Category Archives: Black and White

Pike Place Market, After the Crowds

Although I don’t really consider myself a street photographer, I do have an appreciation for the genre and will dabble in it occasionally. I also tend to think that a lot of my travel photography has a street aesthetic about it. I love trying to capture the sense and feel of a place through my images, the nitty gritty backstreets, and the places where people actually live and work and interact.

John Batdorff just published a blog post on 6 tips for improving your street photography. One of the suggestions he made was to understand that you are probably going to feel nervous and to accept and get used to this, that this nervousness comes with putting yourself out there. Maybe there’s little distinction but for me it’s not so much nervousness as discomfort. This is especially true in places where I already stand out as a foreigner. Walking around pointing a huge camera everywhere makes you even more conspicuous. Although it’s not easy, as John suggests I think the best thing to do is to embrace this nervousness or discomfort.

Another point John makes in his post is a common one made with respect to street photography, which is to get permission from your subject before snapping the shutter. Although I generally agree with this, I do think it often depends on the circumstances. There are situations where it’s definitely most appropriate to get your subject’s acknowledgement, particularly if it’s a portrait-type image. But what about those times when what you’re wanting to capture is people going about their daily lives, without awareness of the camera? Personally I think there’s many times when it’s perfectly acceptable to photograph people in public situations without asking their permission. The problem is that the line between the times when it’s appropriate to photograph someone without asking and the times when you should ask can be rather blurry. I can’t say that I always know where that line is. In the image below, I was standing in plain sight taking a picture. The gentleman smoking simply ignored me so I took that for implicit approval. I think the most important thing to remember here is something another photographer, I think it was Chase Jarvis, said (and I’m paraphrasing): Always respect your subject and never present them in a way that would be embarrassing or humiliating.

After the crowds are gone at Pike Place Market, Seattle, USA - Canon 6D, f/2.8, 1/40 s, ISO 2500

After the crowds are gone at Pike Place Market, Seattle, USA
Canon 6D, f/2.8, 1/40 s, ISO 2500

Also posted in Photography, Seattle, Street Tagged , , |

Portraits of a Balinese Cremation Ceremony

I recently spent a week in Bali, Indonesia, for a quick get-a-way. Travelling with a companion, photography was not the focus of this trip (sorry, bad pun). But the camera came with me most places, of course, and a few good images came home with me.

One of the joys of travelling for me is the surprises that often arise, unexpected events and unplanned cultural experiences, that make a visit to a place more than just a beach holiday. In this case it was stumbling upon a cremation ceremony for a member of a Balinese royal family. Unlike most of Indonesia, which is primarily Muslim, Balinese are predominantly Hindu and the custom is to cremate bodies after passing on to the other side. Still a caste society, the process and ceremony involved with cremation varies according the the caste level you are in. A lowly worker? You can look forward to your body being dumped into the ground and then five years later being dug up again to be burned in a mass cremation with all the other deceased workers.

If you are a member of a royal family, you get a much better send-off, such as the one for an Ubud royal family member who had passed away back in February. The body had been stored for two months until the ceremony could be organized and take place in May. A number of processional floats were constructed by volunteer community members, the primary one being an elaborately decorated bamboo tower close to three storeys tall on which the body was loaded and then carried to the burning grounds. After cremation, the ashes were to be given to the family to be spread in the sea. The procession and burning were public events; however, the water gods were apparently not happy with the fire gods this day and during the procession it began raining…hard, as it is often wont to do in the tropics. These are some portraits of participants and observers I was able to get before the skies opened up.

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Also posted in Cultural, Indonesia, Photography, Portrait, Travel Tagged , , , |

Swirling Waters

Swirling waters along the coast at East Point Reserve in Darwin, Australia.

Swirling - Darwin, Australia

Swirling – Darwin, Australia

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Also posted in Australia, Landscape, Photography Tagged , , , |

Free Yourself

Today’s Photo

Some black and white good-ness for your Sunday morning (or whenever you read this). A busy intersection in Taipei, this is another one where I posted a similar one in color (<-- notice the link) and which I think I prefer this one in black and white. Your milage may vary. [caption id="attachment_5832" align="aligncenter" width="800" caption="Free Yourself - Taipei City, Taiwan"]Free Yourself[/caption]

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Also posted in HDR, Photography, Taiwan Tagged , , , |

Grounded, in black and white

Today’s Photo

Continuing the black and white series, this is another one from the boat yard at Langkawi Island in Malaysia. I’ve posted a couple from this location in the past.

Grounded

Grounded - Langkawi, Malaysia

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Also posted in Landscape, Malaysia Tagged , , |