Thanks for taking the time to reply, man.
I read a great book on the making of "In The American West". It described his setup being a seamless white background, set up in the shade on a sunny day. Pretty telling that photos that powerful were that technically simple.
All I have right now is the 18-200 3.5-5.6. It's good, but not great. When I can, I'll get a 24-70 2.8, a 135 portrait lens, and a 1.8 50 prime. And a pony. And a firetruck. Fuck that stuff is pricey. I'm on the fence as to whether I go with Nikor, or other. Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, whatever. As far as isolation, I don't have the glass for super shallow DOF, so if I can, I shoot above the ambient and light with flash. It is a PITA, but it's what I have to work with right now.
I learned with film and a digital spot meter using the zone system, either placing the shadows where I wanted them, or just going off a gray card. Now, I usually make exposure decisions with the histogram. I use it in spot, and expose for the highlights. I should break out the old meter, and use it with the d300. Just for chuckles, mind.
My p&s doesn't do anything manual. I got it because it's waterproof. A g10would be cheaper...hmmmm.
Here's a few from this weekend. Not great, I know. I was shooting a few times a week, but it's been a year or so since I shot with any regularity, and I'm rusty. Fishing is a cruel mistress.
The up the nose angle ain't the best, but I didn't want the treeline growing out of his head. His hands are brighter than his face, but I was shooting with one hand, and aiming a speedlite with the other. It has a small diffuser on it, but I need to get one of the small softboxes that mount on speedlites. At least I know what's fucked up, and a rough idea how to fix it.
I couldn't get the specular highlights in the glasses dialed. Again, one hand on the cam, the other on the light. I was using the sun from cam right as a fill, and a flash cam left for key. I don't like the nose shadow. I could've turned him into the sun a bit more, or used a reflector I suppose.
Again, thanks for the reply.