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This article Originally appeared in THE AMERICAN ANNUAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY 1910, Volume XXIV, NY: Tennant & Ward, pp. 84-86.

Dew on Grasses                          W.A. Bentley

I have pointed out in previous articles how many charming departments for photographic effort lie among the various forms of water, the show, frost, ice, dew, and clouds.

The show crystal crop of 1909 having been a partial failure, I will refer but briefly to it. It is interesting, as showing how long practice in selecting and photographing snow crystals aids in securing the choicer specimens; that the snow crystal photographs secured during the past unfavorable winter, though few in number, were of great interest and beauty. Perhaps the Editor may find room to reproduce one or two of these exquisite gems from cloudland for the 1910 Annual.

Having continued my photographic studies of the dew during the past summer and made some improvements over previous methods, possibly a few words relative to dew photography may be of interest. I touched briefly upon dew photography in the 1908 Annual, suggesting that a 1/4 size lens and an extension camera and a black background for the object seemed to be best in this work.

It still seems necessary in a few cases, especially when photographing the dew upon the grass blades, dew-laden spiders' webs, and objects which cannot be moved without disturbing the arrangement of the dew upon them, to pursue the methods therein outlined, i. e., to photograph them in their natural environment, using a black background when possible. But I have found, if great care is used, that most dew-laden objects, even in some cases the spider's web, may be plucked or removed from their natural position and be rearranged in front of an especially black background, so that much better results can be obtained than by photographing them en situ.

Perhaps the best background is made by painting the inside of a pail black. Objects arranged in front of such a pail, and so placed as to be thrown in relief against the black obscurity of the pail's interior, photograph beautifully. The pail may be placed in a horizontal position upon the ground, or raised, ill the same position, somewhat above it, as the case may require, and so also with the extension camera.

Dew                            W. A. Bentley

It is best to construct a tiny vise in some way to hold the dew-laden object in place in front of the camera. Two thin strips of board, blackened, and nailed smooth side together at the middle will serve. The opposite end front the vise end should be sharpened, so that it call be stuck into the ground in a vertical or slanting position, as required, and turned at any angle, so as to bring the object fastened therein up or down, or at any angle desired.

Scissors may be used to clip off the stems of the plant leaves, etc., to be photographed. Great care must be used to handle them carefully, and in such a way as not to allow the hand or any object whatever to touch the surface of the dew-laden object.

In the case of garden spiders' geometrically shaped webs it is oftimes possible to secure only sections of such for photographic purposes. But even sections make exquisite pictures. A wire bent into a circular loop and made "sticky" with Canada balsam will serve in many cases to accomplish the removal of the web from among the grasses or wherever they may be hung.

Canada balsam will serve in many cases to accomplish the removal of the web from among the grasses or wherever they may be hung.

It need hardly he repeated that there is a rich and interesting field of endeavor for the amateur photographer in this line of work. Any given locality contains a vast number of different plants, grasses, etc., each of which collect the dew beautifully and differently. And of course, the plants and grasses vary widely at widely .separated localities, which insures that this line of photographic work will not soon be exhausted. The writer confesses that he has a keen wish to travel far afield, even into other lands and climes, for the purpose of observing and photographing the varied arrangements of the dew as it may occur upon the natural forms in these unknown fields.

Yet the writer is willing that others relay forestall him in this charming work, and even hopes that this brief sketch may help to call renewed attention to the wonders and beauties of the dew, and help to bring this about.

Snow Crystals                        W. A. Bentley

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