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Photo tips

Some additional photo tips.. (Hey, I'm prepping a talk about photography,
I gotta open my mouth!)

> From: "Matthew Paul Rhoten" <mrhoten at surly_org>
> Subject: photos of nutrient deficiency symptoms

> In case people on the list are tooling up to contribute pictures, here are
> some problems I've run into, with suggestions for how to get around them:
> - - Inadequate detail. Ever tried to photograph a four foot long "giant val"
> leaf? Since we don't really care about esthetics when depicting nutrient
> deficiencies, heck, chop up the leaf into pieces and lay them out next to
> each other! If you're trying to photograph something wrong with your plant,
> yank a leaf depicting the problem out of the tank, and plonk it on your
> kitchen counter where you can get decent light on it and a macro lens right
> up against it for some nice closeups.

I would also stress the need for getting in as close as possible,
especially if you're using a limited-resolution medium, such as
digital camera or fixed-focus camera.  This insight came from watching
badly- shot video of people's tanks, where you could see little specks
swimming around, and things that might have looked like plants if you
could just get a better look at them.  Also looking at snapshots of
people where you can barely see their face because they've been taken
too far back...  I think we just have a tendency to see things
"bigger" through the viewfinder when taking the picture, and we have
to overcome the instinct and think about how the final thing will look
as a tiny print.

If you don't have a macro lens, a close-up filter set ($25-50 retail) can
do a quite passable job.

I mount my flash on a cord so I can take pictures with the light off-angle.
May or may not be applicable to shots out of the aquarium.  Certainly not
applicable if you are using a macro ring flash (lucky!).

> - - Photo lab color correction. I'm now using a Macbeth Color Checker to help
> out the tech at the lab, but as these are $40 or so you might just want to
> be careful about lighting (in sum: use a flash) and ask your photo lab not
> to color correct. Photo labs do a great job if they can see some skin tone
> or white to zero in on, but boy howdy when presented with a giant field of
> green they can wreak some damage.

Alternative: take slides.  They can't color-correct slides.  And when they 
print them, they have a handy reference in front of them. They
can't exposure-correct slides either, so bracket well at first.

  - Erik

Erik Olson				
eriko at wrq.com