Men at work (roasting chestnuts!)

Photographing people at work fascinates me and it is for me always very rewarding. Especially, when they are doing something interesting, something what they do with passion and something you can't see everyday (yup, project update meeting on Friday afternoon doesn't count! :).
That's what was happening at on of the Christmas market stall. Like in the last years, guys were roasting chestnuts again in an old traditional way, burning coal under huge metal tubes, where on the tops were ceramic jars with chestnuts! This way of roasting of course attracted me again. And when I noticed all the sparks flying around, I immediately knew that longer exposure of about 1 second will be able to capture the fire and sparkles in a firework big style. So to be able to take a nice image and not just a snapshot, I've started to chat with guys from "Carlito castagna" and asked them if it would be alright to take pictures (which I will be happily sharing with them via email!). Sure enough, my tripod was ready, one second with handholding would not work. I've stayed for about 15 minutes and I was focusing to capture especially those big flames and sparkle fountains when guy added fresh new coal (and I've asked him to do that several times! :). Next challenge was to capture moment when my chestnut-roaster wasn't moving for about one second to get his face sharp. I wasn't looking for a super sharpness, as a little bit of his motion was a nice addition to express activity, but I was lucky enough with the shot below. So, to sum it up:
a) look for interesting job with passionate people
b) get to know your men and explain your intentions, they'll be happy to cooperate
c) look for colors, motion, action and adjust shutter speed accordingly
d) and most of all - do not rush, be patient and get the maximum from the opportunity
Good luck!
PS: And don't forget to have a glass of hot wine, while you are there! Goes well with chestnuts ;)

Nikon D800, Nikkor 16-35mm @ 35mm, f/5, 0.8 sec, ISO 640

Fotenie ľudí pri práci ma vždy fascinovalo a bolo pre mň potešením. Obzvlášť ak robia niečo zaujímavé, robia to s oduševnením a keď to je práca, ktorú človek nevidí každý deň (nie, projektový míting v piatok poobede sa do toho naozaj neráta ;).
A presne toto sa dialo na jednom stánku na Vianočnom trhu. Ako po minulé roky, chalani piekli gaštany pomocou starej tradičnej metódy. Pod veľké kovové rúry prikladali uhlie a na vrchu tých rúr boli naukladané hlinené hrnce s gaštanmi! Takýto spôsob ma samozrejme hneď zaujal. A keď som si všimol ako tam všade vyletujú všetky tie iskry, tak mi hneď bolo jasné, že 1 sekundová uzávierka bude tak akurát na to, aby zachytila všetky tie iskry ako jeden veľký iskriaci gejzír. No a keďže som chcel nazoaj pekný záber a nielen jeden výcvak, tak som začal s chalanmi z Carlita Castagna najprv kecať a poprosil ich, či by boli OK, ak ich nafotím (a fotky samozrejme, že pošlem emailom). Bez problémov - a zachvíľu som už bol na statíve, nakoľko sekundovú expozíciu by som z ruky neudržal. Ostal som na stánku asi 15 minút a sústredil som sa obzvlášť na tie veľké plamene a iskry, ktoré vyletovali vždy keď sa pridalo čerstvé uhlie (a požiadal som ich o to niekoľkokrát! ;). Ďalšou výzvou bolo zachytenie momentu, keď sa "gaštaník" nehýbal aspoň jednu sekundu, aby som mal jeho tvár ostrú. Nešlo mi o úplne super ostrosť, nakoľko trochu pohybu bolo celkom vítaným prvkom na vyjadrenie aktivít na stánku. No a takéto som mal šťastie, čo vidíte vyššie. Ak by som to chcel zhrnúť:
a) hľadajte zaujímavú prácu s ľudmi, ktorých to baví
b) spoznajte sa so svojími ľudmi, vysvetlite im čo chcete robiť, v drvivej väčšine budu radi spolupracovať
c) hľadajte farby, pohyb, akciu a podľa toho si nastavte vašu rýchlosť uzávierky
d) a to najdôležitejšie - neponáhľajte sa, vyčkajte a vyšťavte maximum z toho čo máte pred sebou
Veľa šťastia!
PS: A nezabudnite si dať to varené víno na trhu! Ide skvelo ku gaštanom ;)


Nikon D800, Nikkor 16-35mm @ 35mm, f/5, 1sec, ISO 640


Nikon D800, Nikkor 16-35mm @ 35mm, f/4, 1/6 sec, ISO 1600, flash fired to capture red hat santa claus


Nikon D800, Nikkor 16-35mm @ 31mm, f/7.1, 0.4 sec, ISO 640


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