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Snow and Hoar Frost Photo Graphy

soap, foreground, detail, shadows, ccs, water and sky

SNOW AND HOAR FROST PHOTO GRAPHY The characteristic of average snow views is the unusual degree of light contrast. Freshly fallen snow in direct sunlight causes the whitest of paper to appear grey by comparison. Thus, in a snow scene the tree-trunks, buildings, etc., appear much darker than usual, and should the photographer be led to under-expose he will get an inky blackness in the shadows and an intense whiteness in the snow. A broad expanse of freshly fallen and unbroken snow can rarely, if ever, be effectively photographed. The sparkling snow cannot be properly interpreted by white paper. In composing a snow view, spottiness and patchiness must be guarded against and special attention paid to the foreground. Plain freshly fallen snow rarely makes an interesting foreground, but tree stumps, gates, farm imple ments, etc., under a mantle of snow are often of great pictorial value, and cart-wheel ruts and lines of footprints will be found to serve admir ably in breaking up a foreground ; it is an old dodge to select the view-point and then to make a line of footprints to suit the composition of the desired picture. Of the greatest importance is the lighting. While a flat, dull sky with no sun may suit some subjects, more effective results are obtained in sunlight, and more particularly when the sun is near the horizon ; it will be obvious, then, that the best-lighted effects are obtained in the early morning and in the after noon. The low lighting breaks up broad ex panses of level and white snow, and causes foot prints, ruts, etc., in the foreground to stand out more prominently.

Either ordinary or isochromatic plates may be used, and they must be well backed, because of the risk of halation. Isochromatic plates used with a yellow screen may sometimes be of advan tage, because of the frequent yellowness of winter light, and because a blue sky may be interpreted dark, so bringing out any hoar frost or snow effects on trees standing against the sky. Many of the snow-scene photographs taken in the Alps have black skies, owing to the use of a deep yellow ("many times ") screen. The ex posures are not much shorter than for ordinary views, because generally there are deep shadows in the scene, and under-exposure would cause these to be almost clear glass in the negative, and any attempt to force development for the purpose of bringing out detail would ruin the soft effect. An under-exposed negative of a

snow-scene is practically useless, and it is better to expose fully and to get all detail possible in the shadows. Details are more important than density. The latter can be added to a negative, but details cannot. An exposure meter of the Watkins type may be used with success ; it is held 12 or i s in. from the body and turned towards the sky, but not in such a way that direct sunlight falls upon it. For an open scene the exposure so estimated may be divided by three or four ; but when there are many trees or other deep shadows the exposure may be increased up to the full time given by the meter.

With careless development the delicate grada tion and detail in the snow is likely to be blocked up and rendered unprintable. Mrs. Aubrey Le Blond, who has had a long experience in snow and ice photography, uses a metol-hydroquinone developer. She pours it into two half-pint bottles, one labelled " Old " and the other " New." The former is used over and over again for developing, and as it becomes used up it is kept full by adding from the new solution. The method is economical and gives excellent results. Sir W. Abney recommends beginning with— Ammonia . . . 3o mins. 6 ccs.

Potass. or amm. bromide. so grs. 12 g.

Pyro . • • • Water . . . . to oz. i,000 ccs.

Allow this to act until all detail is out, and finish with— Ammonia . . . 3o mins. 6 ccs.

Bromide . . . 8o grs. r9 g.

Pyro . . • • 9'5 I 7 Water . . . . Io oz. 1,000 ccs SOAP (Pr., Savon; Ger., Seife) Soap is used as a lubricant when burnishing prints. Hofbauer has stated that the addition of Castile soap to a pyro developer prevents fog in cases where excessive alkali is used. A solu tion of roo grs. of the soap in ro oz. of water is used instead of plain water when making up the developer.

A good soap should always be used for wash ing the hands after working with such chemicals as amidol, metol, potassium bichromate, etc.