Tuesday, July 8, 2008

the heavenly beaches of East Lombok- part 3

continued from part 1and part 2 and more in part 4 and part 5

portraits at the beach

Artificial lighting is not my forte. I have a speedlite, the entry level 430ex, but I rarely bring it in my travels as my bag, saddled already with 3 additional lenses, has become too heavy for me. Not having any external flash does not inhibit or preclude me from taking portraits. There is always ambient light. The sun, without a doubt, is the best source of light you can have.

Perhaps the easiest portraits to do those whose subjects are cooperative. It never hurts to ask permission. Often, if you are polite and friendly enough, people would willingly allow you to take photographs.

Take this family in Serewe, East Lombok, for instance. They were sitting idly in a shed at Serewe, taking a break from from seaweed cultivation as it was just after lunchtime. I, too, was in hurry in getting back to my party so I only took two shots. Not having had any time to reset my camera from its aperture priority setting that was set at f/14 (I was shooting landscapes earlier), so I got a 1/10 second exposure which was much slower than what I normally can do. At this speed, camera shake is an issue and my pulse is spotty. The image may not be perfectly sharp but I love the motion blur of the father who glanced back adoringly at his son just as I clicked the camera.

family at Serewe
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/10s, f/14, 55mm, ISO 100, -1/3EV
boats for seaweed farming at Serewe, East Lombok, Indonesia

On the other hand, it pays to get a candid shot. Think of spontaneous, unrehearsed happenstances.

In the next photo, a fisherman just came off from his boat and was making his way home when I chanced upon him. He did not show any particular interest in me and my camera but neither did he mind me photographing him. Getting him face me directly was not easy but I was able to capture him when he stopped and turned around to show his catch to another fisherman whose shadow you can see in the bottom left corner of the photo.

Sumerang fisherman
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/125s, f/16, 55mm, ISO 100, -1/3EV
a fisherman in Sumerang, East Lombok, Indonesia

The photograph below was taken in Sumerang Beach. I spotted this old lady who was gathering seaweed that broke off from the cultivation lines. Knowing that portraits would be interesting, I took about 15 shots. I tried setting her against the dramatic scenery as behind her were the cliffs of the opposite side of the U-shaped Sumerang bay. Precisely because the sight behind her was too breathtaking, I felt that a long shot would lose the connection of her labor.

Sumerang seaweed gatherer
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/500s, f/11, 85mm, ISO 100, -1/3EV
a seaweed gatherer in Sumerang, East Lombok, Indonesia

By zooming in on her activity, which literally is backbreaking, I felt that I would be able to tell her story more intimately and honestly. Catching the seaweed fragments that were drifting to shore is not an easy task. I doubt if she would be able to collect enough fresh seaweed in a few hours that would sell for a dollar. But despite the harsh elements, the biting sun, the swirling current and lapping waves, she persevered diligently, collecting whatever she could.

seaweed gatherer
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/400s, f/11, 300mm, ISO 100, -1/3EV
a seaweed gatherer in Sumerang, East Lombok, Indonesia

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: