I had so many ideas for this assignment. Ideas of portraits in an indoor place because of the hot weather and very high humidity outside. I thought of taking photos of people working in cafes as chefs or while serving people. I also thought of going to places that sell (Karak) a famous milk with tea drink here in the UAE. However, things didn’t go as expected, I had two weeks to work on this but a very close family member of mine has passed away and I had to postpone the assignment.
Trying to cope with the grief; I decided to work on my researches instead until it is time to go and shoot for my assignment. By then, my plan has changed. I decided to photograph those hard working migrant construction workers. I planned to photograph them at work so I called a family friend who I know have contacts with construction companies and he offered to take me to one of the construction lands where I can go about and talk to the workers and ask if they are willing to have their photos taken. I also asked a close friend of mine to join me because I find it hard to approach strangers. Her company helps me open up since she is more out going than I am.
At 10:30 in the morning as planned, the family friend took us to the construction land. Before that I did some researches on portraits and preferable lens and decided to take three lenses with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera, the EF50mm f/1.4 USM, the EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM and the EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM. The best focal length for portraits would be something between 85mm to 135mm, however the 50mm 1.4 is a good lens for portraits and gives good sharp quality and most important it provides shallow depth of field which my other lenses don’t offer. The wide angle lens I took in case I want to use as a group portrait for some reason like if the workers asked for one.
Needless to say, the weather here in the UAE in summer is unbearable, it is very hot and humidity is high, So I was hoping this would go fast because I personally can’t stand the weather and it makes me sick if I stay under the sun and humidity for a long time.
We reached our destination and talked to the engineer and explained the purpose of the project. There was a lot of talking in a language that I didn’t understand and every time a new person comes and there were lots of phone calls, I was there for 15 minutes waiting for an answer as I did not know what was going on.
After the hot weather and humidity started to drain my energy, I decided to ask what the problem is and it seems that they were scared to allow me to take photos as it was a private property. I explained that I would not take any photos of the building or any construction work, I will only take portraits of the construction workers who are willing to have their photos taken. Nothing seems to be working and the engineer was still unsure and concerned so we decided to leave the place and drive to another destination. Unfortunately, the same problem existed and it was time for me to leave to pick my son from school so we decided to ask the construction workers if they are willing to come the next day for their photos to be taken in a distination that we agree upon and we were able to convince four of them and our family friend promised to ask few more to join.
So tomorrow morning at 8:30 I will go back to try again but this time with the people who agreed to come for their portraits to be taken. Hopefully all goes as planned this time!
Bibliography / References:
David Peterson. 5 Camera Setting Tips for Shooting Great Portraits [online]. Available from: http://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/tip/3314/5-camera-setting-tips-for-shooting-great-portraits/ [Accessed 29 August, 2016].
David Peterson. How to Photograph People at Work [online]. Available from: http://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/tip/5499/photograph-people-work/ [Accessed 29 August, 2016].