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Thread: The Onion Seller

  1. #1
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    The Onion Seller

    I had a quick wander around the Dubai Fruit and Vegetable Market on Saturday lunchtime. I've lived here for over 7 years and have not gone here before today. It's a massive market that services all of Dubai, and I only visited one of the 'yards' for local retail customers.

    Here's an Onion Seller in front of his stall. Light was reasonably good but boy was it hot, even in the shade! I only had a 2/35 Distagon with me

    The Onion Seller

  2. #2

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    Re: The Onion Seller

    I love the way the man's sweat is so obvious. I like this but would like it even more if you would tone down the hot spots in the background.

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    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: The Onion Seller

    Thanks for the feedback, Mike. I'm not a great dodger and burner but I'll give it a go. The yard was covered, with around an 8ft high opening between the walls and roof for ventilation, creating a large wraparound skylight effect. Everywhere I went there were bright areas in backgrounds and it was pretty unavoidable. I'm revisiting tomorrow morning early as it's close to my office so I'll give it another go. In the meantime, here's a version with a little burnt highlights, plus the original colour shot (cropped in lightroom before I went to work on the tif file in photoshop)

    The Onion Seller

    The Onion Seller

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    Re: The Onion Seller

    That's obviously better, Phil, but I'd like to suggest a technique other than dodging in this situation. In the color version, select the bright areas and use a color selector to change the color to something more similar to the colors that are in that area. You don't have to select a color that is the same as the adjacent colors and it might be best not to do that. When you convert to B&W, you won't be dealing with such hot spots.

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    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: The Onion Seller

    Ah thanks Mike - I normally process in colour first and then convert to B&W, so if the shots is just for B&W this would work well.

    I've just revisited with an 85mm. Couple that with nice early morning light and the stalls setting up and I should have a few good images on the memory card. Normally I can stand back a little more for candids, but there are so many friends working on nearby stalls that they call out the subject's name and you're busted! Still, shallow DoF with the 85mm gives a nice cinematic feel.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: The Onion Seller

    I look forward to seeing the next ones from this location.

    The colour shot shows allows us to see the work you did on the conversion and in getting that light and structure to work to best advantage on his face. Lovely stuff.

  7. #7
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: The Onion Seller

    Thanks Donald - it was hot, humid and dusty in there - here's the workflow:

    1. Straight out of camera - no adjustments from the RAW file, apart from an 8x10 crop:

    The Onion Seller


    2. Two layers applied through Nik Software Color Efex - subtle tonal contrast on the subject and low key to take the background down a little

    The Onion Seller


    3. One extra layer - slight sharpening of the subject

    The Onion Seller


    4. Neutral preset in Silver Efex, with a few sliders tweaked for fine structure, dynamic brightness, my now standard type 14 border at 85% size and a light vignette

    The Onion Seller


    5. A little dodging or burning (whatever it's called - that's how much I use it!) to reduce the highlights

    The Onion Seller

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    Re: The Onion Seller

    Hi Phil,

    Great shot/edit. Thanks for sharing your workflow. Very enlightening.

    By the way, may I inquire, when you took this shot ( or others ) , was it pre-planned and/or while walking, the scene/subject suddenly inspired you.

    When you get home, after a brief review of your daily shots, before you start editing ( perhaps, even before you go out) , do you have specific audience target for the image/s or it's just for your own study and record.

    Thanks

    Vic
    Last edited by nimitzbenedicto; 23rd September 2012 at 07:25 PM.

  9. #9
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: The Onion Seller

    Thanks Vic

    I saw the guy while walking about, saw he was covered with beads of sweat and liked the light on his face so asked him if it was OK to take his shot. Only problem was directing him as there is a complete language barrier. So it was a case of me recomposing to avoid the poles on the background on the left from coming out of his head. Job done, show him and his friends the picture and move on.

  10. #10

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    Re: The Onion Seller

    Quote Originally Posted by dubaiphil View Post
    Thanks Vic

    I saw the guy while walking about, saw he was covered with beads of sweat and liked the light on his face so asked him if it was OK to take his shot. Only problem was directing him as there is a complete language barrier. So it was a case of me recomposing to avoid the poles on the background on the left from coming out of his head. Job done, show him and his friends the picture and move on.
    Thanks Phil.

  11. #11
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: The Onion Seller

    Quote Originally Posted by nimitzbenedicto View Post

    When you get home, after a brief review of your daily shots, before you start editing ( perhaps, even before you go out) , do you have specific audience target for the image/s or it's just for your own study and record.

    Thanks

    Vic
    I've just tried my hand in the last year or so at environmental portraits and everyday life of average people where I live. There is a parallel world in Dubai to the usual western expat and tourist experience and paths don't often cross. As Dubai has grown, and with it a large expat population, the more traditional ways of doing business have become less popular so I've decided to try to document what I can when I can.

    The workers in the souqs and markets are very approachable as soon as they realise you're not there to buy anything and make my job decidedly easy!

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