Thursday, January 10, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions

OK, so maybe none of these are frequently asked questions, but I've been asked. So now instead of answering them in person or in e-mails, I'll post them on my blog :)

What kind of camera do you use?
A question with an inadvertently convoluted answer...
I have three main cameras that I use to take photos. If I have a planned photo and I'm not on vacation, I have a digital SLR camera that I use, with various lenses attached to it (it's a Canon Rebel XS); most often the standard 18-55 mm lens. The odd time I might use the 70-210 mm telephoto lens my dad gave me (he thinks I'm "borrowing" it, but I think we all know what's going on...), and sometimes I'll even use my 100 mm macro lens (although, this lens seems to be most often reserved for taking photos of specimens for my PhD thesis lately). The second camera that I use (and the source of all of my non-Canadian photos) is a Fujifilm underwater digital camera. I bought this on a whim when it was on sale right before I went to Cuba with my mom one December (I only bought it because those disposable underwater cameras end up being so darn expensive! And we were going somewhere with great snorkelling right off the hotel's beach), and I must say: I'm VERY impressed with the quality of photos for such an inexpensive camera. The third camera I use is my iPhone camera. I don't take pictures of it often that end up on my blog, in fact I don't think any have yet. But there are some on their way...

Do you edit your photos in photoshop?
Never. Granted, this might be because I don't really know *how* to use photoshop (I keep trying to sit myself down and teach myself how to use it properly, but I end up getting frustrated and walk away). The only thing that I do to my photos in photoshop is add the text "watermark" to all the photos that I have taken. Unedited in all their glory.

What exactly do you do all day?
You mean you don't think I'm a professional blogger? :) Since I'm nearing the end of my PhD, I write a lot now during the day. I study mushrooms, and the evolutionary history of a group of fungi. They're not a very exciting group of fungi when it comes to human use, but they are interesting in terms of patterns; patterns in evolution, patterns in diversity, patterns in publication bias, patterns in rarity of species.

So you mean you're not a botanist?!
Nope! I've got a second year botany professor to thank for opening my eyes to the awesome world of plants; without being forced to take his course by the University administration where I did my undergraduate degree, I never would have taken the course by choice. I was one of those undergraduates that was adamant that plants are boring and stupid, and he 100% changed my mind. I'll never forget that amazing course! I'm sure the professor has long since fully retired; he had officially retired the year before I started my undergrad but stayed around to finish projects in his lab and teach two courses a year (I'm not entirely sure how that's considered retirement, but anyway...). I also have my supervisor to thank; he has taught me a LOT about plants, even though he's a mycologist. He can identify wood just by how it feels when it starts to rot. It's a pretty amazing skill, and I doubt many other people in the world could identify a well-rotted red maple log just because "that's just how it feels". Amazing.

Can I guest blog?
YES! I'm always open to having someone write a blog for me. I'll (of course) give you all the credit, and if you'd like to become a "recurring guest blogger," I can tag your blog posts with your name and then you're searchable. I'm especially open to guest bloggers that are knowledgeable about tropical trees; the kind that you identify by their "big, oval, glossy leaves" (which narrows it down to about 15,000 species...). Let me know if you're interested!

I think I ate a poisonous plant and am now sick. Can you help me?
No. I'm not a doctor! (OK, so I've never actually been asked that...thank goodness!)