Join Smithsonian Gardens’ Living Collections Photographer, Hannele Lahti, as she builds on the tips from her previous webinar and shares project ideas to beat the winter blues.  Get ready to flex your creative muscles whether you are stuck indoors or braving the elements.  Open to shutterbugs of all levels and ages.

Q & A

For a beginner, what type of camera would you suggest? What camera do you use?
This is a question I receive all the time and it is one of the hardest to answer. It depends on a variety of factors: What are you going to use if for? Do you want a point & shoot or a camera with interchangeable lenses, i.e.DSLR or mirrorless? Do you want video capabilities? And of course, what is your budget?

I use Canon 5D series DSLR’s and have been happy with them. I am looking at mirrorless cameras now because the technology has improved greatly over the years and they are lighter.

All of the major camera brands have fantastic camera bodies out there right now. My advice is to pick one that feels right in your hands then invest in quality lenses.

Is there a hiking backpack you’d recommend for your photo gear?
This is very much a personal choice and it depends on how much gear you’re planning to take with you. I use a pack from Think Tank Photo and have been very happy with it.

Do you print out images on a digital inkjet printer or other device?
Yes, I use a large Epson printer to make prints.

Can an iPhone take black and white shots?
Yes, depending on the iPhone you have there is a filter button in the camera view.

You can also use the “edit” feature or a photo editing app to change a color image to a black and white one.

If you shoot a picture in black and white with yourcamerawould you get the same effect/quality if you shoot in color and then remove the color in Photoshop?
Yes, you can. The reason I like to photograph in the monochrome setting sometimes is it forces me to see the scene differently and it’s fun!

Where do you get the black backboard to take pictures inside?
I made it by taping black velvet cloth to apieceof foam core. Velvet absorbs light very well which helps you to achieve a rich black background. It cost me less than $10.

There is an equation that calculates the depth of field. What is it, or is there a link you can suggest where I can find it?
The equation calculates the amount of depth of field based on your lens focal length, circle of confusion size, distance to subject and aperture. There area number ofapps and online calculators out there, simply search DOF calculator.

Where did the red tones come from in the middle one of cyanotypes?
One of the kits I used, applied the cyanotype chemicals to a variety of colored watercolor papers.