Butterfly release. Nikon D7100+18-140mm lens+flash.
Looking back over a year's worth of assignments there are some that really stand out. It may have been the subject matter or the environment, or just that the people being photographed and the photographer were all in their own perfect grooves on that one particular day. For me the project that made me smile the most was the couple of days I spent making images of the kids at St. Gabriel's School in Austin for the school's website. Here the website, browse through and see for yourself.
Working with clay. Nikon D7100+85mm f1.8G lens. Available light.
As is the case with most successful projects I've been involved with it wasn't that the photography was the star but that the producer of the whole project carefully crafted every single component; from the writing to the design, to the pacing and even the cropping of the images. In many regards this assignment represented a "dream job" for me. The school is in my community. I know some of the families whose kids attend the school. I'd done a video (with my friend Will van Overbeek), for Glasstire Magazine, about the art teacher. I felt at home.
But more importantly the marketing director trusted me to make the aesthetic decisions for the photographs. She gave me a list of the kinds of images she needed but left the selection of subjects, locations, lighting and gestures/expressions up to me. I was free to move from classroom to classroom and to stop and spend time where the images were working and to cut short locations or activities that didn't quite gel.
This was one of the first projects that I did in 2014 entirely with the Nikon cropped frame camera, the D7100. Over the course of the two shooting days the majority of the images were shot with either the wide ranging 18-140mm or the 85mm f1.8. I shot in raw but and trusted camera at all ISOs from 100 to 3200. I processed my files in the most up to date version of Lightroom and delivered high resolution Jpegs. I came to trust the performance of the camera and the zoom entirely. The 85mm needed some mid-course auto focus fine tuning, now it's perfect too.
The school is lovely. The buildings are pristine and inviting and the campus is situated in the middle of an very affluent neighborhood with rolling green hills to all sides of the school. The kids were great. They all seemed thrilled to be at school, curious and ready to learn. For the most part they ignored me and I got on with the process of taking pictures and they got on with their lessons. Most of the time I had only one camera out and in my hands. I kept a second camera and a few other lenses in a small, easy to carry bag. The only light I brought along was a Metz flash which was used mostly to fill in outdoor shots. Even the post processing was direct and straightforward.
Definitely my favorite project of the year.