It's that time of year again: yearbook color images have to be in by some (unspecified, but late) December deadline. We traditionally "shoot a 9" in the back parking lot with all our 9th graders filling it in (next to tagging of (mostly) their choice).
This year, with more students, I designed a "9" big enough to give 250 students each 4 sq ft of space: it's about 58' tall and 28' wide. Mits, Jones and I drew it with sidewalk chalk and a clothesline compass in the 1st few minutes of our prep Thursday.
But I changed the script (shoot from the roof w a tripod & cable-release). I was trying author Bryan Petersen's "Depth-of-Field Tip" again, (FF camera, 24mm lens, f/22, manual focus at 3', shoot). I wanted to eliminate peripheral distraction with a well defined foreground (the kids up front) and crisp focus from front-to-back. I've tried it on landscape shots (i.e., http://welladjustedcoyote.smugmug.com/Travel/Silver-Lake-Brighton-UT/i-pwDVkdq/0/M/MG1446-M.jpg
) and it's cool. My worry was that if I shot from waist level the kids further back would not be seen. So, I brought along my "Little Giant Alta-One" ladder: it's a trick thing that makes a 9' step ladder or 19' extension ladder. Ben laughed saying it was 'too short': I had it in my van in its collapsed form.
I shot 1/3 the images exploring my initial plan with the camera about 13' above the parking lot and 4' in front of 9. A dozen shots later, I climbed down and was swarmed by 20 kids all wanting to see what happened. The most perceptive and vocal among them shouted, "That's no 9, that's a 1. We want a 9!". They crack me up. I had a vision, but the execution was a bit off. That said, I had about 10 minutes to shoot these pictures. It took until 12:20, 10 minutes before the early Friday dismissal, to get the kids assembled.
With a few minutes left, so I moved the ladder 5' right, and shot again. Those are the shots in the 2nd row of this gallery. The kids still weren't impressed. They called, "Take a picture from the roof". I replied, "That's a 20 minute walk.". Well, maybe not 20 minutes, but easily 10 or 15. You have to climb a ladder through some worm hole to the NW corner of the roof, walk to the SW corner, turn East, walk to the SE corner, climb a small rickety ladder to the roof over the dance room, then walk along the East rim half way back the building. No time..
Claudia (stripes, front-row, confident, clear thinking, and her voice carries) said, "Why don't you use the ladder"? She's a genius. I set aside the camera, reconfigured the ladder as a 19' extension, and climbed up so my head was 19' above the crowd (but still maybe 5' below the roof). I didn't have the camera on a strap, and I didn't want to drop it (like its lens cap). I was 21' above and 20' west of the 1st kids, w my shoulder against the ladder and wall, right arm wrapped around the ladder, working the shutter with a finger on my left hand, looking over my left shoulder (hosed). The last shots (cropped) were take from this vantage. I think the 9-ness is more evident, but the dramatic foreground is (imho) lost. I'll let them choose which they want.
NB: I've processed a few of these in CS5, blurring the background, burning the edges, cleaning up smeared chalk near Javier's work, etc. If a favorite emerges from the others I can PP it too.
NB: My favorite is the 3rd image: the low-shot "9".