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Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, August 4, 2000

Julie McBane credits her 20-plus years as a mine for her interest in photography. "I'm in front of the camera, you can't help but get interested in behind the camera," she said. It also may explain her ability to see and inspire a different perspective.
McBane does clerical work in the medical photography department at Tripler Hospital and is being considered for a job as a photographer there. She signed up for the Lyon class partly to learn about macro photography. "You know an ear can look an awful lot like cauliflower if you really look."

Photo synthesis

Students capture nature's
patterns at Lyon Arboretum

By Stephanie Kendrick

Edward Yee bought his first camera for a dollar in 1952 when he was a Star-Bulletin newspaper boy.

While he never pursued a career behind the lens, the hobby has been with him most of his life. "I never got too serious about it, but I just played around and played around," he said.

L. Ralph Berger is a retired University of Hawaii professor of microbiology. He is a long-time amateur photographer who has recently begun to dabble in computer manipulation of images. Berger's background in the laboratory translates into an interest in the technical aspects of photography. But, he said, his favorite aspect of the class was interaction with his fellow students. "There's a lot you can learn from people of very diverse backgrounds," he said.
Despite his years of experience, Berger is modest about his abilities. "I'm a not very good amateur, with a not very good eye, but I enjoy it," he said.

About seven years ago he began teaching an adult education class in photography at Kaimuki High School. "As I began to teach, I found I didn't really know a lot about photography," he said.

To become a better teacher he read and experimented, and his work seems to have paid off.

Students characterize Yee as skillful, down to earth and encouraging. He has a reputation for giving the techies the insight they crave, while not overwhelming the more instinctive artists.

Yee believes in learning by doing and his class has always involved a lot of field trips. A common destination is Manoa Valley's Lyon Arboretum.

Sharlyne Hoe is an art teacher at Kailua High School who will teach photography this year for the first time. "I was really interested in marco photography when it comes to plants," said Hoe, whose eye is influenced by her background in painting. "I really like that illusion of small spaces into large."
As a teacher, Hoe was impressed with her fellow students. "There's a lot of commitment," she said. "It takes a lot of patience to sit and wait for the right shot."
"I think it's a wonderful thing to see the world with such fresh eyes," said Hoe.

On a trip last year, Ranjit Cooray, who coordinates Lyon's educational programs, asked Yee to teach a class at the arboretum and he agreed.

"It's such a wonderful place," said Yee. "You step right outside the classroom and shoot."

The two-day class, called "Photographing Nature's Designs," covers everything from the basics of photography to macro skills, shooting small objects extremely close up. The first day consists of an introduction, followed by fieldwork. The second Saturday involves a review of the previous week's slides and more instruction.

Anett Allbrett is a ceramist who designs above-the-counter sinks and custom tiles. She was particularly impressed with Edward Yee's teaching style and his ability to appreciate different views of beauty. "He's an incredible resource of information," she said.

We asked Yee to share the results of his most recent class with the Star-Bulletin's readers. Each student picked their 10 favorites, then the class voted on what to submit. Yee swears the results are not exceptional.

"They're usually this good," he said.

Photographing Nature's Designs

Bullet What: Edward Yee teaches the basics in photographing flowers
Bullet When: Sept. 30 and Oct. 7, 8 a.m. to noon both days.
Bullet Where: Lyon Arboretum
Bullet Cost: $31 course fee ($22 for Lyon members), $12 supply fee
Bullet Call: 988-0456.

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