It is the month of Ramadan, a holy month for the Muslims to observe the fasting practice, before celebrating the Hari Raya on the first day of the following month. During this particular Ramadan month, stalls and bazaars are being set up everywhere, selling all sorts of merchandise such as Hari Raya clothings, accessories, house decors, and all sorts of festive themed food. All the stalls and tents set up were done in a night-market style, or what the locals here would call "pasar malam". I happen to pass by one of the longest Ramadan Bazaars around the city at Jalan Masjid India on my way back from work every day, hence it was only natural that one fine evening I would arm myself with the PEN that I carry everyday to do some shutter therapy there. I did it earlier this evening.
All images were taken with Olympus PEN E-PL1 and 14-42mm Mk1 kit lens. Noise filter: Standard.
Who does not love bokeh?
A vendor in a temporary collapsible tent.
"Buka puasa", meaning breaking fast together with family inside the tent.
I did not expect this uncle to allow his photos to be taken, but when I approached him, he was all smiles.
Most of the stalls were run by youngsters. Quite an interesting sight.
A boy in an island of slippers.
Joy in a Night Market.
The peace sign.
This was my first time shooting all out with the PEN out in the open at night. The lighting condition was far from what any photographers normally could consider ideal. The lighting was very dim, and I needed to bump up my ISO setting between 1600 to 3200 to achieve enough shutter speed. There were mixture of all sorts of weird lighting, coming from strong warm tungsten to greenish fluorescent, with different shades and intensity. The fact that I was only using the kit lens with variable aperture opening from F3.5 to 5.6, instead of my usual DSLR gear that provided the flexibility of shooting wide open at F2.8 or F2, was quite a disadvantage to work with. Under difficult, dim lighting, the E-PL1 does have trouble locking focus, and sometimes, it refuses to focus at all, or focused inaccurately. While the shooting conditions and camera performance may sound frustrating to a certain extent, the shutter therapy turned out to be quite an enjoyable one. I do not think the outcome was that bad at all.
Shooting high ISO was not Olympus' best fight, but up to ISO1600, the E-PL1 really produced pleasing images. Although noise was present, but it was so well controlled, with small negligible traces of chroma noise. I can live with luminance noise, which added character to the photograph, and can be easily smoothened away if I needed to, in expense of details of course. Even at such high ISO, the resolution and details captured were still quite acceptable. Color rendition was superb, and I have no issues at all. Skin tone was surprisingly consistent and pleasing, even under horrendous multiple casts of light sources. There really is very little to complain about the image quality, but so much to like.
Just after the rain.
Another young vendor. Selling drinks.
Baju Melayu, a traditional Malay costume usually worn during the celebration of Hari Raya, after the fasting month of Ramadan.
Another close up of a very young vendor at the bazaar.
I really like the way he looked into my lens !
Cheap, yummy, but unhealthy dinner.
An important mode of transport to go through the narrow paths along the Bazaar.
It was an unplanned shutter therapy session, something that I just decided to make happen there and then on the way back from work, a spur of the moment thing. I did not know what to expect from the Ramadan Bazaar, as I seldom visited one. Little did I know, people here were all so friendly, and all smiles greeting me and my cute PEN. I think there is something about the way they look at me (or my camera) that made those photos, different. Maybe I am imagining things, but those street portraits are being shot at a close distance, since I was only using the kit lens. The eye contact, the way the subjects looked at you, does affect the overall outcome of the photograph.
Do bring your camera to the Ramadan Bazaar in your next visit !! You never know, you might bump into great photography opportunities there too.