A whirl of fun and learning at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika

I was recently commissioned to photograph the students of San Lorenzo Montessori’s centre located at Publika, Solaris Dutamas. The ongoing photo project aims to produce a set of high quality imagery to be used as part of their long-term promotional materials.

The pictures will be enlarged for window-sized posters and used in both printed and online media. There weren’t any real brief or set requirements but all I knew was the pictures have to be crisp, bright, vibrant and “clean” to portray a sense of a safe, healthy and fun learning environment.

This was a quick ambient grab of the centre as soon as I arrived. It was taken at f4.5, 1/20sec @ ISO 100.

Students at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris Dutamas

I clearly need to be working at 1/200sec @ ISO 100 with an ideal aperture of f2.8-f5.0. This was definitely working above the ambient resulting in very dark exposures. To compensate, I thought of flooding the scene with ceiling-bounced flash (at full or half pop). Here was the pull-back simple lighting setup shot.

Lighting setup at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris Dutamas

The ideal setup would have been positioning both the strobes diagonally across each other, but this wasn’t possible then. With this pinned down, I went about shooting, triggering the strobes with a mixture of Pocket Wizards and Phottix Atlas.

Students at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris DutamasStudents at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris DutamasI then moved on to the play area, employing the same lighting setup, but with just a single strobe.

Students playing at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris DutamasStudents playing at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris DutamasStudents playing at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris DutamasStudents playing at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris DutamasStudents playing at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris DutamasAfter spending about an hour at the play area, I moved back to the main hall to focus on the students’ interaction and engagement with the various activities and programs that made up the Montessori way of learning.

Students at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris Dutamas during art classStudents playing at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris DutamasStudents having fun at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris Dutamas during art classStudents having fun at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris Dutamas during art classStudents playing at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris DutamasA student exploring the globe at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris Dutamas

And here’s one of my favourite and the cutest child at the centre, playing before taking her time carefully stacking some blocks of wood up till the top.

A student playing at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris DutamasA student playing at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris DutamasA student playing at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris Dutamas

The other students were trying their hands on some form of learning tools that aim at improving their command of language and maths, besides enhancing their sensory skills.

A student playing at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris DutamasA student playing at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris Dutamas

By noon, all the students packed up and waited at the entrance for their parents to pick them up.

Students waiting at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris DutamasStudents waiting at San Lorenzo Montessori, Publika, Solaris Dutamas

After all the children left, I proceeded to photograph the interior of the centre, the pictures of which I’ll be writing about in a future post.

Working with kids wasn’t easy, especially when you try photographing them. They really do have short attention span, but I was surprised at a few of the students who were patient enough to put up with my frequent requests of getting them to perform some actions. I guess they were more intrigued by a strange looking big black camera-wielding adult than to protest and defy me.

Truly it has been both a fun and learning experience photographing these kids. I’ll have to return another day to complete the pictures for this centre. Can’t wait.

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