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Archive for Sunday, December 28, 2003

Photographer overcomes obstacles to portray classroom interaction

Behind the lens

December 28, 2003

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Photographer: Mike Yoder

Camera: Nikon D1H digital

Chris Cobb, center, encourages Jeremy Miller, an early childhood
student at East Heights School. Cobb was one of several teachers
put into a master's degree group through a collaboration between
the Lawrence school district and Baker University. In one year, the
group completed a master's degree. At left is Alexis Jenkins.

Chris Cobb, center, encourages Jeremy Miller, an early childhood student at East Heights School. Cobb was one of several teachers put into a master's degree group through a collaboration between the Lawrence school district and Baker University. In one year, the group completed a master's degree. At left is Alexis Jenkins.

Lens: approximately 35mm

Aperture: f3.2

Shutter speed: 1/160

ISO: 640

We get many assignments to photograph teachers interacting with their students in class. Two difficulties are figuring out where to position yourself so you can anticipate the teacher's moves and trying to blend into the classroom so the students will ignore you and the large camera you are pointing at them.

When East Heights School teacher Chris Cobb sat down with two students, I lowered myself into a position at desktop level and used the two students in the foreground to frame the teacher. Because I was only about two or three feet away from the boy at right, it took a few minutes for him to ignore me and return to his schoolwork. By using an aperture of f3.2, I created a shallow depth of field, keeping the selective focus on Cobb at the center of the frame and less on the children closer to my camera position.

Once this position and framing was established, I waited until an interaction occurred between the teacher and the boy at right so the teacher's face would be directed back toward the center of the frame.

-- "Behind the Lens" is an ongoing weekly series that features an image selected by the Journal-World photo staff that previously ran in the newspaper or online. Wondering how a certain picture was created? Nominate it for "Behind the Lens" by contacting chief photographer Mike Yoder at 832-7141 or myoder@ljworld.com.

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