Thursday, November 14, 2013

Photo Story: People Photography in a Turkish Fresh Market

Photo Story: People Photography in a Turkish Fresh Market

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.

Fresh Market in Kusadasi, Turkey
Fresh Market in Kusadasi, Turkey

My observations.

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.

The above collage is available as a fine art print enlargements in galley wrap, metallic, canvas print or art cards with worldwide shipping at my Fine Art America gallery.

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.

Great Travel Photography Teaching Blogs

Great Travel Photography Teaching Blogs

There are so many travel photography themed Blogs it is impossible to follow them all. I have discovered some great travel photo  blogs that include travel photography tips to follow and I am pleased to share them with you.  In fact, I have the RSS feeds from these blogs appear on my igHome page (my replacement for the phased out iGoogle home page) so whenever I open my internet browser their new Blog posts automatically appear. You can add RSS feeds automatically in seconds  to most browsers by entering the Blog  or website URL.

Ken Kaminesky Travel Photography Blog

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Ken Kaminesky Travel Photography Blog[/caption]

Ken Kaminesky, a Montreal based photographer is one of my favorite travel photographers because I like his creative travel photography style, his openness  on the business side of his activities and his willingness to share his passion for travel photography. When I am short of time or travelling I try to see his Blog posts over any others.

The Travel Photographer

Published by tewic el-sawy an outspoken New York City based editorial travel photographer, this Blog covers his travels to Asia, Latin America and Africa. High quality imagery and excellent commentary gives this Blog a polished yet  raw feeling about his travels to remote locations.

Nevada Wier is an award-winning travel and fine-art photographer specializing in the remote corners of the globe and the cultures that inhabit them. Enjoy her musings, creative tips, and practical suggestions.  I had the privilege one of her  full day seminars a few years ago and Nevada is very inspirational.
Everything Everywhere


Gary Arndt was just awarded the 2014 Travel  Photographer of the Year by the Society of American Travel Writers and is Blog is excellent.  With a candid chatty style Gary's Blog posts include great photos and fascinating stories and travel photo tips from around the world.  Subscribe to his Blog and get a great complimentary  Travel Photo eBook.



Strobist is one of the first photography Blogs and  is still very popular. Started by David Hobby it is all about using, light and in particular,  off camera flash and is suitable for both beginner and advanced photographers. Using off camera flash while travelling is a great way to manage light on the fly.


If any of our Blog readers has a favorite Travel Photography themed Blog (i.e. Blogs that teach travel photography, not Travel Blogs) they follow or have one they publish, please let us know the Blog name, link and why you follow it by email to David Smith for possible inclusion in a future Blog post.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Moorea Lagoon – a photo essay

Moorea Lagoon – a photo essay

The lagoon in the South Pacific island of Moorea in French Polynesia is an idyllic vacation paradise. Please enjoy these images.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


A Travel Image Brief from Interface Images

How I captured this image:

This marvelous old man sits in his canoe at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hoi An Vietnam an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century . He patiently waits for tourists to walk along the bank of the village lake saying with with broken English words "pictures for a dollar". A Travel Image Brief from Interface Images[/caption] I gladly gave him a dollar took his photograph and then took the time to turn my camera around to show him his photo on the LCD screen. I must have been the first person in weeks to do that because his face lit up with a huge smile and chuckle.

I needed his attention because my first photo was awful as he was looking into the sun with hot spots and blown out highlights on his face. Most of the tourists that visited Hoi An that day were from a cruise ship, a 2-3 hour drive away, so most snapped his photo at noon with glaring mid day sun and contrasty haze then moved on not realizing how their bad photo can be corrected easily. Having his attention and after waiting for the crowd to disperse I waved my hand in a circular motion to get him to turn his canoe around so the sun was behind him while I pulled out my 70-200 mm lens and moved further back to zoom in and create a narrow depth of field. To properly expose his shaded face and blow out highlights in the debris filled lake I guessed at a camera exposure value (EV) of +2.0 and spot focused in his eyes then recomposed.

An alternative was to stay close and use flash to lighten up his face but I would lose much of his wonderful facial feature lines and old character. A quick glance at my LCD confirmed the dramatic effect I was looking for as I sensed a "once in a lifetime" type of photo op was upon me. As I teach digital and travel photography worldwide I decided to bracket more shots at +1 and 0.0 EV to demonstrate the benefit of taking the camera off automatic, over exposing using no flash and zooming in for a narrow depth of field. Out of the 10,000 images in my Interface Image s online archives  this one is the most viewed image by far. This image is used frequently in my own photography and camera classes and workshops to demonstrate camera exposure value settings and is featured in my Online Travel Photography-Amazing Tips and Techniques Course .

Camera SettingsCanon 20D with Canon 70-200 IS L lens| Exposure 1/250sec @ f/8 | ISO 400 | Focal Length 200mm
Location: UNESCO World Heritage site at ancient Hoi An, Vietnam
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Order Fine Art Print - Hoi An Fisherman by David Smith:

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Easy Panorama Travel Images – Part 2

A Fine Art Print
A Fine Art Print

Easy Panorama Travel Images - Part 2                                                           © 2013 David Smith

Using your camera to capture panoramic images was covered in a recent Blog post: Easy Panorama Travel Images - Part 1. After capturing the multiple set of images with your camera, stitching of your panorama images is easy with today's stitching software. Note that some cameras stitch the images in camera or use a video capture technique without requiring a computer and software. This post covers software techniques.


Before merging the images into a panorama you need to decide on the final size of the panorama photograph and to match that size with your own printer or photo finishers capability. A common panorama aspect ratio (i.e width:height) is 4:1,5:1 or 6:1. A typical image resolution for printing is 300 pixels per inch so a 100 in wide x 20 in. tall panorama print (a 5:1 aspect ratio) requires a crop width of 100 in x 300 pixels/inch = 30,000 pixels and a height crop of 20 in. x 300 pixels/inch = 6,000 pixels. In short, 30,000 x 6,000 pixels. Simply select your crop dimensions for 30,000 x 6,000 pixels and set the resolution in the crop tool to 300 pixels/inch and voila you have a crop!
]Decide in image sizes before select the crop

Decide on image size before select the crop[/caption]

Watch edges and key components before final crop is done

Watch edges and key components before final crop is done

Some online printing services may restrict image file size so your huge panorama file may not be accepted. Check the uploading specifications for your printer service as some may accept lower resolution (as low as 100 pixels per inch), compressed files or smaller dimensions for upsizing.  Alternately deliver the image file directly. Expect file sizes in the range of 10 Megabytes to 50 Megabytes and more depending on the camera megapixels, number of images used in creating the panorama, cropping, image resolution and jpg compression or quality settings used.
The screen snapshots in this post are taken from Adobe Photoshop CS4's "Photomerge" tool which is identical to Photoshop Elements (9 and up) File/New/Photomerge tool. Most scenic and travel panoramas involve subjects which are a long distance from the camera so shooting handheld and leaving the software default settings and options on the wizards works well. In some cases, particularly for closer architectural images, you may need to experiment with image layout and image distortion correction option settings to get a good merge. Sometimes just repeating the software process creates a better merge.


Select your panorama  series images using the "photomerge" tool
Select your panorama series images using the "photomerge" tool

The default settings work well with scenic panoramas. Experiment with various options as necessary
The default settings work well with scenic panoramas. Experiment with various options as necessary

When your subject is closer to the camera, within 50 feet or so, you can get parallax errors associated with the fact that the optical center of the camera is not the same as the tripod screw pivot point or center point of a handheld sequence. In such cases the camera position needs to move forward or backward  to minimize this type of distortion using somewhat expensive ($200 plus) adjustment mounts or like I do jury rigging off tripod center camera mounts with screws and metal pieces for a few dollars. To correct perspective distortion and correct buildings falling in (i.e. vertical lines are not vertical) in Photoshop CS or Elements use Select/All and the Edit/Transform/Perspective options then select and drag the tiny corner boxes for vertical true lines. Watch for an upcoming  Blog post this month  entitled "Easy Correction of  Perspective Distorted Travel Images" 


In addition to the easy to use panorama tool wizards in Adobe ( Photoshop CS (CS2 and up) and Photoshop Elements (9.0 and up), software supplied with some cameras and other software solutions are available. Other panorama stiching software includes the free Hugin Panorma Photosticher (, PTgui (€ 79 and up) from and panatour (€99.00) from


I have recently added a high quality World panoramic fine art print collection to my Fine Art America online print gallery including 360 degree views of the interior of Grand Central Station in New York City (in color and black and white) , snowy city skyline of Vancouver, BC, Monaco harbor in the French Riviera, Portofino in the Italian Riviera , Santorini caldera and newly uploaded Cape Town Skyline at sunset and the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia.  Most of my panoramic fine art prints have been dramatically enhanced with the Adjust 5.0 "Spicify" plug-in (usable in most software products) from Topaz Labs.

Use the Select/All and Edit/Transform/Perspective to straighten verticals
Use the Select/All and Edit/Transform/Perspective to straighten verticals


You are welcome to post links to your online panorama images in the comments below or join and upload your travel images to my Facebook Group:  Travel Photography Tips and Photo Adventures. I will award complimentary lifetime access to my online Travel Photography-Amazing Tips &  Techniques Course  for the best panoramic image submitted before May 31/13.

About the author:  David Smith is a world travel photographer, travel writer, travel photo blogger, photo instructor and guest lecturer on cruise ships, photo conferences and corporate events.  He has visited 100 countries on 6 continents and is published worldwide.  Recent clients include National Geographic -Poland, Wall Street  Journal, Seabourn Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruise Lines, Holland America Lines,  Geo Saison and Frommers. Web sites:  Interface Images online archives ,  Fine Art Print Galley,  online photo training courses, Facebook page and Facebook Travel Photo group.  Contact

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Istanbul Sunset Picked Image of the Day

on March 7, 2013 by Light & Composition Magazine


The timing couldn't be better. As the Oceania Cruise Lines Marina cruise ship swung about to slip by the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, an intense vivid red sunset was punctuated by a Muslim call to prayer echoing among the minarets. On deck, some tears were shed, cameras clicked furiously and it was all over in a few minutes as dusk faded into night and the ship moved southwards down the Bosphorus. As a professional travel photographer and guest travel and adventure photographer lecturer on cruise ships worldwide I knew I was about to experience something special. I photographed about 200 images panning across the old Istanbul city skyline in a 10 minute period since this was a lifetime photo moment for me. Individual images as horizontal and vertical shots plus panorama sequences kept me busy while tears streamed down my face as the colors got more vivid and I heard the Muslim call to prayer echoing along the Istanbul harbor. As I snapped away furiously, I also swapped lens on my Canon 7D frequently from my Canon 17-85mm IS to my Canon 70-200 IS L lens for different perspective. When it was over I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I am not very religious but God was in Istanbul that evening.

Click the image above to order a Fine Art print from my Fine Art America online Gallery

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