One of the most common questions I hear from people who are starting to get serious about 35-mm black-and-white photography is how to store their negatives in a convenient way to protect the film and provide a ready reference as to what's on them.

The system that I and many other professionals use to store 35-mm black-and-white negatives is to cut the negative strips into six-exposure lengths, which are then inserted into a plastic negative-holder page that holds 36 exposures to the page.

(The plastic pages I use are called Print File Negative Preservers, Style No. 35-6B manufactured by Photo Plastic Products, P.O. Box 507, Fairfax, Virginia 22030.)

The reason I like this product is that the plastic is extremely thin and I can make a contact print with the negatives in the plastic sleeves. I then file the negatives and the contact sheets in a loose-leaf binder on facing pages so the negative sheet and the back-to-back contacts correspond.

One flaw in the system is that only 30 negatives can be filed and proofed on an 8" by 10" sheet, but this is no great loss because I have a typed indentification list that I slip into the last row.

This system makes a protected 35-mm slide file complete with the identifying contact sheet alongside in a regular three-ring loose-leaf notebook that can be placed on a shelf, just like a regular book. Q: One of your readers said he was disappointed in his pictures taken in Alaska. Some years ago I made a trip to the far north and spent a fair amount of time picture-taking. I knew then that it would be my only chance for these particular pictures -- hence, I was extremely exposure-conscious. Here's what I learned and applied, to return with excellent pictures in both black-and-white and color.

I found that my light-meter readings fluctuated as much six stops in a period of 10 seconds. This was without moving clouds or other artificial changes. I came to the conclusion that the change in light was due to the varying density of the atmosphere through which the light from the sun must pass at a very low angle in this far-north area.

As a result, I set up my camera and framed my picture and set the exposure for the average reading and waited with light meter in one hand and the cable release in the other -- then snapped when the light meter agreed with my setting. Although I was using a 4 x 5, I believe the technique should work even more easily with an SLR 35-mm camera. A: I must say that your experience seems unique; I wonder if other photographers have had similar far-north exposure problems. Could it have been that your meter did not take in the same area as the camera lens and a slight change in the angle of holding gave you readings from lighter and darker areas? (I've had this result with a Spotmeter that took in only a three-degree angle and every time I shifted slightly I would get a different reading. It drove me crazy and my solution for this was the same as yours: I settled for the average.) Q: Followed the suggestion that you made to buy 5247 color film and sent $6 to M.S.I. Heritage Color Lab., P.O. Box 30730, Jamaica, New York to get four rolls of 36-exposure 5247 film. The check was cashed but so fat I haven't received my film despite repeated requests.

They did ask me to send proof of payment. In return I sent a letter stating the facts as well as the date of my check and the bank where my check had been cashed. But still no response and I'm out the $6. What do you suggest? A: I'm sorry about your experience and am publishing your letter as information for others.