Attempting Street Photography in Sarlat

Sarlat-la-Canéda is a wonderful old town that we came across during our holiday. Stuck in a traffic-jam, we had plenty of time to admire the magnificent old buildings and enjoy the lively and bustling atmosphere (and also breathe in an unhealthy dose of exhaust fumes)! We returned to visit the town on a Saturday (which also happened to be Market Day), this time getting the bus from our campsite so as to avoid any more traffic nightmares.

If you don’t mind the large crowds that frequently become bottle-necked in the narrow and winding streets then you will love the market. There is something for everyone, from food and wine to books, hats, jewelry, toys and much more besides, a really great day out.

From the photographers point of view, especially if you enjoy ‘street photography’, then this place is as good as it gets. It’s not easy though trying to expose accurately in the high contrast environment of bright light and dark shadows. I chose to use the largest aperture my lens would allow of f3.5 which gave me a useable shutter speed of about 1/160 sec most of the time.  I tended also to use spot metering more than I normally would, as the matrix metering was often fooled by the extreme light and shadow in many scenes – and all this whilst balancing our 4 year old son (who was worn out with all the walking) on my shoulders!

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Not a stall for vegetarians!  I enjoyed watching the interaction of the two people working on the stall; she was the flamboyant saleswoman, he the quiet and efficient businessman…

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This man had a great view of the street from his hotel window.

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A lot of street photography is about juxtapositions, opposites and contrasts.  Here is one (quite accidental) example – happy/miserable, in focus/out of focus, far/near, older/younger etc.
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The ancient Cathedral.

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This  lady was selling pottery birds that when filled with water (and blowed as a whistle) made a tweet noise!

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Some colorful fish that caught my attention.

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Sarlat is a beautiful place and we had a really great time exploring just a small part of it.  Writing this now almost a month later and looking out upon leaden West Cork skies, it seems like a million miles away…

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2 Comments to “Attempting Street Photography in Sarlat”

  1. The first, and the second photograph are lovely.
    I like the thoughtn that you captured someone for a second in their life.
    They will live forever because of you.
    And its good thought that someone obviously cared about them enough to take their picture.

    If you havent seen it, i strongly suggest you watch the film ‘One Hour Photo’.

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