Thursday, 24 June 2010

Final field trips in Swansea

Ysgol Penyrheol – Caswell Bay

This, our last field trip took us the furthest away from the school to Caswell Bay on the south Gower coast. The weather was a little disappointing at first, with low cloud and a cool breeze from the sea. Being near midsummer, though, the light level itself was good, with even illumination. This meant that shadows were not an important feature of picture taking.

Above: Penryheol staff and kids air surfing on the beach at Caswell Bay

The children were happy to be there and keen to go off and take photos of the coast line, the sand, the rock formations and rock pools. We were lucky that the tide was nearly out, revealing the rocks and caves on both side of the bay. Back in school and looking at their best three shots, the entire class had done excellent work. The exhibition next autumn will be good to see.

Ysgol Pen y Bryn – Singleton Park

What a treat! Our trip to Singleton was very enjoyable and by the time we arrived, the clouds had parted and the light substantially improved. The upper part of the park was a revelation. The first things we saw were the beautifully situated Gorsedd Stones, which provided lots of potential for interesting photos, both as individual stones and as the whole arrangement. It was also a very good spot to take the group photo shot. Moving on, we went through a gate in the high stone wall into the Botanical Garden to see a feast of colour.

Above: Penybryn class on the Gorsedd Stones in Singleton Park

Magnificent describes the floral displays only adequately – there were wonderful flowers in profusion and the kids took lots of photos. Actually, there were many other possible pics here: stately trees, squirrels, a pond, birds and (more fun here) water sprays. There were more photos taken in the Botanical Garden than anywhere else on our previous field trips. It is gratifying to see the pleasure these young people are getting from the project, not mention the satisfaction from making genuine pieces of art.

This was our last session before the end of term and the last of the field trips for the Swansea schools. When we resume in September, we will be doing the three sessions in front of the computers, downloading from the cameras, creating folders and choosing the best pictures for the exhibition. Enjoy the summer!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Landscapes Everywhere!

Ysgol Penyrheol

To the sea at the Discovery Centre

It was just the weather for a jaunt to the seaside with our cameras. The sun was out, it was warm, the skylarks were up and singing and the sea was there in front of us with Gower not far away across the estuary. It was a photographer's paradise. There were landscapes everywhere! Not only were there seascapes, with sand, waves and distant views, but there also were masses of possibilities in the foreshore, the buildings and the other architectural patterns and textures. The Millennium Coast Park is somewhere we came with another school in the depth of that long cold lonely winter.

Above: Ysgol Penyrheol - Gower's thataway!

That time, we had very little time to take our pictures because of the deep freeze; this time, though, it was balmy weather all the way. It didn't take long for the class to realise that the creative possibilities were virtually endless, and they went off to exercise their shutter fingers in every direction. It is fair to say that everybody took some excellent shots here and that the exhibition will be all the better for them.

Ysgol Pen y Bryn

The lake and crowds of wild geese

For those people, like me, who go to Llansamlet just for the shopping and the industrial units, the lake there is unknown; but just off the main road opposite the car main dealers and the repair shops is this haven for wild birds, fish and humans. It's also a place that's ideal for taking photos. What with the views across the water, with its reflections from the sun, its crowds of wild geese, ducks and swans, and trees, bees and wild flowers, it was just right for budding photographers to take loads of pictures. Take pictures they did, enjoying their time immensely. Back in class and looking at everyone's best three shots, it was evident from the quality of the work that the project is succeeding in providing a unique opportunity for these young people's creativity to blossom.

Above: The Ysgol Penybryn class enjoying the lake at Llansamlet

Next session will be our last before the summer holiday and also the last of the field trips. When we get back together in September, we will have three sessions at the computer face learning about the other part of digital photography and getting down to sorting the pictures for the exhibition.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Final sessions in Llanelli

Ysgol Coedcae

It seems a long time ago that we started the project here in Llanelli, but looking back over the blogs, I see that it was on the 9th of February – so only four months. A lot of good work has been done by everyone since then and today we saw the last session at Coedcae, where the class finalised their choices for the exhibition and wrote the titles for the images and what was special about each one. Using those brilliant new laptop computers, the kids made short work of these final tasks. Meanwhile, in the next classroom, I took a portrait photo of each pupil, a print of which will be centrally placed on their individual exhibition board. With a few minutes to spare, we took some group shots, including some funny ones of the staff.

Above: Ysgol Coedcae class and staff at the last session

Ysgol Maes y Morfa

The class at Maes y Morfa also finished their work today, heroically working hard to complete the final tasks in front of the computers. At the same time, as we were racing the clock to help them, I set up the camera for the portraits, taking the kids' pictures between the computer sessions – and between the two end computers! Anyway, we made it, apart from a couple of absentees, whose work will be completed in normal class time. Mr. Crawford, their class teacher kindly volunteered to take the group shot, too, because we ran out of time to do that item. However, the pupils have all taken some brilliant pictures and we're all very excited to be seeing them at the beginning of July up on the exhibition boards.

Above: Maes y Morfa kids doing a great job at the computers

The Exhibition

So, the big next big thing will be the exhibition, where all the kids best photos from both schools will be printed and mounted on special boards. This is where the mayor and lots of other important people will come to admire their work. It will be on for two days in the Stradey Park Hotel on the 6th and 7th of July. On Tuesday the 6th at 12.30 the Mayor of Llanelli will officially open the exhibition and all the pupils will receive a prize from him.