Some time ago I had the opportunity to travel to a tiny town in South America called Silvia Cauca. We traveled there to photograph the Guambianos, the aboriginals from the area come whom on that day come down from the mountains to the market. Their colorful clothes and their particular ethnicity are a delight to capture awesome pictures. There was a catch however; they hate being photographed, specially by tourists like me and my team, and with fair reason, how would you like to be photographed as you were a circus freak?
Well I got the pictures, and not only that, but they turned out fantastic, even though the subject didn’t cooperate. This is the short story of how I managed to do it.
It was early in the morning when we arrived there, the town was already sizzling with life, colors, scents and packed with great compositions wherever the eye takes you.
We got off the car and I proceeded to load my Peak Design lens lock with my 50m, my 10-22 for wide angle shots, my 70-200 on my monopod and on my camera my ever faithful 28-135.
We started walking among the crowd, trying to snap some shots here and there but the multitude was fast and there were not opportunities to stop and shoot. After a while we decided to walk away from the crowd, on a high sidewalk and observe. I loaded my 70-200 and started getting some shots from unaware walkers among the crowd, first decent shots of the day, thank God!
After a while we decided to get back in the crowd to walk inside the market. This place was magical, a true spectacle of color, the smells intensified, the people even more packed. I tried to snap some shots there and as my camera clicked I started to call the attention, in a bad way, the aboriginals started to dislike us, not good.
But I was there with a mission, to get those picture os the Guambiano tribe, I had to become faster than their reaction to hide or cover their faces from the camera, it was time to use my fast gun, my 50-1.2 was the lens for the task.
With an aperture capacity of 1.2, shutter speed is not an issue, I could snap my camera from my waist to my eye and shoot in fractions of seconds and shoot before they could react. Auto focus acted against me, one opportunity to rust off my craft expertise, with such a short focal spam the focus needed to be precise, after a couple of blurred shots I found my mojo, I was getting some crisp, awesome, spontaneous portraits of the Guambianos, the trip was saved.
After shooting for a while we had a break, we went for lunch and ate the best sancocho of my life, we were done by 1PM, with my cards full of awesome shots to share with you all.
I hope you liked the story, I’ll do my best to keep them coming.
Shoot some good ones today.