Q. I would like to take some action shots from inside my car when it is on the race track.
I don't think it would be any big deal to attach my camera to the roll bar and have the exposure, focus, etc. all set and ready to go. This would work for one frame (provided I had a cable release about 6 feet long), but I would like to take a lot of exposures. My motor drive does not have a cable-release-compatible trigger button. It is a Nikon motor drive.
Do you know any way around these problems? How to cable-release the camera, where to find one that long? If set up the way I'm thinking, it should prove no distraction at all to work, as the cable release would be taped to the shifter -- where your right hand will be most of the time anyway.
Any help would be appreciated.
A. You can do it!
Buy an MC-10 cord. It's 10 feet long and you can tape it to your motor dive. It costs about $35. Run the rest of the cable down to the shifter. There's enough of it so that it won't get in the way or tangle.
A strong word of caution: This ain't easy!
I first tried this type of shooting at Indianapolis many years ago. Later, I tried it at Old Dominion at Manassas. The biggest problem I had was aiming the camera properly. If you hang it high, you tend to aim the lens too low. If you mount it on the dash, you tend to shoot too high. The best was the high-mount with the camera pointed down lower than you'd think necessary. Try it, but you should figure on making some test rolls. I'll be interested in hearing how you make out. TELE TALES
Q. Many experts, including you, seem to think that tele-extenders used to double the focal length of a lens aren't any good. Yet a pal of mine loaned me one that she had recently purchased, and it worked fine on my Canon AE1-program with a zoom lens. Neither the tele- extender nor the lens was made by Canon. What's the pitch?
A. What I said was that zoom lenses had all but overtaken the need for tele-extender use. However, there are now a couple of units that are worth having.
Both Vivitar and Tokina make devices that can effectively double the focal length of your lens. They are different because they contain seven optical elements instead of the usual four. This is a genuine improvement that makes for easier focusing and sharper results.
The interesting thing about the Vivitar in particular is that it has a dual purpose. You can focus down for macro shots (1:1 life-sized images) or zoom to infinity and double your focal length!
The Vivitar and Tokina "doublers" sell for about $85, and are worth looking at. TERMS OF ART
Q. Science is catching up to me. I just don't understand some of the references in modern photography. Can you tell me what AE Program means? What does DX indicate? What are they talking about when they say ISO?
A. AE Program means automatic exposure program. This is probably the most marvelous of all the modern, high-tech advancements in photography. Before AE, a photographer had to balance the light striking the film. More light -- more exposure; less light -- deeper shadows. Balance was achieved by varying the shutter speed and opening and closing the iris on the lens. Exposure and focus had to be uppermost in a photographer's mind.
Now a photographer simply "programs" his camera and can be reasonably sure that his exposure will be correct. There's more time to think about composing the picture. The next step is automatic focusing, and that's about here too.
As to DX and ISO: ISO and the number that follows represent the speed of the film. ISO 50 is slower than ISO 400. The higher ISO numbers are best for shooting in lower light levels. DX is the new method of setting the ISO on a camera. It's automatic, so the film speed is always correct.
ISO, by the way, stands for International Standard Organization, and replaces ASA, American Standard Association.