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Re: Topic=Photographing Hostas

Clyde and all,
Ok, OK!  I printed your questionnaire with every intention of answering your
points of interest.  Then I became intimidated by the answers of the
'professionals' among us.  I decided to do more listening than talking.  I am
a rank amateur who began to take photos of hostas at the first AHS convention
that I attended with my Sweet white-haired Mother, Rita, in Raleigh 1991. The
sole purpose of taking those first photos was to be able to identify varieties
of hosta. I owned a dozen hosta varieties and couldn't recognize any of them
by sight.  I took photos with my first 35 mm automatic Minolta camera, and the
real key to my success.....Reet wrote down the name on each label as we walked
around the gardens.  

After a couple years of frustration at getting fuzzy results because I wanted
to get close ups with a camera lens that was not suited for the job, I
upgraded to my second Minolta camera and purchased it with lenses that I felt
would give me the most bang for my buck.  So here is the current skinny on the
answers to your burning questions:

Here are my questions:

What kind of camera do you use?  Minolta Maxxum 450si

Do you put it on Auto  or do you use manual settings?  Always AUTO

What is your favorite speed of film, generally?  Kodac Gold Max 800

What is your favorite brand of film?  Kodac Gold Max 

Do you ever use Professional film---if so, what kind? No

Where do you focus in taking a pic of a clump? At front of clump, 1/3 back,
1/2 back at back of clump?  I take most of my photos from the top.  I don't
take many long shots because I don't like the way my long shots turn out.  I
did learn from a Ralph Keene photography talk that for best results...focus on
something 1/3 of the way into the shot.

Do you take multiple shots at different angles?  Occasionally

Do you use a flash? If so, when?   Occasionally  when I am nearly out of light
and I am still trying to get photos in someone's garden.

Do you prefer transparencies or print?  Prints.  I have been encouraged to
take slides for talks, but I can't figure out how to do both successfully.

Do you ever use 1000 ASA?If so, under what conditions?  No.
Do you use various lenses? Do you ever use a wide angle lens?  No wide angle.
The basic lens for overall shots...Promaster AF 28-200mm (I have no idea what
that means!) 

Is there one lens you prefer over others? And for most of my close shots I use
a screw on close up adapter lens for 28-200. The camera shop clerk said it
would allow me to get physically closer to the subject and keep the subject in
focus. It screws onto the end of the above lens and is the approx. size of the
lens cap.

Have you ever put cardboard or such behind a clump in order to get good
contrast?  No but I have put dead voles on solid backgrounds when I was posing
them as if they were Elle McPhereson.  I always pay attention to how the shot
looks in the view finder.  I try not to have feet or people or poles or labels
in my shots.  If this means lying down on the ground I do that.

What do you do with a subject that is in half sun and half shade? I carry a
light colored golf umbrella with me and have someone hold it so that the plant
is all SHADED.  I sometimes have to elicit the help of many to stand shoulder
to shoulder to block out the sun  by casting a shadow on the subject plant.

Have you ever taken negatives back to developer to redo pix because they are
too blue, too green, too light, too dark, etc.? Yes. All of the photos taken
in Indy were too yellow.  I had them all redone when I got home.

Any luck if you have done?  Yes. But to insure success I left a photo album
with the proper coloration of hosta photos in it and they said they would use
it as a guide.  It worked beautifully!

Do you find that digital cameras are better than the others?  I have been
anxious to get a digital camera but have been told by my computer guru, who
has seen my hosta photos, that they have not perfected the resolution of them
enough yet so that I would be happy with the results.  I take mostly close ups
with as much detail as I can achieve.

What are your secrets in getting good results?  Compose the picture as much as
possible.  Pay attention to what I see in my view finder. Try and eliminate
all sun in the photo.  When possible I take photos in my own garden on days
with a bright overcast. Take a photo with as much detail as I can get and keep
it in focus....close ups.   Try and remove any debris from the leaves and
surrounding the plant.  Try and get the entire plant into the shot without
cutting off leaf edges.   But my best secret....Reet!  She has kept such good
records over the years that we have only lost the name of ONE plant that we
couldn't identify.

This has been a very good subject and I have appreciated everyone's input.
Now I will go back to listening to those who know alot more than I do!

Carol in Ct. z6/5
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