Crescent Lake Park

Silly Goose at Crescent Lake Park St. Petersburg Florida DSLR Photography Lesson with Stacy

A goose being silly in Crescent Lake Park in St. Petersburg Florida - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/4 ISO 200 1/320This morning I met long time DSLR Photography Lesson student Stacy in Crescent Lake Park, where I knew it was very likely we would be able to photograph a goose or two.  I suggested she bring a blanket so that she could lie down comfortably on the grass in order to be able to get at eye level to the birds.  I got down low myself for the shot above.  

In this lesson I pointed out even more to Stacy that the meter gives just a suggestion, as to get a good exposure of the geese in the deep shade they were standing in, it was necessary to use settings that the meter thought would result in an overexposed shot.  That was mostly due to the background being much brighter than the foreground.  Also, I recommended that there is no need to change aperture to fix the exposure.  The aperture should be set first (when shooting in manual mode) so to set the depth of field, and then the shutter speed should be set as needed to get the desired exposure.  

iO6 Panorama Feature on iPhone 5 first photo example St. Petersburg Florida

Before I went to bed last Thursday, I set the alarm on my iPhone 4 for 2:55am.  This was not because I have a new paper route or decided to follow in my grandfather's footsteps and be a milkman, but because I want to insure I was able to get one of the first preorders in for the new iPhone 5 that here on the coast would be first available at 3am Friday morning.  So I rumbled out of bed and began refreshing the iPhone 5 page on  Another reason to be one of the first was that I had already secured in my buy-back price for my 2-yeard old iPhone 4 on the great site for a whopping $146!  That's right, it basically meant that the new iPhone 5 would only be $54 out of pocket, if I could get one before October 1st.  

Well, my early rising paid off as my iPhone 5 (white, 16GB, AT&T) was delivered on the first available date (Friday the 21st).  It took almost four hours to sync all my backup data to it, so I did not have much opportunity to test the new iOS 6 panorama feature until yesterday (Saturday).  I was walking Kiki around Crescent Lake Park, a common Saturday evening activity and with the wide open views from the lakeside, I had my first chance to test the panorama function.

I saw a video of how it works so I knew you do not take five or six separate shots in a row, but rather turn the panorama feature on and then glide the camera over the area you want to photograph.  There are visual guides to keep your framing on track, and I must admit I was rather wobbly in my first attempt as you can see in the unedited image above.  

Still, there was a large portion of the image that was usable.  I cropped out the left, right and bottom edges and found a decent remaining image.  The exposure was a little off and there was a lot of noise in the sky, but overall I thought the new panorama feature in iOS 6 on first impression seems to be very usable.  I look forward to trying it again with a more steady hand and in different light.  

Have you made any panoramas with iOS 6 yet?  Post your examples in the comments below.

50mm DSLR Photography Lesson in the rain at Crescent Lake Park!

Danielle trying to master the tough task of manually focusing a 50mm f/1.8 lens

Many past DSLR Photography Lessons have very nicely managed to end right before rain arrived.  Well, this Sunday the luck ran out as most of Andrea's 5th! lesson (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th) was in at least light rain.  That was not the only thing that made today's lesson unique, it was also the first lesson to exclusively use a 50mm lens and the first to be all manual focusing too!

Ah, and another first, the first lesson at Crescent Lake Park in St. Petersburg.  Andrea recently bought the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D lens, but I did not point out in time that her Nikon D3000 will not be able to autofocus it because the D3000 lacks an internal focusing motor.  Thus, today we practiced manual focusing.  

Even with autofocus, the 50mm f/1.8 lens is very tricky to use.  It has a very shallow DoF even through f/2.8, and even beyond.  Then add in the challenge of trying to stay dry in the second hour of the lesson, and I ended up very impressed with Andrea's determination to get a good, sharp shot with appealing bokeh.

50mm manually focused bokeh, in rain

The above shot was the kind we set as our goal for that day's shooting, though the conditions were not conducive to it.  The first photograph of mine that got any attention was a green leaf bokeh shot (view it here).  

Andrea did well in the very challenging conditions taking time to ask questions and making sure she understood why we changed the settings on our DSLRs.  In the end we were able to make a few photographs that met our preset goal for the day.  Thank you Andrea for being so tough and patient!