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!