Q. Since my sunglasses make everything sharp and clear in bright sunlight, and bring out all the colors very well, I was thinking that they would help my pictures, which sometimes are light and colorless.
The sunglasses don't fit over my camera, a Canon AE-1 Program, so a friend told me to look for a mauve filter. I have never seen such a thing and wonder if I should keep looking.
A. You are certainly on the right track. Filters can do lots for your pictures. I don't know of any specific mauve or light purple filter, but I can tell you that there are good polarizing filters that easily fit your camera.
A polarizing filter will work on your camera somewhat like your sunglasses work on your eyes. They cut down reflected light and allow all reflected light from a subject to be seen or photographed. I would also suggest a skylight or UV filter. Either of these will cut down ultraviolet light and perk up your pictures a lot.
Q. I was given an Olympus OM77 fully automatic 35mm camera. I like it but have a lot to learn about its use.
We are planning a fall vacation in Las Vegas and I need some help. What is the best way to take photos through the window of a plane? Part of the trip will be an air tour of the Grand Canyon, and we'll want to get lots of pictures to remember.
Also, what speed film should I use for this, and to get some night pictures of the strip in Vegas?
A. Keep that OM77 on automatic and shoot away.
Whether you're shooting from the window of a jetliner, a small prop plane or a helicopter, get close to the window but don't touch it. Any aircraft window will vibrate and you'll end up with shaky pictures. If you are in a small plane or helicopter, get the pilot to roll a bit, so that you have clear shots as you descend into the canyon.
I recommend ASA 400 film for general use, especially from aircraft. For lights at night, the extra speed will help, but if you don't carry a tripod, be sure that you brace the camera securely before you shoot. Rest it on a car, a bench or even roll up your jacket and use it to support the camera. Even with the ASA 400, shutter speed will be slow.
Q. On Columbus Day I'm going to undertake my biggest photographic challenge: taking pictures of the wedding of a family member. It will be a rather small church wedding and reception in the rectory.
I have a single-lens reflex camera with a 35-70mm zoom lens and a non-zoom 200mm f-4 lens. I will also be able to borrow another, similar camera, with a 50mm lens and flash.
I have been using Kodak Ektar 125 film a lot lately and thought I would stay with it. Can this film be pushed so that I can use slow speeds if the light in the church is dim? Is there anything else I should be aware of? Can you give me any shooting and subject suggestions? I want these pictures to come out as nice as those of a professional photographer.
A. The first thing to do is make some test rolls. They don't have to be fancy, just exposures to make sure both cameras and flash are working. For something this important I would change both the camera and flash batteries.
You have plenty of time to make some test shots in the church. Be sure your tests are made at the same time of day the wedding is planned. Don't test in the morning for an afternoon or evening wedding. This kind of testing will show you what speed film to use. If the church is dim, perhaps a candlelight ceremony, you may want to try some Ektar 1000 speed or some of the new Fuji HG 1600. Be sure to test with that 200mm; you can get some great shots from the back with it.
For the reception, I'd count mainly on flash and the 50mm lens. The Ektar 125 will be fine, but be sure you are in the recommended range of your flash. The film is flexible enough that you shouldn't have to push it. Take plenty of candids. Then the newlyweds can see all the friends and relatives who attended.
As for poses, don't be bound by tradition but remember there are certain poses that are expected. Make a list with the bride and groom of these so they can be organized and shot quickly. Just concentrate on those shots they want.
Most of all, shoot lots of pictures. They won't go to waste.
Write Carl Kramer c/o Weekend, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20071.