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.
Photographing Tools And Small Articles. The best way to photograph tools or other small articles is to lay them on the floor, or small box, covered with brown paper, opposite a window, in a good, strong light (not sunlight) and then by means of a tilting tripod top, tilt the camera so that it will point straight downward. The height the camera is arranged from the floor will determine the size of the image. Where tools or articles are highly polished they may be treated with putty, as previously described. This will overcome any glare, and if the light falls on them too strong and contrasty, by hanging a piece of tissue-paper, or preferably a strip of cheese-cloth, over the window you will subdue the light sufficiently to give an even illumination. If proper exposure is given your results will well repay your special efforts.
231. The special advantage of laying small objects on the floor, to be photographed, is to secure reproduction without the presence of any tacks, nails, string, or other means of support, which would have to be employed if the tools were hung in a perpendicular position.
Heavy Machinery. Among other things, one will often have to photograph large shaftings and immense castings which are extremely massive. The light conditions for such subjects, owing to their size, are usually better than smaller subjects, for, ordinarily, where such massive machinery is built there is a sufficient amount of illumination, as it is essential that the mechanics have good light to work by.
Elevation Of Camera. It will be necessary, for this class of work, to have the camera elevated at least on a level with the center of the object, and where it is extremely large the pictures may be made from a higher elevation. Where large movable overhead cranes are employed (as is usually the case in such shops) they supply a convenient point from which to work, for by taking advantage of the cranes practically any desired point of view may be secured, as they may be moved forward or backward to suit the required distance from the object.
234. Illustration No. 52 shows a photograph of five large castings of upright engines in course of construction. The view-point from which the exposure was made was about 10 feet above the ground. By judicious use of the swing-back perfectly parallel lines were secured, although the castings were of considerable height. In this illustration we have a case where the height of the engines was an important feature; also the attachments under the different iron platforms were important. If this view had been made from a higher point, looking down upon the objects, as it were, you would not show the actual height of the engines, neither would you reproduce the view as it would be viewed naturally, and besides, the platform would have cut off some of the important parts which are desired to be shown in the view. Therefore, it will be readily seen that in addition to the light conditions and other circumstances to
Photo by T. E. Dillon
Illustration No. 52
Machinery - Castings of Upright Engines
See Paragraph 234
Photo by Karl M. Ebert
Illustration No. 52a Avoiding Halation be contended with, the object for which the picture is to be used is of paramount importance and must be given first consideration in the making of such pictures. A viewpoint must be selected which will give the desired impression of the appearance of the object being photographed.
235. It often happens that manufacturers desire a photograph of their machines as soon as possible after they are installed in some new shop or factory, before the flooring or other parts of the surroundings are in their finished condition. When this is the case it is advisable, before printing, to opaque the entire floor space on the negative. When the plate is dry, by means of a ruler and pencil draw flagstones on the face of the negative, inserting cross lines at their proper angles; then, with the etching knife, slightly trace these lines through the opaque when they will reproduce dark in the prints. This will give a base or support for the machine, which is very essential in all cases, as it is necessary that there appear some support for heavy objects.