Nikon D7000

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!

Nikon D7000 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in St. Petersburg Florida with Bart

Bart aims his Nikon D7000 for a more creative composition style in St. Petersburg FloridaI first met Bart earlier this year when he took my photography class at the Morean Art Center.  Since then he has been out shooting a lot keeping in practice and adding some new items to his camera bag as well.  He contacted me recently for a 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson to give him some advice on the large body of work he has made in the past year and offer suggestions for further improving his shooting.

We met at the usual spot in downtown St. Petersburg and had a small Q&A session to start out with.  From looking at some of his photo galleries I offered my thoughts that his shots could use a little bit more focus, and that even landscapes could have more distinct central subjects which could be made by anchoring a foreground subject.  Along with a few other tips and practicing them in the field during the lesson, I showed Bart a few new features of his DSLR body, like the AEL lock button.  I will be looking forward to seeing how he applies these new tips and techniques in his next few months of shooting!

Nikon D7000 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson at The Pier in St. Petersburg Florida with Patricia

Patricia aims her Nikon D7000 at a pelican out on The Pier during our second DSLR photography lessonFor our second of four 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons I met Patricia on a pleasant Florida winter Saturday morning and headed out to The Pier to photograph pelicans and whatever other surprises we may find there.  For this lesson Patricia used her Nikkor 70-300mm VR lens exclusively on her Nikon D7000.  I recommend having all your gear setup and ready to shoot as you approach a location, so even before we got to The Pier I went over the recommended settings to use with a 70-300mm lens for birds & other small, distant subject matter.

During this second lesson we also focused more on composition, in particular not necessarily always framing things at right angles.  Sometimes, a tilted axis composition style can added much needed pizazz to an otherwise common shot.

Nikon D7000 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in St. Petersburg Florida with Patricia

Practicing DoF with a 300mm lens during our photography lesson in St Petersburg Florida

On a warm February Saturday morning I met Patricia with her new Nikon D7000 in downtown St. Petersburg for our first of four 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons.  She was very new to DSLR cameras, and photography in general, but my 5-step process for learning how to make a well exposed and sharp photograph works for total beginners as well as more experienced photographers.  We began the lesson with a lengthy tour of how to use her Nikon and in particular how to use the finger and thumb dials to make adjustments to the critical aperture and shutter speed settings.

In the second half of the lesson we wondered around the waterfront area practicing how to control DoF, in particular, how to make the background disappear into a nice, creamy bokeh.  This skill is very useful for portraits especially, as well as just adding a creative look to an image overall.  Using the paperboy statue out in front of the St. Petersburg Museum of History I showed Patricia how focal length and distance from the subject matters even more than using a large aperture in creating bokeh.  

For our next lesson we will head out to The Pier!

1-on-1 Nikon D7000 DSLR Bird Photography Lesson St. Petersburg Florida with Mari

Mari going all out lying on the sand to get the best perspective to photograph birds during our photography lesson in St. Petersburg Florida along the beaches near North Shore ParkThis was Mari's sixth total 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson with me, and the first of a new 4-pack of lessons.  We had a very specific focus for this photography lesson:  birds.  In particular, birds along the shore both standing and flying.  I knew to get the best shots we would have to lie down flat on our stomachs, so I brought a sheet for us.  Well, the first spot we used it appeared dry but after about a minute the sheet started to get soaked through.  After that, Mari just had to be tough and lie right on the sand as seen above!

Shooting while lying down can be very comfortable, and it provides not just a very stable shooting position, but also allows for shooting at eye level to the smallest and shortest of birds.  We practiced getting sharp images by carefully setting the focus and recomposing.  Step by step Mari is improving her nature photography!

Nikon D7000 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in St. Petersburg Florida with Anne

Anne with her new Nikon D7000 in Vinoy Park during our 1-on-1 photography lessonThis morning I met Anne for a 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in downtown St. Petersburg.  Currently, Anne is also taking my photography class at the Morean Arts Center.  She started the class with an older Canon DSLR, the only Canon shooter of the five students.  When her 18-55mm lens broke, and no doubt with a little suggestion by all the other Nikon shooters in the room, on my advice she invested in a Nikon D7000, a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens (I own this lens myself) and the Nikkor 70-200mm VR lens, oh and a SB-700 Speedlight too!  

Having made this ecosystem change and wanting more in-depth 1-on-1 instruction, our 2-hours this morning were focused on suring up what we had already discussed in the group lessons and helping her get more familiar with Nikon as well.  In this style of learning, Anne caught on rather fast allowing me to introduce composition tips as well.  As we made our way out to Vinoy Park, I showed Anne the benefits of having a S-curve in the frame and how to use lines in general to move the viewer's eye across a photograph.

Anne is also learning how valuable it is to take just even ten photographs a day, as per the advice I gave everyone in the Morean photo class.  The goal of that is not to make portfolio shots, but to start memorizing the layout of your gear and to make adjusting for correct exposure instinctual rather than requiring concentrated thought.  I look forward to seeing Anne's progress next Tuesday in the classroom.

Nikon D7000 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in St. Petersburg Florida at The Pier with Mari

Mari photographing a pelican during our 1-on-1 DSLR photography lesson in St. Petersburg FloridaI had not seen Mari (as a photography student, though I see her every week at the dog park) since Halloween so today we just got our fourth of four 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons in before Christmas.  We started the lesson answering a lot of her questions she accumulated since we last met, especially about shooting around dawn.  In particular there were issues with getting a focus lock in such low light and also being able to get enough exposure given that she handholds these shots.  The focus tips I gave her should remedy those issues and I reminded her how to gradually increase the ISO as needed to be able to handhold shots even in very low light.

After this we once again headed out to The Pier to photograph somoe of our favorite subjects, pelicans!  The sun was blazing even on this afternoon just two days from winter, but we made best use of the harsh light as we could by positioning ourselves in at least side lit conditions.  We got as close to the pelicans as we dared, who were mostly obliging though one did snap at me a bit.  I cannot blame him though.

I look forward to seeing how Mari puts together all we have learned as she continues to photograph the beauty of St. Petersburg, Florida.