I am a great believer in photo projects to aid the weekend photographer develop
the ‘photographic eye’. There is so much more to photography than just popping
the shutter and moving on to the next ‘record’ shot.
projects help you to develop a theme and then you illustrate that theme, which
is at least one step towards professional results.
Take, for example, the local markets. In Thailand these local
markets are everywhere (and if you don’t know where your local market is, ask
your wife or maid) and carry a myriad of items. The hard part is to isolate some
of these items from others, but is not difficult if you have a zoom facility on
your compact camera, or a zoom lens for your SLR. By shooting at a focal length
of more than 150 mm, and using an aperture of f4 or wider, you will be
able to separate the main subject from those surrounding it. You will also be
able to stand a reasonable distance from the subject so you are less intrusive
and are more likely to get some good spontaneous photographs.
before you shoot anything, you should take a walk around your market and make a
note of suitable subjects that will show a local market to a visitor to
Thailand. Again, this makes you think about how you will present the different
Items that will come to your attention could include the BBQ
chicken/sausage vendors, with smoke trailing from the BBQ coals. Try to
backlight this subject - in other words, get the sun behind the smoke and shoot
“contre jour”. For these shots with tricky lighting, it is always a good idea to
bracket the exposures, so try three shots at half a stop difference.
In markets, the vendors will often arrange their goods in an
attractive pattern to show to the prospective buyer. To get this shot, move in
close, and frame up very tightly, and review the shot before taking too many of
often the attraction of the markets lies in the cheap prices, so in your list of
shots make sure you get some price tags. Once more zoom in close and frame
tightly and you will have it for ever.
Lighting at open markets can be a little of a problem, but
not insurmountable. Try walking to the other side of the stall and shooting from
there. You should also try not to have the stall or subject half in bright sun
and half in shadow. There is just to much of a difference between the two light
intensities for the camera to handle.
The photographs this week were all taken on one very pleasurable Sunday
afternoon. Try it yourself this weekend.