Q - I am very interested in joining a camera club. Could you give me a rundown on the reputable clubs in my area?
A - Write to the camera club editor of Petersen's Photographic Magazine at 8490 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, Ca. 90069. They will send you the addresses of camera clubs near you anywhere in the U.S. In your request list the ZIP code numbers of the area surrounding your mailing address in case they don't have one in your immediate zone, and be sure to include a stamped self-addressed envelope.
Q - I am an artist and use slides of my work frequently. What is the best way to photograph oil and acrylic paintings?
A - The simplest way is out of doors in the open shade of an overhanging roof or porch. Use a skylight filter to correct for the blueness of the shade and take a close-up meter reading of a middle-toned area of the painting. You may have some trouble with glare on the surface if the painting is varnished or has a glossy finish. You may have some trouble with glare on the surface if the painting in varnished or has gloosy finish. You can reduce the surface glare by holding a large piece of dull-finished black cloth behind the camera. If you still get sky glare try moving the painting at different angles to the light direction or using a polarizing filter.
The best way to copy paintings is indoors with a controlled light source covered by polarizing screen filters and a polarizing filter over the lens as well.
Polarizing the light source and using a polarizing filter is the only way to completely eliminate glare.
Q - A friend was telling me of a new camera that focuses itself by radar. What's he talking about?
A - Polaroid has just announced that its new SX-70 camera will have "ultrasonic echo ranging" to focus the camera automatically. The way it works is this: When the electronic trigger is depressed a transmitter sends out an inaudible beep, a millisecond long. At the same time, a clock mechanism starts to time the distance measurement of the transmitted sound. It then stores this information in an accumulator.
After the pulses have been sent, the system reverses itself and, instead of sending, becomes a receiver for the echo that bounces off the picture target. The echo signals the clock to stop. At this time a focus motor turns the lens to the position determined by this information and a solenoid stops the lens at the precise focus. And that's not all - in that fraction of a second when your finger depresses the button, all the other functions continue so that an instant finished print is ejected and the focusing mechanism returns to ready position for the next shot.
This all sounds great, and photographers can use all the help they can get, but it leads one to question the function of a photographer. It used to be that you had to know a lot about cameras, films and lab work. Today none of this is really necessary. It's all done for you. All you have to do is read the instructions. Now everyone can shoot a perfect picture - technically, that is. What can never be automated is the individual behind the camera. The individual choice of position, timing and the composition of the elements of the picture. or an it? I'm beginning to wonder.