Entries in Canon 50D (6)
I met Ariel for our third of four 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons in downtown St. Petersburg again, but this time she brought along a friend's daughter to be her model for practicing how to use a speedlight. Chelsea was great and very patient as we setup different shots using both long and wide lenses. We used several spots around North Straub Park sometimes featuring Chelsea playing her guitar and another as you can see above with her jumping high off a park bench!
I had Ariel using her Canon 430EX II Speedlight in manual mode mostly at 1/4 power, the same setting I use my own Nikon speedlights at so that multiple shots at once can be taken. If full power or even 1/2 power were used, the 430EX II probably would not be able to recylcle fast enough and would just not fire by the second or third shots. Using about 1/4 power allows for three shots in a burst, necessary for jumping shots like the one pictured above.
I look forward to working more with lighting in my fourth lesson with Ariel coming up soon!
I met Ariel for our second of four 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons in downtown St. Petersburg, although from there we made our way out to The Pier to photograph birds using her Canon 70-200mm f/4 lens. We were in luck as besides the usual bunch of pelicans that are always hanging around, there was also a snowy egret conveniently standing on a box and a curious laughing gull who perched right next to us for five minutes. In all I felt we were very lucky with bird spotting during our time at The Pier.
In between shots we discussed what Ariel may want to branch into next with her photography, and we came to the conclusion off camera flash (strobist) is next! I recommended the basic kit needed: remote flash triggers, light stand and light modifier and once they are all delivered, our third lesson will be all about how to make great one light portraits.
When I met Ariel for our first of four 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons in downtown St. Petersburg, she already had good knowledge of photography terms and concepts. I did not have to tell her that f/5.6 was a larger aperture than f/11 for example. However, I still began the lesson with my 5-step process for making a well exposed and sharp shot in any shooting conditions. I believe that having a set way of getting the correct exposure and focus is the key to being able to make consistently satisfying photographs. After all, if you make a good shot, you want to know why so you can do it again, right?
Ariel had the Canon 70-200mm f/4 L lens which we used mostly in the second half of our lesson. I am always cautious about using a lens at its largest aperture as they can be softer than just one stop down. As the late afternoon began to fade, being able to have a larger aperture like f/4 available was a plus, and we did a direct test to see if any sharpness was lost at f/4 compared to f/5.6. I did not see any and was thus impressed and for any Canon shooters out there looking for a good, budget 70-200mm lens, this lens sells for about $700, which I consider a great bargain and I recommend it.
I will be meeting Ariel again on Monday to continue our photography lessons!
Many of my DSLR photography students have abruptly gone from a regular point & shoot pocket digital camera to plunging into the DSLR world. Then the DSLR sits on a shelf somewhere for a few months due to the initial hurdle in learning how to use it. This is the exact situation my 1-on-1 private DLSR Photography Lessons are designed to remedy. I met Rose on a pleasant Monday morning in downtown St. Petersburg for our first lesson. She was a beginner not even knowing basic photography terms. By the end of the 2-hour lesson, I had her using her Canon 50D in manual mode!
Now, I do not expect Rose to stay in manual mode from here on out, but she took thorough notes (recommended) throughout the lesson carefully noting what aperture, ISO, WB and focus mode we used for the various photography situations we practiced. Therefore, she does not have to rely on her memory alone the next time she wants to make a shot with bokeh or freeze a fast moving subject. She can refer to her notes and at least have a starting point for getting the type of shot she wants.
Rose, also like many other students, was surprised to learn that buying the DSLR itself (and accompanying kit lens) is just the start of the expense that is actively doing photography. She was a bit shocked to learn the price of software (she asked about full Photoshop) for editing digital photos, plus that before she heads to New York later this week she really should buy an external flash if she wants to get the best results of photographing her friends & family inside restaurants and other dimly lit places. I always advise the best value for money solutions, but even those are often several hundred dollar options. My top advice is learn how to use the gear you have now as best as you can, so that you can clearly see where you have outgrown that gear making it also very clear what you should purchase next.
I look forward to seeing Rose's photographs of New York and to helping her use her new external flash!
I ventured out of St. Petersburg this morning for a DSLR Photography Lesson with new student Carie and her Canon 50D on the University of Tampa campus. I had not had a lesson there in almost a year. The campus was much busier than I expected for an early Saturday morning, but I was lucky and got the last parking space in front of the Plant Building.
Carie has had her 50D for some time and has done some studying of photography terms and techniques on her own. What my 1-on-1 in the field lessons offer is instruction on how to actually make photos in common situations with situation specific settings. One thing Carie wanted to be able to photograph better are her very active children who plays sports. The variable cloudiness allowed us to use sunny actions settings, and higher ISO settings for when the sky clouded over and available light dropped significantly. One important thing I told Carie to keep an eye on was shutter speed. For action the shutter speed should (usually) be at least 1/500th of a second and faster. When the clouds came and the shutter speed dipped below 1/500th, increasing to ISO 400 got shutter speeds up to an adequate 1/640th. Of course, the faster the subject is moving, the faster the shutter speed needed to freeze that action is.
For the final part of the lesson we went down by the Hillsborough River to practice using fill flash for portraits. I had Carie first take a shot (of yours truly) with no flash then the exact same shot with her external flash on. It was easy to see the better results having the flash on produced.