Nikon D90

1-on-1 Nikon D90 DSLR Photography Lesson in St. Petersburg Florida with Chris

Chris with his Nikon D90 during out 1-on-1 DSLR photography lesson in downtown St. Petersburg FloridaOn a rather warm spring morning I met Chris in downtown St. Petersburg for a 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson with his Nikon D90.  He has had the camera for four years, but was only mostly shooting in Program mode and other auto-modes.  He has a couple of significant trips coming up and wanted to make the best travel photographs possible with his Nikon, so getting him off of Program mode and onto Manual Mode was the first step in that process.  

Chris had two lenses allowing us to practice a variety of shooting techniques for making photos with a shallow depth of focus, moving subjects and also natural light portraits.  Using his Nikkor 70-300mm lens at a focal length of 200mm and f/5.6 I showed Chris how to make the background essentially disappear so that a busy background could be eliminated and not distract from the main subject.  This is just one example of the many specific and practical topics we covered in our 2-hour 1-on-1 DSLR photography lesson.  I look forward to meeting Chris for a second lesson in the near future.

1-on-1 Nikon D90 DSLR Photography Lesson with Raegan in downtown St. Petersburg Florida

Raegan with her Nikon D90 in North Straub Park during our 1-on-1 DSLR photography lesson - St. Petersburg FloridaThe first true afternoon 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson of the fall was with Raegan and her Nikon D90, meeting at 3pm which would be unthinkable most months of the year in Florida.  She has had her D90 for quite sometime and had even taken other photography lessons in the past, but was still looking for a better way to tie together aperture, shutter speed and ISO.  Of course, that is exactly what my lessons aim to do from the get-go.

Since Raegan did have some photography knowledge to start with, and was already shooting in manual mode, I described to her my 5-step process for making a well exposed and sharp image in any chooting conditions in a bit more detail at first than usual.  In particular shutter speed limits, with those of course being in general 1/60th for still subjects and 1/500th for moving subjects.  Knowing those two limits is the key to eliminating blur and camera shake.  

We ended the lesson with a little flash portrait practice in North Straub Park along with a few composition tips that make a big difference in the final overall look of a portrait.  

I hope now that Raegan can confidently photograph her children in focus when they are sitting or moving, or both!

Theory of Photography 1-on-1 DSLR Lesson with Irene & her Nikon D90

Irene with her Nikon D90 getting ready to go on her 4th African safari!I had a most unusual and interesting 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson with new student Irene yesterday evening.  She already was familiar with photography terms and concepts like aperture, ISO, etc, but wanted to learn how to better apply them in combination when you hit the limits of each of those things, not to mention when available light is in short supply.  Getting all this right is key since she is about to go on her fourth African safari photography trip!  

Irene did a good job of asking questions to find out my own personal photography beliefs.  For example, if you are shooting with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens in limited light, would you use f/4 ISO 400 1/200th or f/2.8 ISO 200 and 1/200th?  Those kinds of questions and scenarios made up the bulk of our initial 90-minute discussion.  We concluded the lesson with a few composition tips.  

I look forward to seeing all the great wildlife shots Irene will return from Africa with!

Nikon D90 & Nikon D40x DSLR Photography Lesson in St. Petersburg with Chris & Paul

Chris & Paul showing good shooting form with their Nikons during our photography lesson in St. Petersburg FloridaI met Chris and his father-in-law Paul on a pleasant overcast St. Petersburg evening to help them both get off auto-mode on their Nikons.  Each of them had a few lenses and had been shooting for awhile, but they thought it was time to learn how to take more control over their DSLRs and that is exactly what my DSLR Photography Lessons are designed to do!

In addition to teaching my four step process for getting the exposure and focus right for any given shooting situation, I also teach several habits of the pro-photographer than anyone with a DSLR should emulate as well.  This starts with safely changing lenses, putting everything in the same place in your camera bag every time, always leaving your DSLR on until you put it away in your bag and of courrse how to properly hold your DSLR to maximize stability (see above stances).

Once again I did not have to be the model during this lesson as Chris & Paul took turns being the subject for each other as we ended the lesson with a little flash portrait practice using the scenic St. Petersburg harbor as the background at dusk.  I look forward to seeing how their photographs improve as they put the skills we covered to use to take more control over their shots!

1-on-1 Nikon D90 DSLR Photography Lesson with Chris at The Pier

Getting to eye level with your subject during a 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson with a NIkon D90 in St. Petersburg FloridaFor our second of four 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons Chris and I went out to The Pier in downtown St. Petersburg in an attempt to photograph birds in flight, in particular pelicans.  Well, there were many pelicans, but they were all only lazily napping or preening themselves!  Still, we were able to practice good composition skills, switching back and forth from shutter priority to manual mode, as well as AF-S to AF-C focus modes.  Now Chris will have both brown pelican shots in her portfolio and a cormorant too!

We also practiced basic landscape photography from the top of The Pier, which on a Monday morning we had entirely to ourselves.  Since Chris will soon visit the Smoky Mountains I pointed out that for landscape shots one does not always automatically use a wide angle lens.  If a mountain is very far away then using a medium telephoto lens like a 70-200mm could be the ideal lens to a landscape shot (see my shot of Mt. Fuji) featuring just the mountain itself.

Chris photographing a small bird during our lesson at The Pier in St. Petersburg

I look forward to seeing Chris' Smoky Mountain images, especially if she makes the effort to wake up an hour before sunrise and really capture some of that morning mist on the mountains!

1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in St. Petersburg Nikon D90 with Chris

During our 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson Chris had a chance to photograph these ducklings!On a not too hot St. Petersburg morning I met new DSLR Photography Lesson student Chris for our first of four 1-on-1 photography lessons.  She had taken a photography class about a year ago, but soon after reverted to using auto-mode again so in our lessons I will help her get off of that once and for all and learn to love manual mode!

She has a Nikon D90 and a pair of lenses to go along with her already acquired photography knowledge.  We started with a tour of her DSLR and how to change the four (or five if in manual mode) necessary settings for any given shot.  The D90 has two dials and a top LCD making it pretty quick to be able to do a wholesale set of changes.  For anyone wanting to be serious about shooting in dynamic situations, I highly recommend a DSLR with that feature set, otherwise it will take much longer to change settings than you will most likely have.  

Toward the end of our 2-hour lesson it was a nice surprise to come across a mama duck and her three ducklings.  They provided a very fun subject matter to practice photographing moving subjects.  The key of course is setting the focus mode to AF-C (Ai Servo) and then using good tracking technique to maintain a focus lock on the moving subjects by always keeping the shutter pressed halfway down.

For our second lesson will we head out to The Pier to photograph pelicans and other wonders.

Nikon D90 Architecture Photography Lesson in St. Petersburg Florida with Bill

Bill with his Nikon D90 practicing architecture photography outside of Signature Tower in downtown St. PetersburgMy third DSLR Photography Lesson with Bill on Saturday morning was our first 1-on-1 lesson as his wife Ria could not make it for this one.  We met at the usual spot in downtown St. Petersburg on a typcially beautiful, sunny and warm Florida spring morning.  The focus for this lesson was on making architecture shots, and how to use aperture priority mode to get a general idea of the exposure wanted, before switching to manual mode to fine tune it exactly to the desired results.  

At the very beginning Bill showed me some shots of the St. Petersburg skyline and waterfront he took since our last lesson, homework so to speak.  This was very useful to me in being able to show Bill which settings were correct, and which ones needed to be changed in order to produce a better shot.  We then simulated some of those shot circumstances during our lesson so Bill could practice getting all settings correct for better results.  

We had time during this lesson to start to discuss composition more, especially when photographing buildings.  I showed Bill my parallel edge photography tip while saying that the entire building does not always need to be in the frame.  

Our next lessons will start to include digital photography editing in addition to more shooting practice.  I am looking forward to seeing Bill's early morning dawn shots of St. Petersburg with the help of the things we practiced this lesson.