Q. I would appreciate information about taking photos in the Canadian Rockies and Alaska this summer.
Do you recommend black and white or color film for mountain scenery, snow, ice, etc.? What stops do I use for black and white? Are there special precautions to take for what I anticipate will be very bright and glaring light?
A. Here are some thoughts for your trip:
Be sure you take any extra lenses you have. You'll find a range of shooting from wide angle to telephoto. Make sure each lens is covered with a UV filter. This not only serves as protection for expensive lenses, but also reduces ultraviolet light so that your pictures, black and white or color, look more natural.
As to your choice of film, I say shoot what you have been shooting. If you like black and white, fine; with it you can make some rewarding images.
No matter what film you choose, take both some fast (IS0 400) and some slow (ISO 50 or 100). This will give you a range that will handle most of what you see. For correct f-stop, trust your camera's meter. Just be sure that you shoot a couple of test rolls before you leave.
Q. Would you please comment on the quality differences one can expect from a custom processor's handiwork compared to that of a mass processor (drug stores, supermarkets and camera stores)?
I know you get what you pay for, but what are the criteria to consider in spending money for custom work, and the secret, if any, of finding competent and reasonably priced custom shops without heavy initial investment in time, money and unsatisfactory experiences?
A. No matter who does it or how your film is processed, you can and should expect excellent, satisfying results. If not, don't accept them.
I have found the "mass" processors to be more than acceptable. Most of the color negative film I shoot is processed this way. It's inexpensive and fast. I also use the one-hour labs a good bit. You get more than just speed; I have found that many of the people who run these machines are very good at their job.
There is nothing, however, to compare to a print, made by a real person, to achieve a special, desired effect. For this I prefer to do my own; that failing, I have used several custom labs with great success but at considerable expense.
The criteria for using such a lab must be your own. You have to decide how important the particular image is to you and how you want to display or reproduce it.
There are no shortcuts in finding a lab you like. You learn by seeing results. SINCE THEY HAVE been on the market, I have enjoyed using cameras such as the Fuji Quicksnap and the Kodak Stretch. My only reservation has been that, since they are disposable cameras, I worried about all that plastic and non-recyclable junk involved.
But now Fuji and Kodak have announced a recycling program for these cameras. When you take your Fuji Quicksnap or Kodak Fling 35, Stretch 35 or Weekend 35 in for processing, participating photo finishers will send the empty shells to collection centers. The returned material will be used for the construction of new cameras.
FEEDBACK: Thanks to everyone who sent me information about processing 3-D pictures. I spoke to a representative of Nishika Customer Service in Henderson, Nev. They handle processing of Nimslo and Nishika 3-D pictures. They quoted me a price of 99 cents per print, $2.25 postage and handling for the first roll, and $1 extra for each additional roll. I was told that turnaround time is three working days. The address is One Nishika Dr., Henderson, NV 89014.
Write Carl Kramer c/o Weekend, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20071.