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Thread: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

  1. #1
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    This will be the last of my black and white street series, I promise!

    After distributing prints of candid street photographs I had previously taken, I was noticed wherever I went in the souqs, so I turned my hand to portraits instead. I processed in colour and then in black and white but I'll post the b&w here for continuity. Generally on each walkabout I limited myself to 1 lens, be it an 85mm f1.4, 50mm f1.4 or 35mm f2.


    1. A happy fish trader at the Fish Market

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots


    2. A bit of biblical beard action going on! A porter in the fruit and vegetable section of the Fish Market

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots


    3. More tea tipping in the Textile Souq cafe

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots


    4. Porters resting in the back alleys of the Gold Souq

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots


    5. An Omani storekeeper in the Fish Market relaxing with coffee and cigarette

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots


    6. A proud storekeeper in the Spice Souq

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots


    7. An Omani stall keeper in the fruit and vegetable section of the Fish Market

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots


    8. One of the 3 wise men from a previous shot, up close and personal with a 50mm

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots


    9. A dock hand taking a rest from unloading a dhow at the wharf in Dubai Creek

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots


    10. A porter in the Fish Market

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots


    11. Another Afghan storekeeper in the Textile Souq

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots


    12. An Omani fish trader in the Fish Market

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots


    13. An Indian holy man outside a Hindu Temple - another biblical beard!

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots


    14. 3 porters resting in the back alleys near the Gold Souq

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots


    15. A worker in the Textile Souq - I was drawn to the textures here, and it was a very narrow alleyway so I was very close with a 14-24mm

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots


    16. A porter in the Fish Market

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots


    17. and 18. A slightly different environmental portrait. A Dubai Police Officer posing in front of his 25-pdr gun during Ramadan, where sunset and breaking fast was signaled by a single round

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

  2. #2
    jiro's Avatar
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    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    You and your camera is just plain awesome, Phil! Very nice sets of images from that place indeed! 5 thumbs!

  3. #3
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    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    Hi Phil,
    what a fantastic set of pictures. I like them all.

  4. #4
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    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    Phil,

    Truly sorry to see the end to the series. I hope there is much more to come in the near future. You clearly have developed a very comfortable way of establishing a trusting rapport with your subjects, something that I feel my natural reservedness gets in the way of. Would love to hear any of your most useful techniques in that regard.

    I have an 85mm 1.4, and I would think that would be an excellent choice for this type of shooting-lense isnt overly big to be intimidating, lets you stay back far enough not to get in their face too much, and fast enough to leave the flash off but still get into those shadowed areas. Wish I was there.

    Thanks for sharing this most outstanding series.

    Kevin

  5. #5

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    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    Wonderful set and great job. I too hate to see it end. Tthank you, Bob

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    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    What a great set of portraits. I am impressed with the sharpness, the detail, and the subject matter.....compositions , etc....You have really mastered your approach to street portraits.....(tripod or handheld? ) I have enjoyed seeing these men through your lens, Thank you. Please don't stop.

  7. #7

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    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    Another terrific set with #13 being my favorite.

  8. #8
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    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    I really enjoyed these, they're very rich.

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    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    Love the candid portraits and the processing. Are you using a particular program for B&W or tweaking entirely on your own? (Hearkening back to a thread a started today.) Either way, they are phenomenal. I second the thought for more such photos!

  10. #10
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    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    Nicely done Phil, you conversions work well.

  11. #11

    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    I have been following your B & W threads, Awesome! I hope you will reconsider and post more as you get them, it has been a joy to see such great work.

  12. #12
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    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    There's really not a bad one in the bunch. I really love #5 and #15 the most though, really good portrait shots that tell a story. Excellently done

  13. #13
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    Thanks very much everyone for your kind words. I have a few more but I thought I'd group them into a coherent set. I'll need to get out and shoot some more soon!

    I had never tried any type of portrait before, discounting family photos, so was initially very weary about approaching strangers. I presume most people feel exactly the same. The subjects of these photographs lead a very different parallel life to western expats in Dubai, and their paths rarely cross. English is very limited so communication is difficult and posing, well forget about that when you're shooting on the fly! It turns out that a waggle of the camera gets around an 80% nod of the head for a photo and the subjects love the results.

    A regular poster from another forum saw my initial candid shots and got in touch as he was passing through Dubai. He's quite an accomplished photographer and ARPS member, so it was interesting to see him relating with his subjects as he shot while I stood back and took more candids. From there I just thought 'what the hell, let's go for it, what's the worst that can happen?'

    There's just the grey area of shooting pictures with Emiratis in the frame if you're close which you have to be careful of. All Emiratis that I have come across have been very poilte, but it's a cultural line you should not cross to speak to Emirati women directly unless the male family member they are with is OK with it. Times have changed since Anita Van Der Krol's photographs, but not that much with more traditional families. No doubt with Anita being female, that made women far easier for her to photograph.

    What amazed me from the first few frames that I shot was how the subjects just seem to stare straight through the lens which really helps to bring some of the shots to life. For the headshots, some of which are a little too shallow a DoF but that's a look I sometimes like, there was no intimidation from having a camera up close and personal at all. For the shots which look a little more posed, I was just asking them to hold their pose as I walked past to take the shot.

    @ Kevin - I bought an 85mm f1.4D at the same time as going Full Frame. My first shots were some of these candids and environmental portraits. For candids I found it ideal. Lots of tourists have big lenses attached to big cameras here in Dubai but having a prime on the camera helped be less intimidating. Playing dumb, making it look as if I was shooting past the subject, making it look as if I was waiting for the subject to move while subtly taking the shot, making it look as if the shot wasn't to my liking and seeming to delete it - all these helped with the candid shots. With the 85 I've got lots of subject isolation if I want it, enough working distance to not be intimidating, and plenty of sharpness from near enough wide open. The other technique I used on occasion was when I could see a potential shot unfolding. I have my camera set up to focus with the AF-On button only. So I'd pre focus on the person I wanted as a subject, wait for other human traffic to clear and then quickly take the shot, having already composed it in my head while focusing - In other words, the camera was not continually to my eye while waiting for the image I wanted. I've tried to use a shallower depth of field to a lot of street work that you see and use this method to get a quick grab instead of zone focusing or the like. I have to be more patient to get the shot, but actually taking it is just as quick.

    As for the B&W conversions, I've stumbled across my own workflow using Nik Software's Color Efex and Silver Efex for my processing - this leaves me with a colour and black and white conversion pretty quickly. For a simple scene with little distance between subject and background or large DoF it's a 5 minute job to create colour and b&w versions. If there's subject isolation then I'll use a few layers which can make it a 10-15 minute job. I started a blog just before the birth of our first child this year, but haven't had the chance to shoot much more street work to keep it going but it's something I intend to do (and I'm not going to bore you all with baby photos!). My conversions may not be to everyone's liking, but I've found a workflow and output that suits me and I've received comments that people have recognised my photographs without seeing my name attached - I think that's a good thing!

  14. #14
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    And now I need to pick 3 images to form a coherent set for a black and white photography competition - HELP!!!!!!!

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    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    Thanks for posting about your experiences and techniques, Phil. As for picking three of your photos...that is quite a job. From these, I would start with 8 and 15 because they beautifully showcase two different approaches in both scene and processing, but there are so many choices for a third. Whatever you choose, you are sure to do well!

  16. #16
    MilT0s's Avatar
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    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    Quote Originally Posted by dubaiphil View Post
    And now I need to pick 3 images to form a coherent set for a black and white photography competition - HELP!!!!!!!
    Definitely #8 of this post!

  17. #17

    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    I have to agree with #'s 8 and 15. I just like the tones in these two the best. For number three I like #9, for me it tells the story in the image, but I am no expert.

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    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    2,5,9,11. Your shots from the mosque are even better if you can enter those as well.

    Thanks for sharing. I don't do any editing past the basic corrections for digital camera characteristics but after looking at you photos over the past week I may have to take a look at some NIK software.

  19. #19
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    Thanks guys - I'm looking for 3 environmental portraits or candids as a coherent set (entitled souq workers or something like that) from this thread and the previous two threads. I keep going round and round in circles!

  20. #20
    Sabemajeen's Avatar
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    Re: Last Environmental Street Portraits and Headshots

    Phil...

    Your street shots are off the charts, interesting, clear, great processing, and a variety of close ups and those with some background context....very will done

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