Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Russian Easter

I've been doing a 4 week photo essay workshop with Frank Van Riper at Glen Echo Park, and it has given me a great reason to make some fun photos (not to mention gotten me back on my bike for the ride out to Glen Echo). I think that photographers at all levels would benefit from this kind of motivation - for this reason alone the class has been well worth the time and money.

For the class we are encouraged to come up with a set of photos (12ish) to form a narrative. I chose to photograph Easter mass at a St John, a Russian Orthodox church in North West DC. I had photographed the mass there 2 years ago, and I wanted to expand on the idea of those images by documenting the preparation for the holiday, and by meeting some of the people in the church community.

I photographed on two days. The first day I shot was the day before Palm Sunday when the church spruce up happens. I even got to ride the lift that was driven into the main gathering space to dust the chandelier and change the old incandescent light bulbs to energy efficient LED's - is their anything better than "camera privileges". The second day I shot was Easter mass, which is celebrated by candle light late on Saturday night. The bells tole as Saturday becomes Sunday and Jesus rises. (The Orthodox church celebrates Easter a week after the Christian church)

More shots here.

The first set of photos was shot with my Nikon F3 using a 50mm or 28mm lens with old school Kodak ISO400, C-41 type black and white film. The candle light mass shots were taken with either my Mamiya 7 or my old Canon L-2 rangefinder camera using Delta 3200. Using available light I hand held all the shots at f4 and w/ speeds of 1/15 or 1/30 of a second.

A special thanks to Father John and the church community who showed me around, and made me feel most welcome.

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