So this morning, I woke up and went to the local town (on hols) just before sunrise. The purpose being that (a) I could use the strong golden morning light to capture shadows and (b) there would be hardly anyone about so I could be undisturbed.

Initially the light only touched the tops of the houses, however soon the sun rose a little higher and made some interesting subjects. There was also a market setting up and I used this opportunity to get some images, without being too obvious.  It’s a while since I used the camera in full manual mode, and my usual technique is as described in the OCA material, use the spot metering to get the right exposure and then widen to take the image I wanted.

I found that from a technical perspective the spot metering approach worked some of the time, but I had to start to judge the contrast of the image and in some cases over expose, but in some cases up to 2 stops to ensure the contrast of black and white. At these increased exposures the white areas  lacked detail, but for many this wasn’t important.

With the people in and around the market, I had to be both patient and predict what might be the best exposure to get good shots, some of which I scrapped almost immediately. A couple of times I was able to be opportunistic as I already had appropriate settings for high contrast.

Creating stories was difficult, a few images were able to convey some meaning, but others were just interesting shapes and patterns. I spent quite a bit of time thinking about some images, but in many cases didn’t find the right moment or framing for a story. One example was the ‘no entry’ sign in front of the Police Station. I tried a few times to use the brightly lit sign, but because the station sign was in shade, it was difficult to outline them both and convey a degree of narrative. I’ve lightened the police sign in editing, but it’s not quite what I was after. (See below).

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There were a number of images that created only interesting shapes or patterns:

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Some I felt were more effective in black and white, particularly as this allowed contrast to be tweaked to remove many distracting features so the eye clearly settled on the content of the image:


However a few images had potential to start to convey stories and meaning through the image, examples would be the the group that clearly outline a market preparing for the day:

Or those that that convey readiness for a festival and give glimpses of the steamers awaiting, but in empty streets:

Finally, a group of images that have specific meaning through the main subject and context, one example being a couple leaving their hotel with a suitcase along an empty street.

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Without doubt an interesting exercise in trying to capture high contrast images from strong light, not only to find interesting subject matter, but also meaning.