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.
Flat Seascapes. In making negatives of any subject, flat effects are more or less due to over-exposure. In seascape photography, however, the tendency to over-expose is far greater than in ordinary landscape work. The amount of exposure required for seascapes is practically the same as that for snow scenes. The air at the seaside is clear and absolutely devoid of the smoke and dust so prevalent inland, while the reflections and direct light from sea and sky greatly increase the actinic quality of the rays of light that pass through the lens and affect the sensitive plate.
Plate Fogging In Holders. If plate holders are employed, do not expose them unnecessarily to the direct rays of the sun, as no loaded plate-holder is capable of withstanding prolonged exposure to a summer sun without injury to the plates. It is always advisable to cover the plate-holders and back of camera with the focusing cloth when withdrawing the slide, and in every instance strive to protect the plates as much as possible from direct rays of sunlight. Care must also be exercised in replacing the slide in the holder; be sure to place the whole edge in at the same time, not one corner first.
Objects Out Of Focus Where Focusing Scale Was Relied Upon. If the focusing scale is to be relied upon you must be able to judge distances, or must approximately measure the distance between the subject and the camera. If such distance is perhaps a little less than 100 feet, all objects beyond being practically in universal focus, the pointer can be set at the 100 ft. mark on the scale. As was mentioned in Paragraph 465, you should be sure that the focusing scale is properly located on the camera bed. It is seldom this is not properly placed, but if you desire to test it, focus on an object situated at 10 feet, then on an object at 25 feet, and also one at 50 feet. If the pointer registers properly on the scale in each case, you may know that the focusing scale is a correct guide to go by, providing you have estimated or correctly measured the distance.
Seascapes A Failure From An Artistic Standpoint. Should the seascape be uninteresting and lacking in artistic quality, the cause will be found in the fact that you lack a thorough conception of what is required. Or, you have proceeded to make the exposure with too much haste and have not used proper judgment in selection of subject material. There are possible occasions where you may secure a view entirely at variance with what a painter would consider ideal composition, yet as the view appeals to you individually and contains exactly what you tried for, it may prove a most satisfactory picture to yourself and others advanced in photography.
496. If you have carefully studied the preceding chapters of this volume, you will be able to choose the proper subject material, and also make the right selection of view-point. You must bear in mind that in order to obtain an interesting, artistic picture, it is requisite that you photograph subjects that possess something of human interest. In Paragraphs 466 and 467 are given various suggestions for subject material, which will be of value, and if you carry out the ideas therein presented you should be able to secure results considerably out of the ordinary.
Photographing Sea Birds. Here there is danger of failure, because you are dealing with subjects not easily handled. In the first place, you must be a student of nature, and the more knowledge obtained regarding the life and habits of sea birds, the greater will be your reward. Greatest of care must be exercised in stalking, or approaching subjects, for the least stumble or quick movement is very likely to frighten the birds, and perhaps ruin your opportunity for making an exposure that day. A large focusing cloth, as mentioned in Paragraph 487, is most valuable, not only to cover the camera, but yourself. Under its protection you will be able to carefully approach a flock of birds and secure an exposure without great risk of frightening them.