18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Friday, August 29, 1913: Five of my pictures are finished. They are most too pale to be good but better than what I expected.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Yeah! Grandma got some more pictures finished. She got the camera earlier in the summer, took a roll of pictures, and was now developing them.
I’m sure that Grandma was having lots of fun using “modern technology,” but by today’s standards it sure seems like a long drawn-out process.
Why were the pictures too pale? . . Were they overexposed?
Here’s what a 1910 book said about how to get the correct exposure:
We cannot impress upon you the all-importance of exposing for the shadow or dense portions. For general all-round out-of-door work, in the open, street scenes, etc., with very good light between 10:30 A.M. and 2 P.M. from 1/100 to 1/200 second at F. 8. Reasonably earlier or later in the day than the time specified, full aperture, F. 6.3, 1/50 to 1/100 second. As a general rule, 1/100 second is sufficient speed, but there are occasions when it is necessary to give 1/150 to 1/200 seconds, but these highest speeds should only be given when required.
On gray or clouded days or during November, December and January, when the actinic quality of the light is at its weakest, then invariably use full open lens (F. 6.3) and from 1/25 to 1/100 sec. exposure . . .
The telephoto attachment is neither difficult to use or to compute the correct exposure. To make an exposure with the telephoto we first calculate or rather determine the correct exposure for the subject at hand, with the positive lens along at a given stop, and then simply multiply that exposure by the magnification which we desire, using the same stop in the positive lens. . .
Practical Suggestions Regarding the Selection and Use of a Photographic Equipment by by Austin K. Hanks
(I’m a “point and shoot” photographer. . .and am clueless what half of the recommendations in the book mean. )