Tag - photography

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Missed Moments: Confessions of a Photographer Mom
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Girl Vision: An Expressive Photography Workshop for Teens
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Photography Camp: Spend a week enjoying and capturing the magic of the outdoors

Missed Moments: Confessions of a Photographer Mom

You might think that a mom who is a professional photographer would be on top of her game when it comes to capturing images of her own child. The real story for me is much more complicated. Read More

Photography Camp: Spend a week enjoying and capturing the magic of the outdoors

When I learned that Jessica Wallach of Portrait Playtime was going to teach a photography-themed camp at the nature-loving Eastern Ridge School in Vienna, Virginia, I had to share this unique opportunity! My son just completed a wonderful photography enrichment program at his school, and I couldn’t be more excited for him to explore his creativity through a lens.

For seven years, Jessica Wallach has been capturing the natural beauty of families as part of her business. She loves engaging people, especially young people, to show their passions and explore who they are. Read on to get the scoop on her photography-themed camp being offered July 7-11 for children entering grades 2 through 5. Hours of the camp are 8:30 to 3:00 with before and after care available for an additional fee. Lunch and morning snack come from home; a healthy, gluten-free afternoon snack is provided by ERS.

ERS is offering a special deal to one lucky winner of our promotion: one $75 discount for the camp, normally priced at $415. Additionally, any entrant to this promotion who wishes to register will be sent a code for $15 off. The promotion campaign will start tomorrow and expire Wednesday, June 18 at 11:59 p.m.

Background on Photography Camp teacher Jessica Wallach

Jessica loves to teach and to encourage people to share their voice and vision. Since 2012, she has been running an art camp for Fairfax County Parks and Rec in which she gives children a bigger sense of themselves and their ability to tell their stories using a wide variety of art media. She is thrilled to lead a photography camp at ERS. “There is such a wide variety of things to capture with our lenses, we will never do the exact same thing twice, but always build on what came before and take it three steps further,” she says. She loves the “magical” meadow of ERS as a prime location for exploring photography.

Mud!!!

 

Q&A with Jessica Wallach

Mindful Healthy Life: What do you like about working with children?

Jessica Wallach: I love working with young people, putting out an idea and seeing where their minds run with it or taking their idea and weaving something about photography into it.  In my last few children’s photography classes, it’s great that we get to that point where they start coming up with ideas about what to do next.  I also love incorporating play into whatever I do, and kids’ first language is play, so we are a natural fit.

Also I think young people of this generation are going to use cameras and photos to both learn and express what they know in a way that has never been seen before.  A camera will become as common as using a pencil and paper was in my elementary school.  I have a passion for exploring this with young people.

Just the other day, I asked the children in my class to tell me things they know and then we talked about how we would show that through pictures. …I said I knew that mass cannot be destroyed, it just changes form and I could take a photo of an ice cube in a frying pan as it melts and then evaporates. One student said she could show how the sky changes color as the sun goes down and that she could take a photo of the sky and a clock at different times of the afternoon and early evening.

MHL: How did you come to be involved with Eastern Ridge School?

JW: My daughter went to the predecessor, Discovery Woods Learning Community, for years and I worked as a photographer there on and off.  I spent a ton of time behind the camera there, from capturing students at work and play to doing photo fundraisers to documenting family gatherings and workdays to teaching the teachers how to use their camera’s better.  I tell you it is a magical place that just begs you to pick up your camera. Early on I assisted with ERS’s marketing and they use some of my photos on their website.

Child with camera - Jessica Wallach

MHL: How is ERS different from other schools and camps? 

JW: My favorite thing about ERS is the central theme that children are smart, capable and need scaffolding to get to do the next big thing.  As teachers, we facilitate their learning, never forcing, always remembering they are capable and that we work from their strengths and build on them.

Another way ERS is different is that art, nature and scientific inquiry are the basis for learning.  We are outside all the time. It is just the way things are.

MHL: How will you structure the camp? 

The camp is structured to keep the kids interested in photography by balancing structured activities and unstructured play time.  The hope is that the unstructured time will inform and inspire our photography.  If kids love running in the meadow, how do we capture that? If they make a city in the sand box, can we do a stop action video made up of tons of photos showing life in that city?  If they get bored with the photography, we will go play. The schedule will change according to what the young people need to do that day.

Here is the basic schedule:Eastern Ridge School meadow by Jessica Wallach

  • Free Play: slideshow going and books filled with photos on the table for kids to look at if interested
  • Sit spots or nature walk in meadow with cameras
  • Morning meeting: discuss what we did the day before & what we could observe that could change that day; decide on day’s activities
  • Observational photography
  • Activity Block 1
  • Snack
  • Free play: encourage running a lap, rolling stumps, climbing trees…activities where the children can physically go all out.
  • Activity Block II
  • Lunch
  • Look at photos, editing, creating mini movies
  • Snack

MHL: What will children walk away with?

Children will walk away with a sharpened set of skills, a large number of gorgeous images, and some videos of their work.  We will set up an online gallery just for this camp which we will upload to every afternoon.  From there, we will make videos using our stills and video clips and Pro Show Web/Producer.  At the end of the week, we would love parents to join us for a showcase.

Through the camp we will be practicing the following skills and they will walk away with a slew of photos that helped them practice these skills:

  • How to work a camera
  • Telling a story
  • Creating art for art’s sake
  • Using a camera in the investigation/scientific process
  • Using camera to take notes

MHL: What kind of device do children need? Will there be a lot of screen time?

JW: Children can use a point and shoot, smart phone, iPad or DSLR.  All of them will capture photos and offer many options that will provide many learning opportunities.

Viewing and editing photos is a critical part of this camp experience. We will be looking at screens to do both of those activities. We will be looking at our photos and others to figure out what we like and don’t like and be inspired. Most likely much of our editing will be done communally on one computer and/or in small groups.

MHL: Will there be any collaborative projects or will everything be individual per student?

JW: There will be both collaborative and individual projects and how much of each will depend on group interest.  Campers will be presented with these choices during morning meeting and we will figure out together when we will do what. Some projects we will most likely do include:

  • Storytelling, stop action video, hybrid photography…children design a little life or big life story, capture it on camera, put it together as a movie.
  • Being inspired by others photography and then creating photographs in a similar fashion
  • Photo scavenger hunts
  • Photos of water, dripping, moving fast, still
  • Photos of people and things in motion
  • Macro photography in the garden
  • Bug hunt
  • Something that changes
  • Shade garden: The way things work
  • In the dark with flash light
  • Other campers
  • Create a how to set of photos or video
  • Reading a book and taking photos that represent what we read
  • Field guide photos
  • Photos that show what you know
  • Photos that say something about yourself
  • Photos that show how you feel
  • Photos that ask a question
  • Capturing things they do
  • Free choice camera work

MHL: Anything else you’d like to add?

JW: I am so excited about this camp.  It will be amazing to spend a week immersed in photography and play at ERS.

***

For those unfamiliar with ERS, the camp coordinator, an ERS parent, shared this additional information:

– At arrival time and then again later in the afternoon, elementary students will have time for exploration and free play in our outdoor spaces. The elementary and early education children will all be together at this time. This focus on child-led play with mixed ages is central to the ERS philosophy – it postively impacts social and emotional development and allows for some down-time with friends or siblings in different classes.
– During the morning and afternoon project blocks, children will be working with Jessica on photography. Eastern Ridge is largely influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach that values the role of the child in defining their own questions and interests. The teacher often acts as a facilitator, providing provocations and access to resources, then often learning and exploring along side the children. In this way, instruction and exploration are often intertwined.
– ERS is a unique school and camp. We are located just outside of Tyson’s corner on 5 acres. We have a large garden, pigs and undeveloped woodland, as well as large open outdoor spaces to run, build and play. Much of our learning happens using nature and art as the vehicle. We have children aged two to nine during the school year and go through 5th grade for some of our camps. Our camps are unique in that much time is spent outdoors and all camps are taught by our own very experienced teachers or visiting specialty teachers. Teachers also post daily journals and photos of their days with the children and families are encouraged to comment. These journals allow for reflection and community building.
Eastern Ridge School art by Jessica Wallach
– An afternoon snack is provided daily. A variety of fresh fruit is the staple, with (gluten-free) rice crackers, organic sunbutter or organic cheese added in. Children should bring a healthy morning snack (raw veggies are ideal) and lunch from home.
– Jessica will be assisted by one of the experienced ERS assistant teachers.
***
If your child (entering grades 2-5) would like to join Jessica Wallach’s photography camp the week of July 7-11, come back tomorrow to enter the giveaway by 11:59 Wednesday, June 18 for a chance to get $75 off the $415 registration fee. All non-winning entrants are eligible for a promo code for $15 off any early childhood (age 3-6) camp or elementary camp during summer 2014. Discount not eligible for the toddler program.

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Copyright © 2015 Mindful Healthy Life. Created by MtoM Consulting.

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