Exposing the plate
"Taking The Picture!"

The photographer posed his sitters carefully and then brought the image into focus by adjusting the bellows that formed the body of the camera. The sitter's image passed through the camera lens and was projected onto the back of the camera, which was made of ground glass. The image appeared upside down! Once the image was in focus, he inserted the negative and plate holder and removed the protective shield. To make the exposure, he simply removed the lens cap. An average exposure could take 15 or 30 seconds. In the studio, special props, tables and iron clamps were used to keep the sitter steady. In the field, soldiers often leaned against trees or tent poles to prevent motion that would blur a portrait. After exposure, the photographer replaced the lens cap, replaced the protective shield, and removed the negative holder. The exposed plate was now ready to develop.

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