Aaron used some bargain hunting skills to get himself a used Nikon D300 for a very good price. He then went and got the well received Nikkor AF-S 35mm f/1.8G lens. Since I have shot with a Nikon D300 myself for the past year and half I know the DSLR very well. We started the lesson going through very specific menu settings that I have honed over time via my own experiences with the camera and things I heard from other photography podcasts.
As always, weather was an issue, but we got really lucky with the rain. It was raining before the 5:30pm lesson, and poured at 7:45pm, but in the middle there was only a slight sprinkle for a few minutes, so no real threat to our gear.
Since Aaron was using his fast 35mm and I was using my fast 50mm, we spent a lot of time talking about DoF (depth of field) and controlling the background in shots. We did not stick with large apertures though as Aaron was also interested in how to use his 35mm lens for landscapes. I just had him use f/11 and showed him very steady handholding techniques (since he had no tripod with him) as well as where to set his focus (1/3 of the way into the shot) and in the overcast conditions he was still able to produce some nice landscapes of the harbor in front of The Pier.
I also stressed the rule of thirds composition guidelines, especially for when using one's camera in portrait orientation. Basically that means not putting the horizon in the dead center, but rather the upper or lower third of the frame.
Aaron has an interest in portraits which will probably be the focus of our next lesson.