Where Rainbows Meet


"Our mission is to economically and socially empower the women, men, and youth of informal settlement communities through skills & development training - come join us!"

Mymoena Scholtz - Director

Mymoena Scholtz - Director

Shireen Meyer - Sewing Supervisor

Shireen Meyer - Sewing Supervisor

The History behind Where Rainbows Meet

This NPO was founded in 2008 and is a Training and Development Foundation. They can be found in Vrygrond, a community of almost 40 000 and one of the oldest settlements in the Western Cape.

Crime is a big problem in Vrygrond and the stats show that almost 60% of the community have been victims to some form of crime. The crimes range from hijacking to robbery, from sexual assault or rape to violence bridging on killings. Most of the reasons are found in lack of money, alcohol and drug abuse.

Where Rainbows Meet aims to provide a safe place for the community through education, support, including financial and resources.
They are constantly reaching out to the public and corporates for assistance, whether it be in the way of offering training and education, word of mouth advertising or volunteering.

Where Rainbows Meet was suggested to me by my assistant who lives in Vrygrond. Because Vrygrond is already so close to my heart I immediately contacted Mymoena, the founder, who was quick too reply and excited to organise. Speaking to her afterwards left me with mixed emotions. I have so much admiration for the people involved and again realise that there are so many good hearts trying to make a difference. Then there is also so many people in need of help.

Laa'iqah Scholtz - Computer & Life skills facilitator

Laa'iqah Scholtz - Computer & Life skills facilitator

Kyle Luke Cupido - Project Manager

Kyle Luke Cupido - Project Manager

They have a few programs that they roll out - here they are:

Selwyn Early Child Development Centre (E.C.D.)

  1. Day care programme

  2. Aftercare programme

  3. Parental courses

  4. Life Skills

  5. Spiritual dance

Youth Development

  1. Generation For Change Dance Group

  2. Rainbow Chiefs soccer team

  3. Life skills

  4. In schools programmes

  5. Out of school programmes

Women’s / income generating programmes

  1. Siyazenzela sewing & beadwork project

  2. Sibanye gardening project

  3. Nutritional program

Training and Development Program

  1. Life skills

  2. English courses

  3. Computer training

  4. Business courses

Health Centre

  1. Free medical appointments

  2. Youth Hygiene Classes

  3. Support groups + ARVS follow ups

  4. Rape and drug counseling for women

  5. Feeding Scheme

To further raise funds, they sell handmade merchandise - such as bags, clothing, accessories and household goods.

To get involved:


Chelsea Davis - School facilitator and Assistant teacher

Chelsea Davis - School facilitator and Assistant teacher

Sharief Jacobs - Office Administrator

Sharief Jacobs - Office Administrator

Roger Dames - Cook

Roger Dames - Cook

Anwar Schultz - Executive Member

Anwar Schultz - Executive Member

Caroline Testemonial

"When I moved back to Vrygrond I heard about Where Rainbows Meet and the training they offer to those who have no certificates or who want to learn to go forward. After a visit to see what they offer, I decided to do Computer training and joined their dance group. They have two groups, one for school children and one for adults.

The computer course was an amazing experience because they were patient, understanding, nonjudgemental and kind hearted. The class was treated like a work environment. We always have to be on time and give our full attention. With every test we were always encouraged to do better the next time. We worked with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint and the basics of Microsoft Excel. They even helped us get ready for future job interviews by teaching us how to write a curriculum vitae and roll playing a real interview. We had to dress up and everything was fun but stressful, as it was just as serious as a normal interview.

The next time i went to a job interview I reminded myself what I learned at Where Rainbows Meet and successfully got through the interview with a smile on my face. I was even able to put the computer skills I learned to good use.

Where Rainbows Meet is the place to be when you want to build up basic experience. It helped me. "

Find us: 

98 Vrygrond Avenue

Vrygrond, Muizenberg

7945 Cape Town

Call us:

+27 21 205 3496

Email to:




Celebrating National Geographic Top Portraits of 2018

My dream was always to become a photographer for National Geographic magazine and although my path has shifted and I have found my love and niche, I still have a great appreciation for portraits of real people with real struggles and beautiful stories.

Herewith some of my favourite portraits voted the best photography of 2018 by National Geographic magazine:

Marcia (left) and Millie Biggs, both 11. by ROBIN HAMMOND

Marcia (left) and Millie Biggs, both 11. by ROBIN HAMMOND

These Twins will make you Rethink Race’ is a story about twins Marcia and Millie, that share the same parents but not the same skin colour. Written by Patricia Edmonds and photographed by Robin Hammond, it is part of The Race Issue in April 2018, a special issue that explores how race defines, separate and unites us.

The fraternal twins were worn in 2006 and although they have similar features, their colour schemes are very different. Marcia looks more like her english born mother Amanda and Millie with her darker complexion, takes after her father Micheal, of Jamaican descent.

In the Wakhan corridor, Sidol (left), Jumagul (center), and Assan Khan (right) return on their yaks. by MATTHIEU PALEY

In the Wakhan corridor, Sidol (left), Jumagul (center), and Assan Khan (right) return on their yaks. by MATTHIEU PALEY

A Historic Journey Proceeds Across the Roof pf the World” appeared in the September 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine. The story by Paul Salopek and photographs by Matthieu Paley.

Salopek has been basically walking across the world for the last five year as part of a project called the Out of Eden Walk. He explains it as a storytelling pilgrimage along the pathways of the first ancestors. This part of the story is him exploring Afghanistans' peaceful villages ad the Wakhan corridor, one of the remotest inhabited landscaped on earth.

The Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. by MARTIN SCHOELLER

The Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. by MARTIN SCHOELLER

They saw Earth from Space. Here’s how it changed them.” A Story of Italian astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti by Nadia Drake and photographs by Martin Schoeller. It appeared in the March 2018 issue.

In 2015 Cristoforetti spent 199 days on the International Space Station which at that time was the longest uninterrupted spaceflight by a woman and was only topped in 2017 by Peggy Whitson. She said that the more time she spent orbiting the earth, the more her perception about time and humanity evolved.

“You’ve got this planet beneath you, and a lot of what you see, especially during the day, does not necessarily point to a human presence. If you look at it on a geologic timescale, it’s almost like we are this flimsy presence, and we really have to stick together as a human family to make sure we are a permanent presence on this planet and not just this blink of an eye.”

Masoumeh Ahmadi, 14, holds her mother’s shotgun. by NEWSHA TAVAKOLIAN   In Khuzestan Province, a woman receives a firearms after she marries. This only after the husband and father has approved.

Masoumeh Ahmadi, 14, holds her mother’s shotgun. by NEWSHA TAVAKOLIAN

In Khuzestan Province, a woman receives a firearms after she marries. This only after the husband and father has approved.

Why Iran’s nomads are fading away.”, a story by Thomas Erdbrink and photographs by Newsha Tavakolian appeared in the October 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine. It explores the reality of modern life luring younger generations to cities, leaving some behind to struggle with drought and dust storms.

Although there are millions of nomads resisting modernity, mainly because of isolation and deep tradition, a combination of persistent drought and dust storms and the modern world closer and closer, are making this harder and harder.

Kamilah Munirah Bolling and Adil Justin Cole stand outside their home in Farmington Hills, Michigan. by WAYNE LAWRENCE

Kamilah Munirah Bolling and Adil Justin Cole stand outside their home in Farmington Hills, Michigan. by WAYNE LAWRENCE

How Muslims, Often Misunderstood, are Thriving in America’ a story by Leila Fadel and photographs by Lynsey Addario. It appeared in the May 2018 issue and formed part of a National Geographic series, Diversity in America. The series covered racial, ethical and religious groups and explored the way their roles are changing in a 21st- century life.

“Today an estimated 3.45 million Muslims in America are living in a climate of hostility, their faith distorted by violent extremists on one end and an anti-Muslim movement on the other. The rise in animosity was stoked by fiery anti-Muslim rhetoric from conservative commentators and politicians, including the president. Trump repeatedly has described Islam as a threat, retweeting anti-Muslim videos from a British hate group and keeping his distance from the religion, like when he decided the White House, for the first time in more than two decades, would not host a dinner to mark Ramadan.”

Irene Sonia poses in front of a milaya, or bedsheet—one of the few things her mother managed to bring when they fled South Sudan for Uganda. by NORA LOREK

Irene Sonia poses in front of a milaya, or bedsheet—one of the few things her mother managed to bring when they fled South Sudan for Uganda. by NORA LOREK

Waves for Change

I am a surfer and I find my peace in the water. On the backline I have healed my heart, decluttered my mind and even fixed my ‘stress shoulder’. I have seen what surfing has done for me and others that find their balance in the salt water. So when I saw a talk by Tim Conibear about the non profit organisation Waves for Change and how he was using surfing for upliftment and healing for kids in disadvantaged communities, I was inspired.



I got in touch and actually walked into Tim on Muizenberg beach one morning while he was walking his dog. He introduced me to Ashleigh Hesse, Programme Manager at W4C, who invited me to Muizenberg. I got to meet the coaches at one of their training days and was impressed at the depth of the work. They were not just there to hand out surfboards and keep kids alive, but to truly make an impact and support these kids in their personal journeys as well.

Ashleigh Hesse

Ashleigh Hesse

Waves for Change, also known as W4C was founded by Tim Conibear whose philanthropy started in 2009 after starting a small surfing club at the Masiphumelele Township. Together with local volunteers Apish Tshetsha and Bongani Ndlovu, the trio quickly identified surfing as a productive way to engage youths in sharing their personal challenges and grievances faced within the community.

Fundiswa Feke

Fundiswa Feke

After pairing up with leading mental health professionals, the team developed a programme known as Surf Therapy, aimed to relieve the emotional and psychological effects of daily exposure to violence and stress. Early surfing lessons showed that participants noted improved feelings of belonging, strength, trust and confidence reducing the risk of anti-social behavior and repetitive cycles of aggression.

For more information about W4C or to find out how you can volunteer, visit W4C - https://www.waves-for-change.org/get-involved/

Why a Professional Portrait?

It seems as though we are all photographers today snapping away with our smartphones, working with lighting, shadows and angles. The hard truth is that most of us don't really know what we’re doing and the attempt to use amateur portraits for professional purposes can be extremely dangerous.

There are many reasons to have a professional photographer take your portrait shots. Here are our top 5:


1 - You have 4 seconds to impress

We are living in a digital age where we do business with people that we have not met or will possibly never meet.  The only idea we have of what that person look like is from a profile picture, either on their Skype account, LinkedIn page or website. When someone pops onto your professional profile, they first look at your photo. If they see a unprofessional portrait, they are going to hesitate about checking you out further. Photos that are cut off from a group pic or have an odd background just don't look good. A simple head and shoulders with a plain background is what works best and a comfortable approachable expression. This is the first step to building trust, being it a potential client or a future employer.

2 - Matching your headshot with your brand is key

Whether you are representing your own business, the business you work for or even seeking employment, ensure that your portrait headshot matches the brand. For the latter, your personal brand. Should you be in your office? Home? Outdoors? Should you be wearing a suit? What expression will best communicate your brand? Are any props needed? What light would be best? All these factors come up when I schedule a portrait shoot.


3 - Outdated just doesn't cut it

More often than not, when you meet someone for the first time all we have to go by is one’s portrait picture whether that’s from LinkedIn, WhatsApp or even a website. If that picture was taken 20 years ago there is a good chance they won't look like that anymore. Sure, you were slimmer. Sure, you had fewer wrinkles? No matter. We want to see you as you are now. You were a different person 20 years ago and communicated different values with your portrait. Also there is a certain kind of confidence that is communicated if a person is not trying to be 20 year younger but owning their ago and the experience that comes with it.

4 - Body Language speaks volumes

When I first engage with a client for their portrait shoot, I have a look at how they sit and what their posture is like. Most of us slouch, especially tall people and mostly when you pull out a camera there is a discomfort where suddenly you have no idea why you have this left arm and where it should actually be! Firstly I try to get them to straighten up, without looking overly formal, crossing your arms can look confident but closed. The way you hold your head, the angle of your face, and many other factors, are all spoken about and directed, during a shoot. It is possible to find that quiet confidence within every person.


5 - Its all in the eyes

Have you ever been caught off guard when a photo was taken of you? Compare it to when you had to do the "cheese" thing and actually pose. Look a little closer at your eyes. You will see that the "off guard" shot will render a more natural look in your eyes. The moment you let your guard down you drop the mark and allow me to see the true raw person behind. That is what I try and achieve with all my portrait shots. I want to see a calm and natural connection in the eyes. My aim is to build a trust that get captured and transcend to the viewer. It can take a while, but there is that moment when my subject lets down their guard and I am able to capture that perfect look. People relate better to a genuineness that resonates from the eyes.


At the end of the day, I want to make you look your best and most receptive. The chances of a good connection with someone else all starts with that first impression moment - the profile picture.

Photography Basics : Technical Workshop

This is the first class of a Photography Masterclass that I did at the Sozo Foundation, where I started with the technical aspects of photography, starting with light, touching on history then moving on the cameras and exposure.

Light and Colour

I’m going to start with light as it is the foundation of Photography. If you do not have a good understanding of light and how to get the best out of it, you will spend hours in Photoshop trying to make a mediocre image, acceptable.


Exploring Light

Photography is all about painting with light. It is using the way light gets absorbed, reflected and refracted to create an image.  It is essential to understand what light actually does to give you the ability to capture an image using light. I’m going to take a couple of minutes to explain the basic facts about light and how it acts.

So we’ve established photography depends on light. Exactly the same way our sight depends on it. Why can we not see in the dark? There is no light from the sun reflecting from all the surfaces around us to be visible.

Think about how bright the world is at midday in summer.  Think of how bright the colours are.  This is all because of the light from the sun reflecting off the surfaces of the world around you.  Now think what your room looks like at night.  Maybe there is a bit of the moon light lighting the scene, but think of how difficult it is to see properly and how desaturated the colours are.

Visible Light

So what is visible light? I'm going to try and keep this simple: Visible light is what humans see and forms a very small part of the whole spectrum of electromagnetic waves, ranging from gamma rays to radio waves. The reason humans can only see visible light is because the chemical reaction in the carbon based chemistry of our cells, that allows us to see, only gets triggered by waves around this range. Any longer, it doesn't carry enough energy to trigger a reaction and any shorter, too much that can damage this chemistry, like sunburn from ultraviolet light.

Colour of Light

Light is a mixture of many different colours. If you look at the rainbow or maybe you saw how white light splits through a prism. This also has to do with the fact that they have different wave lengths and will bend in a slightly different way than the other colours. When light hits an object – say, a leaf – the object absorbs some of the light and reflects the rest of it. Which wavelengths are reflected or absorbed depends on the properties of the object. This light then travels in turn to the light sensitive retina in the eye where the message gets sent to the brain: green.

Reflections and Refractions

When a ray of light hits a surface one or more things can happen, it can reflect off the surface and travel in a different direction, it can pass through the medium and continue on a new straight path or it can be absorbed.

We've touched on visible light combining different wavelengths that bend in a slightly different ways to create different colours. Also how certain wavelengths get absorbed and some reflected when it hits and object. Now what happens when light passes through a substance, like water, or class, or the lens of your camera? 

Refraction of light

Now take into consideration the angle that the light hits the medium; and if it moves from a denser medium to less or the other way around. You can see this when looking through a glass with water. The light will hit the glass and because it is a different density, will slow down and bend, again when it hits the water and again upon exit, distorting the image.

Now how does this effect your photography? Ok so you can take some interesting distorted portraits through a fish bowl, but the true reason is lenses. The reason why we are able to capture the quality of light we do now is because we use a piece of glass that will bend and concentrate light onto a surface for us to capture. Different combinations and shapes will bend light to our will. Simplest form is a magnifying glass, combine that idea and you have a telescope.

There are two main factors that that determine how much a lens bends the light. The reflective index(n) of a material is how much it slows down the beam. Air being n=1, water n=1.33, glass n=1.5 ect. Then the angle of incidence is the angle at which the light hits the medium, the greater the angle the more the bending. So if you combine these basic principles in convex and concave lenses you'll understand how your lenses have the ability to either magnify what you want to capture or allow you to capture more of a confined space.  We’ll explore this is more depth when we talk about lenses.

Diffused light

So taking reflection and refraction into consideration what happens when sunlight travels through clouds? It will depend on the density of the clouds, but rays will be reflected and refracted through and away from the water particles in the clouds.  This will lessen the light that reaches the surface but will also diffuse the light, making it less hard.  This we call soft light.  This can be replicated in a studio using soft boxes or outdoors in hard light using a diffuser.  You will also see soft light in shaded areas or indoors where light spills into a room. Soft light can be more flattering to your subject when shooting portraits, but watch out that it doesn’t become flat or boring

Practical 1:  Soft light and hard light

Find two images, one showing an example of hard light and one of soft light.

Practical 2:  Shoot a portrait 

Using the automatic setting on your camera or your smartphone, shoot two portraits of your friend, one in hard light and one in soft light.

Practical 3: Bending light

Photograph a scene through a glass of water.  Notice how the light bends.

Brief History of Photography

Understanding Photography

To find the beginning of photography we have to look at what photography is.  It is capturing light onto a durable 2 dimensional form, this can be on a copper plate or on a digital screen.  Now we understand that light is reflected off surfaces and objects and captured by the rods and cones on the retina at the back of our eyes. In photography we capture the same light and make a permanent representation of this reflected light.


So if you look at photography as a science and an understanding of light you realize that it already started in the 5th-4th Century BC with the Greek and Chinese Philosophers when they started to describe the basic principles of light and optics.  Founder of Mohism, Mo Zi contributed in basic concepts of linear optics, the straight line propagation of light and refraction of light, explaining the inverted image nature of an image in camera obscura.  While Aristotle explained how a ray passing through a hole would project an image of whatever comes in it’s path on the opposite wall.

The Science

Then a basic understanding of the nature of light and optics developed with Leonardo Da Vinci discovering the use of lenses to create sharper images and Hans Lippershey that created the first telescope in 1608.  The telescope might seem far removed but that is exactly what a camera is.  It uses convex and concave lenses to bend and manipulate light to enhance clarity  and visibility.  Our modern understanding of light and colour started when Newton refracted a ray of light into a spectrum of light.  Proving that white light is composed of different colours of light.

Capturing light Temporarily

In 1727, Johan Heinrich Schulze discovered that the darkening of various substances when mixed with silver nitrate is due to light and not heat as previously believed.  He also used this phenomenon to temporarily capture shadows.  He found a way to capture light but if wasn’t permanent.  After him Thomas Wedgewood and Humphry Davy were able to beduse more substantial but still temporary shadow images on coated paper and leather around 1800.

Making it Permanent

In 1816 Nicephore Niepce was able to photograph camera images on paper coated with silver chloride, but was also unable to make it light fast and the image had to be exposed for 8 hours. It was only in 1835 that Willian Fenry Fox Talbot created the first successful camera photographs using paper sensitized with silver chloride. As he created a negative to reproduce, the exposure time was n hour or more to create a suitable negative.

Photography becomes public

After Sir John Herschel coined the term photography in 1839, the French Artist Louis Daguerre invented the ‘Daguerreotype’ process of photography.   The Daguerreotype is the process of using a sheet of silver plated copper, exposed through a camera to light, resulting a latent image.  This latent image will be made visible by fuming it with mercury vapor and removing it’s light sensitivity by a liquid chemical treatment.  It was the first photographic process that was available publicly, needed less than 30 minutes exposure and most commonly used for nearly 20 years.

In 1841 Talbot introduced the calotype or talbotype to the public, which used paper instead of metal sheets, but it did not displace the daguerreotype. Although the Calotype was the first negative-positive process, giving you the possibility to reproduce the image, it created a less clear image than the daguerreotype.  The use of paper as a negative was not ideal as the texture and fibres were visible on the prints made. 

Speeding it up

Ten year later the invention of the Collodion process offered clearer images with 2-3 second exposures.  This technique was invented by Englishman Frederick Scott Archer.  A glass plate was coated with silver iodide and exposed in a camera while still wet.  After which it was developed and fixed to create a clear detailed negative.  These negatives still needed to be developed immediately as it became waterproof when dry.

And then there was Kodak

Richard Leach Maddox invented the gelatin dry plate silver bromide process in 1871, which allowed negatives not to be developed immediately.  Before long the emulsion could be coated on celluloid roll film.  This is where George Eastman invented flexible, paper-based photographic film in 1884, popularizing the use of film and making photography more mainstream.  He was the founder of the Eastman Kodak Company.  In 1888 he perfected the Kodak Black camera, the first camera to house a roll of film.

Cameras and Lenses

I would like to say that the camera doesn’t make the photographer, but an understanding of your equipment will give you the knowledge to capture what you envision.  


With technology advancing as much as it does at the moment we have so many different ways to take photographs.  Let look at the 3 most common cameras.  

The iPhone or smartphone is easily acceptable and will take decent images.  The focal length of the lenses used are usually around 35mm with the new iPhones being released with dual lenses, which makes it’s ability to replicate selective focus much better.  I will explain what that means in a second.  Long story short, use your iPhone to capture what you see, do not be held back just because you do not have a professional camera.  This is good for your own exploration when it comes to composition and light.

Point and Shoot Camera are small and compact and not as expensive as your professional cameras.  These cameras have a fixed lens and will have optical zoom where the iPhone will only have digital zoom.  To quickly explain the difference between optical zoom and digital zoom.  Digital zoom does not change the focal length of the lens, it will only zoom into the image, while optical zoom will change the focal length and actually zoom into the scene.  Same as with the iPhone, you will not be able to take professional images and get the same flexibility as with a SLR but you get cameras with good quality and they’re great to start training the eye.

The SLR camera is the professional cameras you see today.  SLR stands for Single Lens Reflex, where the light that enters the lens will be reflected via a mirror through the viewfinder to the eye.  When the shutter is released, the mirror will flip out of the way and the light can fall directly onto the sensor or film.  These cameras can carry different lenses as required. The digital sensor is much bigger which will result in higher quality images. 

Focal Length and lenses

Focal length is what you measure your lenses by and measured in mm.  You would’ve heard of a 100mm lens of a 24-70mm lens.  The number is actually the distance from where the rays of light converge to form a sharp image to the digital sensor.  This is determined when the lens is focused at infinity.  

So if you think in terms of a magnifying glass, the further you hold it from the object the greater the magnification will be. Thus you will find with a longer focal length, like a 200mm, you get higher magnification.  These are the type of lenses you use for wild life photography, as you are not able to get very close to your subject.  But as you get your subject closer, you will loose some of the rest of the scene, your field of view will become less.  And vice versa, if you’re using a shorter lens, like a 35mm or less you will start including more of the scene in front of you. That’s why these wide-angles lenses are perfect for interiors and landscapes.

There are two things that you need to keep in consideration when choosing a telephoto lens and wide-angle lens.  With a telephoto lens you will have much less depth, in your point of focus as well as in the scene. While with a wide-angle lens you will have more depth in focus but will start seeing distortion in your scene and subjects when moving too close.  I will get back to this when we discuss depth of field.

Full Frame and Cropped Sensor

One important thing to take into consideration when choosing a lens is also your camera again.  The more professional cameras have a larger sensor than the entry level ones.  The full frame is the same size as a 35mm film so your focal length is measured to that. Think of how much of your image will be capture if you have the same light and the same lens on a smaller frame. Much less, so your lens will appear longer with a cropped sensor than will a full frame.  So when you’re using a cropped sensor you have to calculate what your lens will translate to.  With most cameras the crop factor is 1.5x so if you’re using a 50mm on a cropped sensor, it will translate to a 75mm.


With the exposure of an image you are allowing the right amount of light through the lens, to be recorded on the sensor.  This is like driving a car.  First you need to understand the controls and how to use them, but with practice, and yes photography is all about practice, you will be able to get to the right exposure automatically.

To get an image at the right exposure is to make sure there is enough light allowed to give you enough detail in the darker areas as well as the lighter areas of the image.  You’re also allowed to play around to create interesting images, by underexposing to just get s strip of highlight on a persons face, or to overexposed to create a bright white beach scene.  To quickly explain, overexposure is to allow more light than needed to reach the sensor, this will give you bright, burnt out images while underexposing will allow too little light to reach the sensor and create dark, dramatic images.

You camera has a light meter built in that will give you an average reading of the available light so you can set your exposure accordingly.  You have to understand that this is the average reading of the whole scene that you’re planning on capturing so take note of everything in your frame.  If there is a bright sky behind your subject that is in the shade you might have to overexpose to make sure that you have enough light for the detail on you subjects face to show.  And if you’re taking a photograph of the sunset you might want to underexpose to see the detail in the clouds in front of the bright sun.

So how do you get the perfect exposure?  You have 3 variables that you combine to get to the expose you wish:

Shutter Speed

Your shutter is the panel in front of the sensor at the back of your camera that shields the camera from the light passing through the lens.  It acts like your eye lid.  When you release the shutter, the panel will open for a split second and allow the sensor to be exposed to the light.  This light will be recorded and you have your picture.  So the longer the shutter stays open the more light are allowed to fall onto the sensor, meaning you’ll use a lower shutter speed in darker environments than in brighter ones.  

The time here is literally a part of a second.  ½, ¼ , 1/16, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000.  So if we’re working with time we understand that the scene may change while the shutter is open, for instance someone moving really fast, you’ll be able to see their movement at a slower shutter speed.  So if you would like to capture movement, like a birds wing during flight you use a slower shutter speed, while if you would like to freeze an action, like a droplet of water falling into a pond, you use a much higher shutter speed.   Also when shooting at a lower speed, like 1/60 and slower you have to take into consideration that you might be moving while you’re taking the shot.  This is called camera shake.  If you wish to avoid this, use a tripod or stabilize yourself by pressing against a wall or the camera by placing it on a desk or chair or rock.


The aperture of your lens is like your iris of your eye.  Opening and closing to allow more light and less light in to reach the retina. The aperture is controlled by blades in the lens and described or measured in terms of f-stops.  Measuring from as big as 1.2 and as small 64. 

f1.2; f1.4; f2.0; f2.8; f4; f8; f11; f16; f32; f64

Remember some camera’s will offer half stops as well. 

f1,2 being the biggest or widest, allowing more light than f64.  Each stop will down will half the light allowed through the lens while one stop on the shutter will do the same.  So if you correct exposure was 1/60 @ f11, the same exposure will also be 1/125 @ f8.

So how does this influence the light falling onto your sensor.  This will have an influence on the depth of your image.  How much of your scene is in focus.  So if you take a picture of a person in a forest.  You can either photograph them only having them in focus and the forest out of focus or you can have both in focus.

This is called selective focus or depth of field.  Selective focus is when you take a portrait of a person and only the eyes are in focus, drawing the attention to the eyes.  Depth of field is where you allow the whole scene to be in focus


ISO is the sensitivity of the sensor.  The higher the ISO the more sensitive the sensor would be and the less light you’ll need to have the right exposure.  Your range is usually 100, 200, 400, 640, 800, 1600, 2500, 3200, and 6400.  As you go up in ISO the noise in you image will start to increase.  Noise is artifacts that will start to appear in your darker areas.  It will look like messy pixels of different colours.

The better the camera, the less the noise will be, I would say a safe range would be maximum 800 ISO as most cameras will be able to handle that.  Professional full frame camera’s will handle 3200 and 6400 easily.

Practical 4: Shutter Exercise

·     Take one photograph with a long exposure to demonstrate movement.  Try panning, where you follow the subject as they move to create a blurry background and a moving subject.

·     Take one photograph where you freeze your subject in action.

Practical 5 : Aperture and Depth of field

Take 2 images of the same subject, one with selective focus and the other with depth of field.

Practical 6 :  ISO and noise

Indoors, shoot a scene using two different ISO’s and compare the noise

Week One Homework:

·     Photograph some action either by freezing the action or showing movement.  Think kids playing soccer, a river, water from a tap, dog running…get creative.

·     Take a portrait of a person in soft light.

·     Explain in a paragraph each the 3 controls you use to create the correct exposure.

·     Take a selfie using reflection

·     Choose image from each practical exercise for discussing

o   Portrait with soft light

o   Portrait with hard light

o   Bending light through water glass

o   Capture movement

o   Freeze action

o   Selective Focus

o   Depth of field

The Great Debate - Science or Art

Is Photography science or is it art? Are we taking pictures or creating them? Truth of Fiction?  Actually it is both but early photography communities were struggling as they were trying to have an overall identity for photography. Naturally there is no right answer just our own opinion and your view on photography or your approach to creating images. This has been a debate in photographic circles since the birth of photography but photography has developed so much in the past few decades that I have chosen to explore this from the exploration stage in scientific laboratories to mainstream photography.

Straight or Natural Photography

Robert Demachy - Struggle 1903

Robert Demachy - Struggle 1903

If you look at the reason why photography was developed and who pioneered this very important discovery, that is now part of everyday life, we will have to agree that it started as a science. Scientist and inventors explored the possibilities of capturing light through lenses using chemicals to be able to create a true representation of a person in a shorter amount of time than it took for a painter. Portraiture was one of the main reasons and the first commercial field. An honest real representation was required of what a person looks like and this was the birth of straight photography, where there was no manipulation to a photograph. Natural or straight photography persisted throughout for most of the 19th century, where the argument was to capture a moment as it is, with no interference.

Peter Henry Emerson - Sunday Salon

Peter Henry Emerson - Sunday Salon


As photography developed and techniques advanced, the medium became more ‘open to interpretation’ or should I say manipulation. Henry Peach Robinson introduced pictorialism in the late 19th century where the aim was to communicate an emotional result through an image.  He argued that manipulation of the image to get to that end result was part of the artistic process.  Artist intervention was essential for Pictorialism, if an image was a result of purely scientific process, how can it be art?  He used multiple images to create one, a process that we still use in various fields of photography like advertising.

Henry Peach Robinson - Fading Away

Henry Peach Robinson - Fading Away

 Is Photography Art?

The Modernists of the mid 20th Century including Edward Weston, Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham’s main focus was on pre-visualization and recording the scene as accurately as possible.  In a sense this was true straight photography and after that you can see how photography was also influenced by the major art movements through the centuries.  Although by this time photography was developing alongside art and maturing into a new means of artistic expression, the art community still struggled to recognize it as art. 

Ansel Adams, Landscape · Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park

Ansel Adams, Landscape · Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park

 Photography for the masses

With Kodak releasing the Brownie camera and photography becoming mainstream, the argument became even harder as there were images being created in split seconds, images that were bad quality with poor composition.  And we see this throughout the history of photography. Technological advances in photography allows photography to fall into the hands of the general public. There will always be a resistance from the art community and also within the photographic communities. As there was such an increase of mediocre photographs, professional photographers were and are still challenged to differentiate their work from casual shooters and again the solution is the two poles: technical excellence or artistic merit.


 My opinion

I’m an artist with the mind of a scientist.  A creator looking to capture truth.  Light is the medium we are given to paint with. As Scientist, we appreciate it’s stability but as Artist we see its playfulness and beauty.  As I am a portrait photographer I am not merely a bystander that captures the light and energy reflected towards me. I am in the conversation. I am part of the connection and in that I create, with the help of my subject, the photograph that is the result of our interaction. No manipulation needed afterwards. That was it. A moment and a person, captured in all its raw beauty.