Sunday, April 25, 2010

04.25.10 - Okinda kids portraits and stories

This is Brighton Majwango. He's 7 and in the 1st grade. He likes singing and skipping and he dreams to be a pilot someday. It was probably Brighton's first time ever seeing a plane when we flew in.

This is Sharon Awuor. She is 11 and in the 7th grade. She likes to travel and play with friends. She wants to be an attorney when she grows up.

This is Wilfrida Moraa. She's 8 and in the second grade. She likes watching and wants to be a doctor.

This is Arnold Onyango. He's 8 years old and is in the first grade. He likes matching items and also wants to be a pilot.

Do me a favor. Take a minute to pray for these kids as you look at these pictures. Pray for them by name. Pray and ask God if you are suppose to help them in any way.

I struggled putting these pictures up here for everyone to see. I don't want it just to be some "nice picture" that we look at for 5 seconds and then disregard. These are real lives, with real dreams.

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From a photography standpoint... I saw this wall and wanted it as the background for the portraits. I went there early afternoon and the sun light was diffused shining in from a window to my right. I had the students step out about a foot or so from the wall.

There wasn't a TON of light, so I cranked my ISO up to 1600 to get a decent shutter speed hand held. I zoomed my 24-105 lens in around about 100mm and fired off 3 horizontal and 3 vertical pics. I focused in on their eyes. I choose f/4 to keep my shutter speed up and a shallow DOF to blur the background. Still a lot of these were pretty low for hand holding... 1/80th of a second or so. Relying pretty heavily on my IS.

The students were brought down in their classes by grade. Jess was handed a stack of sheets by the teachers with the students information on it. Name, age, grade, hobbies and dreams.

Jess called the students names and they came over to me to have their picture taken. After I took the pictures I told Jess what number the pictures were on the cf card and she wrote it down next to the students name. Jess was such a huge help, organizing the kids, letting the kids know who was on deck so the whole process went quickly.

Most of the students were very shy. When I asked them to smile they got embarrassed, sometimes their fellow classmates would playfully harass them which allowed me to get some pretty authentic expressions.

I had to continually ask the group of students to back up away from me. They were trying to see the display on the back of my camera and they would push in and start pushing me.

No fancy lighting set up... just good soft natural light. I tried to be fast, spending less than 30 seconds with each kid. Not my usual portrait technique but its a whole different ball game when you know you have to do 300 of these.

I wanted to shoot well enough and get good enough exposures that I didn't have to come back and edit all of these pictures. Sorting through and picking the best picture out of 6 (x 300) was enough for me. If any post production was done I might have bumped the exposures up just a tad in Lightroom in the quick develop module.

Questions? Comments?

I hope this blog post blessed you and brought a smile to your face. I can't help but look through these portraits and smile. :)

JIM baker

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