Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Twice Told Tuesday - Firelight Pictures

Twice Told Tuesday features a photography related article reprinted from
my collection of old photography books, magazines, and newspapers.

If you read Shades first Q&E Column "A Flash In The Pan" about flashlight photography, then you may want to limit the taking of flashlight pictures to the great outdoors. I think I'd rather be any place other than in my living room when the explosion goes off. That wide-eyed stare can't make for a pleasing portrait.

Firelight Pictures
By Cobb X. Shinn
With Illustrations by the Author

When most people think of flashlight pictures, they think of them being made in a room only, but you will find that you can get many pleasing effects out in the yard. Instead of holding the flash up above your head, as is customary in a room, place it down on the ground at one side, being sure to get it behind the lens of your camera. You will find that this will give the effect of a camp fire picture.

Home Sweet Home

To make it more realistic, you can tint the print. One of the best methods of tinting a picture to get a camp fire effect, is to buy a package of dye at the corner drug store — just common dye that is used for dyeing cotton or woolen goods — getting the most brilliant scarlet they have and make a weak solution and dip your prints into it, leaving them a minute or two, then remove them and lay them out to dry. A few of these kind of prints will add a bit of dash and color to your Kodak book."

Another way of getting a good firelight effect, if you happen to have fireplace in your home, is to place a flashlight powder down on the hearth, but you will find it a little more difficult than making the outside firelight picture as explained above. You will have to place a chair or a large sette between the camera and the flash-light powder because if you don't you will find that the light will be too strong and cause flare spots or halation. The above prints are good examples of how you can make firelight pictures with a flashlight, and also how a large sette was used between the flash and the camera to get the effect.

The way described is not the only method, the following is also recommended: Some readers may prefer flash sheets because they are less startling than the flash cartridge, effects may be secured by this means, equally good.

Photo: It's A Picnic!


Article and Photographs:

Shinn, Cobb X. "Firelight Pictures." Camera Craft By Photographers' Association of California. 1921. pg. 227-229.


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