Thursday, 30 September 2010

Heads down to get the IT work done at Swansea

Ysgol Penyrheol

We had another successful day at Penyrheol for the hard working kids. Building on last session's good work, the students completed the tough job of finalising their choices down to the best ten images. Once they'd done that, everybody opened a Word document and typed in the number of each picture followed by a title for it. This is a more difficult task than it might sound. In a very few words, the title has to describe the substance of the photograph, whether it's a simple place name, or perhaps it is more poetic and describes the photographer's response to the scene and its contents. Sometimes, the first thing that comes into your head is the best – however silly it might at first seem. Once that part was done, a separate piece of typing has to answer the question, "Why do you like the picture?” Again, this can be as simple as a few words, or as complicated as you like. What's important, though, is to put it in your own words – and it doesn't matter about the spelling at all.

Above: Penyrheol class sorting through the hundreds of photos

Normally, the kids' portraits are taken in the last lesson (this one being the second to last), but we got on so well that I was able to take them in the last period. Using my brand new camera, the portraits came out really well. Next session we will finish any bits left over and take the group shots, hopefully with all the staff who accompanied us on the field trips.

Ysgol Penybryn

What a good afternoon we had! Nearly all the students had gone through their complete set of work and had made the all important choices. This made the task so much easier and by the end of the session we had even made most of the descriptive documents. Next time we'll have to make sure everything is finished and also do the individual portraits and group shots.

Above: Penybryn students hard at work on their choices

The Big Exhibition of both Swansea schools' work

Please note the following dates and place:

2nd of November, 12.30pm - Grand Theatre, Swansea: Presentation of gifts to all students by the Mayor of Swansea

3rd November, 9.00am to 5.00pm - Grand Theatre, Swansea: Exhibition open

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Back to work for the Swansea Schools

Ysgol Penyrheol

After the long summer break, it was great to get back to work on the project and to be welcomed warmly by the kids at Ysgol Penyrheol. In their new IT suite, we had plenty of room to move and lots of lovely computers that worked perfectly. Apart from having to transfer the students' photos to their workstations, there were no hitches and everybody was able to learn the processes of downloading images from the camera and making folders in which to place them. In fact we got on better than is usual at this point in the schedule.

Above: Penyrheol students concentrate on making difficult choices

By the end of the session, we had finished the main jobs for the day and had begun the task of making the tricky choices of which of the hundreds of photos
taken during the five field trips should be put in the folder marked '20 best'. It's always such an important part of the project and one that needs care. What's important is to choose ones that each photographer really likes, whilst making sure the quality is good – sharp, level, well exposed – and there is a range of different subjects. So, there are lots of different things to bear in mind.

Ysgol Penybryn

There was also a warm welcome for us at Penybryn School. It was a pleasure to meet everybody again after the holiday.

Above: Penybryn practice on the computers

Our task was similar to Penyrheol's and all the students were ready to go. However, there was a problem with the IT equipment, which slowed everything down. Some of students managed to see their pictures and others were able to observe, but, in the end we had to make different arrangements. A member of staff, using the new CHRT provided computer, will go through each student's pictures with them, choosing their best 20 and putting them into a special folder. So, by our next session, we should be ready to take on the next stage of dividing those pictures in two for the final selection. Dealing with the class in two halves will also help with the workload, whilst utilising the fastest of the computers.

The Big Exhibition of both Swansea schools

Please note the following date and place

2nd and 3rd of November, Grand Theatre, Swansea 12.30 pm

Carmarthen schools new budding photographers

Queen Elizabeth High

Wow! What a wonderful new school. The combined comprehensive that is QE High is a school fit for a new century and Cheryl and I are delighted to start a new project here. The special unit is full of smiley people and we were made to feel very welcome. Due to an administrative error, we started a bit late, but that didn't spoil the pupils' joy at receiving brand new high spec cameras to use for the project. As usual, there was no delay in their finding out how to operate these amazing pieces of equipment and everybody was soon taking practice pictures of each other.

Above: Queen Elizabeth High pupils and staff in the grounds of the school

A little later we made our way to the school grounds where there was a good range of subjects to photograph from playground structures to semi wilderness. After taking a few fun pics of the group, we went back to the classroom and the students showed me their best shot of the day. I already can see that we have lots of budding photographers!

Johnstown Juniors

What a lively lot the kids of Johnstown Juniors are. The newest group on the project are enthusiastic as can be and paid attention while we went through the boring bits of talking about the work they'd be doing. As soon as the cameras were distributed, they were away taking pictures of each other in the classroom as if they had been doing it for ages, hardly needing any instruction. At first, we took pictures of the landscape through the windows, but quickly the rain eased a little, so we went out to the shelter of the bike shed.

Above: Johnstown Juniors shelter from the rain while taking their first pictures

Here there is a surprisingly good view north to Carmarthen town. We could see the Picton monument, the tower of Christchurch and further on an interesting hilly horizon, as well as groups of buildings. Back in class and looking at their best shot of the day, it's clear that we will be seeing some really good picture taking here.