On one of my recent cruise ship lecturing assignments I had the opportunity to visit the Tuesday fresh market in Kusadasi, Turkey with a small culinary tour group and guide. The highlights for most visitors to Kusadasi are the Ephesus Roman ruins,its museum at Selcuk and perhaps buying Turkish carpets. Being the 6th visit there, I decided to spend the day with the local people instead and I was amply rewarded. Using my people photography techniques covered in a recent Blog post: Photography of People You Don’t Know I was able to create a photo story of my visit to this colorful market filled with clean and well presented produce and friendly people. While the tour guide explained the unique local produce and how to prepare and cook it, I left the group and interacted with the locals to photograph them.
Just by showing an interest in their produce and taking to the vendors and asking permission to take photos of their displays and themselves I captured a photo story depicted in this collage created with free Picasa software.
This market is not often visited by tourists since it is off the beaten path a bit (a 10 minute bus ride) and held only once a week so we were a rarity so all vendors were quite pleased to chat with us. All vendors were the farmers and their produce was high quality, clean and cheap. The use of translucent white tarps for rain and sun protection created beautiful scattered light ideal for people and product photography. Although a Muslim culture, surprisingly all but 1 woman granted me permission to photograph them and all men said yes, as they always do. After seeing me interact with a vendor and seeing how much fun we were having with the photography (I would show people their photograph on my camera’s LCD with resultant smiles and instant camaraderie) many would ask me to photograph them too or join in the shot. My favorite image is the young woman at the top right of the collage, evoking the same look and light as Steve McCurry’s famous Afghan girl image. I was thrilled when she said yes to photographs and took a dozen images of her smiling, laughing and the one used above. Note the unique and colorful types of string beans and the how other vendors jumped in to be photographed.
Camera Techniques Used
My Canon 7 D camera for most shots was set to P mode with auto ISO using an 18 to 85 mm zoom lens with image stabilization on. I used an aperture value (AV) setting of f16 (alternative: landscape mode) for some of the shots needing both the foreground and background in focus and spot focused into the scene a bit to maximize the use of the wider depth of field . For all people shots I spot focused on their eyes then recomposed the shot. See my Spot Focusing Technique Blog post for details. With the mild back lighting in some shots I would increase my camera’s exposure value (EV) by +0.5 to +1.0 to lighten faces rather than use a flash. If the subject was in direct sunlight, I would have forced my flash on to fill in the shadows on the faces created by overhead light but it was a cloudy day and the scattered translucent light was all I needed. Since this was a casual non rushed environment, I carefully composed each shot in the camera so none of the images needed cropping later and took the time to be sure face exposures were good. I added a bit of contrast and vibrance (alternative: saturation) in post processing of the RAW files using Adobe Bridge CS4. I used the Create/Picture Collage tool in Picasa to create the collage and copyright text and sized the original collage to a width of 300 pixels to fit the Blog column.
I have visited fresh markets world-wide and felt that the Kusadasi market was one of the best markets to photograph until I visited the bustling and very people friendly Saturday market in Suva, Fiji last month but that will be another photo story.