12 May 2013

Walking amidst city chaos: Pratunam

I had an appointment this morning at Central World, a shopping center in downtown Bangkok. It didn't take long and I had the camera in my backpack. The idea was to spend this warm, nice Saturday afternoon wandering the streets and taking pictures; I wanted to take a bus to some other area of the city less crowded and busy than this, but the traffic was specially congested today and so I found myself trapped in the hectic, always chaotic Pratunam area. The number of people and vehicles is always high here so walking is not easy, much less comfortable, but I had no choice, and my hands were anxious to start watching, so I grabbed the camera and got into the multitude.

Through the glass, GH3 + Lumix G Vario 35-100mm

Repetitions, GH3 + Lumix G Vario 35-100mm

It was very hot, but in this bustling part of the city there is no time to rest, and everyone goes ahead with their tasks no matter the time of the day or the weather condition: the street chef patiently stands under a big umbrella waiting for hungry customers, the cobbler carefully polishes some worn-out leather sitting in a plastic stool, the fruit seller skilfully cuts the pineapple in curious shapes as he/she sweats under the sun, the buses roar along the streets... In short: a normal day in Pratunam.

Street tailor, GH3 + Lumix G Vario 35-100mm

Work luggage, GH3 + Lumix G Vario 35-100mm

Bus station I, GH3 + Lumix G Vario 35-100mm

Bus station II, GH3 + Lumix G Vario 35-100mm

The light was so blinding and flat that I decided to try some monochrome captures, focusing my attention mostly in areas and subjects of big contrast rather than colors, and I soon realized how different is the process of "seeing" if you take color out of the question altogether and focus solely in luminosity and contrast. The brights were really too bright and the darks, in opposition, pitch black, so the sensor definitely could not cope with such massive dynamic range. But, in that scenario, all I tried to do is keep the main subject in a good exposure, and let the rest fall wherever it should.

Light frame, GH3 + Lumix G Vario 35-100mm

Recess, GH3 + Lumix G Vario 35-100mm

Dark corridor, GH3 + Lumix G Vario 35-100mm

Arches, GH3 + Lumix G Vario 35-100mm

I'm really growing to like monochrome photography, it's a very different style that forces me to train my eyes to see differently, and I think I like some of the monochrome pictures the most. But I was feeling tired and dehydrated, and I decided to call it a day already to return home. But first I had a very unpleasant task to complete: waiting for the bus, as long as it would take, in the middle of the street.

 Waiting for the bus I, GH3 + Lumix G Vario 35-100mm

Waiting for the bus II, GH3 + Lumix G Vario 35-100mm

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