Taking The Picture

Bear in mind all the advice given earlier about planning the picture. With the box type camera, no further adjustments are necessary. Move the camera forward or backward or up or down until you see in the viewfinder exactly what you want to see in the picture. Press the lever which takes the picture.

If the camera is of the folding type, there are other adjustments which must be made. Since the picture is made by means of light, most of the devices put on the front of the camera are simply means of controlling the light. A box camera which has none of these devices will work anyway, since the film allows a wide variation in light. The final picture will, however, be better, if control is exercised over the light which enters the camera. This admitting of light to the film is called exposure.

There are two ways of controlling the exposure. First, you may let more or less light in; second, you may let the light in for a shorter or longer time.

(1) ;The first control is achieved by means of a diaphragm or opening of variable diameter. It is variously called f/ stop, lens aperture, or just opening. There are many systems for numbering the different openings, but they all have one thing in common. The smallest opening has the largest number. If your camera has openings varying from f/6.3 to f/22, the f/22 opening is the smallest, that is, it lets in the least light. The f/ is not actually engraved on the camera. Another system uses numbers from 1 to 4, in which case 4 is the smallest opening. Roll film has an exposure guide included in the package. This guide suggests the opening to be used under varying light conditions.

(2) ;The second control is achieved by means of the shutter, which allows the light to enter for a predetermined length of time. These times usually vary from 1/25 second to 1/100 second. In bright light, use the shortest time, 1/100 second. Exposures within the 1/25- to 1/100-second range are called instantaneous. Time exposures may be used when the light is very dim. The light is then allowed to enter the camera for 1 or more seconds, depending on the amount of light and the type of film. During a time exposure the camera must be propped up on a chair, or put on a tripod.

With film of the Super-XX, Superpan Supreme, or fastest type, less light is necessary. If this film is used during very bright daylight, it will probably be necessary to use the smallest opening (such as f/22) and the shortest time (1/100 second). Light subjects and certain areas, such as a beach or snow scene, reflect more light. Consequently, when taking pictures at the beach or in the snow, use a smaller opening or less time than usual.

After taking the first picture wind the film until the number 2 appears in the window. It may be necessary to reset the exposure controls if the light changes or if the subject moves into the shade. Continue through the roll until the last picture is taken. It is wise to form the habit of winding the film on to the next number immediately after taking the picture, thus avoiding double exposures.


After the last picture has been taken wind all the remaining film onto the spool. (This is not actually film, but simply a paper covering which protects the film from light when the camera is open). Take off or open the back of the camera and remove the exposed roll of film. Moisten the sticker and seal the roll immediately so that there is no danger of it unrolling. Gose the camera after reloading, if more pictures are to be taken.


The essential materials for taking pictures are only the film and a camera. Many extra gadgets help, but none are necessary. Among the most useful ones are an exposure meter, a tripod, and light filters.

Exposure Meters

An exposure meter provides a means of measuring the amount of light or the brightness of an object. There are many types of meters, varying from the simple extinction type to the more complex photoelectric cell type. The extinction meter has a series of translucent numbers or spots of varying thickness. When held up to the light the last visible number or spot indicates the relative brightness. The photoelectric type of meter makes use of the fact that electric current is generated when light strikes a photoelectric cell. This current is used to move a pointer. When a bright light strikes the cell, the pointer moves far along the scale. When the pointer comes to rest, it indicates the numerical value of light, which is then used to calculate the size of the lens opening and the time of the exposure. The photoelectric type meter is much more expensive, but is a valuable asset, since it leaves nothing to guesswork.


A tripod provides a steady base for the making of time exposures and allows the photographer to take his time about framing or composing the picture in the viewfinder. For most photography the very light, collapsible tripod will be completely satisfactory.


Light filters are used over the lens of the camera when special effects are desired. A pale yellow filter will be most generally useful. It emphasizes clouds by darkening the blue sky, but it has no visible effect on skin coloring or objects in the main portion of the picture. All filters cut out some light, so it is necessary to compensate by using a larger opening or leaving the shutter open for a longer time. A guide in how much of a change should be made is given in a system of filter factors. If the factor for a particular filter is 2, it will be necessary to double the amount of light. This may be done by opening the lens to the next larger opening (smaller number) or by doubling the length of time, that is, changing from l/50th to l/25th second. There are various shades of yellow, red, and green filters. They have different use, and are for very specialized work. They should not be used until technique is completely mastered.