I first spoke with Donnic on the phone about having a DSLR Photography Lesson where she told me she was driving up to Ohio, but wanted a lesson just two days later. Then she clarified that she was a truck driver. As you can see in the above photograph, she does not look like what you might typically think a truck driver would!
Donnic bought a complete set of gear from a no longer working photographer that included a pair of Minolta DSLRs. We used the Minolta 7D for our first lesson, which was also my first time to ever be hands on with a Minolta. I did some online research about it before the lesson, but still, I had to hope I could find all the relevant buttons and figure out how to work the dials on the fly during the lesson. I was pleased to find out that a Minolta is ergonomically quite similar to a Nikon (what I shoot with).
Donnic was basically brand new to the formal photography world so I started the lesson with a careful explanation of aperture and ended the lesson having her doing some wildlife photography (of a kind)! I think she did a good job of absorbing all the photography knowledge I poured out during our 2-hours together in downtown St. Petersburg. Now she has the skill set to start practicing on her own, and knowing why a photo failed, and why one was a success.
I look forward to our next lesson and getting to know her and her Minolta better!
I last had a lesson with Cindy in August 2010. It was our second lesson with her Canon T1i. Well, since then she has given away the Canon to her nephew and joined the Nikon team with the purchase of a Nikon D90! I will ask Cindy to write in her own words why she made the switch from Canon to Nikon and update this post accordingly.
Even though Cindy was already familiar with aperture, ISO, white balance and focus modes, there was a change in terminology for her to learn and how to adjust those settings physically the Nikon way. To practice this we returned to a favorite location of ours, The Pier and all its pelican residents.
The main thing we paid attention to during the lesson was maintaining a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second as this summer Cindy will be taking a grand trip up to Alaska to photograph whales and eagles. As whales breach and eagles soar, a fast shutter time is mandatory in order to be able to freeze their motion.
So we set her Nikon D90 to manual mode, the shutter speed to 1/500th of a second and varied her aperture according to what subject matter we were photographing at the time. For distant subjects (i.e. whales) I had Cindy set her aperture to f/5.6 and for wider action shots f/11 keeping the shutter speed locked at 1/500th (or faster). So sometimes, especially when using f/11, increasing the ISO was necessary to maintain a good exposure.
It was an interesting lesson for me as it is always nice to be able to address a specific photography need from a student with the goal of producing great nature shots in the future. Cindy is already booked for three more lessons so there will be plenty of updates to come as I do my best to prepare her for photographing in the Alaskan wilderness!
Steve has taken a number of DSLR Photography Lessons ranging from an intro DSLR lesson to an editing lesson, and now on to his second strobist lesson. Since our first strobist lesson, he has gotten Yongnuo remote flash triggers of his own so this time we could practice using long lenses for strobist shots.
We used various downtown St. Petersburg locations that may in the future be used for Steve to photograph clients of his own. Thus, half the time I acted as I usually do giving photography instruction, the other half I pretended to be a client letting Steve set everything up and instruct me how to pose, etc. It is a big step to go from photographing just friends and family to photographing paying clients. The camera will definitely feel different in your hand!
Steve has a friendly personality and is able to connect with people easily, so I am sure he will not have a difficult time finding clients when he is ready to start shooting paying gigs.
- If you attended this event please tag yourself in this Facebook album which includes many more photos
The 2011 Women's Symposium is one of the biggest events of the year for the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce. This year the event was held in the strangely named St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater. There were over 450 people in attendance. That made for a very enthusiastic atmosphere. Sheila Tempelmann (above) won for Community Service Woman of the Year. Naturally, she was all smiles after winning!
Upon hearing her named called for 2011 Business Woman of the Year, Bridgette Mill was overwhelmed with emotion. She apologized for being so emotional, but I found it refreshing and genuine. Also, from a photography perspective, it makes for more powerful images. She runs the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
The most important shot to get at this event was the one above of both winners and the keynote speaker, Liz Smith. This one appears on the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce website, and almost made it into the St. Petersburg Times. It was nice to have the tall red velvet curtains behind the stage to use as a background.
After the winners were announced Liz Smith gave a very well received keynote speech summarizing her own personal business career. Some of what she said was surprising to me. She described how she had no real plan for her career, it kind of just happened. Most of all she just used her instincts to know what was best for her and the when was the right time for her to make a change. What she said about if you are comfortable with your life, it better also be extremely satisfying. That made the most impact on me. I have been in some comfortable situations before, but always ended up blowing them up and trying something else, for better or worse.
Various quotes from songs, movies, books, etc. get stuck, or rather burned into my mind and float to the forefront of my visual cortex at their leisure. One such quote is, "It's the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did." "What is the Matrix?" Since 1999 those four words spoken by my boy Keanu have become like canon to me. Perhaps I have not revealed before my true desired profession, that being: philosopher-poet. The matrix itself appeals to me because of the ability to alter the perception of time within it . . . time being another obsession of mine (example time essay).
In my mind the physics of the true Matrix exist, and I burn energy in attempt to project that reality onto the common world.
Photography helps show evidence of the Matrix, as seen above.