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ski photos. what film speed?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
i'm no photographer. i can compose well enough but know ZILCH when it gets beyond that.
too often on my shots, sunny days look not so sunny. other exposure issues.
what film speed do YOU use? i've got a very basic 35mm, nothing fancy at all.
for sunny days? overcast?


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 12, 2002 09:59 AM: Message edited 1 time, by ryan ]</font>
post #2 of 19
I've been using Kodak Max 400 it works in most light conditions and I find the colours to be just as amazing as what I saw myself. Very happy indeedy. Haven't used it yet for any fast skiing photos so can't help you on that one.
post #3 of 19
Ott knows better than I.

I use Kodak 400 MAX
30-80mm lens with a polarized filter.

It freeses action crystal clear and I can also stop down to f22 for awesome depth on the scenery.
post #4 of 19
Before I went digital, I used between ISO 50 and 100. Unless you are planning to shoot racers going past, in which case go for 200 max.
Snow is very bright to a camera. If you are shooting people, and want to see their faces, use the backlight facility (if your camera has it), or switch the flash on. For scenery etc, just shoot as normal.

That's my thoughts


Oh, and this is my still equipment:
Canon AV-1 SLR with 28-80, 80-200 & 400mm lenses, Cobra flash gun
Konica Z-up 80 Compact
Box Brownie
Old Kodak 35mm
120 (roll) camera (can't even remember make)
Canon Digital Ixus
post #5 of 19
Do you have a PHD camera (Push here dummy) or a camera that allows some manual settings.

I find that if you have a camera that allows for some adjustment using 400ASA film and setting the camera for 320 or even 200 helps.

Some Cameras have a - + to adjust exposure settings. You want to fool the camera into thinking it needs to keep the shutter open longer or (over expose) the film. What is happening is the Camera meters for an Average light across the whole picture. Since Snow is very bright (duh) it overpowers things that are on the snow so the camera gets an average of light to be higher so it closes the lense too quickly and thus a dark picture.

The other option is if you have program settings, set the camera for "back light" pictures. Sometimes the program for backlight does a good job of compensating for bright snow.

Just some thoughts.

post #6 of 19
even if you have a fairly basic camera, sometimes you can fool the camera into asking you to set your ASA.. (film speed) if you put black tape (electrical tape only because it's usually pretty thin) over the silver/black boxes on the film canister, then the camera can't read the film speed. If it is not too "idiot proof" it should ask you to set the speed. then set it lower than it's rated. This will make the pictures brighter.

Don't forget that you have done this because when you take other than snow shots everything will get over exposed.
post #7 of 19
duh. answer the question dchan,

I usually shoot with 100-200 speed film. I however shoot with a manual camera so I can control all the settings.

Or I shoot digital with a backlight program..
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
No, that's ALL good to know, dchan. will keep all this stuff in mind.
yeah, most basic occurrence is getting my photos back and saying, "man, there was more sun than THAT."
plan to shoot some vid also. hopefully, between the one and the other, i'll get some stuff worth posting here.

edit: YES, i am THAT kind of "PHD."

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 12, 2002 09:24 AM: Message edited 1 time, by ryan ]</font>
post #9 of 19
if you have a light meter and can adjust your aperture and shutter speed... point the camera at some (non-reflective) surface w/ approx 50% gray (bluejeans work well) and adjust aperture and/or shutter speed according to the light meter. take your pictures w/ that setting. this might help w/ your 'dark day' probs...

i generally use 100-200...i don't take many action shots.
post #10 of 19
If you are shooting with a manual camera you have the ability to improve your exposures rather easily by following a few simple things. If you have a "smarter" camera it gets a bit more difictult.

First is understand what element of your picture you want the correct exposure on. You eyes can see light in a range of say 1-1000 where 1 is looking at the sun and 1000 is the deepest shadow in a scene, film is able to capture light in a range of about 1-25. So if you point it at the sun, you will have only 25 steps darker left, or if you point it at a shadow you will only have 25 step lighter left. So if a face is 250 steps lighter than the shadow you have no chance of seeing detail in both. This is why you may get a picture with a good exposure on one subject but the back ground is washed out, or vise versa. Take a picture of the sunset and everything in front of it is silouetted. This is the key to understanding how to take pictures in the snow. It's not about film speed. Actually the higher the speed the less range of light it is capable of capturing, this is called contrast.

Your meter is trying to average any scene you point it at. So you have to prioritize what in the picture you want to get exposed correctly. If you are taking a picture of your girl friend standing on the slope with the sun behind her, you are probably wanting to be able to see her face. In order to do this you have to live with a very light, or washed out back ground, (Or use a fill flash, and expose for the back ground). If you are standing 10 feet away from her, you point your camera at her and take the picture, your meter will be overwelmed by the bright back ground, just think of the percentage of the total picture that is her face compared to everything else in the picture. A basic photo 101 solution that will work every time is to fill the frame with main subject and meter there. In other words walk up and stick that camera in your girl friends face get the camera set to that exposure, walk back and then shoot, you will have a perfectly exposed face. Another way to duplicate this trick is to take your glove off, put you hand in the same relative position to the sun as your girlfriends face, get a reading off your hand and then shoot the original picture. You can use this trick in more situations then you will realize.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 12, 2002 09:34 AM: Message edited 1 time, by powderhound ]</font>
post #11 of 19
What is the make/model of the camera? if you don't mind us asking. A lot of the other info coming in is great if you have a camera with manual controls but most of the "point and shoots" don't.

Try the tape over the "barcode" on the film canister and see if the camera lets you manually set the film speed. try a short roll at different settings (If it works, you can probably change the film speed on the fly) and keep track of what setting you used. ie: pictures 1-5 are 100asa, 6-10 are 160, 10-15 are 200, etc and see which ones come out best. then you can get a better idea what the settings you like are.

and There's always photoshop...
post #12 of 19
Without question the best film for shooting outdoors on sunny days is Fuji Velvia (speed 50). This film is magical in bringing out rich colors, no film on the market can touch it.

On cloudy days I'd probably go with Fuji Provia (speed 100) which actually produces images with slightly finer grain than Velvia, but does not have as rich of color saturation.

Both of these are slide films, which are the best for getting great color. Also, these are the top of the line professional films and are not cheap, so I recommend ordering from NY mail order photo shops (such as B&H).
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

a samsung (compact, w/zoom), maybe five years old. has a few "smart" features but nothing extravagant. one of those platinum-looking dealies.

thanks, everyone!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 12, 2002 10:47 AM: Message edited 1 time, by ryan ]</font>
post #14 of 19
I use polaroid remnants in my foil pinhole camera mounted in an old Quaker Oats container. They never come out very sharp no matter what I do, so film speed isn't an issue.
post #15 of 19
agreed AC Fuji Velvia is wonderful film.
I keep several rolls in the fridge.
post #16 of 19
Ryan, you got a lot of good advice which I suspect doesn't mean much to you. A good bet is to take the camera into a camera store and let someone experienced (most salespeople there are not, but some are) look at the camera to actually see what it can do, we are just guessing unless you can describe all the features it has.

Now my best advice. Read the manual that came with the camera. It is the rare instruction book which does not address what to do in different exposure situations.

As far as film speed, the instruction book should also be of help. ISO 50 film will not do very well if you have a lens like many point-and-shoot cameras have where the maximum aperture is f/16 with a lens diameter the size of your fingernail.

Otherwise ISO 100-400 is OK.

post #17 of 19
I use a canon a-1 with a 200 mm tele lense and f/stop it down to 16 with 800 speed film an use it to "freeze" highschool longjumpers mid-leap in perfect clarity. It works well for me but I avoid kodak. I hear it has red coloring added and I am disturbed to think what I see ain't what I'll get. I'd stick with a fuji or agfa 800 if I were you.
post #18 of 19
Maybe I missed it, but looking quickly over this thread, I didn't see any mention of whether Ryan was using print or slide film. However, from his statement that he is not into the technical side of photography, I suspect that he is likely using print film.

If this is true, I would suggest that the simplest solution to his exposure problems would be for him to take his processed film back to the store where they were done, and have them reprint the selected frames with more attention to making snow white not grey. If a person is the main subject and occupies a significant fraction of the frame, his skin tones should be of the correct brightness and not be dark, etc. etc.

While the comments about increasing the exposure of the camera in snow are absolutely correct, (a) print film has enough latitude so that most people will barely see a change if an underexposed shot is printed to the same density as a properly exposed shot, and (b) even if you get the exposure perfect at the camera, the exposure meter in automated printing machines can be fooled just as easily and just as much by lots of snow in the frame.

I'll bet that if he takes a few of his most important (but apparently underexposed) shots back and complains loudly enough, he will be amazed at how much they can improve them.

Unfortunately, if they are able to do this, from then on, he should take his work to another lab, since you now know without a doubt that they run their printer on full auto without any human looking at each frame and doing manual corrections when needed.

Hope this helps,

Tom / PM
post #19 of 19
Slap my wrists for missing the important question:
What are you taking photos of?

Is it mainly people standing/moving slowly
or is it action shots - professional racing/jumping etc?

My original comments were based on it being standing & slow movement, rather than High speed. If you are shooting sports, then go for something with a higher ISO value, maybe 400.
Would also agree about the Velvia. Years ago I used Kodak Ektar, but I'm not sure if it's still around, it is stronger in the reds. Fuji film tends to be more neutral, perhaps slightly balanced towards blue/green, which is preferable for skiing.

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