Tricks of the "War Photographer
How a remarkable "air" battle is staged thousands of miles from any battle-field — in New York!
By J. A. McManus
��BIFF — Bang — Boom — Crack — Crash — or any other words that convey the impression of bursting bombs, the hum of many aeroplane motors and propel- lers, the sounds of big "Archibalds" sending forth their messages of death and destruction, the echo upon echo of the boom of bursting of big shells — it's all there in the accompanying photograph "War in the Air." Is it not?
A quiet photo- graphers' dark-room, some stories above the noise and bustle of New York's beehive, an en- larging camera, some en- larging paper, size 1 1x14, a collection of negatives, (Picture No. 3, shown at Numbers 1-2-3-4-5-6) photograph of a balloon that was set on fire at Sheepshead Bay, N. Y., by Daredevil Rodman Law, and which really looks like a bomb explosion; (Picture No. 7, which is a close-up photograph of an Allied aero- plane, shown also at 8 on the following page) ; two photo- graphs of aeroplanes in air. Number 10 be- ing the same as Num- ber 9, but thrown out of focus slightly; a cloud scene taken over New York; a fund of imagination; a sense of proportion ; unlimited patience — result, a composite picture that looks remarkably like a real air-battle photo- graph.
The secret behind it all is in the right timing of the exposure of each
���Photograph of a balloon that was set on fire at Sheepshead Bay, New York, by Rodman Law. It is used to represent a bomb explosion
���A close-up photograph of an aeroplane belonging to the Allies. The same picture is used again and again but differently focused and in various positions
��negative and in the fact that once a spot on the enlarging paper is fully exposed, you cannot expose on it again; but, if the first exposure is just a little under- timed, and the second a little under also, both exposures will blend to- gether when put through the developer and fixing bath.
Before the actual ex- posures were made, a sheet of white paper of the same size as enlarg- ing paper, was placed on an enlarging board. The different negatives, with the exception of the cloud negative, were thrown on it through an enlarging camera, and the relative sizes and positions were plainly marked out on it, as they appear in the accompanying illustrations. Numbers 1-2-3-4-5-6 (on picture on following page) are exposures of the same negative through a ragged hole in a sheet of paper held between the light from the lens of the camera and the paper on the enlarging board. This exposure is called "vignetting." The paper used was large enough to block out all light from the rest of the enlarging paper and was moved with a cir- cular motion around the spot exposed to prevent the edges of the hole from showing in de- veloping. The differ- ent positions of the same negative were obtained by turning the paper on the