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.
Roads And Trees. There is something very fascinating in the vanishing point of a road or where it winds around behind a clump of trees. It really gives the observer a feeling of the enthusiasm of a pedestrian on a walking tour; one wants to go on and see what there is beyond that point.
274. Simplicity, as we have previously mentioned, is an extremely important factor and one of the chief virtues of road pictures, for they can be so simple and yet very pleasing; one tree, a bit of road and fence, and a nice sky are often quite enough to make a picture. As one of the most important principles of composition is simplicity, it is advisable to choose a simple subject and to try to do away with all unnecessary details, thereby strengthening what remains by concentration of interest. A road by itself seldom makes a good picture. The result, even if the long focus lens is used, is very disappointing, for the foreground is very difficult to manage; therefore, choose a road with a tree or two in the right position and your troubles will be at an end. It is unfortunate that trees are so seldom in a proper position; however, one may vary the point of view. Should the tree on the right appear to be an inch and a half too tall or too short on the ground-glass, or in the wrong position to balance the composition (you are not as fortunate as the painter, who can modify or leave out altogether what he does not want), you must choose a time of day in which the lightings will give you the proper effect. Also vary the point of view until you have secured a satisfactory arrangement. If you cannot, under these conditions, produce a proper arrangement, the only thing to do is to let the subject go and find another.
Practical Hints. There are one or two technical points that might be well to consider at this point, regarding landscape work. Orthochromatic plates, which are sensitive to green, used with a ray filter are of great value. A filter that increases the exposure four times is usually sufficient, if it is used intelligently, but one increasing it six or eight times would be better. Such filters are called four, six and eight times screens, respectively. It is not good policy to lengthen the exposure too much, because even on a comparatively windless day the leaves of trees are never quite still, and, though a slight amount of movement of the leaves tends to improve the picture, too much movement would spoil it; therefore, as is often the case in photography, a compromise must be effected and some of the correction of color values must be sacrificed for the sake of avoiding an excessively long exposure.
Exposure When Using A Color Screen. We again mention the importance of correct exposure, for the tendency is, with the use of the screen, to under-expose. You will find that a generous exposure on an ordinary plate carefully developed will give a far better rendering of values than an insufficient exposure on an ortho plate through a screen; therefore, whatever you do, do not under-expose when employing color corrected materials. Bear in mind the character of the subject when making the exposure, and look at your subject with a "photographic eye," remembering that the lens, unlike the human eye, has no accommodating brain behind it and strong contrast in the subject, unless modified by exposure, will be faithfully rendered by the lens as contrast.
Note. It is not our intention to give you the impression that it is an absolutely essential matter that you use orthochromatic plates and screens; in fact, to begin with, if you have had no experience whatever with them, our advice would be to use the plate that you are already familiar with. However, it is advisable to have the plate backed.
278. For practice work select some spot that will include a road and one or more trees, and proceed to secure a couple of negatives along the lines just described. Before making an exposure, however, be absolutely certain that the point of view selected will produce the very best rendering of the subject in hand; also watch out for the lighting effect, and if you think another time of day will give you a better effect, wait until you have the proper lighting. Simplicity in the subject will aid you a great deal in obtaining the best arrangement of composition.
279. Make good proof prints from each experiment; make your notations on the back and file them in your proof file for future guidance.