The Orphanage: children with no one: a photo essay

The Orphanage: children with no one: a photo essay

“A photographic essay is a set or series of photographs that are intended to tell a story or evoke a series of emotions in the viewer.” Wikipedia
This is a purely photographic essay without captions and explanations. I hope these photos don’t need them. You can click on each shot after the break. At the end, you will find my thoughts on equipment used and what I would bring today, after the break


I shot this series last December during my trip to Kenya.
Equipment used: Sony SLT A77 with kit lens (price reduced)
currently there is a great deal on the A77
Sigma 8-12mm
Tamron 90mm Macro
Sony Nex 5n
16mm pancake
30mm macro
wide angle adapter
These shots (all raw captures) were taken over a three day period, amounting to approx 5 hours of total shooting time. The low shutter sound and the articulated LCD were particularly useful on this set.
I am not allergic to noise, or, as I like to call it, analog flavor, in my photographs. It’s like salt in your food, some love it, some hate it. The A77 is no low light champ, however, using a flash gun was out of the question. Many shots were taken at ISO 1600 and 3200 and then pushed in processing two to three or even four stops. Minor noise reduction was applied and I am happy to report that I never ran into banding and streaking which would have ruined the shots. I like the grainy look, however, what’s more important is that I don’t think the grain takes away or adds anything to the content of the images.

Why did I pick the A77 as the main camera for this trip? A) I had quite a few photo/video assignments lined up, mostly in bright daylight. The Sony A77 just fit the bill perfectly.
B) I was advised not to bring ” very professional” looking equipment to avoid problems entering the country, something to consider when traveling to certain places. To avoid looking “too professional” I didn’t want to bring two A77 bodies and chose the Nex 5N as back up.
What would I pack today?
First, let me clarify, I would have no problems shooting with the exact same gear I chose last year, however, if I had the choice and the budget I would take the A99 instead of the A77.
a 24 70mm
a 12 24mm Sigma
the 135mm Zeiss
and the Sony RX1 as the stealth silent pro shooter disguised as a tourist compact camera.
Or as an alternative to the RX1, the RX100.

Sound track,, search for “blue feather”

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9 thoughts on “The Orphanage: children with no one: a photo essay

  1. mike.kobal Post author

    Hi Wassili, definitely, the A77 is very capable in HHT mode, I had to work very fast on this project and I am not sure I would have nailed some shots in HHT. However, of course I recommend shooting jpegs, I have a few friends who are pros and never shoot raw. Raw suits my workflow, that’s the only reason.

  2. Wassili

    Hi Mike, I was wondering, and I struggled a lot before asking you this question, if you ever considered shooting in HHT Mode which gives great results at high ISO levels for the A77. I know, it would have resulted in Jpegs (there you go, I said it) and in the case of the A77 in Extra Fine Jpegs which are almost as big as the raw files and where a lot information is not compressed away and preserved. I understand, it goes against your philosophy to shoot in anything other than RAW, but in the case of the A77 isn’t this the most practical approach to get great performance at high ISO levels? Wouldn’t you suggest to some people, at least, to use the Handheld Twilight Mode if that works for them even if it’s not right for you and the type of work you do? Yes, I totally agree, the grain just adds to the “Stimmung” of the situation you are capturing and helps evoke more emotions with the viewer but I just mean in general. Since you are doing reviews on the Sony SLTs on Youtube which many hobby photographers watch wouldn’t it be useful to point out that the A77 has great low light capabilities if one is willing to put up with Jpegs?

  3. Pingback: Sony TidBits… | sonyalpharumors

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