29 July 2012

Structuring Puzzling Beijing

Beijing is China's political, cultural, and educational centre and one of the most populous cities in the world. Its population in 2012 CE was c. 21 million; nearly 96 % are ethnic Han Chinese who constitute about 20 % of the entire global human population, making them the largest ethnic group in the world. There is considerable genetic, linguistic, cultural, and social diversity among the Han Chinese, mainly due to thousands of years of migration and assimilation of various regional ethnicities and tribes within China. They sometimes refer to themselves as Yan Huang Zisun, meaning "descendants of (the god-emperors) Yan and Huang". - Go to Beijing and prepare to be puzzled!

China, Beijing, people, street portrait, young Chinese girl, street photographer, Canon EOS 5D

China, Beijing, Chinese woman, Chinese beauty, people, street portrait

China, Beijing, Chinese woman, Chinese beauty, people, street portrait

China, Beijing, Chinese woman, Chinese beauty, people, street portrait

China, Panjiayuan Market, Beijing, people, street portrait, Chinese woman, saleslady

China, Panjiayuan Market, Beijing, people, street portrait, Chinese woman, saleslady

China, Panjiayuan Market, Beijing, people, street portrait, Chinese woman, saleslady

China, Panjiayuan Market, Beijing, people, street portrait, Chinese woman, saleslady

China, Panjiayuan Market, Beijing, people, street portrait, Chinese woman, Chinese beauty, saleslady

China, Beijing, old Chinese man, white beard, people, street portrait

China, Beijing, Chinese man, grey beard, astrologer, people, street portrait, yin-and-yang sign


A Few Words on Street Portrait and Background

Always be aware of the background of your street portrait. The simpler the background, the easier it is to create a clear portrait. However, some street portraits might require you to include distinctive details of the background which can add meaning to the model and enhance the composition of your photo. You need to be sure that your background is working with your model.

(i) You can move your model out of a messy or meaningless background into a less messy and/or more meaningful background, or you can use the right aperture for either a sharp background or a blurred background to create the optimum depth of field: c. f/2.8 - f/4.0 for a blurred background and c. f/8.0 - f/16.0 for a sharper background, depending on your intention.

(ii) You should avoid (a) the proverbial tree growing from your model's head, (b) any strong "cutting" lines (e.g. the horizon line) behind your model's head, and (c) all kind of distracting features in the background such as any high contrasts and bright areas away from your model, any sign/text which doesn't belong to the model's world, and any intense colour (e.g. highly saturated red, orange, yellow) which competes for the viewer's eye.

(iii) You should be sure that people in the background don't look at the camera (even if they are out of focus), unless your intention is to shoot a double portrait.

Generally, it might be useful for the street photographer to understand the theoretical figure-ground problems of scientific Gestalt Psychology.

06 July 2012

Munching at Donghuamen Nightmarket

At the Donghuamen Night Market, named after the East Gate of Beijing's Forbidden City, one can find many unusual food stalls with all kind of Chinese food, mostly non-vegan.

Obesity in China has become a major health concern, with overall rates of obesity still below 5% in the country, but greater than 20% in some cities. This is a dramatic change from times when China experienced famine as a result from ineffective agriculturalisation plans such as the Great Leap Forward.
 
China, Beijing, Donghuamen night market, Chinese food delicacies, unusual food, bizarre Chinese foods, exotic food, Chinese man eating bizarre food, portrait, Chinese man eating fried squid

China, Beijing, Donghuamen night market, portrait, Chinese woman eating bizarre food, Chinese woman slurping noodles, Chinese food delicacies, chop sticks

China, Beijing, Donghuamen night market, Chinese food delicacies, portrait, Chinese man eating leg of lamb

China, Beijing, Donghuamen night market, Chinese food delicacies, portrait, Chinese girl eating steamed dumplings, jiaozi

China, Beijing, Donghuamen night market, Chinese food delicacies, portrait, vegetarian Chinese food, Chinese-American man eating corn on the cob

China, Beijing, Donghuamen night market, Chinese food delicacies, portrait, Chinese woman eating steamed dumplings, jiaozi

China, Beijing, Donghuamen night market, Chinese food delicacies, unusual food, bizarre Chinese foods, exotic food, portrait, Chinese boy eating fried birds, Chinese boy eating skewered birds

China, Beijing, Donghuamen night market, Chinese food delicacies, portrait, Chinese woman eating spicy fried tofu

China, Beijing, Donghuamen night market, Chinese food delicacies, portrait, Chinese man eating from skewer

China, Beijing, Donghuamen night market, Chinese food delicacies, portrait, Chinese woman eating leg of lamb

China, Beijing, Donghuamen night market, Chinese food delicacies, portrait, Chinese boy eating leg of lamb

China, Beijing, Donghuamen night market, Chinese food delicacies, unusual food, bizarre Chinese foods, exotic food, portrait, Chinese man eating bizarre food, Chinese man eating fried squids

China, Beijing, Donghuamen night market, Chinese food delicacies, unusual food, bizarre Chinese foods, exotic food, portrait, Chinese woman eating bizarre food, Chinese woman eating fried scorpions

China, Beijing, Donghuamen night market, Chinese food delicacies, portrait, Chinese boy eating leg of lamb

Street-portrait photographs from Beijing's Donghuamen Night Market in Matt Hahnewald's
Flickr Album 2012-07a Munching at Donghuamen Market