HLDPhotography LLC is at WWW.HLDPhotos.com
Project 365 is at WWW.HLDPhotosProj365.blogspot.com

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bentonville Battle Field - Part 1 of 4 - The Camera

I spotted a post online in FB about a photographer with an old Civil War style camera ( the camera is newer but the lens is old - over 150 years old) that would be at Bentonville Battlefield NC (south of Smithfield) and I though it would be interesting to go see. My wife is a history person and she said she would love to go also so we made it a date! So off we went.

First, the camera and then the Battlefield.

The photographer is Chris Morgan and his website is www.thesilverbath.com . I suppose the name comes from the silver solution he has to use in processing the images.  Here is an image of the camera

I wish I had captured more images of the camera but I was so taken with listening to him explain and also I didn't want to interfere with his work. The wood and bellows are reproductions but the lens is authentic old. The small knob on the bottom of the lens is a fine tune for focus whereas the large focus is achieved by sliding the back of the camera on the slide rails. The slot in the top of the lens is how the aperture is set by placing the appropriate insert into the slot.

There is no shutter button!! He begins his day by taking a sample shot to get the lighting conditions. By experience he knows how the changing of the daylight and the aging of the processing chemicals will affect the image and thus changes he needs to make during the shoot.

Next, he composes the image to be photographed. (This is where he covers his head with the cloth you see in so many pictures). He is looking at the image on a sheet of glass he has marked off for various sizes of print. Interestingly, the image he sees is not only upside down but reversed left to right, thus if the person in the image raises their left hand, the upside down image raises their hand on the right side of the image.

Once the image is ready to capture, he picks up the lightproof case with the film (for one shot only) and places in in the back of the camera. He then removes the case holding the film leaving the film inside the camera ready to be exposed.

Now where is that shutter release button? There is none! There is a cap over the front of the lens that he removes and counts for the appropriate exposure. In a digital age of 1/3000 of a second exposure, this is done manually by hand. Experience is the key and judging by the images he has done he definitely knows what he is doing.

After the image is exposed. He develops in in a chemical bath on site (at least that day).  Working with those chemicals does leave its mark.

He explained how the tin actually dries lighter but when he puts the sealer on the image to keep it from being damaged in handling, it gets darker.

You can see here how the image is lighter on the bottom left and darker on the upper right.

I really came to have a respect for his work that many may fail to appreciate in computerized photography with Photoshop and Lightroom to manipulate images. He can do some adjustment with the chemicals but even then as the chemicals age during the day and are used several times, a compensation must be made.

By the way, these images are on tin, not paper.

And yes I could kick my self for not taking more images but if you get around him, you will probably be too enthralled with it all to take pictures either.

Now for the next post about the Battlefield ( and that homemade peach ice cream we found on the way back).

No comments:

Post a Comment

My Blog List