Saturday, November 7, 2009

Photographing at work

This last week, I was asked to photograph an event at my place of employment and to take a group photo of some of my co-workers.  I've been showing my photography around at work for a couple of years and have had friends ask me to photograph their grandkids, which I've done gladly because I love to photograph children, but I hadn't been asked to take photos that will be used in annual reports and web pages for the laboratory.  Today, another friend of mine told me I really should go photograph at the "Dia de los Muertos" procession tomorrow night. People, at least locally, are beginning to think of me as a photographer, I like the feeling.

The event I photographed was a public outreach event from the Lunar and Planetary Lab to a fifth grade class from an elementary school.  The children (about 12) got a chance to examine a collection of meteorites, make their own comets using dry ice, water, soil, and a collection of other ingredients similar to those found in real comets, and make small impact craters in tubs of flour layered with other colored powders.  These were smart kids who were very engaged in the process, listened well to instruction, expressed themselves clearly, and had a lot of fun in the process (what kid doesn't have fun with dry ice?). The photo below shows two girls with a ziplock bag full of comet ingredients, the white cloud above the bag is condensing CO2 and water vapor escaping from the bag.

Adam Showman, one of the professors here at the lab, wanted a photograph of him and his graduate student group.  This was also fun to do, we tried a variety of locations and shot about 15 photographs indoors, outdoors in the shade, and outdoors in the sun.  The photograph below was, I think, the most successful of the group because it captures a little of the personalities of the people in the photograph, and the background indicates that the subjects are involved with planets (although a background with Jupiter in it would have been more appropriate to the work they do, the 3D poster of Mercury works well I think.

Most of these shots were indoor shots without flash.  For those of you interested in camera details, both shots here were made with a Canon 5D mk II and a Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens.  The first shot was made at f/2.8 at 1/125 second and ISO 800, the second was made at f/2.8 at 1/160 second and ISO 1600.  Click to images to see larger versions.

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