Help! Page 2
Q. When I take pictures of flowers I occasionally use a white background, which comes out greyish, blueish. I am using professional film and a Nikon N80 SLR. The illumination is coming from the south and is reflected light from a building across the way. Can you give me some advice on getting correct exposure and color?
A. Pure white and rich, true black are sometimes difficult to obtain with color film, especially when the light is bounced around as reflected afternoon sunlight. I assume if the light is reflected off a nearby building then it is also coming through window glass, which could impart a tint as well. You say you are using professional film, but don't indicate whether it's color transparency film or color negative film for prints. If using the latter, you could have the lab reprint one of the pictures to see if they can rebalance it to your liking. Alternatively, you might want to use your own lighting, such as off-camera flash, possibly using bounce off a white card, ceiling, or wall, which should produce more pleasing soft lighting plus better white balance.
Lab For 220
Q. Do you have any suggestions for a lab that will process Fujicolor 220 film and burn the images to a disc? I have looked in your Photo Lab Showcase and tried a couple but was not able to find the info I wanted.
A. Have you tried contacting Fuji? You can reach them by mail, phone, or on the web at: Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc., 200 Summit Lake Dr., Valhalla, NY 10595; (800) 755-3854; www.fujifilmusa.com. In addition, many labs in our Photo Lab Showcase offer many more services than they can display in their ads; check their websites for a list of full services.
Q. I'm interested in finding someone who can repair a Kowa Six. Can you help?
A. One of the problems you will encounter is that though there are repair shops for Kowas many no longer have parts. One advertiser in our Shutterbug Service Directory did indicate they service Kowa in addition to other brands of medium format cameras: Ross Yerkes Camera Repair (342 Kirby St., Los Angeles, CA 90042; (323) 256-1018). A firm that advertises "repair when parts are no longer available" is Photography On Bald Mountain (113 Bald Mountain, Davenport, CA 95017; (831) 423-4465; www.baldmtn.com). When seeking repairs on older equipment such as your Kowa Six, be sure to contact the firm and explain your needs and get an estimate prior to sending the equipment to them. I'm sure you are aware that parts for your more than 30-year-old camera are probably in short supply today.
Q. I have read ads concerning softboxes and lights but I'm confused about voltage, amps, etc. I am starting a portrait studio and would appreciate a recommendation on a softbox (average or minimum wattage, voltage, amps, etc.) and strobe light. Any suggestions would be of great assistance to me.
A. I cannot begin to adequately answer your questions about softboxes and the various types of lights suitable for a new portrait studio in this column, so I'll recommend some resources on the web. Of course you can start with the Shutterbug site (www.shutterbug.com) which offers both tutorials and equipment reviews. Go to the Lighting section and the Tutorials and you'll find lots of information there. One site that specializes in lighting tips is www.photoflex.com. They discuss both continuous and electronic flash (strobe) lighting and the proper use of different types of light modification devices such as umbrellas and softboxes. Once you have read over some of this data you should be able to make a more informed decision about what lighting equipment might be best for your needs.
Pressure Plate Sought
Q. I have an older Pentax IQ 105WR and the little black pressure plate is damaged and fell out. Do you know where I might buy a new one? I can certainly put it in if I can find one.
A. I honestly don't know if the manufacturer or a repair facility will sell you a camera component or whether you would have to send your camera back for service. But here are some places to contact. First try the manufacturer, Pentax Imaging Company, at their Service and Repair Center, 16163 West 45th Dr., Unit H, Golden, CO 80403; (800) 877-0155; www.pentaximaging.com. If they cannot sell you this item, here are two firms that advertise in our monthly Shutterbug Service Directory that indicate they work on Pentax (as well as other brands of cameras): Camera Repair Japan (3435 Breckinridge Blvd., Ste. 130, Duluth, GA 30096; (888) 226-6678; www.camerarepairjapan.com) and Jürgen Kuschnik Photography (654 Shadow Lake Dr., Thousand Oaks, CA 91360; (805) 427-3929; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). I hope one of these can provide the part for you.
Q. I am looking for a camera insurance company to insure my equipment here in the US and for traveling.
A. If you have homeowners insurance you can ask your insurance agent to add a separate camera equipment floater to cover your itemized list of equipment. If you use your photo equipment for business purposes you might also want to add liability coverage just in case some accident happens while you are out using the equipment for producing pictures for sale. If you just use your equipment as a hobby the rates will be less than that used for business purposes. Just call your local insurance agent handling the coverage you now have and tell him what type of coverage you seek. Or check the Yellow Pages for insurance firms in your town and ask one or more of them for a camera insurance quote.