First Day of School for the 2020-21 Year - 50with50 No. 37 and 38

First Day Photos

The traditional first day of school photos for Laura and Jaylin are the latest entries in the 50with50 series. Although for one of them, it was the last first day of high school.

School started back for both Laura and Jaylin yesterday, but it was a much different first day than what they usually have. They did both go back to in-person school, but they both have to wear masks and keep their distance from everyone. How well will that work in a school setting? Good question!

Of course, the last time they had in-person school was back in early March, right before spring break. It was a little strange for them to leave once again this morning to go to school, because it has been quite a while since they have done that. I know that a lot of us - students, teachers, parents, spouses, and so on - are praying for a safe and happy school year!

What does the school year look like where you are? I would be interested to know. Leave a comment down below if you want to share!

I put both of their photos together up above, but here is a little more about each one.

Laura’s 26th First Day

This was Laura’s 26th first day of teaching. She had received her 25-year award at the end of last year, so right now it is easy to remember what year this is for her. This is also her 5th year to be the Performing Arts and Science Lab Coordinator for all of the Lower School students, and she still enjoys that job. There are some new challenges this year because of some of the requirements and restrictions due to COVID-19, but I know she will do just fine as she always does.

For the past several years, they have received shirts to wear on the first day of school. This year’s shirt says, “Teachers Are Essential.” I think after how the last school year ended, there are many more parents who realize that now than who did before. Teachers do a very important work for not all that much pay. Treat your teachers nicely, especially as this school year begins, because they are facing all kinds of new things.

Jaylin’s Last First Day

As I mentioned above, this was Jaylin’s last first day of high school. Yes, it is his senior year, if you can believe that. He is having an interesting start to his senior year. Maybe the whole school year won’t be like the first part of the year. But who knows?

And yes, he wore a long-sleeve hooded shirt to the first day of school when the forecast high is 94 degrees outside. He says it gets cold in some of his classes because the air conditioner is so strong. He did have on his uniform short-sleeve shirt under it, in case you were wondering.

Looking to the Future

As always, the future is very much unknown. We have no idea what this school year will look like. But then at the beginning of the last school year, who would have thought that they would not go back to the school building after spring break? Certainly not me.

I can’t make any guesses about the future. I don’t even want to try, because I am pretty sure that whatever I would guess would be wrong. All I can do is to be prepared for whatever comes our way, and handle it the best way possible when it does.

I do know that some have had to make some guesses about the future in order to plan for some different scenarios for the school year based on what conditions might be like at the time. I applaud them for that, and I do not envy them at all. They have a difficult job, and there are still many difficulties ahead of them. Rather than criticizing some things that we might not like, let’s give them the respect that they deserve for the efforts that they are making.

There’s an old song that we sing at church sometimes, “God Hold the Future In His Hands.” Yes he does. And he will guide us through it, whatever “it” happens to look like.

Be flexible. Be open to change. Have a heart of understanding, patience, and forgiveness. Better days are ahead!

Bible Verse

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. - Psalm 86:15

About the Photos

These photos were not strictly taken to be part of the 50with50 series, but I knew the 50mm lens would work well, so that is what I used.

Instead of using a flash, I wanted to just be able to use the natural light in the rooms, and that was made easier by opening the aperture to the full f/1.8 setting on the 50mm prime lens to let in as much light as possible. Of course, that also blurred the background a bit, which was a nice side effect.

The photo of Laura was a challenge to process because the light in our bedroom is from warm white light bulbs. That color looks pleasing to the eye in person, but it gives an orange tint to photos. In Aurora HDR, I had to slide the color temperature to the left quite a bit to bring out the cooler blue tones and compensate for the orange hues.

The photo of Jaylin was taken in our kitchen. We recently replaced our old fluorescent ceiling fixture with a new LED fixture, and that new fixture is bright! It is also a cool white color temperature, so it gives off more of a blue light than the lights in the bedroom. The trick here was getting Jaylin not to stand right under the light. It is bright, but it also would light up the top of his head. I had him take a few steps back, so that the light was hitting him at more of an angle than if he were not right under it, and that looks much better.

After processing these two photos in Aurora HDR, I then put them together in Photoshop to create the first image in this post. I like the contrasting backgrounds and colors in the two photos, and I think they compliment each other nicely. Yes, it would have been good to have one photo of the two of them together, but they were ready and leaving at different times, so I had to just photograph them individually. That’s one of the joys of everyone being on their own schedules!

Photo: Each photo is a single Raw exposure, processed in Aurora HDR. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: SonyFE 50mm f/1.8
Date: August 10, 2020
Location: Home, WillistonTennessee

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.