North Straub Park

duPont Concours d'Elegance St. Petersburg Florida 2014 Car Event Photography

Dressing to match your classic car at duPont Concours d'Elegance St. Petersburg Florida 2014 - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 1/125thThanks to a future car photography client, I had the opportunity to literally hitch a ride in his BMW into the duPont Concours d'Elegance in St. Petersburg, Florida.  This 2014 show was in cooperation with the Museum of Fine Arts set in North Straub Park.  Things started out very overcast, as has been the case many winter mornings this year, but after 9:30am the sun did break through and I of course had my camera with me.  I asked the couple above if I could photograph them as they had dressed up to match the era of their car.  They are in the classic car restoration business.  Visit their website for more info.

A Ferrari California 30 at duPont Concours d'Elegance St. Petersburg Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 7-exposure HDR tripod mounted with cable releaseFerrari of Tampa Bay brought three cars, including the F12berlinetta, which will be featured in its own post.  Above is the latest Ferrari California 30, upgraded with more horsepower and a new suspension from the original model of a few years ago.  It is for sale!

1957 Buick Caballero at duPont Concours d'Elegance St. Petersburg Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 7-exposure HDR tripod mounted with cable releaseI talked for a while with the interesting owner of this very interesting 1957 Buick Caballera station wagon.  He had original ads from the 50s showing that side view mirrors were only options back then!  As you can see, this car has no side mirrors.  If you can believe it, seatbelts were options too!  This car does not have that option either.  So with no seatbelts and bench seats front and back, you can have the fun of your sweetheart sliding into you around fast turns.  

Classic BMWs at duPont Concours d'Elegance St. Petersburg Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 7-exposure HDR tripod mounted with cable releaseI arrived in the white BMW 2002 pictured above, but only was in it for one block.  Both BMWs are owned by a future client so I am hoping to have featured shoots of both of these cars coming up soon to share.  There will be subsequent posts featuring specific cars from this car show, including my current favorite of them all, the Aston Martin Vanquish.  

Black & White Silhouettes in North Straub Park St. Petersburg Florida Fine Art Photography

North Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg Florida - inquire about purchasing a fine art print of this imagePhotographs I like to look at make me feel something.  They can also make me think of something, either something I see in the photo itself or that gets triggered in my mind from looking at the photo.  One does not need to travel far nor wide to make images that can provoke thought and feeling.  It does not even need to be a new place.  I have been in North Straub Park with my camera hundreds of times over the course of teaching 300+ photography lessons in downtown St. Petersburg, yet I could still make an image of the park that I liked and wanted to share.  I recommend going out this weekend and looking more carefully at a place you commonly go and see if you cannot make an image for yourself that makes you think and feel.

Nikon D40 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson with Jennifer in St. Petersburg Florida

Jennifer with her Nikon D40 in North Straub Park during our 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in St. Petersburg Florida

Jennifer received a 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson as a gift from her husband upon getting a Nikon D40 DSLR.  I can think of no better gift to give a new DSLR owner than a 2-hour lesson that will jump start her/his practical photography knowledge!  That is just what I started teaching Jennifer, how to go about in a very practical manner making a well exposed and sharp photograph with her DSLR.  It is not that difficult of a process to learn, but it is one that needs to be learned as you cannot just simply pick up a DSLR and use it in auto-mode.  Well you can, but there is not much point in that as a DSLR likes to be told what to do, i.e. used in manual exposure mode. 

Jennifer, like many people that take their first photography lesson with me, claimed to know "nothing" when we met in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida for our photography lesson.  Of course that was not entirely true as she knew what shutter speed was to a degree, and aperture too, plus other things.  What most people do not know is the very exact five steps you can take for getting a good shot with a DSLR every single time.  Once you know those five things, you can then really focus on the creative aspects of photography and not think about the tech stuff so much.  

For supposedly not knowing anything, Jennifer caught on well to the five step process for shooting in manual exposure mode and I am confident she will be able to use it on her own after just a single 2-hour lesson.  

Canon T4i 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in St. Petersburg with John

John with his new Canon T4i during our 1-on-1 photography lesson in downtown St. Petersburg FloridaOn a surprisingly crisp Florida morning in May I met John in downtown St. Petersburg for a 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson.  His interest in photography has been growing leading him to purchase a Canon T4i making the transition from point-and-shoot to the DSLR world.  He had also starting reading up on photography before we met so he had familiarity with photography terms, but just needed help seeing how they all relate and also simply how to set them on his DSLR.  

After I showed him around his Canon T4i we walked around the waterfront area practicing how to use the meter to get a baseline exposure, and then how to read the histogram after making the shot to see how the results really came out.  I showed John how to control DoF with aperture and focal length and then concluded the lesson with a little shade versus direct sunlight portrait practice.  

Canon 50D & 430EX II Speedlight 1-on-1 Photography Lesson with Ariel in St. Petersburg Florida

Ariel photographing graduating senior Chelsea jump off a bench in North Straub ParkI met Ariel for our third of four 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons in downtown St. Petersburg again, but this time she brought along a friend's daughter to be her model for practicing how to use a speedlight.  Chelsea was great and very patient as we setup different shots using both long and wide lenses.  We used several spots around North Straub Park sometimes featuring Chelsea playing her guitar and another as you can see above with her jumping high off a park bench!

I had Ariel using her Canon 430EX II Speedlight in manual mode mostly at 1/4 power, the same setting I use my own Nikon speedlights at so that multiple shots at once can be taken.  If full power or even 1/2 power were used, the 430EX II probably would not be able to recylcle fast enough and would just not fire by the second or third shots.  Using about 1/4 power allows for three shots in a burst, necessary for jumping shots like the one pictured above.

I look forward to working more with lighting in my fourth lesson with Ariel coming up soon!

1-on-1 Nikon D60 DSLR Photography Lesson with Carol in downtown St. Petersburg Florida

Carol with her Nikon D60 during our 1-on-1 photography lesson in downtown St. Petersburg, FloridaIt was another afternoon time 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in downtown St. Petersburg on a fine December day with Carol and her Nikon D60.  She had her D60 for awhile, but like many of my photography students, was only using it on auto-mode.  Having other recent experience with the Nikon D60, I confirmed again that its meter can easily be tricked into producing lackluster results.  This was apparent when making the exact same shot in manual mode and aperture priority mode back-to-back.  Thus, I am more convinced than ever that even my beginner students should start out learning how to shoot in full manual mode.

While teaching Carol my field tested 5-step process for making a well exposed and sharp image in any shooting conditions we visited the St. Petersburg marina area, the Museum of Fine Arts and ended up in North Straub Park for a little natural light portrait practice in the shade using a 200mm focal length.  

I look forward to hearing how Carol now loves manual mode and never has to return to auto-mode again, I hope!

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!