The Montessori Method

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Montessori Method ( Base on American Montessori Society)

-  Its developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. 
- It is a view of the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. 
- It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive. (Indonesia 6 areas of development) 

Components necessary for a Montessori program:  

- multi age groupings that foster peer learning, uninterrupted blocks of work time, and guided choice of work activity. 
- a full complement of designed Montessori learning materials are meticulously arranged and available for use in an aesthetically pleasing environment.
- the teacher, child, and environment create a learning triangle. 
-the classroom is  prepared by the teacher to encourage independence, freedom within limits, and a sense of order. 
- the child, through individual choice, makes use of what the environment offers to develop himself, interacting with the teacher when support and/or guidance is needed.

Multi age groupings are the special trademark of the Montessori Method: younger children learn from older children; older children reinforce their learning by teaching concepts they have already mastered. This arrangement also mirrors the real world, where individuals work and socialize with people of all ages and dispositions.

Dr. Montessori observed that children experience sensitive periods, or windows of opportunity, as they grow. As their students develop, Montessori teachers match appropriate lessons and materials to these sensitive periods when learning is most naturally absorbed and internalized.
In early childhood, Montessori students learn through sensory-motor activities, working with materials that develop their cognitive powers through direct experience: seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching, and movement.
In the elementary years, the child continues to organize his thinking through work with the Montessori learning materials and an interdisciplinary curriculum as he passes from the concrete to the abstract.  He begins the application of his knowledge to real-world experiences.
This organization of information—facts and figures—prepares the child for the world of adolescence, when thought and emotion evolve into understanding more abstract, universal concepts such as equity, freedom, and justice.

The Montessori Absorbent Mind

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The "absorbent mind" refers to the mind's capacity to take in information and sensations from the world that surrounds it. Young children are a testament to the mind's awesome ability to absorb. A baby is born without language, and with few skills other than their survival instinct. From birth to three years they use their senses (hands, eyes, ears, nose, and tongue) to soak in everything that surrounds them. The child does this naturally, and without thought or choice. Maria Montessori referred to this period as the 'unconscious creation'. The information that the child unconsciously absorbs from his surroundings in the early years is used to construct and create himself. Within a few short years a child is walking, talking, and able to feed himself. It is this awesome ability to absorb information that allows children to acquire the language, physical skills (walking, control of his hands), and control over his bodily functions that are necessary for future independence. Around the age of three years, the child moves from the state of the unconscious absorbent mind, to the state of the conscious absorbent mind. It is during this conscious state of mind that the child begins to intentionally direct and focus his attention on experiences that will develop that which was created during the first three years. The fundamental task of the child during this phase of conscious absorption (3-6 years) is intellectual development and freedom. His mind compels him to sort through, order, and make sense of the information he unconsciously absorbed. It is through this order of his intelligence that the child gains the freedom to move purposely, to concentrate, and to choose his own direction. "The 'absorbent mind' welcomes everything, puts its hope in everything, accepts poverty equally with wealth, adopts any religion and the prejudices and habits of its countrymen, incarnating all in itself. This is the child!" Maria Montessori

Still Life Photography

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

just sharing it  from TIM KOK  

In still life photography, a photographer creates an image with almost full control over lighting, mood, and composition. Because photographers directly influence the image creation process, still life photos reflect the creativity and style of the photographers themselves. For this reason, photographers who specialize in still life will end up with a unique and creative portfolio. Even if the endless possibilities of still life photography can seem daunting, it’s definitely worth trying out.
Here are 7 things to keep in mind while shooting still life photography, followed by examples of still life photography.
1. Plan your photo
In still life photography, you won’t generally stumble upon a great photo by sheer luck. You should take charge of the entire creative process. The more you plan out your shoot, the better the result is likely to be. So take some time to brainstorm ideas and how you can execute them. When reading through the other items on this list, think of how you can plan for them in advance.

2. Tripods

Use them.

3. Composition

In still life photos, you have more freedom to move your subjects around. This gives you the opportunity to play around with composition (without your subjects getting bored or upset). Think of yourself as a graphic designer who is composing an image. You will discover that certain compositions are more interesting than others. You can also try out different proportional relations between objects. One thing you should definitely pay attention to is the space around your subject, the negative (or white) space. The composition of your photo may become better, just by increasing (or decreasing) the negative space.

4. Lighting

As with all other types of photography, good lighting is essential in still life photography. Because you have virtually complete control of your environment, there’s not really an excuse for poor lighting. In other words, figure out how to perfect the lighting in your still life shooting environment. If you’re relying on natural light, figure out the best time for a shoot or wait until the light has improved. When using a flash, you should consider diffusing the light, using an external flash and directing the light with a reflector. For more information on lighting, check out this guide on different lighting techniques in still life photography.

5. Background

You want to make sure that the background works well with your main subject. For example, think about how the background will look in-focus and out-of-focus. Maybe you can find a background with an interesting texture or no texture at all. A single-color background can be an effective way to make your subject stand out. If you have the option, try out different types of background with the same subject.

6. Take it outside

With still life photography, you’re not limited to staying inside. You can find plenty of excellent still life subjects outdoors: leaves floating down the river, a nice composition of street objects, or an interesting rock on the beach. It might be harder to control the shooting environment, but outside you can find unique subjects and backgrounds.

7. Release your inner creative genius

There are no limits on what you can do with still life photography (as long as your subjects are, you know, still). So play around with ideas and the contents in your cupboards! Maybe you will be the first person to photograph a rubber ducky in a bathtub filled with watermelons. You can also create your own message. Still life paintings were infused with meaning and symbolism, you could do the same in your still life photos.

Examples of Still Life Photography

Here’s a selection of great still life photos from our Flickr group.
moe4268 — Untitled
still life photography flowers and oranges
Laurens Kaldeway — On the Table
still life photography coffee and chess
Thomas Lieser — still life with easy chair and TELEV-KASTEN
still life photography chair
Cat Girl 007 — Egg and Forks
still life photography egg on forks
Suzanne Cummings — Things Past
still life photography antique bucket
Igor Ferreira — Still Life
still life photography candle on book
Suzanne Cummings — A Morning Place
still life photography flowers in vase
Elena K. — B&W Bananas
still life photography bananas
Donnie Nunley — Purple Grapes
still life photography grapes in water
Yane Naumoski — Day 247: Hazelnuts
still life photography hazelnuts
Alex Greenshpun — Catch Me If I Fall
still life photography leaves floating
Ale Quero Dodge — All Of The While I Never Knew
still life photography coffee bean
jordan parks — in a jar
still life photography flowers
Margarita K… — spring story…
still life photography flowers on book
CJ Schmit — Tools of the Trade
still life photography Yashica Mat-124 G with a notebook
Igor Ferreira — Sun Glasses
still life photography sun glasses
Donnie Nunley — Garlic and Dust
still life photography garlic and dust
Laurens Kaldeway — Kaleidoscope
still life photography three glasses
Martin Pitoňák – Jewelry Photography
Still Life Photography by Martin Pitoňák
^ Missi ^ — rrriiinnng…..
still life photography phone
Laurens Kaldeway — [oil and water]
still life photography water and oil
Laurens Kaldeway — Verdant
still life photography green pencils under water
^ Missi ^ — Shell 1
still life photography shell
Raymond’s Glass Eye — Garden Fresh
still life photography three carrots
Laurens Kaldeway — Trio
still life photography lenses on sheet music
Laurens Kaldeway — Cup of Beans
still life photography jelly beans
Laurens Kaldeway — Green Beans
still life photography green jelly beans
ruben alexander — ‎”Man shall not live by bread alone,….
still life photography fork and spoon
Laurens Kaldeway — Coloured Pencils (ii)
still life photography colored pencils
ruben alexander — When People Throw Lemons at You, Make Lemonade!
still life photography lemons
James Drury — still life
still life photography mannequin
Jeremy Lusk — The Leica
still life photography camera
Alessandro Baffa — Morning Rituals
still life photography shaving equipment
Ben Roffelsen — Urban Still Life (Cold Alley)
still life photography urban scene
Alex Greenshpun — Dancing in the Rain
still life photography dandelion seeds
another work of tim kok

How to Reverse-Engineer a Photo

Monday, October 22, 2018

Although it sounds like a highly technical term, ‘reverse engineering’ is something you’ve done many times. Any time you’ve asked questions like “What camera did you take that with?”, “What settings did you use?” or “Where was this taken?”, you’ve been trying to reverse engineer a photograph.
lake how to reverse engineer photos
We’ve all looked at a photo and tried to figure out how it was created. I do it every day. Whether you’re conscious of it or not, when you see a photo you admire you try to analyze it. You’re asking, “How do I take photos like that?”
The truth is, if you ask the photographer about their camera or settings you’re asking the wrong questions. By all means, ask questions. After all, that’s how we learn. But you can also learn a lot from studying an image – if you know what to look for. When you can visually deconstruct an image, you’re one stop closer to being able to create something similar.
This isn’t a lesson in plagiarism. It’s simply a way to learn from other photographers whose work you admire. No successful artist would be where they are today without learning from the works of others they look up to.

Light and Shadow

The most important photographic lesson I ever learned is that it’s all about the light. Reverse-engineering photos is no different. Analyzing the light in an image is the simplest and most effective way to learn how a photo was made.
When you look at the image, ask yourself a few questions.
  • Which direction is the light coming from?
  • Is there more than one light source?
  • Is the light hard or soft?
  • Is there reflected light in the photo?
  • What about the color temperature? Is it warm or cool?
Sometimes the answers will be obvious. Sometimes they’ll be impossible to answer. But the more often you ask them, the better you’ll get at answering them.
If you’re looking at a landscape photo, you can almost always assume there’s only one light source – the sun. But that doesn’t mean you can’t deconstruct the light. The direction, hardness and temperature of the light will tell you a lot about the conditions the photo was taken in. Even though beautiful landscape lighting isn’t as technical as portrait or product lighting, you can still learn a lot from analyzing it.
aerial how to reverse engineer photos
The sun striking this landscape, along with the warm light on the right side of the image, clearly show where the light is coming from.
If you’re reverse-engineering a portrait, it’s more likely to have more than one light source, as well as reflected light. When a photographer starts balancing multiple light sources, reverse-engineering a photo can become more difficult. But there are still ways to analyze the light if you know what to look for.
Start by asking yourself, “Where are the shadows?” It may seem a little backwards, but one of the best ways to analyze light is to look at the darker parts of the image. Where is there no light? Do you see any hard shadows? Are there areas where you can see the light dropping off gradually? Studying the shadows will tell you about the direction of the light as well as how large it is relative to the subject.
bear how to reverse engineer photos
The illuminated fur around the outside of the bear show that this image was backlit. And its shadow on the ground shows the exact direction the light was coming from.
Interpreting a photograph’s light becomes more difficult as the lighting gets more complex. As more light sources or reflectors are added, the shadows become less obvious. If the shadows are very light or non-existent, it likely means either the light is very diffuse and bouncing all over the place, or there are multiple light sources.
If you’re lucky, you can sometimes see exactly what light source was used by looking for reflections. Look at the eyes, glasses, windows, water surfaces, and anything that reflects light. Sometimes you can see a perfect reflection of the light source, but at the very least you’ll be able to see its direction.
cabin how to reverse engineer photos
The soft light on the subject, combined with the reflection in her glasses, show the window as the light source. The very dark shadows tell us there are no other light sources.

Gear and Settings

In many cases, you don’t need to ask what equipment or settings were used to create a photo. With practice, you can learn to guesstimate the technical details such as focal length, aperture and shutter speed.
Figuring out what focal length was used isn’t too difficult once you know how focal length affects a photo. As a general rule, the shorter the focal length (wider angle), the more distortion you’ll see and the more of a scene will fit in the frame. As the focal length gets longer (normal or telephoto), you’ll see more compression in the image and less of the scene in the frame.
car how to reverse engineer photos
Only a very wide-angle lens can capture everything in a scene like this from the ground to the sky. The lens distortion makes closer objects like this car look much bigger.
While this won’t tell you the exact focal length used, it will give you a ballpark figure. With practice, you’ll be able to tell if a photo was taken with a wide-angle (<35mm), normal (35-85mm) or telephoto (>85mm) lens. The exact number doesn’t matter. What does matter is getting a rough idea where your focal length needs to be to create the same look.
As with focal length, you can figure out roughly what aperture was used by understanding how it affects an image. As the lens aperture opens and closes, the depth-of-field (DOF) of the image changes. The wider the aperture (smaller f-number), the narrower the DOF.
Again, the exact number doesn’t matter. What matters is understanding how aperture affects DOF and how to interpret the DOF of a photo. If the image is sharp and in focus from the foreground right through to the background, a smaller aperture (f/11-22) has probably been used. If everything but the subject is soft and out of focus, a larger aperture (f/1.4-5.6) has probably been used. If the DOF is somewhere in between, the aperture is probably around f5.6-11.
Finally, these principles can also be applied to shutter speed. You probably know that shutter speed affects the way movement appears in an image. If objects you would expect to see moving are frozen still, you know a faster shutter speed was used. If there’s some motion blur in the image, you know the shutter speed was slower.
bay how to reverse engineer photos
You can see that a longer shutter speed has been used here to create the milky water effect, common with long-exposure photography.
With a landscape photo, any time you see silky-smooth water or clouds common with long exposures you know it has a shutter speed of at least a few seconds. If you’re seeing some movement, it’s more likely to be less than one second. To freeze movement, you’d expect shutter speeds of at least 1/100th of a second.
rocks how to reverse engineer photos
Very short shutter speeds are required to capture moving water, as in this seascape photo.
If the photo doesn’t include any moving objects, it’s much more difficult to figure out the shutter speed used. But if there’s no movement then shutter speed doesn’t really matter. It just needs to be fast enough to avoid any blur caused by camera movement to ensure a sharp image.


Reverse-engineering the post-production that’s been applied to an image is the trickiest part. There’s almost no limit to what can be done in Photoshop today, which makes it difficult to figure out how a photo has been processed.
You can get a rough idea of how much post-processing has been applied by looking at the photo. Does it look realistic? Do the colors and tones appear the way you’d expect in real life? Is the whole image well exposed from the darkest shadows to the brightest highlights? Are the light and shadows consistent across the image as you’d expect? Do the people look real, or impossibly perfect?
Asking these kinds of questions will help you know what to look for. It’s easy to look at the image as a whole and get frustrated trying to analyze it. As you break it down and look at the individual details of a photo, it becomes easier to see the edits that have been applied.
I’ll admit this isn’t exactly my strong suit, being colorblind. Picking out the color grading or effects that have been applied is never easy for me. But with practice I’ve become much better. And if I can do it, so can you.
london how to reverse engineer photos
You can see by looking at the church that extra warmth has been added in post-production to emphasize the warm late afternoon sun.
Keep in mind that photographers and retouchers that are highly skilled in Photoshop, are very good at making their images look natural and unedited. Just because an image looks real doesn’t mean it is. A photo that’s been edited by a Photoshop ninja will be very difficult to reverse-engineer.

Exif Data

When all else fails, and you desperately want to know the settings used to take a photo, you may be able to access the image’s exif data. When a digital photograph is created, a bunch of data is embedded into the file. This includes focal length, shutter speed, aperture, camera model, and often a bunch of other information.
A photo’s exif data is often stripped out by the photographer or the website it’s uploaded to. But if it hasn’t been stripped, you can easily access the data by either:
  • downloading the image and reading the data on your computer
  • using one of the many websites that will analyze a photo’s exif data for you.
Some websites, such as, can even analyze a photo from the image’s URL.
cuba how to reverse engineer photos
The shadow of the tree clearly shows the direction of the sun, while the light reflecting off the concrete has filled in the shadows on the subject.


15 Tips for More Powerful Portraits - DPS

15 tips every portrait photographer must know for making more powerful portraits!
Powerful portrait tips 01

Here are 15 tips on getting powerful portraits

1. Have respect

This is my number one rule. It doesn’t matter if I am photographing a poor boy in Laos or the CEO of a large company in New York-I always respect the people I photograph. I live by the motto: “you should never get close to people in order to take their photo; you should take their photo in order to get closer to them”. Act as if your camera is a bridge and not a weapon. I have friends who are amazing street photographers, who manage to work with such discretion that they can get the portrait without the person realizing he was photographed. Certainly, there are some exceptions, but I believe that people are not zebras and we are not hunters. To summarize the point, I photograph old people in same manner I would like someone to take pictures of my grandmother.
Powerful portrait tips 04

2. Ask yourself – Do I understand what a portrait is?

“A Portrait is painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person […] the intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person” (from Wikipedia)
While this is a very basic definition of the concept, it can help us to understand the true nature of good portrait photography. A portrait must tell a story. What kind of story? A story about the person in the image. How can you tell a story of a person in one image? You can’t! You can never capture the whole story, because human beings are too complex. You can either choose to focus on a specific emotion expressed by the subject or by yourself. I call the first method “highlighting”, in which you zero in on a specific story, at a specific time.
Powerful portrait tips 02
For example: when I took the photo of the Japanese girl (above) I was trying to highlight this specific moment, when she held her mother’s hand, when she has not yet decided – whether to leave or hold on tight. Sometimes the best stories don’t reveal the whole story at once. Like in this image from China (below). Do you think this girl is waiting for someone who should be coming soon, or is she watching someone leave?
Powerful portrait tips 03
The second method, in which you imprint your on feeling onto the story, can start with answering the following question: How did you feel when you met this person? Because a good image is told by two people – the one in the image, and the one behind the camera.

3. Look for emotion

Someone’s exotic face from some remote tribe is nice to look at, but for it to be a true visual storytelling portrait, this face must evoke emotion. Steve McCurry called this the “unguarded moment”, the essential soul peeking out. It can be happiness, fear or excitement. Emotion is the best way to create a bond between the image and your viewers.
The best way to “catch” emotion on your camera’s sensor is by choosing the right moment to click the shutter. Be on the lookout for a specific powerful moment that can evoke the story on the person’s face.
Powerful portrait tips 05b

4. Start with your comfort zone

Going out to the streets to shoot portraits of strangers is not an easy task to start with. The best way to hone your craft is by starting with a person you already know. By skipping the need to “break the ice”, it will be easier for you to think about other important elements in your portrait, such as: the light, composition, posing and color. You don’t have to travel far for an interesting face; you can start with friends and family.
Powerful portrait tips 11b

5. Get out from your comfort zone

A day without learning something new is a wasted one. One of the most important things to note when dealing with portrait photography is that usually, the problem is with ourselves. “I do not want to hurt or offend”, and “I do not want to invade someone’s privacy” are all excuses which we tell ourselves on why we photograph people with a telephoto lens from a distance. So, if you truly want to take your portrait photography to the next level and be able to evoke emotion in your work, you must, as my mother says: “fake it till you makes it”. It is not as complicated as it seems in your head. Get out to the streets, find an interesting person and just go for it by saying: “Hello, I am a photography enthusiastic and I would like to take your photo…I would love to send you a copy as well”. You might be surprised with the results. By using this technique, the worst thing that can happen is that you will get a refusal and then just move on to the next person.
Powerful portrait tips 08

6. Choose the right focal length

“What is the best lens for portraits?” is a very common question among my students, and the answer is simple – there is no one best lens for portrait photography. You should adjust the focal length to your working style. When considering your next lens, you should take into account the following elements:
  • The distance from which you usually like to photograph people
  • The weight you are willing to carry around
  • What is the maximum aperture for low light photography and for shallow depth of field?
  • And of course, price
For me, most of my portraits are done with an 85mm or 24-70mm lens.

7. Choose the wrong focal length

Try this creative exercise. Go outside and take a portrait with a lens you are not used to working with. If you always work with a telephoto lens, try using a wide angle one. If you prefer to get close to your subject, take a step back and wait for the decisive moment. A good photographer is a flexible one.
Powerful portrait tips 10b

8. Study the great masters of portrait photography

Whenever I need inspiration, I turn to the portfolios of this great photography masters:
  • Dorothea Lange – one of the first photographers of Social realism
  • Steve McCurry – probably the best color portrait maker in history
  • Richard Avedon – unique fashion and portrait photography
  • Sebastião Salgado- outstanding B&W documentary portraits
  • Annie Leibovitz- Editorial portraits
(Please add your own in the comments section)
Powerful portrait tips 19c

9. Experience variable depth of field

We all love portraits with that sweet low depth of field, which makes everything blurry in the background. In portraits, shallow depth of field is usually good because it leads the viewer’s eyes directly to the subject by making it sharper than the rest of the image. YET, please note that there is such a thing as a too shallow depth of field. In this case, the sharpness by the AutoFocus may be on the eyebrows or eyelashes instead of the eyes. Practice in order to understand the elements that affect the depth of field: the distance to the subject, focal length and aperture.
Powerful portrait tips 13

10. Leave the flash behind

The more gear you have with you, the less available you are to give attention to the person you are photographing. If we are dealing with studio photography, then the person knows what to expect. There is no need take your flash to India or China when there is so much beautiful available light. Craft your skill while working with natural light only BEFORE jumping to the next step of using reflectors, flashes or any other extra gear.
Powerful portrait tips 14

11. Don’t follow the crowd

Try this little exercise: type “woman with cigar in Cuba” into Google and see what happens. The same woman appears in almost all the images right? Those are images of many different photographers. I do not mean to hurt anyone, but how come with 3 million people visiting the country each year and with a population of 5,612,165 women, the same woman comes up in almost every image? Here’s a tip for you, before heading somewhere, anywhere, near or far, you should understand the place, culture and the “story” of the person in front of you. By doing your homework you will not fall into the trap of the “fake authenticity”
Powerful portrait tips 15