Sunday At Eastern Market
Now, I know that this blog is supposed to be about the Caribbean, and it is. I have some sort of bad news, though: due to several commitments in February on the cabin safety side of my life, I am not scheduled to fly in the islands until March. So you’ll just have to make do with a few posts from the northern tier, my friends. All is not lost, however. I’ll be spending a few days with my girlfriend (yes, I know, this is a jaw dropper for some of you) in Puerto Rico in the middle of the month and we have some great plans, which should deepen my cultural understanding of the islands.
Ya know that voice that we all have in our heads, the inner self that always rattles on and on whether we’re listening or not? When I woke up this morning, my inner voice commanded me to visit Eastern Market, a popular open air market which is located just a few blocks from the US Capitol building in Washington, DC. The voice also told me to call my friend Candace because she’d want to come, too. So I made the call and, even though she was packing for a trip out of the country later in the afternoon, Candace joined me, along with her friend Betty.
Here’s an example of a botched attempt at an interesting picture. I meant to narrow the camera’s aperture down a bit so that the foreground subject, my friend Candace, would be in focus and the Market’s lunch time crowd would be a little fuzzy. I got the aperture right but missed the focus, so Candace is a little fuzzy and the market is clear. Blar. The good news is, I’m learning from my mistakes.
This shot wasn’t about artistic effect so much as it was about me drooling over the pastries. There are two kinds of galley slaves, as I see it: cooks and bakers. I am a cook, and I have no patience for baking, so my appreciation for the baker’s ranks is vast. I wish that I had a baker in my family… together we could rule the universe.
With this shot, I had some great subject matter – colorful, ripe fruits and vegetables. I just couldn’t compose the frame in a way that really brought the feeling of the Market together. It’s a nice colorful picture, but the composition is clearly uninspired. I think that maybe shooting the veggies in the foreground and capturing the crowd out of focus in the background would have been a better approach. Any ideas out there?
This is just a snapshot of one of the outside vendors whose goods I really enjoyed. These are all African goods, hand carved, along with bead work and a few woven textiles. Pricey stuff: the statues stand 2-3 feet tall and sell for $750 to $3000 US. I’d like to go back and look more closely at the beaded goods on my next visit.
This is my attempt to maximize the dynamic range of the Canon A630. By adjusting the sensitivity of the CCD , I had hoped to achieve a high dynamic range effect and I think that I succeeded for the most part. The A630 is a programmable AF point and shoot, so there are some serious limitations to some adjustments. A fully programmable DSLR like my Olympus E-500 would have made a huge difference here, but I left the big camera at home today. The A630 has been a great learning tool for me, and translation from this camera to my DSLR has made it a worthwhile investment.
After Candace and Betty took off for the airport, I was walking back through a part of the market that I hadn’t paid particular attention to the first time by, and I was drawn in by this woman’s kind eyes and warm smile. She makes and sells soaps of all kinds, and we spent a few minutes together talking about her travels in Africa and her wonderful soaps. This set of pictures was taken without much regard for composition or any other consideration – I was totally relaxed and happy to have met such an interesting person, so the photographs made themselves.
Her stand was colorful, aromatic, and very inviting. The soaps themselves were waxy to the touch and deeply infused with aromatic oils.
A better camera and more talented photographer could have done better here, but I like the picture just the same.
Valentine’s Day is coming up. I’m not hawking anyone’s wares or anything, but I bought some of this soap for MY valentine – if you are interested in some artisanal soap for the dirty person in your life, heres a link to the soap maker’s website.