Entries in Nikon D5000 (11)
I first met Joe over a year ago at an event I was shooting for Office Depot. I have seen him subsequently at North Shore Dog Park where he brings his dog Tux. His dog looks rather similar to my own beloved Kiki. They play together very roughly at the park, but they both seem to have a lot of fun doing it! Joe told me the other day he got a Nikon D5000 and said he would like to take a 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson.
We met on a pleasant semi-winter Florida afternoon in downtown St. Petersburg where I helped Joe become familiar with his Nikon and how to change the necessary settings for making well exposed and sharp shots using the 18-55mm lens he has right now and giving him some advice on what lens he may wish to get next.
During the lesson we went on a small tour of the downtown waterfront area starting at the Museum of Fine Arts and its kapok tree before eventually ending up in North Straub Park. When Joe gets some new photography gear I will be seeing him again in this official capacity, and before then no doubt in the dog park too!
Since our first 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in April, for our second of four lessons, Angela brought with her two new not insignificant pieces of gear, a 50mm lens and the Nikon SB-700 Speedlight. These two items are actually by far the most popular pieces of photography gear that my students have purchased first over the past three years. They are the least expensive ways to radically change the kinds of photographs one can make.
We started out the lesson practicing with the 50mm lens where I told Angela I look for the background perhaps even more than the subject when using my 50mm lens because I want the best possible bokeh in my 50mm shots. Lights of course easily make for cool looking bokeh, but also spectral slight coming through tree branches can create the same look.
For the last half of our 2-hour lesson Angela put her SB-700 on her Nikon D5000 and we practiced flash portraits at sunset and twilight time as our lesson went until 8:30pm, well after sunset. By manually setting the power on the SB-700 it was clear that TTL mode was choosing too much power making the subject (in this case, me!) look too "flashed" in the portrait. Manually setting the power allowed Angela to make a portrait of me that looked much more natural balancing the exposure on the subject with the background exposure so that neither seemed to stand out from the other.
Perhaps by our fourth lesson we will get that flash off the camera for some strobist portraits!
On a surprisingly cool spring late afternoon I met Angela in downtown St. Petersburg for our first of four 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons. She has been the owner of a Nikon D5000 for a couple of years, but all that time just using it on auto-mode. Since she regularly photographs her daughter racing motorcross, taking control of her DSLR and getting off auto-mode will definitely help her capture better action shots in a wide variety of conditions.
We said good-bye to auto-mode and hello to aperture priority mode to start out the lesson as I introduced Angela to my 4-step processing for making a well exposed and sharp photograph in any situation. By the end of the 2-hour lesson Angela was using manual mode to make flash portraits in North Straub Park in preparation for making prom night portraits of her daughter this upcoming Friday. She now has the practice and knowledge to be able to make well exposed and composed portraits in an outdoor setting that would also apply to indoors as well, with a few settings tweaks needed only.
I look forward to hearing how the prom and motorcross photos came out during our second lesson coming up soon!
With this point in the summer in Florida, one always has to keep an eye to the sky for rain. I would say that for our first DSLR Photography Lesson together, Cherryl and I were 80% lucky. There were definitely rainstorms all around downtown St. Petersburg, but for the first 100 minutes of our two-hour lesson they merely provided a pleasant overcast sky and a nice breeze. During this time I introduced Cherryl to the photography terms one needs to know before pressing the shutter in any kind of purposefulness.
We also spent a lot of time practicing how to get the subject of a photograph in focus, both when moving and when not. There is a bit of finger skill one must demonstrate with the shutter, specifically the ability to keep it pressed half way down the entire time during composing the shot, and not releasing it until you have the shot you want. When photographing a moving subject one never releases the shutter from the half way position the entire time.
With further practice this skill set will come easier to Cherryl and I look forward to seeing some great soccer action shots!
About the last 20-minutes of our lesson . . . well, the rain came but we took shelter in front of the Chihuly Museum and ended the lesson as I would have rain or shine, with some flash portrait practice. I was impressed with the range of the pop-up flash on Cherryl's Nikon D5000.
Kim and Michelle traveled all the way from Lutz for this morning's DSLR Photography Lesson. Actually, the last place I ever lived in the Tampa Bay area before I moved away for a decade was just on the border of Lutz. This was another very rare 2-person lesson, as all others are 1-on-1. I know both of their cameras well ( Nikon D5000 & Canon XSi ), so it did not take much extra time getting two DSLRs set for the varies photography scenarios we practiced shooting in. Kim was actually a (delayed) referral from one of my original photo students, Rosa. Thanks Rosa!
Kim and Michelle both have kids that play baseball, so I made sure that we got in a lot of moving subject shooting practice. Often people coming from point and shoot cameras and/or who use auto-mode on their DSLRs do not realize that when you take control of your DSLR using aperture priority or manual mode, you have to adjust your focus mode for photographing still (Nikon AF-S; Canon One Shot) or moving (Nikon AF-C; Canon AI Servo) subjects. Often just getting into a continuous focusing mode solves many of the problems with trying to freeze action.
I also stressed to Kim and Michelle that even with entry level DSLRs it is wise and often necessary to adopt methods and practices of a professional photographer. For example, have at least two batteries. That way you always have a fully charged one stowed in your camera bag and you never run into a situation of running out of power. Other practices include always being ready to shoot. You should never turn off your DSLR or put the lens cap on until you are absolutely done shooting for the day and getting in your car to head back home. DSLRs use almost no power when not in use so there is no reason to turn a DSLR off to save the battery when just walking around. Also, unless you are walking through thorn bushes, the lens cap should stay off. I advised Kim and Michelle to be in photographer mode whenever their cameras were out. In that way, less shots will be missed and any photo opportunities that may come up one will be ready for.
I look forward to seeing Kim and Michelle's baseball action shots!