Sunday, March 9, 2014

Night Street Photowalk - Braga Culinary Night

Let's try another challenge, night street photography at Braga Culinary Night (BCN). BCN is a biweekly event held every Saturday night at Braga Street, Bandung. Food vendor set their booth along the street and citizen hang around with family, friends or lover. As usual, there will be crowd. The first challenge is how to make a good picture out of this non-photogenic situation. The next challenge is we have to do it at night with minimum available light.

It's time to exercise my D700 high ISO capability. And to raise the bar a little bit more , I use the 1981 manual focus Nikkor 35mm f/2 AI. Crank ISO to 3200, and here we go..

People everywhere, where do I start? At first I thought I'll take the seller view, facing the customer. Unfortunately it's not that interesting. Too many people, I can't isolate one nice story telling picture.
Then I see similarities among the seller booth. They always have menu board lit by lamp for people to read. It is bright enough giving high shutter speed to prevent camera shake. Let's try some ...

The two pictures are so ordinary just like beginner snapshot. But remember, I focus that menu board manually. I struggled enough to nail that focus, relying heavily on the green focus confirmation dot inside the viewfinder. You can't trust your eye in this very dim light.
I'm very surprised how sharp this lens is. Could you read that menu? I bet you can. It's clear as crystal.

"Come on madam, this one tastes good. Buy one!", that's what he said.

Street Artist. He claim he could sketch your face less than 10 minutes. I didn't stay that long to verify. Maybe next time I would ask him to make a sketch of me :)

I set my aperture to f/4 to prevent slow shutter speed, which gives rather shallow depth of field (exposure already in 1/13s, too slow). I have to refocus every now and then. This image was taken in a very short distance, that means even shallower DOF. The girl seems uneasy about being photographed and makes an interesting facial expression. Unfortunately I focus on the guy behind her, who has yet another interesting face.
Low light is not easy.


The last two images are what I like the most in this photowalk. This is what street photography should looks like. Previous images are "Crowd Photography".
Braga is known as shopping and dining place in the Dutch Occupation Era. This bar is one heritage of that time, with strong European architectural style.
Juxtaposition between what happen inside and outside the bar gives an interesting emotion to these pictures.

In conclusion :
  • Night street photography is not for the faint of heart
  • D700 renders usable images at ISO 3200. Just be sure not to underexposed.
  • Nikkor 35mm f/2 AI is sharp! Provided that you focus correctly.

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