[PhotoForum logo]

The PhotoForum on the Internet is an email based photo-imaging
education and professional practice discussion list

    FAQ or Answers to Frequently Asked Questions                  Section 38
            Please check "root" (faq$txt) file for acknowledgements. 
    This is a file containing answers, tips, hints and guidelines associated 
    with recurring  questions asked by photographers.   If you would like to 
    add a tidbit of knowledge to  this list just send it to   ANDPPH@rit.edu 
    who will gladly add it to this collection. For complete table of content
    send message to   ritphoto@rit.edu   with  FAQ$txt  in the Subject: line
                    These files are available in SECTIONS. 
             This is Section 38 and its contents are listed below.

    38.01  -< Improvised IR filter and Wratten IR filter transmission data >-
    38.02  -< Getting rid of green looking lights in night shots >-
    38.03  -< Brief Basic Discussion on Film Speeds >-  
    38.04  -< Instructions Making a simple CLOSE-UP stand >- 
    38.05  -< 300mm lenses >- 
    38.06  -< Twin Lens Reflex Pros and Cons plus dealing with Parallax >- 
    38.07  -< Where to obtain bulk photographic chemicals >-  
    38.08  -< More Wedding Photography Tips for a beginner >- 
    38.09  -< Making an improvised densitometer from a light meter >- 
    38.10  -< Night photography shooting and exposure tips >-  
    38.11  -< E-Mail addresses within the RPS >-  

38.01  -< Improvised infrared filter and Wratten IR filter transmission data >-
As I have posted here previously, my favorite inexpensive IR filter material is
black trash bags. I don't have brand names, but the ones I discovered had a
slight greenish cast to them. It might take several layers to block out all
the light from an intense source.  
For some reason known only to chemists, very few organic dyes will absorb
infared light. This includes dyes used for routine dyeing of plastics, such as
trash bags. If the "black" plastic has a colored tint, it was probably made
with a combination of several colored dyes. However, plastic can also be
colored with a pigment or with carbon particles - then there would almost
certainly be some infared absorbtion.
If the "black" plastic has a colored tint, it was probably made with a
combination of several colored dyes. However, plastic can also be colored with
a pigment or with carbon particles - then there would almost certainly be some
infared absorbtion.
The trash bag debacle (discovery) took place over 15 years ago when I tried to
develop infared film in a darkroom that had its windows light proofed with
trash bags. It worked great for regular film, but the infared film was badly
fogged. To prove it was the trash bags, I lit the inside of the darkroom then
photographed it from the outside using infared film. The more carefully
developed photos showed I could look right thru the trash bag covered windows.
However, if you want high quality Infrared filters I think the best choice is
to use one the Kodak Wratten 87 series filters. The 87A or 87B come closest to
meeting the original specifications. Call the Kodak information center at
800-242-2424, extension 12, for dealer information. These filters should be
available at all well-stocked camera stores.
Here is the transmittance of the Kodak Wratten 87 Series filters (from the
publication "Kodak Filters for Scientific and Technical Uses", Publication
    Wavelength   87      87A     87B     87C
         700      -       -       -       -
         750     3.5      -       -       -
         800    56.9      -       -      3.0
         850    78.5      -      4.1    48.4
         900    81.9     0.7    31.2    80.6
         950    83.6    10.2    58.2    86.4
        1000    85.3    30.2    73.3    89.2
        1050    87.0    50.6    84.1    91.3
        1100    88.5    64.5    89.1    93.0
David Williams, Delco Electronics, rdwill@igate1.hac.com
(NOTE: there are other references to inexpensive IR filters included in the
PhotoForum FAQ files)

38.02      -< Getting rid of green looking lights in night shots >-

> I have been trying to take photos at night of cities and some of the lights
> come out looking green. What would be the best way to correct for this? Use
> an FLD filter or using tungsten balanced film? Will an FLD filter reduce 
> the light so much (2 stops?) that some of the detail will get lost? Is 
> tungsten balanced film better for correcting this problem?
The solution to your problem, I think, depends on how much of the picture area
is taken up by fluorescents. If they dominate the frame--for instance, if
you're focusing on just one or two buildings--then an FLD filter should do the
trick. I assume you're using a tripod, in which case the loss of stops
shouldn't matter; you can just increase exposure time. I imagine you're 
already in the 1 sec.-plus range, so you're already experiencing color shifts. 
An extension of time shouldn't matter much.
If such lights DON'T take up most of the picture, though, I'm not sure the
green is anything to worry about. I imagine that other lights are showing up
different colors, and that neons are appropriately colored. I recently won in
competition with a broad skyline shot of a cityscape in which individual
buildings looked green but the rest was white, red, etc.
Another alternative is to use a less saturated film. Velvia is absolutely
beautiful but it does, of course, accentuate any colors it picks up--including
your unwanted greens. Shifting to a more realistic film wouldn't eliminate
the greens but it should reduce their intensity.
I'm just an amateur, however, so don't take any of the foregoing as the
Keith Hansen 

I'd suspect the green is from mercury vapor lamps. Probably an FLD filter 
would whack out that color, since the fluorescent lamps, for which FLDs are
supposed to correct, are after all based on glowing mercury vapor. Problem with
all lighting from glowing gasses is that it isn't a continuous spectrum but a
bundle of distinct spikes of color. Using the FLD may stop some of these, but
it is also going to alter the overall color balance of the scene. Photographing
a cityscape which happens to have some points of glowing-gas light is
fundamentally different from photographing a room that is lit by fluorescents
in the ceiling. In the cityscape you've got a lot of other sources of light and
color independent of the glowing-gas lights, and you want those to be
unaltered, which is probably a physical impossibility. The most  productive
route might be to consider how the green stuff could be utilized as part of the
design and flavor of the picture. Sculptor to critic: "Yes, you're right, the
head is too large. I'll call it 'The Woman with the Large Head.'"
Michael Sawdey 
I have been photographing night urban landscape for years and the one thing
that is very important is reciprocity [failure]. This is such a problem that
there is a significant difference between the exposure times for different
batches of the same brand and same iso. One thing that i do is plan on only
getting only 90 photos out of 100 sheets of film. i am not real familiar with
Fuji but i believe that it is 400asa. i use exclusively Ilford and with HP5+ i
start my testing at the meter reading and add one stop of time, don't change
your fstop. i generally get the effect i want in a fstop within six test frames
(3 per sheet). As far as tungsten balanced, that depends on the type of lights
that your city uses
marshal walz, University of Indianapolis, walz@Gandlf.uindy.edu 
I have shot alot of night city scapes in the Western US and Canada with
Kodachrome 64 last summer. While the fluoresent lights did print a little
green, I suspect that it would not be as "green" as the FUJI films as they tend
to be a little more sensitive to the green part of the spectrum, at least in my
Most of the shots that I have done have been pretty wide, however. If you are
shooting on something close with alot of fluoresent light present, I'd op for
the FLD filter to balance the light.
Joe --- Joseph (Joe) L. Moll mailto:jmoll@acquion.com
I suspect the green lights are mercury vapour lights. These have a very strong
green spectral line, and I think will come out green on any normal colour film.
Sodium lights, producing largely yellow should come out yellow. If you don't
want these effects I think you probably need to avoid taking  pictures
including street lighting. However it may look better on some films  than
Personally I preferred the warm tones you get on daylight film to the rather 
blue results on tungsten - but either can be acceptable. I think the best 
approach to night photography (and most other subjects) is to use negative 
film and you can then play with the colour in the darkroom.
Peter Marshall, petermarshall@cix.compulink.co.uk
If you don't mind using a negative film try Fuji Reala which is handles the
green in fluro's well. (me, I like the color shifts ;-)  Also check to make
sure that nearby lighting is not causeing flare on the lens.
Some data on Fujicolor Reala (Taken from the 35mm Film Source book - Marc Levey)
latitude +3 -2 fstops
color Balance: Daylight
color bias: netural
recommended shutter speed 1/400 - 1/10 sec
reciprocity correction    1 sec +1/2 stop 
                         10 sec +1 stop
                         no filtration needed
Special uses: Fourth added cyan dye layer allows the film to reproduce colors
with a high degree of accuracy. Subjects shot under fluorescent lights, long
the bane of color shooters, are reproduced much more naturally than with just 
about any other film.
In use evaluation: This film features an excellent blend of qualities. It is
extremely sharp for medium-speed emulsion, shows virtually no grain all the
way up to 16x20 inch enlargements, yealds pleasing colors especially skin
tones under many different light sources, and is easy to print. 
Brent, BRENT WILLIAMS - BWill@bh.com, FOCAL PRESS http://www.bh.com/bh/fp 

In city lights there is a mix of tungsten and flourecent / sodium lights, on 
daylight film the flourecents go green and the tungstens go warm. A FLD filter 
is pink/ purple it will correct the flourecent but give a pink cast to the 
others. Tungten film will give a neutral rendering of the tungsten lights and 
the flourecents will go aqua-blue IMHO this is a more pleasing balance. 
Another point in favour of tungsten film is it's a long exposure film ( like 
VPL ) so you can shoot to your light meter with no correction. Try Kodak EPY.
Hope this helps, Barry, Barry white. bwhite@aztec.co.za.   

38.03            -< Brief Basic Discussion on Film Speeds >-  

>I am curious as to what the difference between individual film speeds are. For
>example does an ISO (or ASA) 100 need double the amount of light that an ISO
>200 film to produce the same  results. And so does say an ISO 800 need an
>exposure time of 1/8th of that for an ISO 100.  
yes ... ISO originally (and maybe even now) was a speed rating system that was
simply a combination of ASA and DIN speed numbers such like this ISO 100/21
The ASA system is the "American" one and the DIN system is the "German" one.
Both of these were set up before the Japanese had as much influence in the
field as they do now. There was the GOST system as well but that was the system
used behind the Iron Curtain.
>Also on these films there are words like 21 degrees and 31 degrees, what are 
They are the "logarithmic" form of saying the same thing. In this (DIN) system 
a change of 3 units corresponds to a doubling or halving of speed. So, a film 
with a speed of 21 requires 2 times the amount of light than a film with a 
speed rating of 24 to produce roughly equivalent results.
>Is there any way to check the granularity of a film or do you just guess
>that an ISO 1000 will be worse than an ISO 100?
there are ways to do this but not for the average photographer and what you
suggest is what normally happens "in practice".
>And lastly am I correct in assuming that there is only one way to develop
>a particular colour film. The reason I am asking this is can I get my
>films developed and printed at any old lab (eg Boots in the UK) and then
>if I want decent prints I would have to get them printed properly from
>the negatives (that are hopefully OK) from the lab?
Generally this is true as well. The standard processes are the E-6 and the C-41
process. The formenr for transparencies and the latter for color negatives. If
you have a 1-hr lab do your preliminary developing and printing then you can
evaluate your prints and the ones you really like and want to enlarge could be
enlarged by a custom lab. One might quibble about the quality and/or attention
to detail at 1-hour labs but that is a quality factor not a "process" factor.
A custom lab can also provide "tailor made" alteratons to the standard process
for dealing with unusual situations but this also is a "special service" rather
than a standard process.
andy, andpph@rit.edu

>For example does an ISO (or ASA) 100 need double the amount of light that an 
>ISO 200 film to produce the same results. And so does say an ISO 800 need an 
>exposure time of 1/8th of that for an ISO 100.
Yes, that's approximately right. The manufacturers intend for it to be exactly
right but some variation creeps in from your camera, lens, lighting, etc.
>Also on these films there are words like 21 degrees and 31 degrees, what are 
That's another system of identifying film speeds.  It is measured  according
to the DIN standards system (I forget what DIN stands for). ISO stands for
International Standards Organization.
>Is there any way to check the granularity of a film or do you just guess
>that an ISO 1000 will be worse than an ISO 100?
Yes, generally faster films are "grainier" than slower films.  This  assumes
that the film/emulsion technology is relatively the same.  For films that are
close in "speed", the relationship is not always exact. The reason that 100
speed film is less grainy than 1000 speed film is that most of the speed
difference comes from increasing the size of the silver particles in the film. 
In theory, one photon makes one silver particle developable so fewer, but
larger, silver particles  results in "faster" film.  The wizards at Kodak and
Fuji know all about this but us mortals don't have a clue as to how it is
actually done.
>And lastly am I correct in assuming that there is only one way to develop a 
>particular colour film. The reason I am asking this is can I get my films 
>developed and printed at any old lab (eg Boots in the UK) and then if I want 
>decent prints I would have to get them printed properly from the negatives 
>(that are hopefully OK) from the lab?
No, the assumption is incorrect.  In theory there is a standard method of
developing each type for film, (i.e., C-41 for a class of color negative
films). But quality control is the key. High volume, low cost color labs may
or may not be better at this than so-called custom labs. What you'll see is
variations in contrast and color balance if the lab is having quality control
problems. A good custom lab can correct for this for the most part so the risk
is not high.
David, jds@allware.com

38.04          -< Instructions Making a simple CLOSE-UP stand >- 
Friends, This CLOSE-UP stand is very easy to build. Here are the instructions: 
Cut four 5/16" dowels 12" long. Insert them in 5/16" holes drilled into a 3/4" x
9-1/2" x 7" plywood base at the corners, another 3/4" x 9-1/2" x 7" board (for
the camera) with a center bored hole of 2-3/4" including four 5/16 holes
drilled at the corners in perfect register to accommodate the base board
dowels. These boards should be clamped together before drilling the four 5/16"
holes thru them (see below). Don't forget to drill the four 5/16" holes
completely thru both the base and camera support boards.
Then, cut two sets of four 1/2" ID rigid clear plastic tubes to two lengths,
the sizes depending upon whether you're using a macro lens or close-up lens or
both. You can determine the length of the tubes by experiment to accommodate
your particular lens systems. These 4 plastic tubes will slip over the dowels
and support the camera board. In order to permit the camera support board to
slide up and down the dowels easily, its holes should be enlarged very slightly
beyond the 5/16".
The 4 plastic tubes merely separate firmly the base board from the camera
support board at the exact distance required by your close-up lens system. 
By simply drawing oblique lines across one board from opposing corners before
clamping both before drilling, you can easily locate the holes for both the
dowels and center the 2-3/4" lens hole in the camera support board.  
To use the stand, merely place the camera, with lens down into the 2-3/4"
center bored hole, align the copy beneath, on the base, then focus. 
I suggest the following tools: a table saw, a drill press [I don't recommend a
hand held drill], 2-3/4" hole saw [I had to enlarge hole from a 2-1/2" saw with
a drum rasp], 5/16 high speed steel bit, finishing hand sander. Both the base
and the camera support board should be clamped together for perfect alignment,
then drill the four 5/16 corner holes [7/8" from stock edges]. Finish with
clear polyurethane dull varnish.
If you have any questions, let me know. My unit is sturdy, simple, and takes up
very little space. If you want a true cabinet effect, use hard wood stock, like
oak or walnut instead of the plywood. It isn't necessary to glue the dowels
into the base. With precision-drilled holes they'll hold fast in the base with
a press fit. 
Any 35mm camera, including CRFs can be used with this stand. I use a Leica M3
with a +4 or +10 CU lens. A variable CU lens that can be mounted on a prime
50mm is also available under $20, I think. A Nikon F with Nikon's 55mm Macro
lens is ideal. But any 35mm, leveled with thin rubber shims to make up for
camera body protrusions, like lens release button, etc. will give you excellent
results. The camera's own weight keeps it rock steady. It's important that the
four plastic tubes be cut with absolute accuracy. These tubes are standard and
are available from any plastic supply house.
It's a fast, low cost project and a very useful piece of equipment. I find it
invaluable for photographing jewelry, prints, etc. Since it permits entrance of
light from all four sides, contrast can be easily controlled. I found that the
4 dowel/tube supports do not present a shadow problem.
Bob Rosen                       I             I
From: Afterswift@aol.com       _________________  Slidedown Camera Support
Subject: Close-up Stand         I             I
                                I             I
                                I             I---Dowels/Plastic tubes
It looks roughly something      I             I
like the sketch shown here ->   I             I
                               _________________  Baseboard

38.05                      -< 300mm lenses >- 
> I am thinking of buying some fixed lenses especially in the 300mm f/2.8 
>range (for taking pictures of birds) ... comments?
I have used the 300 MM F 2.8 lens extensivly for use in bird and nature
photography and offer the following thoughts.  Firt consider using
converters.  With the 1.4 converter you have a effective 420 MM F 4 lens.
With the 2X converter you will have a 600 MM F 5.6 lens.  As you can see you
with the use of converters you effectly have three very useful lens for bird
photography.  All three options are very useful for bird photography.   The
300 MM F 2.8 due to its speed is an excellant lens to use with converters.
There is little of no loss with the 1.4 X and only slight edge fall off with
the 2 X.  I have used the Canon , Nikon, and Tamron lens with their matched
converters.  All are excellant if you use matched components.  Based on my
experience the most useful combination will be the 300 MM with the 1.4
Now for you question  "< However, with long lenses and far subjects,
you would have to run forwards and backwards quite a distance in
order to get the same effect, wouldn't it?>"  The solution is the use of the
converters.  Additionly, the big advantage is that you can shoot a series of
shots of the same subject and get different effects which will net you a much
better collection of the subject.  
I shoot mostly wildlife and my most used lens is the 300 MM F 2.8 with the
converters.   It is short enough to shoot even close subjects from a blind
and when used with the converters, you can shoot the shy subjects.  Based on
conversations with some of the best wildlife photographers in the world, most
bird photos are taked with long fixed length lens and converters.
By the way, don't try running or any fast movements when trying to photograph
birds or any wildlife.  Try to move very slowly and take you time!!!!!
Nature photography is a game of patience.  I often will work a subject for
up to two hours.  My record for one subject is 7 hours.  The results of that
session resulted in nine published photographs.  
Hope this helps.  Good shooting!!
Ken Martin 

38.06   -< Twin Lens Reflex Pros and Cons plus dealing with Parallax >- 
I've been reading about the discussion on TLRs and the suggestions on 
"parallax correction" and thought that maybe a short course summary might be 
in order.
I've been using TLR's (Rolleis) for over 30 years. Their advantages:
    no mirror slap, and hence added vibrations,
    no image blackout during exposures,
    flash sync at any speed (be careful at 1/500th),
    more dependable than SLR conterparts, due to fewer moving parts,
    horizontal and verticals shot with the camera held the same way,
     since the format is usually square.
    incredibly quiet compared to SLR's.
Above all, I love being able to see the shot during the exposure. You can often
see blinks or movement that you may miss if viewing through a single lens
reflex, and then know, right there, that you lost the shot. It's also great for
longer exposures. I recently shot a play with some color neg film and shot at
1/5 sec., *handheld*. The negs yield very acceptable 8x10's. The blackout of
SLR's makes longer handheld exposures very difficult, and you can't see the
subject during the actual exposure.
The disadvantages of TLR's?
    lack of interchangeable lenses, except, for the most part,
     Mamiya C's,
    often lack of accessories such as autowinders, interchangeable
     film backs, Polaroid backs, etc.,
    filters and lens hoods a general nuisance to use, because they
     may block the taking lens,
    parallax compensation, especially up close, and with closeup
Regarding the parallax situation, there are two considerations:
The first is regarding what the 2 lenses of a TLR "sees". For an example,
consider shooting a still life or product display with part of the scene in the
foreground, and part in the background. You set everything up, getting all the
objects positioned exactly like you want them; at the right distance from the
camera, the right position, etc. Then the proofs show that the objects "moved"
from where you had them placed. Why? Because the taking lens saw the scene from
a lower angle than *you* did throught the viewing lens. Andy suggested
composing the scene and then raising the camera, via the tripod, a distance
equal to the distance between the two lenses, or about 1 1/2 inches. This would
correct the difference in vantage points and record the shot as you actually
saw it through the viewing lens.
An easy way to see this effect would be to focus the camera, from about 3 feet,
on a cluttered desk or tabletop. Then lift, NOT TILT, it up and down a little
bit. You will see the objects closer to and farther away from the camera move
up and down with respect to other objects. You are stuck with this effect with
a TLR, and in order to render the subject exactly as seen, the camera must be
"raised" to shoot, exactly as Andy suggested.
Caution! Raising the camera via the tripod will work only if the camera is
positioned in a near vertical fashion. If it's tilted much, as in shooting
something on the floor, raising it will not fully correct the parallax, or
vantage point, problem and may throw the main part of the subject out of focus
if larger apertures are used. To be more precise, the camera should be "moved"
about an inch and a half upward "with respect to itself", not with respect to
the tripod center post.
The second situation would be for more "average" shooting and can be used for
handheld exposures of people, buildings, scenes, etc. In this situation the
exact relation of background and foreground objects often isn't as critical,
and actually raising the camera usually isn't necessary. Instead, before
pressing the shutter release, simply TIP, or TILT, the camera "upwards" so it
will be aimed an inch and a half "above" the subject from where it was aimed in
the first place. This rule will "always" apply. In other words, if the subject
is close, say 3 feet, view a part of the subject, maybe the eyes, and note
where on the viewing screen they appear. Tip the camera so the same spot on the
screen is now looking an inch and a half "above" the eyes, and the parallax
will be corrected. Remember, the taking lens sees things from a position about
one and a half inches "lower", so it must be tilted UPWARD before taking the
On the other end of the scale, shooting a distance scene means tilting the
camera so the subject is an inch and a half higher on the screen before
shooting. If the subject is a house or mountain, and inch and a half isn't
going to mean zilch, so don't even worry about it with distant subjects. This
is probably how the camera is set up in the first place, for framing distant
So the closer you get to your subject, the more the "parallax" problem comes
into play. Shooting an inch and a half above the subject will always cover it,
no matter if the subject is 3, 5, or 8 feet away. Beyond that it starts getting
One other thing. I don't believe anyone has mentioned subjects that will be
printed horizontally. These are the easiest to handle. Frame the subject across
the center of the viewfinder screen (where it tends to be brighter anyway), and
crop the top and bottom of the negative out during printing. No need to worry
at all about horizontal shots.
Regarding a specific question about the Rolleiflex 2.8F... Your Rollei 2.8F
probably has parallax correcting "blades" located just under the ground glass
or focusing screen. If you turn the focusing knob while looking through the
viewing lens, you will see a dark band across the top and bottom of the field
of view, and they will move up and down as you change focus, automatically
adjusting according to the distance you are focused on. There's no need to
concern yourself with the blades built into the camera, unless you use closeup
lenses. Then the best bet is to focus and compose with the closeup lens on the
top, then transfer it to the bottom (assuming you have only one closeup lens),
and then raise the camera via the tripod post for parallax correction AND
vantage point correction.   
Hope this helps someone out there.
 John Thompson Canton, Ohio

38.07         -< Where to obtain bulk photographic chemicals >-  
If you are in search of reasonably priced photographic chemicals, try  Artcraft
Chemicals in Schenectady, New York.
I buy all my toning materials off them, including the ferric ammonium  citrate
for iron toning, the materials for sepia toning and the stuff  needed for the
hardening bath after toning.
Full address is: ArtCraft Chemicals, Inc, P.O. Box 583, Schenectady, NY 12301
(800) 682-1730  or  (518) 355-8700
They should be able to help you out on chemical aquisition. Mike Jacobson,
who runs the company should know how to ship to Canada, if possible.

Howard Etkind

38.08            -< More Wedding Photography Tips for a beginner >- 
>I am shooting a wedding the last week in May. This is my first wedding and 
>I don't really know what to do. Can anyone give me some advice, suggestions,?
My advice for shooting weedings for friends.
1 Sit down with the bride and make a list of the shots she wants.
2 Shoot lots of film.
3 Only show your best shots.
4 Shoot lots of film
5 Shoot lots of film
6 Learn to say NO!
KwZ, Kenneth_W_Zimmerman@email.whirlpool.com
Well first I would pray that your customer is very understanding!! Then I would
shoot test shots under the identical conditions that you plan to shot (same
film, same equipment, same location, same light setup, if at all possible get
someone to dress in a all white outfit and a all dark outfit and shoot each
shot that you plan. Make sure you have the technical aspects down pat. Then I
would read a good book by one of the masters of wedding photography at least
eight times. Next, I would try to assist a experienced wedding photographer on
four or five weddings before you go it alone. Next I would pray some more.
Seriously, A wedding must go right, you simply cannot go back a shoot it again.
Make sure that you have a plan, discuss it with the bride and groom (and the
pastor if it is taking place in a church as many churches have restrictions).
Plan the shoot you want and gain approval of your plan with the prospective
couple. (might be appropriate to have the mother involved also) Find out what
the expectations of the couple are. If the bride or her mother have a certain
shot in mind "you better get it." If you know when things are going to happen
then you can plan you shots better, but remember it is a rare wedding that
stays on a exact schedule, so be flexible. 
Don't show up in a pair of Levi's with holes in them (the best wedding
photographer show in in formal wear). Remember this is a important occasion and
you need to be professional and efficient. Get shot of everyone it is amazing
how many people want to buy a shot of Old Aunt Sally who passed on a few weeks
after the wedding.
One final thought. Unless you are sure that you can do a satisfactory job,
don't do it!!! There is no forgiveness for a bad wedding job. If you have the
technical skills then go for it. 
Now you can see why I don't like shooting weddings.
I remember when I was taking pictures for my brother's wedding.  Fortunately it
was not too serious, only some real "official"  wedding pictures and the rest
to have fun. I was not alone, we were a  3 or 4 amateurs shooting all the day
long. I am only on unofficial  pictures (drinking, shooting, ...) at my own
brother wedding but on  the familly portrait. It was a great photo amateur
wedding day. Sorry  for the pros but we did'nt have the money.
For a professional work, Chasseur d'Images mag., explains that it is  better to
hire a real pro for the official wedding work and to take  more original
pictures (wide angle, party, etc...). Let the nervous  breakdown to a
photographer who knows what a wedding is and have fun  for and with your
friends. If you do it, use your own well known  equipment, even if it's not a
6x7, they said.
If you want to be a professional in weddings, I am sorry to cannot  help you in
anything. I am only an amateur who have a lot of fun.
Fabrice,  Fabrice Joly,  14, rue Pierre Blanc, 69001 LYON France
Don't try to do it alone! Have a qualified friend perform the function of
assistant (if your getting paid-- hire one) Events move swiftly at weddings. An
assistant will help you catch any mistakes and also may spot some good photos
while you are busy working on portraits, etc. Not to mention having someone to
shlep your stuff, take meter readings, and reload film magazines for you. This
helps to keep things moving along so you won't be fiddling around while the
whole wedding party watches and waits.
I have been assisting a wedding photog for three years and only now am I
considering shooting them on my own. (I have one booked in May and one in June)
This is a big step! I have witnessed a couple major disasters over the last
three years, and let me tell you being the responsible party is a scary idea.
I plan on shooting medium format Fuji Reala or the Fuji NHG. (Also some black
and white at the client's request) These films give great results. (Kodak VPS
is a nice film as well.) I will rent myself a Norman 200B with a flash head
with diffuser for fill and indoor shots. And probably tote along a light disc
for outdoor fill.
Last word of advice: try to attend a wedding or two before then. Learn what the
typical routine is during the ceremony and reception. This way you'll be in the
right place at the right time. 
Good Luck! Jeanine B   
My first advice on wedding pics if you are non-pro is to advise the couple to
hire a professional if they can. Sometimes this is not possible and you have to
While much can be said and discussed concerning the technical and equipment
aspects of preparing for a wedding shoot, I have the following tips to share
with readers.  Many of these were learnt from experience:
1. Recruit an assistant. This can be a friend who knows something about
photography and equipment. It is too much of a burden for you alone to pose the
couple (plus other members) and to set up the equipment or carry them around.
Do not forget MF equipment are heavy and cumbersome. Your assistant can either
arrange the people while you concentrate on the equipment and the picture or
set up equipment while you arrange the people - depending on who is better at
doing what.
If you are using different formats and backs and lenses and filters...... your
assistant can help to arrange all that under your instruction. He can help hold
a reflector to fill in some shadow areas. 
A well coordinated job produces better pictures and will not tire out the
photographer and the people you are shooting.
Your assistant can help GUARD your equipment against theft and damage.
Lady assistants are very useful. They seem to have a sharp eye for details -
hair out of place, dress poorly arranged, smudged make up, and a thousand and
one other things that can spoil a photograph. They can talk to the couple to
help relax them when you are concentrating on your shot. 
2. Recce out the location that you are shooting in. You may be unfamiliar with
the place.  Look for interesting spots to pose the couple. It is terribly
'unprofessional' to wonder what would be the "next best place to pose the
couple" on that important day. Plan the shots ahead with your assistant,
discuss how and where to pose the couple, what lenses and filters to use, what
angle to shoot etc...(to avoid trees growing out of peoples' heads)
3. ALWAYS bring along BACK-UP equipment. Most important is another camera
(usually 35mm or another MF camera). Many ocassions of equipment failure have
been saved by the humble second back up camera (even a P&S).  Some photos are
better than no photos.
4. Make sure your batteries are all fresh and spares are available. Test out
all flash and camera equipment to make sure they are working. 
5. Forget about polaroid shots of the couple on that important day. You have no
time to check your lighting and pose. Everything has to move pretty fast on
that day. The couple will have a tight schedule too. 
6. Discuss with the couple what preferences they might have, the family members
they want to include in the shots, etc. If these cannot be achieved on the day
of the wedding - many couples are quite happy to pose for you again on another
occassion. Many wedding shots are actually taken on more than one occassion
although they appear to be shot on the same day.  The pros do'nt tell you all
that. If a less formal occasion is chosen for another shoot, polaroid will be a
useful tool to assess lighting and composition.
7. Send the film to the best lab money can buy. Minimum reproduction for proof
copies should be 4"x6" or even 5"x7". I prefer to mount them in a nice album so
that other members of the family can view and order extra prints. Occasionally,
I sit down with the couple and plan cropped enlargements. 
Dan, dkhong@pacific.net.sg

38.09      -< Making an improvised densitometer from a light meter >- 
> If anyone has experience using a hand held light meter as a densitometer for
> printing slides on Ilfocolor, I would appreciate hearing how the meter is
> calibrated and what is the best way to determine correct exposure.
I've never used Ilfocolor, but I'm using my Gossen Variosix F for Black & 
White printing. Maybe it does work for color.
1) put a piece of clear, developed film in the enlarger. Set the meter to a
high speed (I'm using 2000 ASA) and taking the translucent half-dome off, take
a reading from the middle of where the printing paper will come. Let's say this
gives an EV of 7.0
2) Expose some test strips to get the maximum black let's say that this gives
you an exposure time of 60 seconds.
3) Expose some more test strips to determine the exposure time for the 
lightest gray (almost white). Let's say that this gives you an exposure time of
2 seconds.
You now have a calibration for your printing paper.
Putting the film that you want to print in the enlarger, you can use your 
meter to measure the EV for the darkest shadows, or the brighterst highlights,
and work from there.
If for instance, your meter reads an EV of 5.0 for the darkest shadows, then
you'd have to expose for 240 seconds to have this density printed as almost
black. If you meter is reading an EV of 2.0 for the brightest highlight, you'
have to expose for 64 seconds to print this has almost white.
Philippe Vanpeperstraete 
38.10        -< Night photography shooting and exposure tips >-  
> I am hoping someone can give me some advice on how to take Night scene such 
> as buildings and city lights at night. How do you work out expoure times etc.
It's not that tough once you know the steps... :)
Assumptions: you have (and are using) a steady tripod; you're using a camera
that allows you to set exposure variables manually (shutter, aperature and film
Step 1: Decide what in the final composition will be properly exposed. (For
night photography of a building, the contrast difference between the dark sky
and the building will likely exceed the film's latitude; you've got to choose
what will be exposed correctly.)
Step 2: Use the spot meter (in the camera) to measure the exposure. If you
don't have a spot meter, get more magnification of the subject by zooming in
and/or changing lenses to view the subject.
Step 3: Use a hand-held reflected light meter with 1-degree measurements! Don't
have one you say? Neither do I! Skip this a go to step 4.
Step 4: (Here's where the manual control of exposure settings comes in!) 
Because step two will (probably) not register on the meter, start manually
adjusting the exposure settings, counting each full stop as you go. Start with
the aperature (or shutter). When that runs out, use the other control (shutter
or aperature). If *that* runs out, start adjusting the film speed.
 For example, consider the following hypothetical picture: a view
 across water of a city scene with the horizon and buildings in the
 lower third with a lot of dark sky.
 I want a lot of depth of field (I decide on f/22). I want to use a
 slow film (ISO 25 for better enlargements). I also want a moderately
 wide view (focal length = 35mm). I set it up on the tripod, set 
 aperature priority exposure mode and drats! -- the meter reads
 I change lenses to my 300/5.6 (4 stops on the aperature!) and set the 
 metering mode to "spot" on the buildings. Still underexposed! I start
 increasing the speed of the film (pushing). ISO 50, 1 more stop, still
 underexposed. ISO 100, 200, 400 (3 more stops) and still underexposed.
 One more stop, 800 and the shutter speed settles on 1 second. Finally!
 I went through 6 stops of adjustment before the meter showed "okay".
 Put the 35mm lens back on, set the aperature back to f/22 and the film
 speed back to 25. Mentally add the stops back to the shutter speed,
 starting with 1 second:
 1 -> 2 -> 4 -> 8 -> 15 -> 30 -> 60 seconds!
Step 5: Add one more step of reciprocity failure. It's when the f-stop
relationship breaks down for very short or very long exposure times.
Step 6: Ignore the purist remarks about having changed lenses and how the 
different focal length distorted the reading. It's true, but we're just
starting out in this example! (Just kidding folks! :) ) But seriously, there
*are* many subtle factors that come into play.
Step 7: Set the shutter speed to "bulb" and press the shutter for 2 minutes! 
Use a cable release and time the exposure with your watch or good counting
skills (one-mississippi, two-mississippi, etc.).
Step 8: Print the results and let us know what you liked or didn't.
Dave Smith, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA  
Note: if exposure time is long moving objects may exhibit blur. This includes
stars and the moon. Moon significantly distorted if exposure time is longer
than several seconds.
1. Good advice, until you get to reciprocity failure. Best advice on this is 
to ask the film manufacturer - most produce leaflets / data sheets with such 
stuff. For good colour work you also need to use CC filters with some slide 
films - one more reason why I shoot colour as neg.
2. Always compensate for reciprocity by opening up the aperture rather than 
altering the time. Generally for 1 - 10 seconds try +1 stop, 20-100 seconds 
+2 stops. If you need a particular stop for depth of field, make this 
correction on a guessed exposure time at the start of your calculations.
Peter Marshall 

Although nothing is certain when you make broad generalizations, I have these
exposures to suggest to use as a guide when shooting the city lights at night.
You will be in the ballpark with these. They are all based on the sunny 16 rule
which states that a normal daylight exposure is always f16 at 1/iso. These
exposures are allowing more light in from the sunny 16 base exposure for your

Brightly lit buildings, such as a theatre district at night     6 stops more

Store windows at night                                          6 stops more

Brightly lit downtown street scenes at night                    7 stops more

Flood lit buildings, fountains, monuments at night             11 stops more

Distant view of the city skyline at night                      13 stops more

From: litsch@rain.org (David Litschel) Brooks Institute of Photography

38.11            -< E-Mail addresses within the RPS >-  
The following is from Kate Rouse (IT Officer of the Royal Photographic Society)
so should be correct. The general e-mail address for the Royal Photographic 
Society (RPS) is:

Individual departments also have an address, for example:

Also all staff have their own addresses based on their first names, eg.

The Photogrphic Journal can be contacted at:

The Journal of Photographic Science at:
from: Michael Pritchard 

=========================== end of section 38 ============================== 
                            PhotoForum (Internet)
by the way ... if you want to subscribe to the PhotoForum list for photo and
imaging educators, students and others interested in the topics that might be
discussed by such a group you can do so by sending mail to: 
with this text in the BODY of the mail: 
subscribe photoforum your-name-here
where it says your-name-here substitute your real name and then send message.
Also, there are a number of articles available from this server. Get to them
at the following URL: http://www.rit.edu/~andpph/articles.html

For info on a global databank of schools offering photography instruction go 
to: http://www.rit.edu/~andpph/database.html

FTP: You can also obtain most of these files also by Anonymous FTP from 
   vmsftp.rit.edu under pub/ritphoto/photoforum

WWW: You can access the PhotoForum Home Page on the WWW at the this address: