What better situation to start taking pictures of people who are unware than being one of hundreds or thousands of tourists mingling at a famous site? I was fortunate to have a weekend to be a tourist in Beijing while in China on business so for this exercise I choose to photograph tourists at the Great wall and the Forbidden City. These pictures were taken on successive days and I alternated between taking typical travel/tourist shots and trying the capture the expressions of people as they battled the crowds to get a view of the sites.
Over the two days I took several hundred shots but for this log I chose eighteen shown on the contact sheet below which I felt captured by growing confidence taking this type of shot. They start with pictures at the Great Wall where I started taking pictures of queues of people, then using people to show scale and then getting closer to people who were engrossed in their own activities like taking each other photograph. At the Forbidden City the next day I took more pictures of individuals filling the frame although my confidence had increased I think it was just easier to get in closer at the forbidden city because the crowds were so much larger.
Looking through these pictures again as I write this entry there are some that I really like. For example the one below of the woman who looks happy as she climbs the Great Wall (I never realised how steep it was until I was there). This was a snatched shot and it is a shame that the out of focused rusty white iron is in the foreground. This really shows that I really didn’t have the confidence to take my time and frame the shot.
The other picture I like from the first day is the three ladies in cycling helmets that essential piece of equipment for climbing the Great Wall.
From the Forbidden city pictures I really liked the girl below who is very purposfully striding away after buy her ticket. I always feel that she is thinking now I have wasted all that time queuing I want to get on with something interesting.
While I found this exercise must more enjoyable that the portrait exercises in section 1 these are not the type of photographs I regularly take and I found it hard to frame the images as well as I would have liked. There were numerous occasions where I thought I saw a great picture only to be disappointed when looking at the pictures on the computer later in the day. In reality it was much hard to quickly grab shots in this sort of situation than I expected.