated by itself is objectionable. It is, however, advisable to show more of the front than the side, and the strongest light should fall on that part of the building nearest the camera.
89. As all public buildings usually are erected in the center of a large square plot of ground, they may be quite easily photographed. Where there are many trees to contend with, late in the fall of the year will be the best time to make the photograph, for then the leaves will be off the trees, permitting of a full view of the building being secured.
90. In Illustration No. 9 we present a picture of a court-house, built of stone, located in the center of a square. The stone and trimmings being of practically one dull color, the structure required bright sunlight to illuminate the projections so as to cast shadows upon the plain surfaces, and thereby supply contrast and snap. It is important that the sunlight should fall on the building at the proper angle.
91. In making the picture for Illustration No. 9, the front of the building facing the west received no sunlight until quite late in the afternoon; consequently the picture was made at this time. If a later hour in the day had been chosen the sun would have broadly illuminated the front of the building, and the effect would have been extremely flat as compared to what is shown in Illustration No. 9. This demonstrates another principle in architectural photography: Relief and a true sense of distance or atmosphere are essential, and the light should fall at an angle on that side of the building facing the camera to secure this effect. Observe that a sufficient amount of exposure was given to secure full detail even in the deepest shadows. The development was carried only far enough to give strength and brilliancy, and yet retain the detail in the high-lights and the actual quality of the stone.
92. A subject quite apart from those we have previously treated is shown in Illustration No. 10, which is a strictly commercial view of a bank building. Such a picture is required when the building is situated in a business block. A front view should be made to avoid distortion. The same principle of relief must be adhered to; in fact, it is absolutely necessary that the angle at which the light falls be such as to give perfect relief in every respect. A straight front or flat light will give a picture which will
Photo by T. E. Dillon
Illustration No. 10
Bank Building See Paragraph 92
Photo by T E. Dillon
Illustration No. II
See Paragraph 94 be totally valueless. Where there is carving, ornaments and lettering, such as shown in the accompanying illustration, the light should fall at an angle of about 45°, thus permitting the letters and figures to cast a shadow which will make them stand out in perfect relief. The exposure and development must receive the same careful consideration as given all other architectural subjects.