It was yet another blustery, chilly Saint Petersburg morning for the DSLR Photography Lesson I had with Melanie today, her second lesson. At least it was sunny. For this lesson, we focused almost entirely on shooting sports, to be specific, the 3/4th Century Softball club. I will be profiling them in detail in a post next week.
We were able to get right on the field for the softball game, along the third baseline. I taught Melanie how to best hold her Nikon D90 in portrait orientation mode. In general we focused a lot on making sure she was holding her camera in optimal position for producing a sharp shot throughout the lesson.
The other major focus of the lesson was, well, focus. How to get a focus lock on a moving subject at various distances from the lens. For this we used both single and multi-point focus, showing the strengths and weaknesses of each for photographing a team sport like softball.
It was a challenging type of photography for just our second lesson, but Melanie was able to produce some nice action shots of players rounding third especially. For our next lesson, we will switch to architecture and landscapes, subjects a bit easier to get a focus lock on!
DSLR Photography Lessons with Kelley continue to up the ante. Today we exclusively shot with his two strobes, one off camera and the other on his Canon 7D's hotshoe. The USF St. Petersburg Campus was our location for today, hoping to see a lot of students walking by who would not mind stopping to be our model for a shot or two. Unfortunately we arrived just as classes started and the campus was fairly sparse. We did get a couple of people to step in front of the strobes, including a skateboarder.
First we practiced with me as the model as I helped Kelley dial in the best settings for shooting in Florida's harsh direct sunlight. These are of course not ideal conditions, but we wanted to start with a challenge. The settings we used were:
- manual exposure (mode)
- ISO 100/200
- strobes 1/2 power
Those settings can vary by the power of your strobes, what type of diffusion (cap diffuser, softbox, umbrella) and position of the sun relevant to the model. However, they can be used as a starting point and adjusted from there.
We next tried to make a photograph of a model (um, me) in shade near a wall without casting a shadow. This was perhaps the biggest challenge of the day. With a little experimenting we were able to get some satisfactory results, all things considered.
Andrea took her first DSLR Photography Lesson with me just last month, but today was already our fourth lesson (1st, 2nd, 3rd), thank you Andrea! Today we kept her Nikon D3000 on a tripod the entire time. We intended to photograph landscapes, but upcoming preparations for a grand prix race put a bit of a barrier on that. Still, we covered many photography composition styles, like repetition, leading lines and S-curves.
Tripods slow down your photography, in a good way. This lesson we took our time and really focused on getting the composition just right before pushing the shutter.
We ended the lesson making black & white shots. It was sunset time, but we had no cooperation from mother nature with completely overcast skies, so with no color to capture I made the suggestion that we should shoot with the intention of making black & white images. I usually decide to make an image black & white when the colors in it do not pop, or I want to focus on the contrast between light and dark directly.
I look forward to seeing Andrea's shots of a banyan tree and a seemingly ordinary sidewalk especially.
Andrea told me she ordered the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D lens, so our next lesson will focus entirely on using that lens. I am sure she will capture some great shallow DoF shots.
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