<<< o >>>dalian street scene #3 27 comments + add yours

I've lost count of the number of times I've said "here's my last picture from China", but this time I mean it, honest. Unless of course I don't manage to come up with anything tomorrow ;-)

Anyway, I haven't put this one up previously as I've tried to process it at least three of four times, and haven't been happy with the results. And I'm not entirely thrilled with this version, but it's a lot closer to how I envisioned the shot than my previous attempts. The problem was basically to do with the extremes of exposure in the shot, and i) not wanting to blow out the highlights or lose the shadow detail, while ii) retaining a shot with a bit of punch. It would have been relatively easy to produce a 'flat' version, but that wasn't what I was after. Anyway, I've had enough of trying to sort this one out so will let you tell me what you think.

focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
11.31pm on 24/10/05
Canon 20D
EF 17-40 f/4L USM
26mm (42mm equiv.)
aperture priority
C1 Pro
3x2 + travel [China] + people + urban
comment by ps at 09:11 PM (GMT) on 7 November, 2005

stupid question: how many photos did you brought from china?

comment by Jem at 09:11 PM (GMT) on 7 November, 2005

A very emotive shot Dave - very photojournalistic! Some might find the scene to be too noisy, but that doesn't bother me at all. Very effective in B&W too - love it :)

comment by Fred at 09:32 PM (GMT) on 7 November, 2005

Finally !! Some 'real' black and white without toning !! I don't know how everybody else feels, but this is definitely better and really render the scene more accurately as far as tone in my mind.
This is another great shot. There is a nice eye contact which really open up some kind of communication with the subject. Even though this person might appear poor, we see in her eye a sense of joy. I don't know if it's the case ... Did you talk to her ?

In any case, another great shot without too much digital manipulation (or so it seems ...) I really like it. Very natural. Very soon you'll go back to film with a Leica and a 50mm lens :-) I can bet on it ...

Fred @ 400iso.com

comment by Sanjin at 09:34 PM (GMT) on 7 November, 2005

This is great photo. Panoramic view of the city (with police man standing) and this shot, are two of my favourites from China. I think you processed this one pretty good in black and white.

comment by Enike at 09:42 PM (GMT) on 7 November, 2005

Was she selling the veggies? :)

Just wondering if your email works. I've sent you a couple of emails and I just wanted to make sure you got them. I've sent you a few in the past but I've never gotten a reply so I was making sure the address that pops up when you push "email me" works. :)

comment by | | A R M O K S | | at 11:50 PM (GMT) on 7 November, 2005

Love the contrast on this one Dave...definately one of the better one from your China series...

comment by djn1 at 12:03 AM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

ps: I took about 350 shots.

Jem, Sanjin and ARMOKS: thanks.

Fred: I tried toning this one, but in this case the straight B&W was a much better option. As for the 'digital manipulation': there was quite a lot, but nothing that couldn't have been achieved in a darkroom. Well, I probably couldn't have managed to dodge and burn this as convincingly in a wet-darkroom, but you know what I mean. As for switching to a Leica, nope, it's not going to happen, not least because I couldn't afford the film ;-)

Enike: yes, I got both your emails from today. To be honest, I'm miles behind with answering emails (I have several hundred I've not managed to get to yet), but will send you some answers when I get the time.

comment by Enike at 12:35 AM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

No problem, Dave! I totally understand. :)

comment by Guy at 01:16 AM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

Really love this shot, my favourite of your china ones. Great composition and proccessing. It makes me wonder whats going on around her, behind you taking the shot etc. And what a great subject, she looks so interesting.

Anyway keep up the good work, look forward to some more you dig up out of those 350 shots!

comment by Vvoi at 03:34 AM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

Not really sure. I definitely do not like the b&w - it does give the picture an old-style moralizing journalist look to it, as if you were denouncing, refusing this reality. And what goes with it is the look on the woman's face. Contrary to Fred, I don't feel any bond with her. Maybe that's the problem - the framing is a fairly personal one, but the subject - the woman - is quite impersonal. Which brings my attention to the veggies. Which is good (and boy are they delicious!). But also a pity. I'm pretty sure I wasn't very clear. Sorry about that. (Oh, and the depth of the grey is indeed appreciated- I especially like the shadow/dirt on the metal protection)


comment by KK at 03:48 AM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

a very good yet typical asian scene, good capture.

comment by Tristan at 03:55 AM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

Actually black and white looks more real than color typically at least that's what I learned in photo school.

For this shot, I think it would be too busy indeed if it were in color.

comment by Joe Lencioni at 05:06 AM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

Cool photo, it has a lot of character.

comment by nuno f at 08:23 AM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

I don't mind that you post photos from China. It's not very often that we see photos from a different culture with the eyes of an ocidental. I also prefer this photo in b&w as it enhances the emotional side of this shot. The composition its fantastic as always.

comment by Aidemedia - Dan at 08:57 AM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

Great Shot, I like shots with lots going on, and this works really well in B&W. To be honest I imagine it looked great in colour too!

comment by Jide at 12:46 PM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

Now David, I don't normally leave comments but this is awesome and I am forced to leave one. I've been working on my Black and white images and I like the way you've processed this one.

May I ask, how much burning/dodging was involved?

Great work!

comment by dan culberson at 01:49 PM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

I like this shot, but I'm not sure it fits the style I am used to seeing from you. This shot seems more like it is judging the subject than interpreting it.

Does that make sense?

As usual, thanks for photoblogging.

comment by jasonspix at 02:53 PM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

Great black and white. Interesting subject. Like the eye contact with the lady.

comment by pierre at 04:35 PM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

I think this one is real good.
Can't see why you're unhappy with it mate.

comment by prasoon at 04:39 PM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

The expression on her face is really great..

comment by tobias at 06:29 PM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

I like this image. Gritty. The black and white looks marvelously rich.

comment by Patrick at 07:05 PM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

Culberson - I'm curious as to your comment. Is cropping the issue? If it was cropped tighter on the woman would it be more about interpretting her? As it stands I don't feel a judgement being passed but more of a pure photojournalistic reproduction.

comment by Viking at 07:06 PM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

Hey, if you've got good pics from China, share them! I think it's great to see you in action in another culture. The results are really fantastic-- a little bit different, a little bit the same...

comment by Magnus von Koeller at 09:43 PM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

I can't help but wonder though (mainly motivated by my own inability to take pictures of strangers on the street): did you just go ahead and take the shot? Did you ask whether you can take a photo of her? If yes, how? I don't know, I can't get myself to take this kind of picture because I am too respectful to just take photos of strangers and too shy to ask, even if I do speak the language. :)

comment by djn1 at 10:59 PM (GMT) on 8 November, 2005

Thanks everyone.

Vvoi and dan: it wasn't my intention to presest the shot in a 'moralizing' or judgemental way, and I don't see it that way, but it could be that my lack of ease in that particular environment has come out in the photograph in some way.

Jide: the processing for this one was a bit of a pain and involved using the channel mixer to alter the tonal range in different areas of the image and about four or five separate curves on various sections. All in all, this one probably took about three hours to process.

Magnus: I had a Chinese photography student with me. He asked on my behalf.

comment by ryan jose ticsay at 02:54 AM (GMT) on 9 November, 2005

hey.. ive been visiting your site for quite some time now..
but haven't had the time to comment.. hehe.

i've just started using C1 pro to process my RAW..
and im wondering for a while now how to bring the images to full desat.. black and white i mean. how did you do it here? help? tnx.

you're on top of my favorite photoblogs!
amazed with most of your shots!
very good work!

comment by ralphs at 12:50 PM (GMT) on 9 November, 2005

the toning is very fine. I like that kind of bw and this authentic image.