Exercise 2.2 Covert (p.47)

The exercise request that we shoot a series of five portraits of subjects who are unaware of the fact they are being photographed but not to offend our subjects or invade their privacy.  We are to write about how we found the experience (around 500 words) and present our findings via our learning log or blog.

This challenge was beyond my comfort zone!  There was too much anxiety and I was so stressed to be productive thus my performance dropped off sharply.  I thought it would be easier for me to take photos when I am away from home.  We went to Macau for the holiday and I tried to use my wide-angle lens and shoot while holding the camera below the chest and aiming at people but the results were disappointing.  I once used my zoom while sitting waiting for my husband and kids, the woman in front of me was busy with her phone and I tried to take a photo of her without looking at the view finder, it was a hit and miss but at the end I was able to capture this image of her:


It wasn’t a perfect photograph but at least it was a big deal for me!  Back home, I decided to go out with my friend when the kids were at school, it is very hard to take photos when you have four kids with you all the time.  I wanted to take photos outdoors but the weather and humidity is still not getting better and I personally can’t tolerate the humidity so instead of wasting time with this exercise; I decided to do it indoors which I find even harder but I was left with no other options.  However, stepping out of my comfort zone is a healthy challenge for me and I need it in my routine life so photographing indoors is a challenge that I had to accept.

I went to a famous mall in Dubai called (Dubai Mall) and sat at a restaurant called (Markette) for breakfast.  I chose the restaurant because it was facing the big aquarium where people come to take photos and it is easier for me to shoot there using my zoom lens which I decided to use before coming to the mall because I find it easier.  However, I wasn’t very pleased with most of the results because the zoom was not long enough and most of the photographs are of the people from behind.

After I started to get a little bit comfortable, I decided to get up and go to the aquarium and shoot close.  It was a very stressful moment for me, I tried using the live view option on my camera and shooting while looking at it and pretending to show my friend a photo on my camera screen but the results were out of focus sometimes and it took a while to get the shot.  I was shaking and a bit nervous but I managed to look through the view finder and shoot quickly.  I did not look at my subjects after shooting them, I just look somewhere else pretending to be talking to my friend or looking at the fishes in the aquarium!  Some people looked directly at the camera but were not sure if I was photographing them so I got away with it.  Everyone was busy taking selfies or taking photos of others so basically most of them were not paying attention to me which made the task easier.  The theme I was looking for in this series is of the people’s reactions while looking at the aquarium by either taking photos of themselves or others or of the aquarium.  The photographs have lots of grain because of the high ISO used.  I also used the automatic option on my camera so I won’t worry about anything else but taking the photographs as I did not need more stress fiddling with my camera.  I took lots of photos and here are some of them (the good and the bad):

My final five Images:


The exercise helped me get out of my comfort zone and gave me the courage that I lack and used to hold me back from taking photos that I find interesting.  I am happy to return back to my comfort zone at the moment and relax but I am willing to take more similar challenges in the future.


6 thoughts on “Exercise 2.2 Covert (p.47)

  1. lynda512863 says:

    Well done! The colours in the aquarium are so beautiful. A lecturer I had for street photography once told me that the easiest way to shoot close up to people was to use a wide angle lens. That way you can practically stand next to the person you want to photograph (position the person on the 1st or 3rd rule of thirds), line up your shot and they all think you are taking a photograph of something else. I tried it out in a protest meeting – I was literally about 18 inches way from my subject and it works like a charm


    • Ghada says:

      Thank you Linda, I did try to use my wide angle lens as I only packed two the zoom lens and the wide angle lens but to be honest while trying to use it I got so nervous and I couldn’t take the shot! Some of my shots in Macau were taken by my wide angle lens but wasn’t successful, I think it needs courage and more practice.


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