Fossil Park

Fossil Park Pool Dog Day August 2010

Nikon D300 Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D lens @ f/4 ISO 200 1/1000thSt. Petersburg children's loss was St. Petersburg dogs' gain.  With the end of the summer swim season at Fossil Park Pool (info), it was opened up to canines.  No humans allowed in the water at all.  This event was very popular.  When we arrived at 11:20am the pool was at maximum capacity already.  We had to wait until a dog left before we could get in, but only a short time.

Nikon D300 Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D lens @ f/4 ISO 200 1/1600thProbably the St. Petersburg Times was even at the pool earlier covering it because as I was shooting with my somewhat long Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D lens, several people asked me if I was with the press.  I said thank you, I am a professional photographer, but I am not working today, only photographing my own dog, Kiki (other dog photos taken with permission).

Nikon D300 Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D lens @ f/4 ISO 200 1/2000thI am glad I asked if I could photograph other dogs because even though Kiki is a very good swimmer, and really loves to swim, her first time at a pool seemed to be a scary experience for her.  That expression on her face above would be panic.  I encouraged her to go in the water, but she immediately turned back toward the wall of the pool and tried to pull herself out.  I think she did not want to swim because I was not allowed in the water also.  At the dog beach, she always waits for me to go into the water with her, never going in by herself.

sad puppyAll the other dogs were having a great time diving in, retrieving noodles and lying submerged on the steps of the pool.  All Kiki would do was jump on the first step getting her feet wet.  

Nikon D300 Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D lens @ f/4 ISO 200 1/1250thAfter shaking off the pool water she went back to her usual dark park mode, which is looking for another willing dog to wrestle and chase.  She made several friends and started a dry land game of chase the noodle.

Nikon D300 Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D lens @ f/4 ISO 200 1/1000thThe great things about dogs, though, is that they recover almost instantly and after the pool swimming trauma Kiki was almost immediately all smiles again.  For dog lovers this was a great event and I am glad I heard about it (via a friend on Facebook).

Sunny Florida at f/11 project #04 - Fossil Lake Park

Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 @ f/11 ISO 200 3-bracket HDR handheld (breaking my own rules again!)Continuing what I have now determined will be a summer long project, the latest entry in my own personal photography project -- Sunny Florida at F/11 is an impromptu HDR shot of Fossil Lake Park.  I had heard of this park for a long time, and driven by it several times only glancing its baseball fields.  When I first heard that St. Petersburg had a "fossil park" I obviously thought it was something like the San Andreas Tar Pits, a place I imagine to have dinosaur bones just lying around in the open!  

However, there were no fossils or even bones of any kind, unfortunately.  I would not even think the park old enough to even begin decaying a banana peel, sadly.  

Still, disappointment at not being able to finally realize my boyhood dream of paleontology work aside, it was a surprisingly nice park for what it is, a small oasis in the middle of a not so green area of central St. Petersburg.  There was decent wildlife with strange ducks, turtles and bluejays among other creatures.  Basically, it's a decent place for a 15 minutes or so stroll.

DSLR Photography Lesson #3 with Carmen at Fossil Park

Fossil Park provided a surprisingly nice backdrop for our 3rd DSLR Photography LessonIt was three months since our last DSLR Photography Lesson together, so for this our 3rd lesson Carmen (1st, 2nd) had quite a few questions and photos to show me at the start of the 2-hour lesson.  I am always pleased when students are at least out practicing and getting good use out of their DSLRs.  That then gives us something to build on during subsequent lessons.  For example, Carmen photographed some of her family in the evening time wanting to get a water backdrop.  I was able to look at the settings she used for those shots and specifically tell her what she could have adjusted to improve the shots.  Then we actually practiced the same type of landscape portrait shots together to try and build "photography muscle memory" so she could remember on her own for the next time she photographed her family.

Another focus of this lesson was on exposure compensation, the +/- button on your DSLR.  I was the model and first stood in direct sunlight, facing the sun, Carmen with her back to the sun as the photographer should be.  The portrait came out with me looking very light and harsh shadows under my eyes, basically making my eyes invisible.  How to correct this?  Move me (the subject/model) into shade.  We kept all settings the same.  The photograph was greatly improved, although a little underexposed.  The final step was adjusting her Nikon D5000's exposure compensation to +0.7 which produced a very pleasing natural light portrait that was night and day different from the two before.  If you do not have an external flash, adjusting your exposure compensation and placing the subject in shade can still produce some good looking outdoor portraits.

I look forward to seeing Carmen's improved portraits! 

  • Reserve your own 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson with Jason today!
  • Learn more about the lessons
  • Browse past lessons with all of my students