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Monday, October 09, 2006

Night Street Photography - "It's Over!"

"It's Over!"
© 2006 Martin Liew

"It's Over!"
What you see here is a sequence of photos I took on the same night in Chinatown where families and friends came to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival and taking memorable pictures with their loved ones.

As I was taking photographs of the empty cans collector, I noticed the giant lantern lights on the road divider were turned off. I sensed something is coming up soon, so I rushed down to find out. To my knowledge, the traffic police have arrived to clear the crowd and open the road. Time was 9pm. I saw 2 policemen were asking people to leave and stay by the road side where the buldings and bus-stops are. A few moments later, the lantern lights was on again and now the policemen had a hard time getting people back as most of them were confused and not knowing of the road opening. Some went back to take a few more photos.

As the 2 policemen are Malays, it took them more than 15 mins to get everyone to the safety side, with the hand gestures to symbolize the "show" is over. During this 15 mins, I took the role of a photojournalist and kept shooting this so-called incident.

I stayed in the area for a few more minutes before I headed towards Little India for more night street life photography. The haze was getting denser. I saw this old granny sitting by the stairs with her hand on her forehead. I was quite worried by the sight and felt like going up to her. She appeared to be fine, taking a rest. Perhaps due to the heavy crowd around her which could have caused giddiness in her. I took this photo without looking through the viewfinder becuz I was standing right in front of her, about 1.5 m apart. With estimation, I took the shot in hope of getting a proper exposure and for once, I was lucky.

After the road has opened, the night life in Chinatown goes on. This is the last photo I took, in which 2 cleaners were resting and chatting while people walking by a man on the mobile phone.

In the next series, I'll write on the night life in Little India.

Nikon FM10 • 50mm f/1.8 • Fujifilm Superia 1600


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Night Street Photography - Empty Cans Collector

Empty Cans Collector
© 2006 Martin Liew

Empty Cans Collector

6th October, Friday (Lunar Month 15th August) was the Mid-Autumn Festival. As usual every year Chinatown would be beautified with colorful giant lanterns. This called for celebration where families come down to take memorable photographs with their loved ones.

Well due to the recent hazy air pollution caused by the forest fire in Indonesia, the South wind brought us the haze with PSI value up to 130. During the early evening on Friday, it wasn't that bad until the late night which lasted for the whole Saturday. Well anyway nothing would spoilt everyone's mood in celebrating this Festival.

I wasn't really out to take such celebrative pictures in which kids are carrying lanterns nor any of the road-show performances. I was more keen in looking out for something special or any "happening" for the night. I wanted to take pictures that say alot about the people in Chinatown and the people coming to Chinatown. Night life/people in the street, that's what I was looking out for.

After walking through the busy bazaar, I came across this old lady on an overhead bridge where she was stepping on disposed canned drinks. It's quite a common sight where many old folks are searching for empty disposed canned drinks so they can sell them for money. What a good way of recycling these cans, but it's a tough job for them. They have to search through every waste bin they can find and they dun earn much from selling them to the junk yard owners.

While everyone is having fun taking pictures, she is still working hard and I could see she has had collected a huge sack of cans. Perhaps from a hard day's work. I stood there for a few moment, observing her every movement. Suddenly she caught me looking at her and she smiled at me. I smiled back. It occurred to me she really enjoys what she is doing. No resentment, no regrets.

I decided to pick up my camera and take her photos. Then a kid came by and was kind enough to pass her a few cans. She's more happy to accept them. Well I could have taken a few more shots but to the very low light condition in that area, I'm lucky to have these 2 shots properly exposed, though they are alot grainy as I used Fujifilm Superia 1600 rated at 800. It might perhaps due to the photo-lab scanning and editing.

Nikon FM10 • 50mm f/1.8 • Fujifilm Superia 1600


Empty Cans Collector
© 2006 Martin Liew