Nikon D3100

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.

Nikon D3100 DSLR Photography Lesson in St. Petersburg Florida with Pat & Jon

Pat & Jon showing good form with their Nikon DSLRs during our photography lesson in St. Petersburg FloridaIt is very rare for me to teach anything but a 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson but in seven day's time when I met Pat and Jon it was my third that week!  Pat had experience with film SLRs, but found their Nikon D3100 DSLR to be a more complex camera body than she was used to.  Jon had been doing a lot of reading up on digital photography, so with their combined photography knowledge, they already had a good base to start from.  During our photography lesson I taught them my very specific and exact process for making a well exposed and sharp image in any shooting conditions.  Knowing what aperture is, and shutter speed, etc, is one thing, applying that knowledge is another and is the biggest reason why my on location, in the field shooting, photography lessons help get people actually shooting in manual mode as quickly as possible, and in a way they can repeat even after the lesson.

Pat & Jon have a business related to air shows, so being able to get shots of plans flying by is something they wanted to learn about.  Really for photographing any moving subject the technique is the same, it's just the size and speed of the subject may make things a little more tricky.  It's all a matter of using the minimum shutter speed necessary (1/500th) and the correct focus mode (AF-C; Ai-servo).  After that your technique as a photographer and skill to track the subject takes over.  

I look forward to seeing their future plane and jet photos using the skills we practiced during our photography lesson on a pleasant Saturday morning in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.

1-on-1 Nikon D3100 DSLR Photography Lesson with Margaret in St. Petersburg Florida

Margaret using her Nikon D3100 during our 1-on-1 DSLR photography lesson in downtown St. Petersburg FloridaYesterday evening I met Margaret in downtown St. Petersburg for our first 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson.  There were dark clouds all around, but all they provided was a nice somewhat less hot cover for our lesson time and no rain at all.  The best of both worlds!  Margaret was not a first time DSLR owner as a majority of my photography students are.  She owned a Nikon D40 before recently buying a Nikon D3100, but all that time she had just been using auto-mode.  Now with the new DSLR, she finally was ready to learn to take control of her camera.

As I showed Margaret around her Nikon D3100 I explained that it only takes at most the setting of five things on the camera to make a well exposed and sharp image in any given shooting situation.  Beyond that we also talked about the benefits of shooting in RAW and how an external flash would help her shoot indoors better.  

After that intro we walked around the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront and were treated to a mothership looking cloud formation for a little landscape photography practice.  I also instructed Margaret on how to control the background (in focus or out of focus) using aperture and focal length.  I look forward to seeing her photographs shot in manual exposure mode from now on!

1-on-1 Nikon D3100 DSLR Photography Lesson with Carol in St. Petersburg Florida

Carol with her new red Nikon D3100 during our 1-on-1 photography lesson in St. Petersburg FloridaOn a stormy Florida evening I met Carol for a 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson along the waterfront of downtown St. Petersburg.  She had very recently gotten a snazzy looking red Nikon D3100.  Her reason for making the jump to the DSLR world was sparked by simply wanting to pursue photography as a hobby and be able to make great photographs.  I think that is a pretty good reason!

As we walked around the waterfront under overcast skies I taught Carol my established process for making a well exposed and sharp shot in any given shooting situation, and how to use the meter and histogram together to determine how to get better results.  Being a photographer is not a matter of getting the first shot perfect each time, it is getting that second or third attempt perfect.  Once you can get the results you want in your images, and be able to repeat that process in different shooting conditions, then you know you have gotten the hang of photography.

A few rain drops did chase after us toward the end of the lesson, but not before we had a chance to practice a little landscape portrait shooting utilizing the pop-up flash.  Even using the limited pop-up flash we were able to get pretty good results out along the waterfront.  I look forward to seeing Carol use what she learned during our lesson as she photographs dragonboat racing!

Nikon D3100 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson St. Petersburg Florida with Brooke

Brooke tracking a moving subject with her Nikon D3100 during our 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in St. Petersburg FloridaLast month Brooke's husband took a night photography lesson with their Nikon D3100.  Yesterday afternoon I met her for a more general 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson focused on making the switch from aperture priority mode to shooting using manual exposure mode.  I think by the end of the 2-hour lesson Brooke had successfully made the switch!

Brooke had photography knowledge, but it was not organized in a way that could be counted upon to produce consistent results when shooting in various conditions.  I helped her organize that knowledge and added in key pieces of additional information using my 5-step process for getting a sharp and well exposed shot in any shooting condition.  I started by pointing out that since she was already an aperture priority shooter, switching to manual means only adding one more thing to set yourself, which of course is shutter speed.

I also offered Brooke advice on what photography gear to buy next (50mm lens) and what kind of mindset to have when going out shooting (choose a theme).  

Nikon D3100 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson St. Petersburg Florida with Jason

Jason using his Nikon D3100 tripod mounted for some long exposure shots on The PierWhile it is still open and still standing, I will still be using The Pier as a great location for my 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons, and really cannot imagine what it will be like to not have it available come May 2013.  Friday evening I met Jason with his Nikon D3100 in downtown St. Petersburg.  He specifically wanted to practice long exposure night photography, which is fine by me as it is one of my favorite kinds.  We made our way out to The Pier and got setup on the open roof viewing area.  This type of photography of course requires a tripod because as by the end of the lesson we were using 30-second exposures, and even while there was still plenty of light in the sky (but no sun), exposures were in the 1 to 2 second range.  

In a way, night photography is kind of simple: put camera on tripod, leave shutter open, done.  Of course there are things that can be done to improve one's night photography, especially related to placement of the horizon and exactly how long to leave the shutter open.  These were the things we focused on mostly during our night photography lesson.  I look forward to seeing Jason's future long exposure shots!

Nikon D90 & D3100 DSLR Photography Lesson with Bill and Ria in downtown St. Petersburg Florida

Ria & Bill show good form as they prepare to photograph me as I walk down a sidewalk during our Nikon photography lesson.Last Saturday I ended my day with a DSLR Photography Lesson with husband and wife Bill & Ria and this Saturday I began my day with our second lesson together, this time in the usual downtown St. Petersburg spot.  They both did some studying and practice since our last lesson which I highly recommend so that at the start of the next lesson they will have questions to ask and photographs to show me.  

For our second lesson we continued with the 4-steps to setting up a well exposed and in focus shot.  We started with making sure we were aware of the position of the sun relevant to our subject, which whenever possible we want our backs to the sun and our shadows pointed at the subject.  This is of course useful when photographing still and moving subjects.  The latter we practiced much more this time on passing cyclists and also yours truly as you can see Ria & Bill preparing to do in the photo above.  They are both using my suggested hand holding technique for portrait orientation, with the DSLR grip up in the right hand which allows the left elbow to become a point of stability against your body.  They lined up side-by-side like that on their own, it is a candid image!

I look forward to seeing what shots they make with a second round of photography knowledge.