11 Oct 2016

Photoproject: 100 visits to Seri Huamark Market (days 11-20)

The following ten days I continued visiting the market mostly in the afternoon, right after work (I can't emphasise enough how helpful having a small camera is in this regard, since you can bring it with you in your regular backpack without needing a separate bag to carry the photography gear) and in the morning during the weekends. The light, therefore, was quite consistent in all my visits, and I started to become familiar with the areas of "light" interest and to have a better understanding of the dynamics between lights and shadows throughout the market.

Day 11, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 11b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 11c, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
As in my first ten days, I kept on using the Panasonic Leica 15mm everyday, for it seemed to be the right choice due to its small size, bright aperture and wide focal length, all of them factors that played an important role in the project. Furthermore, by using regularly the same lens, I grew used to its peculiarities and slowly the technical aspects of photography became more natural; I knew how far or close I had to place myself from the subjects I wanted to photograph before raising the camera, which saved a lot of time and helped me focus in working the scene more than in controlling the camera or the lens.

Day 12, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 12b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 12c, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Even though the market itself is quite small (just three alleys under the asbestos roof), the small adjacent passages that connect to the main road are also crowded with stalls and vendors, so I included those within my "shooting territory", despite not being technically the market, because of the proximity (one would never notice that he has left the indoor area and stepped into the umbrella-roofed alleyways if not being very observant) and because of the homogeneity of all the area in terms of color, smell, taste; in a word, feel.  This way, I expanded a bit the frontiers of the market and I had a bit more space to play with, and I also tried approaching the market from different perspectives, from outside its borders looking in, and also from within looking out to the surrounding neighborhood.

Day 13, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
As I went along with my project, and in a very organic way, I realized I broke my first "rule" of this project: posting a picture per day, since a few days I couldn't decide on a single image to post and I ended up posting two images from the same visit. This taught me a lesson: be flexible, and if you considered both images are worth it, go ahead and publish them both, but at the same time I had to impose discipline and make sure that 2 would be the upper limit I would allow or the standards could start to lower and the process would drag much longer than anticipated. So new goal: publish 1 or 2 images per visit (preferably just one) and move ahead to the next day.

Day 14, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 14b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 14c, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 14d, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
I said in my previous post that my main motto everyday when I was visiting the market was: "don't try the same things and don't shoot the same scenes that you have already shot before"; however, after two weeks I realized I broke this second promise as well, and I incurred in a repetition, not only in the scene I shot but in the image I picked as the picture of that day (a person coming out of the shadows, crossing small puddles of lights); this made me realize once more that pictures are more important than rules, and rules should only be flexible guidelines, not laws, so I rephrased my motto slightly to go with it forward: "don't repeat the same scene unless you think the new one is better or different enough from the previous one".

Day 15, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 15b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 15c, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
One thing changed from the first ten days of the project, though: after two years and a half using my combo of GH3 and GM1, I bought a new camera, the Lumix GX80 or GX85, which seemed to have the best of those two previous models combined (smaller size, more direct controls) plus some very welcome additions, in-body stabilization being the most obvious of all (for the full review of the camera, head to this other post). Now that I was familiar with the lens and the environment, it was time to adjust to a new tool, so the first days I tried a few different configurations of the camera until I settled on the one that I described in the review I mentioned above and, since then, the process became more fluid and automatic.

Day 16, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 16b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 16c, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 16d, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
I continued shooting primarily in aperture mode, but I slowly started to use shutter priority as well, because I wanted to introduce movement in my scenes without blurring the subjects. I chose shutter speeds around 1/250th or faster to freeze the movement of the people, which meant a wider aperture was selected by the camera, and that forced me to be more careful with the point of focus, so I learned how to prefocus at the distance I assumed the subjects would walk into and just waited for the scenes to develop on their own.

Day 17, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 17b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 17c, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
One technique that somehow became more and more common in my sessions was burst shooting, specially in those occasions in which I knew what I wanted but the fraction of time in which the elements would be aligned to my taste would be very short, thus making it much more difficult to get it with just one shot; this technique increased the number of images I captured everyday, granting me the possibility to get the images that I had envisioned, but at the same time enlarging the missed captures as well, so it became a double-edged weapon that I had to use carefully.

Day 18, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 18b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 18c, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 18d, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Finally, after two weeks shooting exclusively in aperture and increasingly in shutter priority modes , I had my first attempts at shooting in fully manual mode, because there were situations in which the other two modes involved too many compromises and I guess the point of this whole project was to practice and learn new things, so I started to give manual a try. I chose the shutter speed and the aperture manually, and I let the camera decide the iso automatically, and this proved very helpful in those scenes where I needed a deep depth of field while freezing motion at the same time.

Day 19, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 19b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 19c, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
And so the second chapter of my journey arrived to an end, with some more gaps than the previous one, since I skipped a total of 6 days due to different reasons (mostly work-load related), but I didn't feel I was losing motivation or drive at all, it just happened that I had a few complicated weeks that made my visits more difficult, but I was sure it would all become more regular again in the weeks ahead because those complications had already past. So I ended up my twentieth day in high spirits, as motivated as always and ready to continue the trip.

Day 20, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 20b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 20c, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 20d, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm

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