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First Exposures

plates, plate, plate-holders, time, light, film, book, column, box and holders

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"Now, before we go into the dark-room, we will just look over the things and see what plates and plate-holders we have with us. So you have three boxes of plates with you, two boxes of 5x8 and one box 4x5; and I notice they are all very quick plates, that is, plates which require a very short exposure. I do not think it would be well for you to use these quick plates at first, because it is so much more difficult to judge with any accuracy the time that would be required for the exposure. If you use slow plates and strike the time within one or two seconds, your picture will probably be a success as far as the exposure is concerned. But if you use a very quick plate and expose it for one or two seconds too long, or too short a time, the result may be disastrous. So for this first effort your holders had better be filled with some slow plates, which I will give you." " Now, first, let us look at the plate-holders. We pull out a slide and notice that the two sides are of different colors, one being light and the other dark. One object of this is to show which side of the plate-holder has the plate which has been exposed. When we fill the holders we always put the slides in with the light side out, which will show us that that side of the holder contains a plate to be exposed. Afterwards, when we come to make the exposure, and for that purpose withdraw the slide, we reverse the slide on returning it, so that the dark side will be on the outside; and whenever we see one of the holders with the dark side of the slide out, we shall Maderstand that it contains either a plate that has been exposed, or no plate at all. These plate-holders are new and have never been used, and, there fore, we do not hesitate to open them here in the light; but after you have used them a while it will be safer never to open them outside of the dark-room." "Now you notice this box of plates. When we get into the dark-room we will take a knife and cut this paper all around which binds the cover to the box. Before doing this, however, we will look once more at our plate-holders and see if they are free from dust, which is one of the enemies the photographer always has to contend with. A little dust in the plate-holder might settle on the plate and trouble us hereafter, so we will remove the slides, and with a soft brush dust out the inside of the holders as caref ully as we can." " Now let us take the holders and our boxes of plates and go into the dark-room; we shut the door carefully behind us so as to exclude every portion of lizht from without. If you will examine you will see that the light is entirely kept out, not a ray c,oming into the room from under or around the door or from any other part of the room. The exclusion of all white light is a very important matter, as we shall see hereafter. We light the gas in our dark-lantern and turn it down rather low, so that we are just able to read the printing on the boxes of plates, which we place under the lantern where the developing is usually done. We novv proceed to open a box of plates which, for our experi ments to-day, are the slow landscape plates made by Mr. Carbutt, sensitometer 16. We remove the cover and find the plates in the box are contained in two packages. As we only wish to use four plates of this size, 5x8, we open the upper package which contains six plates. The upper plate is placed film side down; we can see the difference in the two sides plainly when we hold the plate under the dark-lantern, the film side having a dull, waxy appear ance, while the other side reflects the light like clear glass. If there is any doubt about the matter as to which is the film side, we can always tell by scratching in one of the corners with a pen knife. Before we place this plate in the holder we carefully brush it with our soft camel's-hair brush, to remove any particles of dust which may have settled on the plate. This is very

important; remember always to do it. Then we place it in the plate-holder with the film side out, the side which is to receive the picture. This plate, when we took it from the package, was film side down, and we notice that the next plate is film side up, so we see that the two upper plates were packed with their film surfaces facing each other, separated by narrow strips of card board. This is the way that all plates are packed, each pair of plates having their sensitive surfaces together. Knowing this, when later on you may find it necessary to fill any number of plate-holders at one time, you will find that you can get along just as well in perfect darkness as to use your dark-lantern, because you will know when you take a plate from the box which is the fihn side. We now put the other plates in the plate-holders, including two 4x5 slow plates, for the small camera." " Before starting out it will be well to scratch a figure or a letter on each side of the plate-holders, so that we can describe or number the holder when we enter it in our record book. This record book is indispensable, and no one should.think of taking a photograph without a book of the kind, which we will now describe: " The most convenient size is a blank book as large as can con veniently be carried in the pocket—say a book about three inches wide and six inches long. We first make a narrow column on the left, and write down in this the Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc., to the bottom of the page. These numbers will be the numbers of our negatives, and the corresponding numbers will be pasted on the corner of the negative after development. A second narrow column will, contain the numbers or the letters of the plate holders, as A, B, C, D, etc. The third column which should be wider than the last, will contain sizes of the plates and the kind of plates used, as for instance, in this case, 5x8 Carbutt B. The next narrow column will be to record the time given for the exposure—the number of seconds. The next column will give the size of the stop or diaphragm used in the lens; the next, the time of day and the condition of the atmosphere, whether bright or cloudy. Then a broad column on the right-hand page will give space to write down the subject, and after that the date on which the exposure was made. This will give a complete record of all the exposures made, and will be a book of very great value. We will make . these entries in our book now." " Now, as we do not propose to go very far this time, you had better put your cameras together, that is to say, set them up here and leave behind the cases they came in. In setting them up be very careful when you fasten the camera to the tripod to see that it is screwed tight, so that there is no possibility of its coming loose while carrying it. The three plate-holders which you have I shall be glad to carry in this bag, as it is the only thing I take with me. So let us start along and have a short ramble along the river road, where we will probably find something worthy of our cameras." 'Willie, who has the best camera, is impatient to make his first trial, and hurries on ahead. Turning a bend in the road after a few minutes' walk, we come upon him with his camera planted in the road in front of the little country church, with its pretty steeple. He is endeavoring to get the focus, but it does not work to suit him. He had his eyes too close to the ground glass, and was trying to look through it at the view. Then, when he moved his head back and found that the picture showed on the glass, he was bothered because everything showed upside down. This is a little perplexing at first, but we soon get accus tomed to it. We criticize first the manner in which he has set his tripod. One of the legs was pointed directly backward. We arrange this so that One of the legs is directly in front, while the other two are placed one on each side.

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