ON TAKING PICTURES
643 Bellefonte Avenue Lock Haven, Pa.
Here is a good and practical article on taking pictures. It may
seem a little severe on first reading but as you study the pictures
you find mostly truth in what the man says. The article is like a
sermon-Not what we want to hear but what we ought to learn.
I am not a professional photographer and no expert at taking
pictures. I have read considerable on the subject and have secured
a few good pictures myself; therefore, I am willing to give to the
clan any experience that I may have in order that they may secure
You can get good pictures with a $2.00 camera and poor pictures
with a $200.00 camera. The securing of good pictures depends more
on following a few simple rules rather than on the cost of the ma
chine. The first thing I would do before taking pictures would be
to read and understand the instruction book and al so how to apply
those instructions to my camera. Sometime ago I bought a new camera
and in reading over the instruction book I found that there were a
great many words I did not understand. I went to the dealer who
explained them to me and on rereading the book the second time I
found it much easier to understand. Your camera dealer is willing
and anxious to help explain the workings of your camera to you.
Rather than set up some rules to follow let us take the
July-August, 1951 edition of THE IRON MEN ALBUM and look at some of
the pictures in it.
I think the picture on the cover page is an exceptionally good
one. It shows a man at the controls of an engine and that is all it
is supposed to show. Many times we include too much in a picture
just to show one small part. How much better this picture is than
if it had been taken at 40 feet! You will also notice that there is
no distracting influence in the background.
The picture of the 110 Case at the bottom of page three is a
good picture though it may have been better if the photographer had
been just a little closer. The picture is well centered and the
background is such that the main object stands out in clear cut
The Northwest Thresher on page 4 is poor on several counts.
First, the photographer was too close. Second, if the two men had
been in the center of the picture it would have been better. Third,
what is that stuff growing out of the top of the thresher? In other
words, the background is poor. The same thing is true of the
Minneapolis on page 7. Here the background is terrible. The engine
blends in with the background and there are very few clear cut
lines. I looked at this picture a long time before I discovered the
water tank in front. This engine is under steam and it would have
taken only a few minutes to move for a good photograph.
The picture of the 20th Century on page 10 is very good. I think
I would have alerted the engineer and had him in better
I like the series of pictures on page 8. They show progress and
tell a story. The composition in each case is good.
My 21-75 Baker No. 15744 preparing to pull my 20-75 Nichols and
Shepard out of a tough spot. The front axle, as you can see, is
almost to ground. My father, Rex Johnson, is putting boards in
front of the drive wheels and my uncle, Johr Freers, is helping.
The Baker wouldn’t budge the load hooked direct, so the fly
wheel hitch. Robert L. Johnson.
The pictures on page 9 also tell a story, but. I believe, they
tried to include too much in the second picture. Why show the
Now, the picture on page 11. Apologies to J. C. Cobb. The
picture of the Stanley Steamer is not centered. The main subject in
the picture is the car; therefore, it should have been in the
center of the picture. The man standing in front of the car covers
too much of it. I know it is very difficult to keep spectators out
of the picture on occasions of this kind-I took several pictures at
this reunion-but if they will not move I politely ask them to move
over until I get a picture. The picture at the bottom of the page
has too many rear ends exposed! There just doesn’t seem to be a
central theme in it. There is too much in the picture and nothing
outstanding. The worst picture I took at the reunion was a picture
of the old Springfield that was running this separator.
The picture of William Campbell’s engine on page 12 is well
composed al though, I believe, a very old picture. My criticism is
Harold standing on the gears. You don’t run engines with boys
in that position. In the picture of Mr. Campbell’s saw mill on
page 13, the center of interest is in a little spot in the upper
left hand corner of the picture. Here the photographer did not
study the best angle from which to take his picture. Many times I
will spend several minutes looking at the object from different
angles to get the best position. Then if I cannot get a good
picture, I do not take it.
Now, you look at the pictures on the top of page 14 and the
bottom of page 15. What is wrong with these pictures, and how would
you improve them?
I hope that you have followed my discussion through with a copy
of the July-August edition of IRON MEN and from it you are able to
get better photographs.
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