6 MAY 1938, Page 50


AVOIDING MISTAKES 137 W. R. AVLING - IN my previous articles on photography, _I think I have shown that most mistakes made by the arnateur can be pre- vented by a little experience and thought. Most faulty expos- ures can be traced back by the photographer himself to a definite cause, and it is worth while to hold a miniature court of inquiry on such faulty films, because the " findings " will be remembered and the mistake avoided in' future.

Before taking any picture, spare the- time to-check these points : exposure (shutter setting), aperture (sizt of opening to the lens), focus (indicated by a .scalein feet or yards), number of film (have you wound on the film ? This aPPlies only td-Cameras which need separate winding). If-these points are Carefully checked before each exposure is macre, and the camera is held steadily during the actual period of-exposure, a good picture must result, at least as far as the technique of photography is concerned. Pictorially it may be good, bad or indifferent, but for quality of negative it should be right.

I am frequently asked by friends why it is necessary to buy a camera having so many features which require separate adjustment, when the simple box camera will give a clear picture with the minimum of effort and thought on the part of the user. In order to multiply four by four, you do not need a slide-rule, yet almost everybody - recognises that the slide-rule is a most- useful and time-saving calculating machine. The answer is much the same in photography. The simple box camera cannot be equalled if you are content to photograph only under-ideal conditions-of lig-ht,-at a predetermined distance from the .Object, and with all the limitations which the simplest type of apparatus imposes.- For pictures ion dull days and for the near portrayal of flowers and other objects a more compli- cated camera is essential. With the . modem small cantera alinost every type of photography can be undertaken, Ind with care and practice some very beautiful results_ may be Assuming that the technical requirements of photography have been met and mastered, there remains the artistic side which allows the photographer free play for the imagination. Many of the famous exhibitors visit a spot repeatedly, in--order to note the effect of light and shade onhuildings, trees- oi-other objects which will go to make the picture. Composition is most difficult to,:those who have no inherent tehie -of picture- building. Architects and artists have this sense-of composition deeply ingrained in their being, otherwise they would not be so engaged, but to me and to many others this is 'the hardest part of photography. Those Who are so placed must endeavour to supply the deficiency by careful thought. Care in selecting the background, careful grouping of the main objects, and a

study of light and shade are 'needed. - A piece of blue celluloid _ , .

or glass, through which the picture is -viewed, will reduce all colours to a monochrome, very dull in gederal aprpearance and providing a better indication of-the actual result than does the scene with its 'bright colours. A device such as this =Serves to eliminate false impressions of what the photograph will show- Photography might be termed "drawing with light," and one must become accustomed to the absence of colour (except, of course, in colour-photography). It is always safe to compose on the basis of a triangle, circle, square or other geometrical figure. Even an arc might be followed as the theme-line for a figure. study. In grouping figures or objects, care must be exercised that there is one dominating figure- and not a multi- tude of objects fighting for the prime position.

One main object, with others suitably placed but,subservient to, the first, often forms a good picture. The paintings of the old masters offer us fine instructions in composition, if we-care to study them. The best time to build the picture is when the. exposure is made, and no amount of after work will corn- Pensate Tor' faulty composition. The natural camouflage O.; animals often accbunts for the disappointing results experienced when photographs of one's pets are made and, to a somewhat lesser degree; all 'Thr_e_ground objects may tend to merge into the background,- especially if the lens is used at a small aperture (fin or thereabouts). The use of the blue-coloured glass

viewer will help -in this -direction. -

Next month I propose to discuss light-filters,. their effects and where 1110 .shbuld used.: -