Q I am using filters and haven't been able to find a good book explaining the best way to use them. I have a spot diffuser, a full fog, a three-image and cross filter. Can you suggest any books that would explain how to use all of these?
A "Using Filters," a book in the Kodak Workshop Series, is probably the best on the market. The book is current, well written and offers easy explanations to the problems encountered when using filters. It explains how filters work, which filters are best for black and white or color, using filters with flash, special-effects filters and even has a chapter on how to make your own filters. Best of all, the book is relatively inexpensive with a $9.95 price tag for its 96 pages.
Most people underestimate the value of filters. They can radically change the quality of your images and help you out of some difficult shooting situations.
One of the best filters to have in a camera bag is a polarizing filter, which cuts down reflections from non-metallic surfaces such as glass and water. It also helps to darken a blue sky, causing the white clouds to jump out of your picture. A polarizing filter also helps to saturate colors when using color film.
Remember, filters do change the exposure settings. If you are getting a reading through the lens, the adjustment will be made for you. However, if you are using a hand-held meter, you will have to compensate.
Filters are also a very inexpensive way to protect a very expensive lens. You should have a skylight or UV (ultraviolet) filter on your lens to protect it from getting scratched. It's a lot cheaper to replace a $10 filter than a $500 lens. Some photographers don't believe in putting a cheap filter on an expensive lens but most photographers do use the filters.
Q I am interested in taking high school football game pictures. I'm wondering what type of lens works best during night games. Also, what type of film should I use? I currently own a Canon Ftb and have a Vivitar 70-210 zoom with an f-stop of 2.8-4.0. Will this lens work? If not, what is the best lens to use?
A You've picked a good time to start shooting sports at night. Kodak has recently introduced a black-and-white film called P3200. It's designed to be shot at film speeds from 800 EI (exposure index ASA or ISO) to 12,500. The film has set new standards for shooting in low-light situations.
The major improvement is its ability to produce a negative with outstanding shadow detail considering the contrasting lighting situations that low light usually produces. The image may still be grainy, but the negative is much easier to print. The negative looks as if it were shot at a film speed of 400. As for color, the Fuji 1600 or Kodacolor 1000 print film should best suit your needs. Films with these high speeds are needed in order to stop the action without blurring the image. It also allows you to use longer lenses, which are traditionally slower than your 50-millimeter lens.
A lens of at least 200-mm. is needed to bring the action in close. Your 70-210 zoom should bring you moderate success in shooting football from the sidelines. If you are shooting from the stands you definitely need a longer lens.
At most stadiums in Orange County, you will need to shoot at 1/125th of a second at f-4 with the film rated at 1600. Still, stopping the action at that shutter speed can be difficult as some parts of the field are better lit than others.
If you get serious about shooting football at night, most professionals use a 300-mm lens with an f-stop of 2.8. This allows them to shoot at 1/250th of a second or even faster to freeze the action.