Lettuce Lake Park

Canon T3i 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson at Lettuce Lake Park Tampa Florida with Dan

Dan sets up a shot at Lettuce Lake Park during our 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in Tampa FloridaDan recently moved to Florida and wanted to make sure he can have great photographs of the sunshine state right away with his newly acquired Canon T3i.  So I met him at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Florida for a 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson.  Dan was an enthusiastic learner with some previous knowledge of photography.  By the end of the 2-hour lesson he had a lot more photography knowledge!

We went out onto the boardwalk in the park where the sun was darting in and out of clouds.  This would be annoying most times for photography, but it allowed us to practice getting the best exposure while standing in one spot as after almost every shot, the light would be different, and something would need to be adjusted to get the best exposure again.  

I am looking forward to seeing what Dan photographed being a newcomer to Florida during our next photography lesson and helping him continue to grow with photography knowledge and skills.

Nikon SB-910 Speedlight 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson at Lettuce Lake Park Tampa Florida with Mike

Mike using the Nikon Creative Lighting System Commander Mode to trigger his SB-910 Speedlight with his Nikon D7000 at Lettuce Lake Park, Tampa, FloridaI met Mike for a second 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson once again in Lettuce Lake Park, Tampa, Florida this past Saturday.  Since our first photography lesson on the 4th of July he has invested in a Nikon SB-910 Speedlight which he got for a great price.  We met in the visitor's center which provided not only a cool, climate controlled space, but also one very much like a regular private home indoor lighting situation.  There were dark corners as well as large windows letting in lots of light.  We started off with seeing just how powerful his speedlight was, and found it to be very powerful.  After locking in camera and speedlight settings, then it was largely a matter of how to angle the speedlight head.  I showed Mike that even just a centimeter one way or the other can have a pretty big impact on how the photograph looks.  

We then moved over to the large windows to show how to balance the exposure in a backlit situation.  I had Mike first set the shutter speed to get the windows to look well exposed.  Then we dialed in the speedlight power and angle to illuminate the subject to match, with that subject of course being me!  Without a speedlight it would have been impossible to see outside the windows and the subject, one or the other would have to be a silhouette.  Thus, a speedlight is a very necessary photography tool for photographing backlit subjects, as well as many other situations.

For the last practice we went outside and found the limits of the Creative Lighting System and Commander Mode.  In order to get his Nikon D7000 to trigger the speedlight, as you can see in the photo above, the speedlight needed to be twisted toward the camera.  I recommended that Mike invest in a pair of radio triggers that can work in direct sunlight no problem, and also from much further distances.  I look forward to seeing his off camera flash (strobist) results!

Nikon D5200 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson with Krista in Lettuce Lake Park Tampa Florida

Krista lines up a shot with her new Nikon D5200 in Lettuce Lake Park Tampa Florida during our 1-on-1 DSLR Photography LessonHaving recently been to Hawaii, and already planning a return trip, Krista wanted to make sure she could make the best photographs possible with her newly acquired Nikon D5200.  So we met for a 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in Lettuce Lake Park in the north Tampa area this past Saturday morning.  She had read the Nikon manual for her camera several times already, which is a very good thing to do, but of course the manual does not tell you how to in a practical way make a well exposed and sharp shot in any given shooting situation.  Fortunately, that is exactly what my 1-on-1 photography lessons do so after introducing Krista to her Nikon and showing what buttons are needed to do what for my 5-step process for shooting in manual exposure mode, we left the air conditioning of the visitor center and headed out onto the boardwalk.  

As I showed Krista how to be aware of the sun position for getting the best results, and how to use AF-S (One Shot) focus mode to be able to recompose and not have to center the subject all the time, we were also treated to a good bit of wildlife spotting.  At one of the boardwalk end points using my water bottle I showed Krista how to control depth of field so that if desired the background could be made to disappear (create bokeh) leaving only the intended subject in focus.  I look forward to seeing Krista's photographs from her next trip to Hawaii!

Nikon D7000 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson at Lettuce Lake Park with Mike

Mike framing a shot on the boardwalk at Lettuce Lake Park with his Nikon D7000 during our 1-on-1 photography lessonIt was a return to Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa for me to meet Mike for a 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson with his Nikon D7000.  He is going on a trip to Italy in a couple months and wanted to learn how to get the most out of his photography gear.  Having real photography skills I think is extremely valuable, not just for a pro shooter, but for any enthusiast photographer as his/her photos of family, friends and vacations will be at a whole different level than photos from years past.  

After going how to use his Nikon D7000 camera body in the visitor's center, we wandered out onto the boardwalk to put the 5-step process I had detailed to him to practical use.  This 5-step process allows one to make a well exposed and sharp photograph in any shooting conditions.  The boardwalk takes us from bright sunshine (see above) to deep shade such that even though it was day time, we found conditions where the limit of aperture and shutter speed were reached and the ISO needed to be increased.  We only used one of Mike's lenses, so when we meet again it will be on to longer focal lengths!

Canon T3i 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson at Lettuce Lake Park Tampa Florida with Mary

Mary looking like a pro with her Canon T3i during our photography lesson in Lettuce Lake Park Tampa FloridaOn an increasingly warm Saturday morning I met Mary in Lettuce Lake Park for a 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson with her Canon T3i.  We met in the visitor's center to sit in air conditioned comfort at first as I introduced her to both her Canon DSLR and also my 5-step process for making a well exposed and sharp shot in any shooting conditions.  Mary took notes during this time (which I recommend) as I spoke about the default settings I start out with for daylight and also indoors.  

After this we moved outside and onto the boardwalks that are the best feature of Lettuce Lake Park.  There was no lack of wildlife to be seen starting with a good-sized alligator, then a cottonmouth snake on a branch and of course a few turtles and fish.  There were rumors of a very large banded water snake, but we never saw it ourselves.  The shadows and changing light out on the boardwalk allowed Mary to practice getting the exposure correct in manual exposure mode.  I taught her to use the meter in her viewfinder to help get the correct shutter speed, and then when necessary to increase aperture in really shady spots.  

We never got a chance to use her 75-300mm lens, so we will be meeting again soon to see the world more close up through her telephoto lens.

1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson Nikon D3100 with Amy in Lettuce Lake Park Tampa Florida

Amy users her Nikon D3100 during our 1-on-1 photography lesson in Lettuce Lake Park Tampa FloridaIt was decidedly drier for our 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson this morning in Lettuce Lake Park.  When I met Amy three weeks ago there was a deluge the entire time that kept us in the visitor's center.  The sun was out in full force and so were we with 50mm lenses during this third of four photography lessons.  We walked out onto the boardwalk intending to create shots with shallow DoF using the large aperture ability of a 50mm f/1.8 lens.  I instructed Amy that we would not be shooting using the set the focus the recompose technique we had been with wide angle lenses.  Since teh DoF is so shallow with a 50mm lens at even f/2.8, we must first frame the shot how we want then move the single focus point over onto the intended subject.  

While out on the boarkwalk we were greeted by a number of turtles and even a snake . . . exciting!

We finished the lesson changing lenses and shooting at 200mm in low light practicing how to get the exposure right in such conditions.  For our fourth lesson we may go indoors and work on editing and workflow and thus have no worries about weather.

1-on-1 Nikon D3100 DSLR Photography Lesson with Amy at Lettuce Lake Park Tampa Florida

Inside the visitor's center at Lettuce Lake Park with Amy & her Nikon D3100 for a photography lessonAmy and I planned to meet at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Florida for the second of our four 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons this morning, but a deluge interrupted those plans, although perhaps for the better.  Instead of strolling on the long boardwalks in sunshine looking for birds to photograph, we were stranded inside the visitor's center the whole time.  Fortunately, since our first lesson Amy got an external flash, so actually being inside was more advantageous for practicing how to get the best use of it on camera.  

So in a setting of old bird photographs and lots of wood paneling (see photo above!), and in between a large group of school kids coming in, I answered Amy's questions from since we last met and then reviewed my 5-step process for getting a well exposed and sharp photograph in any shooting conditions.  

Then we put her new Nikon SB-700 Speedlight onto her Nikon D3100 and practiced photographing people indoors focusing on only changing the direction of the flash head as otherwise all our settings were locked in at indoor defaults of:  f/5.6 1/60th ISO 800 & 1/4 power for the flash.  Just changing the angle of the flash was enough to produce dramatically different results given the different ceiling heights in the visitor center, the location of the subject within the lobby itself, and also the type of background.  We plan on returning to Lettuce Lake Park for our third lesson to hopefully better weather!