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.
Lightning Flashes. The greatest difficulty in securing practically perfect negatives of a lightning flash will be found in pointing the camera in the proper direction to have the flash appear in correct position on the plate, and not too far to one side or the other of the picture space. You will find that, as a general rule, forked lightning flashes occur a number of times in practically the same position in the heavens, and if you will watch one or two of these flashes before uncapping the lens, you will have gained approximate knowledge of the proper position in which to point the lens. Do not try to photograph sheet or heat lightning, as you will only be wasting your plates.
Unsuccessful In Securing Window Displays. At times it is impossible to successfully photograph a store front or store window by daylight, because reflections in the windows of objects on the opposite side of the street will practically obliterate goods displayed in the window. Making photographs of window displays, by flashlight, is an improvement over daylight, but the greatest success is attained when photographing a window illuminated with its own source of light. Care should be taken that the lamps are shielded. All modern stores have their windows surrounded by electric lights concealed from view, at the same time concentrating the rays of light on the goods displayed. If a night photograph is made under these conditions, your resulting picture will be practically perfect, if you expose long enough to give sufficient detail in the shadows. Many times there is no partition between the display window and the store itself, and when this is the case be sure that all of the lights in the store proper are turned out. They would produce ghostlike effects if allowed to remain burning, as they would be out of focus and thus entirely ruin the desired effects of the window display.
Difficulty In Photographing Tall Buildings. The greatest difficulty experienced in trying to photograph an illuminated building in crowded streets is the securing of a proper position from which to make the exposure. If the building is quite tall and the street is not sufficiently wide so that you may get back far enough to include all of the building on the plate, it will be advisable to get above the level of the street. Especially is this true in large cities.
If possible, go to the first or second story of some building opposite the one you want to photograph. The height to which you ascend will depend upon the height of the buildings which are to be included in your photograph. In photographing a six story building you should ascend to the second story on the opposite side of the street. It may be necessary for you to use a wide angle lens, in order to secure all of the building and some of the street foreground on the plate. This will depend entirely upon the distance between the camera and your subject.
Making Exposures While Objects Are Continually Moving Within The View. Many believe it to be an absolute impossibility to make time exposures when objects are moving within the space, during the exposure; but where exposures exceed ten minutes, and if the moving objects are not dressed in white or light flashy colors, no harm will be done so long as the figures keep in constant motion. If any light colored object remains in the angle of view for any length of time, you should shield the lens until the object has moved; then continue the exposure. Of course, in figuring up the total amount of exposure you must make allowance for the time the lens was covered. As we previously mentioned in Paragraph 522, you must cover the lens whenever strong lights, such as automobile lamps, bicycle lamps etc., come within range.
Difficulty In Securing Moonlight Effects. Typical moonlight effects cannot be secured by including in the angle of view the moon itself, when making exposures of any great duration. As stated in the preceding chapter, an elliptically-shaped mark across the sky will be the only result. It is possible, however, to make a quick exposure of the moon and then wait until the moon has moved out of the angle of view before proceeding to give the exposure for the required detail. In making moonlight effects on the water it is by all means advisable to have the moon behind a cloud. The majority of water moonlight effects are made by using the sun as the illuminant instead of the moon, the sun being under a cloud either at sunrise or sunset. A very quick exposure is made, thus catching the beautiful reflections in the water.
Difficulty In Development. The greatest of all difficulties make themselves apparent when you proceed to develop the exposed plates. If proper exposure has been given; if you are employing a sufficiently weak or diluted developer, and if you possess a sufficient amount of patience, you will be rewarded in the end by excellent negatives. Be sure to always make a test print from each negative, as frequently a negative which appears of little or no value will, when printed, show far greater qualities than anticipated.