Photography related projects for CEF
It’s only February and we’re already planning ahead for Kilchzimmer’s next Christmas card because when the time comes to print the card (Oct.) we don’t usually have snow at Kilchzimmer.
There are challenges to getting a photo of Kilchzimmer in great light (morning or late afternoon), fresh snow on the ground, clear skies, and being available.
When we first moved to Switzerland, a Swiss told me that if I didn’t like the weather, wait five minutes – it’ll change! Weather here is hard to predict. So it’s no wonder that this morning was my third attempt at getting a good winter photo of Kilchzimmer from either the high vantage point of “Ankenballen”, or from the pasture on the opposite hillside. The Ankenballen hike was treacherous with deep snow and a steep icy climb up rocks, so I didn’t want to risk slipping off the cliff again.
Today I went for the view from the hillside pasture with the advantage of having a path blazed through the drifts from my last photo excursion. All this was a last minute decision, arriving at the office this morning dressed for sitting in a cozy building.
The fog hadn’t lifted but you could see the blue sky through the haze. That gave me an hour to hike and get in position. The hoarfrost falls off the trees as soon as the sun cuts through the fog.
I had my gear set up and only had to wait a few more minutes for the dramatic shot – when the fog line would drop below Kilchzimmer.
Suddenly waves of fog rolled in again. My perseverance turned to stubbornness as I stood there for two hours waiting for the fog to drop into the valley.
I needed to take my mind off of freezing toes, so I occupied myself – even resorted to taking my very first “Selfie”!
I finally returned to the office with no winter photo of Kilchzimmer. At least I got some much needed exercise, a few scenic photos, and a selfie!
Time to get psyched up for attempt #4 at a Kilchzimmer Christmas card photo – as soon as we get fresh snow, clear skies, and great light.
This was the view from Kilchzimmer at 8:00am this morning after an overnight rain. It makes for an encouraging start to the day when we can get above those dreary clouds in the valley. If we get caught in early morning work traffic, that really means we got behind a tractor or the cows were crossing the road after milking.
[Fuji X-T1, 18-55mm, LR]
Over the coming days I’ll be taking photos and putting together several promotional presentations (.ppt) for workers at the CEF European Regional Office.
Sometimes getting the right angle for a photo requires a bit of (physical) flexibility …I nearly got my head and camera wedged between the railings in the narrow space leading to the cellar.
Besides being drawn to the interesting colors and patterns in this scene, I took the photo to show all the work and preparations needed for serving the many students passing through Kilchzimmer. Sonja has quite the collection of home made jams and preserves in the cellar.
I’ve included a selection of photos from a recent ministry trip to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland – July 1-16, 2013. The primary purpose of the trip was to photograph the different CEF ministries in this region for use in promoting the work, recruitment, informing prayer partners, raising finances for projects and national workers, etc.. Our daughter Sarah joined me and was responsible for taking video footage that will be used for promotional materials.
In CEF we usually need photos of children or CEF ministries. Wires, circuit boards and pipes are not normally on my list of subjects to photograph. Kilchzimmer is raising finances for three urgent needs and will be including an insert with the Kilchzimmer newsletter. Projects include a vehicle, regulators for the heating system and a new phone system.
My photo challenge was to make an old dusty telephone circuit board of wires and switches not only semi-recognizable but also visually interesting. The heating system with it’s regulators and control units had a few more photographic possibilities.
I needed to keep the photos true and accurate so Photoshoping smoke, sparks, or steam into the images wasn’t an option. 🙂
In the Multimedia department we occasionally get requests for promotional presentations in PowerPoint®. These presentations are used to share with Christians about CEF projects, ministries and needs within CEF. These presentations help in the evangelism of children by challenging and informing Christians to pray, financial support is raised for workers and projects, and Believers are encouraged to take an active role in the ministry.
One of the challenges of a presentation is having effective images to go with the written text. This past week we had a tight deadline to find visuals for several literature projects and testimonies. We had a few gaps.
We were missing a visual to accompany a testimony of how the CEF Wonder Devotional Book was being distributed to all the inmates at an Armenian women’s prison. There seems to be a shortage of Armenian women’s prisons near Kilchzimmer so I quickly set up one … in our apartment living room!
The one item we did have was an Armenian WDB! Next step, ask my wife if I could photograph her with messed up hair and harsh, unflattering light. She was a willing model. Oops…. I forgot to mention to her that the image might show up on our blog for friends and family to see. As for the prison cell I had to suggest it with the use of cast shadows. A bed sheet was draped behind Sue. I shot the flash through paper strips to cast “bar” shadows on her, which was semi-successful, so I ended up going with option two of creating the prison bar shadows inside Photoshop.
The second photo above was also taken for the presentation. I bounced flash #1 (hidden behind laptop) off of a white paper on the laptop screen. Flash #2 filled in behind the boy, making it easy to mask him from the background. Flash #3 on low power, was at the end of the table to light up the back of the laptop. The “apple” logo was removed in Photoshop. 😉
You might recognize the boy from previous projects like the Meet the Author visuals or the cover of the Polish “Wonder Why” booklet.
That’s a glimpse into what goes into quickly creating an image for a presentation. These presentations can be an effective communication tool.
There is a constant need for photos in our work. Having access to the right (quality) photos to effectively communicate the message is one of the biggest challenges we face in designing materials.
We have several options for getting photos. There are online stock libraries which work in some instances but do not represent specific CEF ministries. For CEF ministries in action we regularly request photos from our workers across Europe … and then wait. There are other times when photos are needed for a project requiring a certain lighting, setup, positioning, image quality, etc..
Here are some photos I took this past week of our European Director’s grandchildren visiting from France. They were great models. While setting up the lights in their apartment I was reminded of what one photographer said, “Good portraits are 10% photography and 90% moving furniture!”.
These photos will be part of a short 3-5 min. video I’m preparing that will be shown in churches across Europe and made available in many languages. I was able to control the lighting and get the consistent results needed between all the photos in the project. Photos like this can be used again for future literature projects.
Technical notes: I imported the photos into Adobe Bridge, edit them in Camera RAW, then opened in Photoshop to mask the subject from the background (creates a transparent background around subject). This allows me to place the subject as a floating object against any background.
The 3-month Children’s Ministry Leadership Course recently started up at Kilchzimmer.
The Autumn course has 18 students taking the classes in German and 12 students taking the classes in English.
It can be a challenge waiting for a good photo day. This afternoon, I quickly snapped photos of each class … in between the big gusts of wind, blowing leaves and hair. You’ll notice I asked someone to hold down the flash and umbrella stand from flying away. The rain came as soon as we finished. That’s Swiss weather!
Photographer notes: I used the flash (manual setting) to help warm up the shadows on the faces and fill in around the eyes. The flash helped to counter the cool overcast day and surrounding green reflecting onto their faces. Because I used a single umbrella for a group shot, I had the umbrella center pointing toward the far end of the group, feathering the light across those nearest the umbrella and giving an even coverage of light across the entire group.
(photo 1) Tim teaching seminar on Photoshop, Digital Imaging, and Illustration guidelines.
(photo 2) Group photo.
We had an encouraging week of meetings with valuable discussions/teaching continuing outside of class from morning until bed-time! You would have several workers sharing challenges they faced with literature in their country, then someone else would share their solution to the problem, so the week was not just for workers to learn but to also share their experiences with others.
We finished the week tired … but it was a good tired!
This is just one example of what I will be sharing in the Digital Imaging/Photoshop seminar. There will be around 45 key CEF literature workers coming to Kilchzimmer from all over Europe and as far away as Central Asia for training in the production of literature and coordinating the literature ministry in their countries. The Multimedia Summit will be held the last week of February.