For color slides with fluorescent light, a daylight
type of film with the appropriate filter is best. Tungsten
film usually produces slides with too much blue or green
when made with fluorescent light.
As discussed in chapter 3, the use of filters for color
photography helps to overcome the deficiency of red
light in fluorescent lamps. Always consult the
Photo-Lab Index for the best film filter combinations to
Pictures Outdoors at Night
Outdoor night scenes usually include large areas of
darkness broken by smaller areas of light from
buildings, signs, and streetlights. Pictures of outdoor
scenes are quite easy to make because good results are
obtainable over a wide range of exposures. Using short
exposures emphasizes well-lit areas by preserving the
highlight detail, while the shadow areas are dark
because of underexposure. Long exposures help retain
the detail of the dark areas, while highlight detail is lost
because of overexposure.
Large, dark areas in night scenes make it difficult to
make accurate exposure meter readings from your
camera position. The best meter reading results are
obtained when you take closeup readings of important
Color outdoor pictures at night can be made on
either daylight or tungsten-type films. Pictures made on
daylight film have a warm, yellow-red appearance.
Those made on tungsten film have a colder more natural
look; however, both films provide pleasing results, so it
is a matter of personal preference which you use.
A good time to make outdoor night color pictures is
just before it gets completely dark. At this time, some
rich blue (or even orange) is in the sky. This deep color
at dusk gives a dramatic background to your pictures.
Neon signs, streetlights, and building lights make bright
subjects for your pictures. At night, right after it stops
raining and everything is still wet, is another good time
to make outdoor pictures. The lights in the scene
produce many colorful reflections on the wet pavement,
adding interest to what may otherwise be a lifeless, dull
Many buildings look rather ordinary in daylight, but
at night, they are often interestingly lighted. Try
photographing the hangar at night, with the lights on and
the hangar doors open. Also, your ship at night,
especially a rainy night may make a very striking
Outdoor events that take place at night in a sports
stadium are usually well-lighted and make excellent
subjects for existing light pictures. Most sports stadiums
(as well as streets) are illuminated by mercury-vapor
lamps that look blue-green in color when compared to
tungsten lamps. Your best color pictures made under
mercury-vapor lighting will be shot on daylight color
film, although they will appear bluish green because the
lights are deficient in red.
Tips for existing light photography are as follows:
Carry a flashlight so you can see to make camera
If you do not have an exposure meter or cannot
get a good reading, bracket your exposure.
Focus carefully; depth of field is shallow at the
wide apertures required for existing light
When you have a scene illuminated by a
combination of light sources, use the type of
color film recommended for the predominant
For pictures of fireworks, support your camera
on a tripod, focus at infinity, and aim the camera
toward the sky area where the display will take
place. Open the shutter for several bursts.
ELECTRONIC FLASH LIGHTING
In situations where there is little or no light
available, a portable electronic flash unit is an invaluable
piece of photographic equipment. With fast films and
long exposures, you may be able to shoot existing light
pictures, providing your subject remains still long
enough. Although you can certainly get better lighting
control with elaborate photographic lights, the
simplicity and portability of electronic flash is
Electronic flash provides an excellent source of
artificial light for exposing black-and-white and color
daylight-balanced film. Light from an electronic flash
unit (strobe) is characterized by softness, short duration,
and color balance, approximating that of daylight.
By measuring the amount of light that actually
reaches an object or scene, you can obtain a numerical
value that can be converted directly into a flash guide
number. The numerical value is the light output rating
of an electronic flash unit measured in beam
candlepower-seconds (BCPS) or more correctly,
effective candlepower-seconds (ECPS).
Every electronic flash unit is assigned a guide
number as a measure of its light output or power. The
higher the guide number, the greater the light output.
Guide numbers for various film speeds are usually