Entries in Nikon D3100 (15)
Yesterday evening I met Margaret in downtown St. Petersburg for our first 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson. There were dark clouds all around, but all they provided was a nice somewhat less hot cover for our lesson time and no rain at all. The best of both worlds! Margaret was not a first time DSLR owner as a majority of my photography students are. She owned a Nikon D40 before recently buying a Nikon D3100, but all that time she had just been using auto-mode. Now with the new DSLR, she finally was ready to learn to take control of her camera.
As I showed Margaret around her Nikon D3100 I explained that it only takes at most the setting of five things on the camera to make a well exposed and sharp image in any given shooting situation. Beyond that we also talked about the benefits of shooting in RAW and how an external flash would help her shoot indoors better.
After that intro we walked around the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront and were treated to a mothership looking cloud formation for a little landscape photography practice. I also instructed Margaret on how to control the background (in focus or out of focus) using aperture and focal length. I look forward to seeing her photographs shot in manual exposure mode from now on!
On a stormy Florida evening I met Carol for a 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson along the waterfront of downtown St. Petersburg. She had very recently gotten a snazzy looking red Nikon D3100. Her reason for making the jump to the DSLR world was sparked by simply wanting to pursue photography as a hobby and be able to make great photographs. I think that is a pretty good reason!
As we walked around the waterfront under overcast skies I taught Carol my established process for making a well exposed and sharp shot in any given shooting situation, and how to use the meter and histogram together to determine how to get better results. Being a photographer is not a matter of getting the first shot perfect each time, it is getting that second or third attempt perfect. Once you can get the results you want in your images, and be able to repeat that process in different shooting conditions, then you know you have gotten the hang of photography.
A few rain drops did chase after us toward the end of the lesson, but not before we had a chance to practice a little landscape portrait shooting utilizing the pop-up flash. Even using the limited pop-up flash we were able to get pretty good results out along the waterfront. I look forward to seeing Carol use what she learned during our lesson as she photographs dragonboat racing!
Last month Brooke's husband took a night photography lesson with their Nikon D3100. Yesterday afternoon I met her for a more general 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson focused on making the switch from aperture priority mode to shooting using manual exposure mode. I think by the end of the 2-hour lesson Brooke had successfully made the switch!
Brooke had photography knowledge, but it was not organized in a way that could be counted upon to produce consistent results when shooting in various conditions. I helped her organize that knowledge and added in key pieces of additional information using my 5-step process for getting a sharp and well exposed shot in any shooting condition. I started by pointing out that since she was already an aperture priority shooter, switching to manual means only adding one more thing to set yourself, which of course is shutter speed.
While it is still open and still standing, I will still be using The Pier as a great location for my 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons, and really cannot imagine what it will be like to not have it available come May 2013. Friday evening I met Jason with his Nikon D3100 in downtown St. Petersburg. He specifically wanted to practice long exposure night photography, which is fine by me as it is one of my favorite kinds. We made our way out to The Pier and got setup on the open roof viewing area. This type of photography of course requires a tripod because as by the end of the lesson we were using 30-second exposures, and even while there was still plenty of light in the sky (but no sun), exposures were in the 1 to 2 second range.
In a way, night photography is kind of simple: put camera on tripod, leave shutter open, done. Of course there are things that can be done to improve one's night photography, especially related to placement of the horizon and exactly how long to leave the shutter open. These were the things we focused on mostly during our night photography lesson. I look forward to seeing Jason's future long exposure shots!
Last Saturday I ended my day with a DSLR Photography Lesson with husband and wife Bill & Ria and this Saturday I began my day with our second lesson together, this time in the usual downtown St. Petersburg spot. They both did some studying and practice since our last lesson which I highly recommend so that at the start of the next lesson they will have questions to ask and photographs to show me.
For our second lesson we continued with the 4-steps to setting up a well exposed and in focus shot. We started with making sure we were aware of the position of the sun relevant to our subject, which whenever possible we want our backs to the sun and our shadows pointed at the subject. This is of course useful when photographing still and moving subjects. The latter we practiced much more this time on passing cyclists and also yours truly as you can see Ria & Bill preparing to do in the photo above. They are both using my suggested hand holding technique for portrait orientation, with the DSLR grip up in the right hand which allows the left elbow to become a point of stability against your body. They lined up side-by-side like that on their own, it is a candid image!
I look forward to seeing what shots they make with a second round of photography knowledge.