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Snapshots

result, exposure, developer and detail

SNAPSHOTS A common term designating so-called " instan taneous " exposures made with a camera held in the hand. Unfortunately, it suggests a random and unconsidered operation into which a large element of chance enters ; whereas the mere fact that the actual exposure given was a short one does not imply that no thought, study, or observation was devoted to the subject. More over, the possibility of taking " snapshots " has afforded the keen-eyed photographer number less opportunities of recording transient effects and arrangements which would otherwise have been missed. It is to be hoped that the word " snapshot " will either be replaced by a more appropriate one, or will speedily live down the un fortunate significance it acquired in early days.

Absurd as it may seem, the notion is by no means obsolete that because a shutter will work at a certain high speed it will give a satisfactory result at that speed in all circumstances. This is a serious mistake, but a not uncommon one. In any given case there is a certain requisite exposure that can only be widely departed from to the detriment of the result. In the early days of so-called snapshot work the commonest fault was under-exposure. Since that time, however, there has been a tremendous increase in the sensitiveness of plates ; lenses have been made with larger working apertures ; and shutters have been improved in design and efficiency ; and yet there are still occasions when the " snap shot " is necessarily under-exposed—either the lighting demanded a longer exposure than could be safely given in the hand, or an unduly short exposure had to be given on account of rapid movement in the subject. It is only in such

cases that the development of snapshots differs from the normal. Harshness in the result is what has to be guarded against. The use in such circumstances of, say, a strong hydroquinone developer would probably result in dense, dogged high lights and shadow masses void of detail. Potassium bromide or other restrainer should be avoided, the developer should be well diluted, and plenty of time given to the developing ac tion. While, of course, no possible alteration of developer can compensate for absence of effec tive light action, all the developable detail in the shadows should be secured. This may result in too great density in the high lights, but this may be modified afterwards with practically no detriment to the softer shadow detail, by the use of such a selective reducer as ammonium per sulphate, or by mechanical reduction with Baskett's reducer or methylated spirit. The printing paper chosen should have been specially made to give softness of gradation from negatives of undue harshness. (See also " Focal Plane Shutter," " Hand Camera, Work with," and " Instantaneous Photography.")