Libby is my youngest DSLR Photography student to date. She is a teenager with aspirations of a career in photography or journalism, or perhaps photojournalism? Her parents told me she carried a camera (Nikon L100, superzoom model) with her everywhere she went. I always like to hear things like that. I was even more glad to hear that a generous family friend gave her his old Nikon D40x just the night before! She did not have a lens that could autofocus on the D40x, so I let her use my Tamron XR Di II 17-50mm f/2.8 lens for the whole lesson.
Her L100 had basically no manual functions so we started from the very beginning, which was an explanation of what aperture is and does. In my own photography work, the setting I adjust first on my D300 is the aperture. From that aperture foundation, I then base all the other settings the scene requires. I try to instill this practice into all my DSLR photography students as well.
During our lesson at John's Pass Village, I revealed to Libby how shooting a shaded flower actually produces a better exposure than shooting a flower in direct sunlight. Then if you add a bit of well placed flash into the equation, you can really bring out a flower's detail. Of course, the best thing to do would be to just shoot the flower in natural sunrise or sunset light, but when that is not possible, shading the flower with your own shadow is a useful trick.
I had a very good time listening to Libby's plans for the future and seeing her excitement for photography. I look forward to our next lesson and seeing what she has done with the skills she learned at John's Pass Village.