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.
Bulb. To press the bulb properly is quite important in flashlight work. Squeeze it hard and let go quickly. Handle the bulb as if making the quickest possible instantaneous exposure. It is important that the shutter be released instantly, for if this is not done you will get a second exposure by daylight (if making flashlights under the skylight), but if the bulb is properly handled you need not be very particular that your subject is absolutely quiet at the time of exposure; talk to him, and make a quick exposure whenever you see what you want, for unless he is moving rapidly at the time the result will show no movement. It is useless to ask or expect the sitter to hold any position.
Duration Of Exposure. This is dependent upon the quality of the powder used, which for most classes of flashlight work should be the speediest obtainable. The powder should always be spread out over as large an area as possible, so that combustion may take place instantly upon pressing the bulb. If the powder is piled up in a heap the length of exposure will be longer, owing to the fact that the exterior portion of the powder is ignited, which forces a ball of the powder up into the air, where it burns for a short period of time, instead of being immediately ignited. In making a large head or a small group it is rarely necessary to use more than one-quarter ounce of powder.
Diffusing Screen And Harsh Contrasts. One of the most common defects in flashlight work is harsh contrasts, a fault which will always exist unless diffusing screens of some kind are used. The diffusing screen does not materially increase the amount of powder required for portrait work. The screen simply diffuses and spreads the light over a slightly larger area, removing harsh contrasts.
Position Of Reflector. The reflector should be placed so as to soften the edge of the flashlight. Its location with reference to the subject is practically the same as when using daylight, and care must be taken that the reflected light is not thrown too far back on the shadow side of the face, for this would cause the ear on the shadow side to be too strongly illuminated, resulting in a flat effect.
Groups. For small groups the arrangement suggested for portrait work will apply, but when photographing large groups a special treatment is sometimes required. In fact, where extraordinarily large groups are being photographed it is advisable to employ two lamps, one lamp being placed very close to the camera, while on the opposite side of the camera, but farther from it, should be located the lamp containing the bulk of powder. This latter lamp is to give the direction of the light, while the lamp nearer the camera is simply employed for illuminating the shadows, and, therefore, will require but about one-third or one-fourth the amount of powder placed on the other machine.
602. The first and third groups in Illustration No 85 were made with one Nichols' flashlamp located 8 feet from the floor and 2 feet to the right of the camera. One-half ounce of Nichols' Portrait Flash Powder was required. The middle picture was made in exactly the same manner as the two larger groups, with the exception that only one-fourth ounce of Nichols' Flash Powder was used. In making all three of these pictures a Goerz Double Anastigmat Lens, Series 3, No. 6, stopped to U. S. 8, was used.
603. Detailed instruction on flashlight photography is given in Volume VI, and those desiring to employ it for various commercial purposes should carefully study the instruction given therein. For commercial smokeless flashlight photography see Volume IX.
"THE ANGEL OF THE DARKER DRINK" Study No. 26-See Page 580 Katherine Bingham.
Illustration No. 86 Towles Smokeless Automatic Flash Machine.
See Paragraph No. 605..