08 Oct Growing Photographic Avocados
Note I didn’t say ” photogenic ” avocados. The average Hass avocado is anything but beautiful. The tree is nice to look at, if a trifle straggly sometimes, but the fruit looks like a dark green version of Konrad Adenauer.
But the end result of a good producing avocado is wonderful on toast. And if you have enjoyed the fruit you may be tempted to grow the seed into a new tree. Here is where it starts to intersect with the photo world; the advice you get about growing the blessed thing from different people. Camps of zealots contend over the best way of germinating the things and the best soils, fertilisers, watering regimes, etc. You could be forgiven for thinking it was a camera club meeting when someone asks about the best camera to buy…
There’s the rub – we all want to know the best thing – best formula for setting the jpeg engine, best settings for auto-focus, best exposure settings…and in a lot of cases three people will have five opinions. We are left wondering which to choose.
My best bet is the CE shop counter – for some of the mechanical questions about cameras actually in stock. This also applies to goods from recent years. The percentage of good, right answers rises if I ask the right question to the right staff member. They all have their pet subject, and have informed themselves by doing far beyond what a cursory search of the net would yield. You need to ask a question in a form that can be understood, even if you don’t know the right words – fortunately good sales staff can pick up on the meaning from just clues.
The next best source is a professional photographer who deals with the problem you are facing. As long as you are not asking them to reveal trade secrets or the mobile phone numbers of paying clients, most pros will share helpful information. It’s somewhat of a compliment to be asked. Note that you are going to get the best answers when you ask people about their own branch of the trade.
Teachers and instructors are next on the list – after all, they may be professional educators elsewhere. They may wish that you were prepared to be a paying student but even if you’re not they rarely refuse a civil answer. And they do know how to teach their subjects – after all they are employed for just that.
Can you ask people at your camera club for guidance? Certainly, and many will give it freely. They may have more years of experience than the professional salespeople. They will have enthusiasms that colour their opinions, however, so you may get into the avocado situation again.
And finally, the reference books. Libraries abound in them, as do bookshops. They are written to make money for their authors – who may be clear and concise or vague and verbose. The hardest ones to read are the computer program instruction books. In their case everything is for dummies and you can be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed. Most of them are truthful, however, so once you learn the tech-lingo you can actually use them.