I was recently asked by a neighbor of mine, Claire Gardiner a Mrs South Africa Finalist, to take some photographs of an enrichment initiative of hers called ‘Learn To Fly’
18 Grade 1 girls from Irene Middle School were selected by their teachers to journey in the art of Russian Vaganova ballet.
Firstly, they were transported by a sponsored bus after school to Danceworks at the Doringkloof Malll in Centurion near Pretoria to have their newly sponsored ballet kits fitted for correct sizing of ballet shoes , leotards, stockings and skirts not forgetting the little blue bow in their hair.
Then upstairs to the Russian Ballet Academy of South Africa where they had their first 45 min class ( normally 1 hr) with Madame Slou Akimguereeva who has trained many ballerinas in theaters across the globe as she’s associated with the Imperial Russian Ballet and the Royal Moscow Ballet .
Weekly , these girls will be transported to and fro and this pilot project is the beginning of more to come as Claire is using her Mrs South Africa 2016 platform not to just make a difference in children’s lives but to actually change their lives forever and to grow and empower young girls to believe in themselves , set goals , have discipline as well receiving the wonderful benefits of physical activity.
Above: Mrs South Africa finalist, Claire Gardiner.
Please click on the ‘more’ icon below for the rest of the B&W images and info on my technique…
Below: A collection of B&W images of the young girls on day one of their Russian Ballet journey….
Click on the images for larger versions.
For this shoot I relied mostly on the natural light. On the few occasions I used on camera flash, I bounced it off the ceiling to eliminate hard shadows and so that it would blend in better with the natural light images. In order to get a high enough shutter speed to freeze the action I had to crank up my ISO and most of the images here were made at 6400iso! I used two lenses, my new Tamron SP 35mm f1.8 Di VC USD for the group shots and my Canon EF 70-300L F4.5 -5.6L zoom lens for the close ups and my trusty old Canon Eos 6D camera that can do wonderful things at high ISO!
My brief was to shoot colour images, which I did, but I was curious to see how these would turn out in B&W. I used Adobe Lightroom for the RAW conversions and initial processing. I then used the now free Nik Silver Efex to convert the colour images into B&W adding some grain and a black border for that typical film look of old.
I wish Claire well with this very worthwhile endeavor and hopefully I will be able to post some more images as the girls progress…