Since our first DSLR Photography Lesson Julie has invested in the absolute best value in photography, a 50mm f/1.8 lens. It is the cheapest lens to produce for manufacturers (around $110), but is a lens that is in every photographer's camera bag. Among my photography students who started out with just the kit lenses (18-55mm, 55-200mm), by far the most common next purchase was a 50mm lens.
Julie and I met in the usual downtown St. Petersburg spot. We both were traveling light with just the 50mm lenses. That is another benefit of the lens, it is very light and portable. Since covering a lot of the nuts and bolts of how to just get a correct exposure and focus during our first lesson, for this 50mm lesson we discussed composition much more, in particular with the 50mm producing the best bokeh and DoF possible. Much of this comes down to framing the shot with a complementary background trying to include objects that will result in pleasing bokeh and setting the focus on the subject in a way to maximize DoF.
When dealing with a DoF of a centimeter or two at most, setting the focus and recomposing will result in a lack of sharpness on the intended subject. Therefore, one needs to frame the shot as desired, and then using a single focus point, manually in the viewfinder select the focus point to fall upon the intended subject. Some DSLRs make this much easier to do than others (hint, Nikon D300 makes it easy).
I look forward to seeing Julie's shots of Gasparilla and the portraits she makes with her new 50mm lens.