Thomas Cradock Hepworth Sir William Crookes.

The Photographic news for amateur photographers ..., Volume 1 online

. (page 29 of 99)
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their smsdl scale ana our hazy atmosphere, when seen at a
distance of " ten miles," and have been so represented in art ;
and were the stereoscopist to endeavour to form a relief in
the representation of them which is not apparent in nature,
he would be amenable to criticism. But the case is widely
different when we treat the Titanic masses of the Alps or
Pyrenees, where the purity of the atmosphere, and the
colossal scale of the subject, enable us to discern perfectly,
at twenty miles, the bare granite peaks standing in distinct
relief, their every form made out, their shadows cutting
firmly on the piu« snow — sippearing so perfectly modelled,
that the traveller is incredulous when told that a day's
journey intervenes between them and him. These are
** mountains ;" and when I wrote I was thinking of the
appearanceb of the Jungfrau, the Oerteler Spitze, the Mala-
detta, &c., not of the ** green sward" of the Westmoreland
hilk, and their atmospheric effects.

I maintain that if the cameras for such subjects were to
be placed " at the distance apart of the human eyes," the
operator had better entirely roare himself the trouble of
taking two pictures at all, for the mere spot which the point
of view would be, in such case, relatively to the distance from
the objects depicted^ might be equally as weU ^presented by
duplicates from the same negative. Nay more, to carry the
illustration of the principle to a farther extreme, may I ask
— if a stereoscopic representation of the sun were desired,
which we equally see with the human eyes, distance 2^
inches, or of our satellite — ^would it be feasible that it should
be made at that angle?— and what stereoscopic effect would
the 2( inches produce on the 95,173,000 miles, the distance
of the former luminary from us? In such a case I should
carry out the same principle I have advocated ; but I fear
my " sliding scale " would be £sur from palatable to those who
could not digest my former moderate angle. I maintain that,
if you attempt to give any stereoscopic representation of the
sun, THREE THOUSAND MILES, or more, between the cameras

would not be too much for a disCance of 95,173,000 miles;
and say that one operator was at Paris, the oth^ at Con-
stantinople, with twin instruments, and accurately adjusted
chronometers, and that, by these means, pictures were taken
at the same instant, we might hope to secure really stereo-
scopic representations, which would, probably, solve ques-
tions of the highest scientific import ; amongst others, die
nature of the solar spots would be likely to be determined.

It is true that an image of the entire orb of the sun with
stereoscopic effect will, probably, never be obtained under
any conditions, since the very nature of self -illumined rotund
bodies in an intense state of incandescence is to appear, to
our organs, flat. Take a round bar of iron, heated to a
white heat, into a dark apartment ; ike eSect it will produce
on a spectator is, of a flat sur&ce, a quality which will,
therefore apply, in a multiplied ratio, to the intense solar
light, against which even the oxyhydrogen lime light appears
black. This is not the case with the moon ; illumined as
she is by the light of the sun, with shadows projected from
the inequalities of her surface, we may fairly hope that,
sufficient angle being ^ven, we may obtain a rotund effect,
which will delineate, in a remarkable manner, her structure.

In my opinion the " model-like effect " complained of in
many stereographs is due to the crudity of the negatives,
and consequent want of atmosphere, scale, and distance,
and, in architectural subjects, to the total absence of figures :
to cite examples — the bridge of Prague is one of the most
picturesque subjects in Europe ; in the stereoscope it cer-
tainly has a Dutch toy-like effect ; the buildings rise square,
harsh, and abruptly from the ground, without groups of
figures and vehicles to serve as a base, and mark Seir scale.
And, as atmosphere, let any one compare Heidelberg and
the valley of the Neckar, by Ferrio*, with his last improve-
ments, its atmospheric distances, the shadowed sides of the
buildings reflected into and delicately drawn, with Zion in
the Yalais, an earlier work by the same hand, in which the
*' model-like effect " is entirely caused by the heavy black
shadows, and want of atmosphere. This comparison will at
once show how important are the results of sufficient exposure
and well covered plated, particularly on glass pictures ; and
that it is erroneous to attribute always to defective angle
what may voy probably belong to the imperfect rendering
of atmospheric perspective. Apologising for occupying so
much of your space, I am, sir, your obedient servant,

London, October 2^ih, 1858. LAkE Price.



My Deab Sir,— I have at last received the first numb^
of the *^ Photoqraphic News,'* and am not a little
rejoiced to find that it contains the first letter I wrote to you ;
and I look forward with some little eagerness for the number
which may contain my second letter — I presume about No.
3 or 4. As a photographer I am, for several reasons, ex-
tremely glad to see a weekly paper devoted to photography.
In the first place, by saving one an opportunity of burning
acquainted with all discoveries of any importance made on
the continent as well as at home, it will save one the possible
annoyance of spending hours, or even days, in making
experiments which had been previously made: it will induce
some thousands (it is to be hoped) of photographers to study
the chemistry of the art, and thus greatly increase the
possibility of new discoveries being made in it. The
answers to correspondents will remove stumbling-bloclm
from their paths ; and, what is to me personally — and doubt-
less to all other old photographers — a matter of no small
importance, is the reflection that I need not in future compel
myself to read foreign photographic publications, seeing that
the " News " will keep me an couraut as to what is stirring
on the continent

I have not yet been up to the tents, as I informed you
was my intention in my last letter, for a reason I am

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Nov. *, X868.]



aboat to e^rolain. Shortly after I had returned from the
Post-office I received a visit from Sheikh Hamed, who pro-
posed that, instead of going at once to his douar, I diould
accompany himself and brother in an expedition against a
mountain tribe that had recently made several attacu on the
Arabs living imder French protection. His brother was an
officer of the Spahis Indigenes, who were selected to form
part of the exfMsdition, and had directed him to say that
there would be no difficulty in finding means of conveying
whatever instruments I might require for photographic
purposes. The proposition was, as the sheikh said, tdduisante.
It would, poMibly, give me an opportunity of getting some
interesting pictures, and was certain to enable me to get
some information which would be interesting to your readers
generally, and especially to those amone them who may
happen to come out here; oonsequenUy I accepted his
invitation. The next thing to be considered was, how I
could best succeed in obtaining some good pictures. The
most convenient would have b^ the diy collodion process ;
but as this had ficdled me on more than one important
occasion, I was reluctant to employ it where a failure ooidd
not be remedied. Considering the interest felt on the subject
of dry collodion, both in France and England, when I left
home, I may be excused if I offer a few remarks relative to
my own experience with this process since I have been here.
The collodion I have been using was purchased in London,
half a dozen bottles of which I brought with me from
England. Living in a city I have not found it necessary to
test the length of time during which this collodion would pre-
serve its sensibility, my usu^ practice being to prepare the
plate or paper overnight, which I do in the following
manner as regards the paper : — I lay the sheet of paper on
a table and rub it rapidly, though lightly, with a piece of
india rubber until the f^per is quite warm — ^in met, is
highly charged with electricity ; I then support it on a piece
of glass, pour on the collodion, and allow it to spread itself
smoothly oVer the surfiBUse ; then sensitise and wash it well in
several waters, and when dry, cover it with a weak solu-
tion of gelatine. In this way I have prepared papers
14 X 12, upon which I have generally obtained good pictures.
There are two lyins on my table at this moment— one a view
of the port of Algiers, and the other a view of the suburbs
of the city — which could not, in my opnion, be excelled.
I had my tent with me when I took the latter, and before
exposing the paper I wetted its surface with a little water,
and while still moist I placed it in the camera ; the result
was, as I anticipated, the rapidity of the action was much
increased, and tne picture, wnen developed, appeared more
dense. The conclusions I drew from this experiment were,
that it was advisable to use the ooUodionised paper as
soon as possible after preparation, though not absolutely
essential ; or, in the event of keeping it for an^ time, some
method of softening the sensitive smr&ce previous to ex-
posure would rencbr the result more favourable. To test
this I adopted the following plan :^I prepared some sheets
of P&per and put them aside for about three weeks, at the
end of which time I brought them out and laid a vexv thin
sheet of damp blotting paper on the sensitive surface of each,
and then packed them in my portfolio in such a way that
tiie blotting paper was in contact with bbtting paper, and in
no case with the back of the prepared paper. Ifound this
method greatly increased the rapidii^ of the action of the
light upon the sensitised sui^ce, and I generally succeeded
in gettinff good pictures by this process, whicn I do not
doubt comd oe improved ; indeed 1 propose, if opportunity
serves, to moisten the blotting paper with a weak solution of
some substance which I hope will act as a stimulant to the
dry collodion, and thus render its effects more certain.
Especial care must be taken that the blotting paper does not
contain too much moistur§, or it will have the ^ect of dis-
solving the gelatine and rendering the surface of the
collodion rough and uneven, if it does not damage it still
To return to my journey. I was determined to take with

me the means of obtaining pictures ; and thoueh the dxy
collodion offered great facilities, I eventually decided on
sticking to the wet collodion, though it involved the possi-
bility of not getting any pictures at all: for rapidity of
movement being the great thing in these expeditions, it was
to be feared that, owing to the limited number of baggage
animals taken, my camera might be in one place, and my tent
where it could not be found. It was necessary, however, to
risk this, so I packed up my apparatus and sent it to the
sheikh, taking care to follow it myself and see it packed, for to
have done otherwise would have been to have acted with as
little consideration as anegro here, of whom itis8aidthat,beinff
told to saw off a bough of a tree, he sat himself on the branch
and sawed away at it, between himself and the tree, until he
and it came to the ground together ; upon which he uttered
an exclamation in a tone of the deepest surprise, which
being interpreted (very freely) signifies, " By golly, massa,
who*d tougnt him come off ooff ends at once? '*

Therewasafaintglimpseof dawn when

the soldiers b^an to assemble, yet, so complete were the
preparatbns, that the sun had risen but a very little way
when %h&f commenced their inarch. It felt quite cool and
pleasant in the early morning, and so pure was the atmo*
sphere that we could see an immense distance across the
oesert. The mere motion in it excited a feeling of exhilara-
tion to which I had long been a stranger. After marching
about fivB hours we halted beside a well, around which a
great many Arabs resided, of whom we got milk and a kind
of cake very much resembling what in the " far west " is
termed damper. A very few years ago these Arabs were
bitter enemies of the French, whereas now they appeared to
be without the smallest animosity against them ; and cer-
tainly if the French have made themselves their masters, they
have done more for them than they, the Arabs, could possiblv
have done for themselves. The artesian well, around whidi
we halted, was the work of French engineers, and to the
water from this well was entirely owing the fertility which
the desert *around it exhibited, and the dweUings that were
so thicklv scattered about, where a few months before there
had stood perhaps not more than one or two tents. None
but those who have spent days in the desert traversing hot
sands which scorch even the bare thick-soled feet of the
Arab, who can journey alone the roughest mountain road
without danger of cutting them, can fully appreciate the
blessing of an abimdance of water ; therefore the Arabs, who
are not utterly ungrateful for good done them, are becoming
more and more reconciled to the rule of their conquerors.
The opportunitv of getting one or two photographs of the
halt was not to be n^lected now that there was an abundant
supplv of water, so, with the assistance of my friend, the
sheuLn, I pitched my tent and took a couple of views, one
of the troops, and another of the village. An anmsinff
circumstance occurred here illustrative of the coolness^^
Arab thieves. A Zouave had taken off his bag^ trousers to
make some necessary reparation, and whUe m the act of
plying his needle he was called by one of his comrades to
come and take his coffee. The trousers were tJuown aside
for the moment, and the Zouave employed himself actively
in discussing his breakfiast, which occupation so entirely
absorbed his attention that he was unaware of the proceed*
ings of a native, who had quietly crept to the trousers and
was making off with them, when a wout was raised by a
Zouave who had observed his motions. Of courso ho was
immediately seized and taken, with the stolen goods in his
posBeeaion, before the provost, who at once oraered him a
flogging ; the sentence was no sooner interpreted to him
than the fellow, to the great amusement of all present, coolly
said, " I suppose, Mr. Judge, I may keep the trousers." By
the time this little affair liad been settled the troops were
again under march, and did not halt for three hours,
and then only for about an hour, when they resumed their
march for three hours more. In the desert it is the practice,
as far as possible, to regulate the marches so that the halt
for the mght may be near a well j but tliis is only when

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[Nov. S, 185a

there is no especial hurry for a day or two, which waa the
case with ob, inasmuch as we were marching against a tribe
in i^ mountains whom we Were certain to find there when
we arrired. Had we been directed against a tribe encamped
in the plain, we should have pushed on at a much greater

rate, because if we had not " dropped on them," as M.

expresses it, like a thimderbolt, they would have sent away
their flocks and cattle, even if they had stayed themselves
for a fight ; and, under these circumstances, the number of
hours which the troops march is surprising. A Zouave told
me that he had formed one of an expedition which marched
fbrty hours out of the forty-eight, and at the end of that
time attacked the tribe of which thev were in search, and
captured every animal they possessed, and utterly routed
them. It is a pretty sight to see the groups c^ soldiers
scattered about at the Mvouac, and the contrasts of oolour in
the red, baggy inexpressibles of the Zouaves, and the white
burnouses of the 8pahis, was as pleasing to the eye as
anything I ever saw ; and it was with no little regret that I
was obliged to content myself with reproducing the form onljf
Ibr my friends in England, without being able to communi*
oate to them a part of the pleasure I myself derived from
colour. As it grew dusk fires made themselves gradually
visibie, and by th^ flickering light one could see here and
there a man sewing up a hole in his clothes, or repairing his
shoes; but the greater portion of thein were lying down
smoking, chatting, and making a tremendous hubbub. The
contrast between the Spahis and the Zouaves was striking.
The Arabs were sitting about in groups, grave, and for the
most part, silent. AU of them were smoking, and here and
there one of them was holding forth respecting the chances
d plunder which the expedition offered — a matter in which
they fed a for keener interest, I believe, than in the credit
of the government they are hired to defend. I don^t mean
to imply that they are indifferent to the pleasure of cutting
a felk)w-countryman% throat, for I certiunly think they de
that with as much gusto as any Zouave who has seen his
comrade shot down beside him, but they have an cver-
eraving appetite- fof plunder which can never be appeased ;
tai appetite strengthened by the kind of warfare in which
they have been trained. It may perhaps appear to your
readers that these Spahis are mere hired bravoes who are
enhsted by the French Government to fight against their
countrymen, but this is not the case v these Arabs belong to
tribes which are principally resident in Ihe neighbourhood of
the towns, whereas the trioe against which they are generally
led by the French is that of the Kabyles, an indepaident-
spirited, courageous race, who mostly inhabit the mountains,
and are a terror to Morocco on the one hand, and a pest
to the French rule on the other ; but before many years are
past France will be able to say, with Sganarelle, ^'// etait
antrefi)is comme {», mats nous avons change tout cela.^^

[In consequence of the length to which our correspondent's
letter extends, we must defer the mblication of the re-
mainder until a succeeding number.' - £i>.]


Before going further I must say a few words about our
h^ggJ^pe. In addition to our cameras and stands, and
prepared plates, we had, of course, our carpet bags. My
camera is what is called a tourist^s camera, made by a good
maker, very handsomely got up, very expensive, and, for its
size, very heavy. This latter was not of so much consequence
to me on this excursion, as I was not verdant enough to
carry all my baggage myself ; but I confess to feeling sundry
quauns of conscience when I saw our "porteurs" sinking
continually in the snow while we were crossing the pass of
St. Th63dule. It is quite necessary, whether the amateur
carries his own camera or not, to reduce to the smallest
possible weight all the metal and wood-work therein. AU
the complication of parallel rulers with their screws, can

♦ Contlnned flrom pftgo 99.

very well be diepensed with. My companion^ ^lajor de

R , a distinguished Russian ofiicer, had the happy idea

of carrying his small French camera, and all the rest of his
baggage, m a light basket in which the peasants in UuA
canton (Vaud) carry almost everything — fruit, vegetables,
bread, meat, and even manure. They call this usdTul con-
trivance for their Jjack a "hotte," answering to our word
" hod." We perceived that after we left tms canton, this
"hotte " was everywhere an object of curiosity; and on
the other side of the Alps, it was looked upon with the
greatest astonishment, if not suspicion. At all events it
proved a very useful packing case — doing away with the
necessity of any other — easily carried on a man's or mule s
back, and though containing a lot of bottles, for my friend
purposed devdoping some paper negatives each nk^ht
(wmch, by-the-bye, he did not), it did not weigh so much at
my baggage.

We had never "been at Zermatt ; and as every guide book,
and almost every traveller, tells you that it is the thing in
Switzerland, and iar superior to Chamouni (though I aon*t
agree with tJiem), we determined to bend our steps that way.
Now, ^^ though on pleasure bent, we had a frugal mind ; ^
and we, therefore, resolved to do a considerable portion of
the joum^ on foot, hiring a mule to carry our baggage.
Our walking, however, did not commence until we reached
the dirty, poverty-stricken little town — ^if town it can be
called—of Vi^ge or Visp, in the Canton du Yalais. This
same Visp still bears lamentable traces of what it suffered
from the earthquake which played such havoc with this pari
of the Yalais in the autumn of 1855.

Our starting place was Lausanne, the town and neigh-
bourhood of which afford great scope for the camera.
Indeed, I know but few places so rich in picturesque bits.

Msgor de R , as well as myself, had b^n residing here

some time, and we had together rambled about in search of
the pictureequoi Probably a note or two of the things to
be taken here may not be amiss. The handsome cathednd
of Notre Dame is a very attractive object, as seen from
various parts of the town. It was founded about the year
1000. It is finely situated on rising ground in the cent] c
of what is called the "cit^," and commands an extensive
view over the lake and surrounding coun^. A remarkablv
beautiful view of it can be taken from the Berne rockd,
another from the delightful promenade of Monthenon : in
the for^round are some of the arches of the *' Grand Pont,^'
a handsome modern viaduct connecting two portions of the
town. In the extreme distance you have a south-west view
of the cathedral, with its handsome towers, and the middle
distance is filled up with qnaint-lookin^ spires, houses, and
public buildings. like our Enfflish caUiecUrals, that of Lau-
sanne is so hemmed in by buildings that it is difficult to
obtain with the camera many of its details. It is, however,
just poasible to get a view of the South Porch, or " Porch
of the Apostles," so called on account of the carved figures
therein; and a very charming thing it is. You will see, by
the little photograph I inclose, that it is not easy to obtain
a correct view of it. You will see, also, that it is well worth
taking, even if you are compelled to raise the nose of your
camera high enough to throw the lines out of the perpen-
dicular. It should be tak^i on a sunless day ; the buildings
near it throw such a shade over a portion of it all the dsvy.
There is a fine rose window in the south transept, but too
high to be obtained unless it is possible to take it from the
top of a house just built, I regret to sav, within a few yards
of it. The west doorway is very nne — the door itself,

The chAteau not far from Notre Dame offers one or two
good points of view. The " Place de Palud " contains a
nice old fountain, well worth taking; also the Hotel de
yUle. A fine view of the cathedral from the Place de
RipiMme, should be taken in the afternoon because of the Hght.

The church of St. Francois has two or three good pointa for
a photograph, especially the apee and spire as seen from the
promenade near the Hotel ** Belle Vue."

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For those persons who are staying at Lausanne a few days,
there are pl^ty of short excursions to be made, by the rail-
way and boat, to places abounding in excellent subjects for
their portfolio. Half an hour by boat or rail takes you to
Moyes, a Httte town on the shore of the lake ; from thence a
pleasa&t walk 6f two mUes brings you to the noUe ohftteau
of Wttflens, in ancient deeds Wolflens or Wonflena-
cafttrum. Popular tradition asserts that this magnificent
castle was buik by good Queen Bertlie, wife of Rodolph the
Second, King of Burgundy, between 921 and 062; and
tradition like^viae asserts that the bricks, of which this
e&ormous pile is composed, wore cemented together with
mortar mixed with wine instead of water : howerer this may
be, the mortar is remarkably haird, much hardv than the
bricks. According to the most probable accounts, the castld
dates as &r back as the time of the ervsades, the twelfth
e«ntary ; and judginff from the curious subterranean vaults
under the chateau, it is most likely that the present structure
was built on the ruins of one much more ancient. S.

{To be continued.)

ps Tuesday evening last the Photographic Society held
its first monthly meeting of the season at the Coventry -

Online LibraryThomas Cradock Hepworth Sir William CrookesThe Photographic news for amateur photographers ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 29 of 99)