This week we take another look at the Samut Songkram Boat Yards.  A few weeks back I took you through a workshop experience through the student's eyes/camera and the ultra-wide angle lens he was using.  This week we'll take a look at the exact same location and time but through my own camera using a 70-200mm F2.8 IS lens.  The student was using the ultra-wide to capture objects and entire boats, and I was using the 70-200mm mostly to capture the people working at the boat yard.  The resulting images couldn't be more different.

 

Immigrant worker at Samut Songkran boat yards

An immigrant worker grinds rust off the rudder frame in 42c heat

 

When making such captures try to avoid the straight on shots that are all too common.  Try to find a unique angle or catch the subject doing something unusual and interesting.  Don't be afraid to zoom in close, but be mindful that you capture enough of the scene to tell the story.  People photography, no matter if it's on the street or in a boat yard should tell an interesting story with each image.

 

The same immigrant worker from another angle

The same immigrant worker from another angle

This is the same worker but from a more common viewpoint.  You have the exact same elements in both images, yet they're very different because of the angle to the subject.

 

An unremarkable shot made slightly interesting by the lighting

An unremarkable shot made slightly interesting by the lighting

 

The worker below is a woman.  They're often lifting heavy loads while balancing on nothing more than a narrow scaffolding without the benefit of any sort of safety gear.

 

A middle aged khmer lady lifts a board while standing on a narrow scaffold

A middle aged lady lifts a board while standing on a narrow scaffold.

 

Often an image is germane to the shoot simply because of the look on the subject's face.  The expression can be one of annoyance, concentration, anger, or even contentment.  Captured emotions make the image stronger.

 

Samut Songkran, Taken unaware this worker expresses annoyance

Taken unaware this worker expresses annoyance

 

A painter concentrates on his footing

A painter concentrates on his footing

 

Shots of workers completing specific tasks add interest, especially if a lot of concentration or straining is involved.

 

Workers struggle to leverage a rudder into place

Workers struggle to leverage a rudder into place

 

Less than 20 meters away an old man with his sampan kitchen cooks hot meals for the workers.  Unfortunately it's very difficult to depict smell in an image.  All the images in this outing were close enough to the sea water so there was always the stench of a stagnant harbor overpowering the more common boat yard smells of paint, grease, diesel, and other smells.

 

An old man cooking and selling food from his sampan

An old man cooking and selling food from his sampan

 

In a boat yard there are all sorts of angles.  Perhaps the most common is the common horizontal view of workers on the ground level, but a close second place would be the more vertical angles as you capture workers elevated on boats, scaffolding, and masts.

 

Four men scraping paint

Four men scraping paint

 

 

Samut Songkran Thailand, Three ladies adding paint

Three ladies adding paint

 

Transformation and contrast adds interest.  The boats come into the yard very beat up and looking like wrecks and leave looking like new.  Thousands of man hours go into each build and its obvious the workers take great pride in their work.  The differences in mood between a new intake being torn down, and the almost celebration going on with the workers completing the final painting of a finished boat can and should be captured.

 

An old sea ravaged fishing boat comes in for overhaul

An old sea ravaged fishing boat comes in for overhaul

 

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A completed overhaul gets final touches of paint