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.
Tripods. We advise the use of a strong, serviceable, wooden tripod, which will support the heaviest camera without danger of vibration. Avoid a tripod of the so-called light weight class. The tripod should be made with telescopic parts. The ends should have sharp points. For these points procure rubber tips for use when photographing on slippery pavements or smooth floors of interiors. They will prevent the tripod from slipping, or the possible marring of highly polished floors. It is also advisable to provide a tripod stay, which prevents the legs from spreading when resting on smooth surfaces.
Composition. If the architect has done his work well, with the assistance of the landscape gardener, who lays out the grounds in keeping with the building, the photographer's task will be a pleasant and easy one. It only remains to select a position that will give proper perspective and most artistic effects of light and shade. An architect making a drawing of a building, improves the artistic effects of the work by means of heavy shadows and strong highlights. Without these shadows a building would appear flat. It is possible on paper to give a fine appearance to a building, which, when constructed, may be so poorly located with regard to light and shade as to produce a most disappointing effect. As it is with the architect so it is with the photographer. The photographer must select the time of day to photograph a certain building when the shadows are at the best angles, in order to produce proper drawing. The beauty of the picture depends upon reproducing the angles and trimmings of the building with proper detail. Whenever possible a building should be photographed showing the front and part of one side, thus producing the best perspective.
Illustration No. J See Paragraph No. 30.
Illustration No. 2 See Paragraph No. 31.
Illustration No. 3 See Paragraph No. 32.
Illustration No. 4 See Paragraph No. 33.
The Best Time Of Day For Making Architectural Views. For ordinary architectural work short bellows are preferred. These effects are accomplished by making exposure between the hours of 9 and 11 a. m. or from 1:30 to 4 p. m. In architectural photography you should not photograph a light colored building with the sun directly back of you. To do so would give you a very flat picture, containing all highlights and no shadows. The sunlight should fall a trifle from the side to produce shadows that will accentuate the highlights.
26. To obtain the most artistic effects of the building being photographed, watch the changes of light as the sun rises or sets. This may necessitate a number of visits to the same building. It often pays to spend a part of the day watching the light on a building and viewing it from different points. When the highlights and shadows show a pleasing drawing, make the exposure.
27. Watch the continued changes of longer or shorter shadows on the building, and should it appear to better advantage later on, make another exposure. You will often be surprised at the improvement a longer or shorter shadow will make in the view; so watch your object carefully for best light effects before making the exposure.
28. It is well to remember that a high building can be improved with short shadows, or a low sun; while a low building is improved by long, more perpendicular shadows or a high sun. (See illustrations of architectural views).
29. The crude drawings used in illustrating the uses of the camera are by no means properly proportioned, but will, we hope, serve to show as clearly as possible the advantages and proper manipulation of the different camera attachments, namely: Swing-back, rising and falling front.
30. The half-tone illustrations herein presented serve fully their purpose. The picture of the stone bank building in two views, Nos. 21 and 22, page 72, one taken under a high sun, the other with the sun under a cloud, demonstrate the advantage of sunlight in architectural work, and in this case, the advantage of a high sun for this class of buildings. Illustration No. 1. This illustration shows a residence photographed under a strong sunlight at a lower angle, the lights and shadows of which make the trimmings stand out boldly.
31. Illustration No. 2 shows the same building as No. 1, photographed from the same point with the sun under a cloud, but stopped to F. 32, in order to accent the shadows as much as possible. It was fully timed and finally developed with a restraining developer, resulting in a good, strong picture.
32. No. 3 is the same building as Nos. 1 and 2, photographed under a clouded sky. The ordinary large stop was used and the plate developed in the ordinary way, without any restraining, resulting in a very flat print.
33. Illustration No. 4. The architecture in this residence is composed of so many angles that to preserve them they are made to appear best in a subdued light. It will be readily apparent with the sun falling upon the side of the building that more boldness is imparted to the front, thus preserving more clearly the projections and general lines of architecture.
34. Illustration No. 5. This mansion being constructed in one color of grey stone, relieved only by a few stone projections above the first floor and gables, great care was exercised in selecting the best time of day to photograph it. When the sun directly illuminated the front and sides there was nothing to relieve the monotony of color and the building appeared flat. But, as the sun gradually left this portion of the mansion, causing the main body of the house to be thrown into the shadow, the sun's rays fell upon these projections giving strength and boldness to the architecture.