Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online
Beginner Questions
by Chuck McKern

With over 15 years of retail and professional experience Chuck thought he'd heard it all - until he took this job.

Send us your questions for either the Beginner or Advanced columns by clicking HERE.  Please include as much detail about the technique, camera, lens, or film as you can so Chuck can answer your questions. 

I'm mailing a couple of compact flash cards full of images. Will postal x-rays hurt the images on the cards?


m getting back into photography and I want to put together a black and white darkroom on a budget. I can't find complete kits for sale anymore. Does anyone still sell kits and what other things would you recommend?


Porter's Camera Store in Cedar Falls Iowa sells a kit for film developing and a kit for printing. The only thing you would need to add to the printing kit is the enlarger which they also sell. Anything else that you may want would be a personal choice (and there are always a lot of cool things to want!). You can visit them at

Even if you don't order from them I'd recommend that you get on their mailing list since they have all kinds of stuff for the photographer/darkroom enthusiast some of which is hard to find.

How do you copyright a group of photos? 

Thank you,
Reggie Avans

Copyrighting photographs is easy.  All the information and forms you need can be found on the web site for the Library of Congress, U.S. Copyright Office, at

The mailing address for the office is: 

Library of Congress 
Copyright Office 
101 Independence Avenue S.E.
Washington, D.C. 

All I hear about anymore is digital photography. But I'm quite happy with my old Pentax K1000. How much longer will I be able to get film for it.

Thank you,

You should be able to get film for the foreseeable future. It's true that camera companies are focusing their energy on digital. But there are millions of film cameras out there and Fuji, Kodak and Agfa are going to continue to sell film for those cameras because it's profitable to do so. I can't predict what will happen in 30 years. But for now you should be fine. Keep enjoying your K1000.

I recently shot about 30 images using my digital camera set to black and white mode. The images look great on my computer screen. But when I got my prints back they all had a funny bluish tint to them. They definitely weren't black and white. What did I do wrong?

Mike D.

It sounds like you didn't do anything wrong - but your lab did. Most labs are set up for color printing and they see very little black and white work (compared to the volume of color work). This is especially true if you're using a drug store or department store to process your prints. It sounds like their machines weren't calibrated properly for digital black and white printing. I would take the prints back to the lab and explain to the manager why you're unhappy and ask to have your images reprinted. 

I recently dropped my Promaster 70-300mm lens and cracked the front element. I've had this lens for about 10 years and I really like it. Is there any way to repair it?


I'd start looking at new lenses. The cost of the repair will most likely be more than the cost of a new lens.


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