Q - I just returned from a trip to Hawaii and when I had my films developed, they all turned out black. The camera was in my hand luggage and went through the X-ray and I think that's what ruined my film. Why can't the airport inspectors give out lead-lined bags to send your film through, which can be returned after inspection?

A - This sounds like a great idea. Why dont't they? I would like to hear from the other side of this controversy.

Q - Where should I take my meter reading for a face lighted by candlelight?

A - Take your reading directly from the highlight area of the face by moving in close, using a spot meter, or taking the reading through a telephoto. Be sure the candle flame is not in your metered area - otherwise it will affect the meter reading, resulting in the underexposure of the face.

Q - I have trouble getting sharp pictures with my 400mm lens even though I use a tripod. I think it's a vibration problem. What can I do about it?

A - Long lenses can be difficult, especially if there ais wind or if you accidentally move the camera when depressing the shutter release. Even the mirror-return vibration can cause movement. In a wind, use sandbags or anything heavy against the tripod legs to brace them. Use a cable release to trip the shutter rather than pushing downon the shutter release with your fingers. Lock up the mirror after you focus, to prevent jarring.

Of course you won't be able to use these techniques if you are shooting action. For these shots, the best bet to keep steady isto use a shoulder brace, or improvise a chestpod with a small table-top tripod.