DSLR Photography Lesson with Carmen at Taylor Park in Largo

Carmen on her second DSLR Photography lesson making a portrait of her son in Taylor Park in Largo

The wind continues to blow through all DSLR photography lessons in the Tampa Bay area lately.  I met Carmen for her second photography lesson this morning at Taylor Park in Largo.  She brought her son, Aiden, this time to be her practice model for action shots and portraits.  We had Aiden running all over the place through the woods, climbing over everything in two playgrounds and even pausing for a few moments for a portrait or two.  

Today I taught Carmen how to really track and get a focus lock on a moving subject, even in challenging lighting conditions like the heavy overcast skies we had to deal with most of the time.  To help maintain a fast enough shutter speed we used the auto-ISO feature of her Nikon D5000.  Auto-ISO is a great feature that has been added to DSLR cameras in the past few years.  You set the minimum shutter speed you want and the maximum ISO you want, and the camera then actively chooses the ISO to maintain at least that minimum shutter speed.  When the sun keeps jumping in and out from behind clouds, auto-ISO is a great help.

Using flash to freeze action in cloudy overcast conditions

We finished with using flash for both portraits and actions shots.  I told Carmen that I basically never photograph a person without using flash, unless they are playing sports.  Using even just the D5000's on camera flash Carmen was able to make portraits of Aiden with good fill flash in the shadows of the playground.  We set ourselves the challenge of trying to freeze Aiden in the air jumping off a "cliff face," though I must admit I cheated and used my Nikon SB-600 Speedlight off camera for the above frozen action shot.  Shhhh.

I felt by the end of our fun and active 2-hour lesson that Carmen was really starting to put together how aperture, ISO and shutter speed relate to one another and I am sure she will have some great photographs to show me before our next lesson.