Q. Every time I develop my film, the negatives seem to come out flat and look very thin. I try to be consistent, but my results vary a great deal. What do you suggest I do?
A. There could be several resaons your film at times appears underdeveloped. First, check every detail from the start of the picture-taking to the developing stage, and write down every step. Then check your list to see if you skipped any procedure. If that checks out, the your problem could be exhausted developer. Make sure not to use the same developer over and over without proper replenishment. Log the rolls you develop in it. Also check the developer temperature: Cold developer produces the same underdeveloped look. Carefully check all the manufacturer's directions.
Q. I would like to know how to obtain slow-motion results with my movie camera. Could appreaciate you explain simply how to do this?
A. An effective way to achieve slow motion is to double your frames-per-second (fps) when you shoot. But project the same scene at the normal speed. Let's assume you are shooting at 24 fps. In order to get the slow-motion effect, increase your movie camera speed to 48 fps. Return to 24 fps at the end of the scene you wanted in slow motion. When you project that at your normal projection speed, the action will appear at half-speed, making it look like slow motion. Some projectors have a slow, normal and fast speed control, and by setting the projector speed at slow it will somewhat give you a slow-motion effect. I prefer shooting at a faster fps rate for better control of the action.
Q. Is it important to use a motor drive when taking pictures? I don't have one but plan to buy one. When I do, I'd like to know the type of pictures it would be best used for.
A. Motor drives are most effective when used for sports photos, sequence photography and fast-action news pictures. For general picture-taking, I would advise using it only when absolutely necessary. I'm not against using motor drives -- every professional photographer, at least, should have one -- but it's use should be very planned. Don't abuse it and bang away like a machine gun; if you do, you could end up with a number of repetitious exposures. George Bernard Shaw once wrote: "The photographer is like a codfish that lays 100,000 eggs in the hope that one will bear fruition."