Something very rare happened during my first 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson with new student Ren (referred by Stefanie, thank you!) and his Canon T3i, it started to rain, or rather really just a hard mist. Several lessons over the years have been rained out and rescheduled, but for it to be not raining then start raining during the lesson, that has only happened a few times before. Fortunately, the covered breezeway of the Museum of Fine Arts not only provides protection from the rain, it allows all the same things to be practiced had the sun been out and we covered the usual spots around the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront. It was also my first time to get hands on with the Canon T3i DSLR.
Ren works in a company that uses a lot of gear, gadgets and tech and whose co-workers have a lot of their own which helped him make the jump to the DSLR world. He has already taken about 6,000 photos he said, though only around 2 out of 4 he ends up liking. This is totally fine though for someone starting out in photography and as a mostly self-taught photographer myself, I went through a very similar process teaching myself about aperture, shutter speed, ISO and even focus modes (which did baffle me for an afternoon believe it or not). Now, through that real-world learning experience, I can pass on a very practical DSLR photography teaching method to all my students.
Ren also audio-recorded the lesson so he will have the pleasure of hearing my voice and jokes again and again on how to produce well exposed and sharp images in real world situations. I recommend some kind of note taking during the lessons, unless one has a photographic memory of course!
Besides setting the settings correctly for any given shot, one must be adept at physcially knowing how to actually manipulte the many buttons and dials on a DSLR. Even just two seconds wasted fiddling with the wrong button can mean the difference between making and missing a photograph. As I recommend to everyone, I suggested that Ren keep his DSLR next to him on the sofa while watching TV and work on mastering how to change all the commonly used exposure settings.
Ren will return to the museum above on Friday on a school trip with his daughter. I look forward to seeing his photographs applying what he learned today.