This is one of my favourite sunset photographs as it’s a departure from the usual palm trees silhouetted against a red sky. In my ten years of living in Malaysia I had never seen a yellow sky like this (and haven’t since) so it was lucky that I was on a photo shoot in Port Klang – the seaport for Kuala Lumpur, about 50 km from the capital – on this particular day in 2002.
I shot this not long after the sun had set, across some fishing boats to capture these fishermen who were having their hair cut. I shot a roll of film to get one with the silhouettes in just the right position – and this was the pick of them. The barber is attending to one of the fishermen, whilst the man on the right has just finished his haircut and is combing his hair whilst holding a mirror. The men on the left are sitting waiting their turn.
I was amazed how the barber could see what he was doing in the fading light, but I suppose if you are out on a fishing boat all day, you are not too fussy about what your hair looks like.
My last post to TrekEarth was about the effects of pollution on fishing stocks in the Philippines, but many other countries in Asia are facing similar problems. Even here in coastal waters, pollution is affecting the livelihood of those in the fishing industry. The Port Klang Integrated Coastal Management website says:
“The quality of coastal waters of Klang is declining due to the increased dumping of wastes into upstream catchment activities, especially from housing and industrial areas, as well as discharges from agricultural and urban areas. In addition to the upstream sources, there are also direct discharges of surface runoff, domestic sewage, ship wastes and industrial discharges into coastal waters. River and coastal waters are contaminated by E. coli. in excess of marine water quality standards. Other contaminants, such as inorganic chemicals, are also present, which will not only threaten the ecosystem, but also enter the food chain resulting in human health risks.”
Sad to say man is doing a good job of destroying our natural environment. Soon there will be little left for future generations.
Scanned from the neg using a Nikon Coolscan IV ED film scanner.
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Critiques | Translate
partha (14020) 2007-04-28 5:10
U have captured it nicely.Good representation of their daily life. Nice warm background gives wonderful effect.
jonathan_hart (21274) 2007-04-28 5:40
great backlight work, excellent colours, nice silhouette, good job !
hatti52 (12786) 2007-04-28 7:17
Wonderful backlight shot.Silhouettes and colours of sky are excellent
cessy (13647) 2007-04-28 16:37
great capture of these silhouettes which could bring so much stories, so many gestures so many stories can be told
the background is awesome
ls7902 (7328) 2007-04-28 22:25
The photo gives me the impression of the fishermen having a relaxing social hour after the day's work & one of them is, perhaps good with the fingers & scissor. The silhouettes of the men & boats are all in the right position - a testimony to your desire & patience to get everything right (I'm glad we have digital cameras now! But then again not all of us exercise the same care & patience). Some noise in the shadow areas. A little more contrast would solve the flatness issue, and will darken the shadows that I think would be okay. A perfectly balanced photo of sunset & silhouettes. You have caught the after sunset mood & colors very well. Maybe you could also hear the prayer call aired from the nearby mosque (I don't know, this is Port Klang & I'm not sure if the community is Malay or Chinese)? By the way David I went through some photos in your gallery & I particularly like your documentary shots. Regards. Latiff.
ribeiroantonio (22637) 2007-04-29 3:31
Very good picture with excellent colours and a perfect silhouette. Have you seen my two barbers? We could create a theme dedicated to Barbers of the World. If not, have a look in my gallery. Well done.
AiresSantos (56155) 2007-04-29 4:16
Wonderful silhouettes and colourful sky. I like your POV and how you framed the picture
Very well done
Have a nice day
acordeiro (155) 2007-04-29 5:29
lindo registo .parabens.
feather (51130) 2007-04-29 12:13
Excellent shot David. The silhouettes are so sharp we almost didn't need your description to guess what was happening. The sunset colours in their horizontal stripes are very appealing.
Your pollution worries are a real concern.
kensimage (8561) 2007-04-29 16:06
It's a very vivid storytelling image, David, much more interesting than the usual "palm trees silhouetted against a red sky." The poses are indeed just right--there is activity, but each person is visually separated from the others. The scan is nicely sharp, too.
It's really tragic what's being done to most worldwide fisheries--where will the poor of future generations get their protein? Thanks for the reminder of what's happening.
pboehringer (770) 2007-04-29 16:35
David, your note is as always an integral part of the perfect photography that you're presenting here. The men in silhouette is great, but the detail of the fishermen having their hair being cut is a nice story. Were the planning to get out for this night and needed to look groomed after all?
InasiaJones (31448) 2007-04-30 0:25
This is a very gorgeous set-up, so visually striking. The silhouette is sharp and there’s a whole story going on. I really like all the details we can see and the attitude of the fishermen.
The mango sunset is quite appealing and it’s surprising, when I read your note, to learn that these sunsets are not that common; I guess here, we have an idyllic view of Malaysia with colour bursting sky every night... :-D)
vincz (19113) 2007-04-30 3:46
Remarkable shot wih the so lively silhouettes. Such uusual activity there in the open air on the boats. The sky is fantastic, the colours superb. Excellent work!
sarju (5324) 2007-04-30 10:42
Can't decide from where to start.
i just came here remembering your photos from N.Korea .. but wow .. What a treat you have here.
Yes .. this photo is awesome in all aspects ... I prefer this socio-economic/cultural setting than the usual palm trees.
and I feel lucky to have seen these colours in the sky that you said were very rare to come across ... thanks to your share.
It is amazing how even the most polluted an polluting environments can contain such an aesthetically appealing photographic opportunities ... on your part ... you did a good job with the exposure of this photo.
Thanks for this marvelous share and such a good note to accompany it ... much appreciated ... cheers ... Sarju
PS: E. Coli ... That thing got into my stomach on my last trip to India
riclopes (35577) 2007-04-30 15:41
Olá David, good finding from your archieves. It sure is a diferent sunset image. The rhythm is fantastic - it's like seeing a sequenced movement of the same person. I'm not sure abot the right side of the image, though. I know that you would have a too squared format, but imho, a stronger composition. The diagonal of the structure holds well the scene.
About the damage of the our natural environment....I really don't trust on mankind to save the planet :(
ktanska (24606) 2007-05-02 5:31
A sunset shot full of activity. The silhouettes are really well placed in action, it was worth several frames, even on film.
I think those silhouettes could be blackened. Now they are dark grey, but still not revealing extra details.
John_F_Kennedy (42062) 2007-05-02 6:27
This photo is awesome! I love the mood portrayed on it.
elmec (12210) 2007-05-03 2:08
Great sylvete scene on the burning sky!
I like this scene, so dynamic and interesting.
Thanks for sharing!
alainh (35581) 2007-05-05 2:18
Excelent !! i like these silhouette moving in the sunset. As usual a great note for a nice picture.
it's a true pleasure.
have a nice week-end David
ChrisJ (96522) 2007-05-06 10:52
Fantastic graphism & silhouettes, with superb sunset colors & good sharpness. I like the layering into thirds. Tfs!
jaywalker (16095) 2007-05-06 11:14
Hi David, Great silhouettes of these men at work, you have captured the barber very clearly, the sky is amazing with that beautiful yellow tone & there is excellent detail, kind regards Wilson.
claire526 (1267) 2007-05-06 12:08
Very nice capture. Great silhouettes with perfect opacity; it's like a play and beautiful background colors. Love it!
cunejo200 (7281) 2007-05-06 12:17
It is a good sunset photo without the typical palm trees. But it's better than that as the grooming activities in the boat were timely captured. A very good and funny daily life scene against a beautiful sunset. Best wishes - Danilo
plimrn (21344) 2007-05-06 23:31
I love people at work photos and sunset photos; your wonderfully creative combination of the two give the sense of being at a mime show. HLJ, Pat
jafadabret (56501) 2007-05-07 7:52
Extraordinaire, David, cette scène surréaliste de coiffeurs devant un ciel d'une très grande beauté. On pense au théâtre d'ombres chinoises. Les détails des hommes et de leurs gestes sont très nets. La présence des grues et des cables ajoute encore à la beauté insolite de la scène.
Photo65Net (43120) 2007-05-07 17:05
Very nice catch, with woderful colors.
I like too how your framing is tight on the shadows, it creates nice dynamics.
devimeuxbe (58557) 2007-05-07 23:31
what a beautifull composition with these shades and the great colors of the sun.
I like the shadows ...
stego (24028) 2007-05-08 18:04
It's indeed a wonderful and a bit unusual sunset photo, very well achieved. Besides the situation, it is very striking visually, for the silhouettes framed with the crane. And, of course, that sunset sky is something!
vinicio (23415) 2007-05-09 6:28
Beautiful sunset image David, the crowed backlight is wonderful full of life as is this, compliments, interesting note and moment of life of these men, well done.
sadeik (3268) 2007-05-10 3:35
That is just brilliant, a fantastic image all round. Could do with being a bit sharper and there again maybe that would spoil the beautiful effect.
One of the best daily life photos I have seen
paura (47166) 2007-05-10 14:59
Wonderful compo here. The silhouettes against the amazing sunset results great.
very well done.
(to my predilets)
a_i_ren (1315) 2007-05-11 17:20
Almost like a shadow theatre. Beautiful daily life scene enchanted by saturated sunset colors. Excellent capture, David!
Have a nice wikend
salvator (19102) 2007-05-21 3:26
I must say I am impressed. The composition, the use of light, the silouettes, the colors are absolutely superb. I wish you a good Sunday, best regards. Salvator.
branley (3681) 2007-05-21 11:27
this is probably the most exotic barber's shop I've seen! Wonderful light management to give the perfect silhouette and the colours in the fading sky are magnificent. A really fine note and a superb capture. One of your best, well done.
vagabondtravels (6507) 2007-05-27 2:56
Really nice colors and silhouettes. Good capture of daily life.
What a barber shot. Anyhow well done.
ryno (6835) 2007-05-28 13:43
Hi David, this is a striking experiment with silhouettes. I agree that this makes a nice change from the cliched kind of tropical beach silhouettes. Lots of energy, activity and interesting detail in this one - well captured!
rafid76 (0) 2007-05-28 17:11
this does stand out, with the interaction of the worker with nature. thank god for manuel focusing in these kinds of situations. well done
anesugur (18789) 2007-05-31 2:20
What a beautiful picture.
I like the silhouettes, light and POV.
Well done.Best regards. Uğur
capthaddock (28790) 2007-06-03 21:53
Great timing David, the silhoutetted figures combine with the awesome sunset, the crane does a good job of filling in the blanks.
prumod (8300) 2007-06-05 10:19
excellent shot with golden sky... silhottes beautifully decorates this atmosphere...
Giorgio (11279) 2007-06-20 13:48
- Very poetic and quiet atmosphere, the amazing color and light are superb, I like also the foreground in chinese shadows, congratulations, beautiful composition !
* You did not see me much because I was on holiday, excuses me!
LamCam (3603) 2007-07-01 4:06
This is breathtaking.
The strong diagonal echoed by the tableau of figures is so dramatic and yet the gestures are intimate and human.
Your notes tell us of the harsh realities of pollution which exist behind the apparent beauty of the scene.I know that it is negative to just despair over all this damage but it really is becoming more and more difficult to react any other way considering the vast scale of it all.
Thank you for this glimpse of a way of life which I am unlikely to ever see for myself [one of the best aspects of TE I think]
Best wishes Maggie
quillo (11850) 2007-07-29 9:12
Beautiful image with the silhouettes of the men on the twilight sky, congratulations friend David for this magnificent framing.
A greeting and thank you.
MiguelP (14470) 2007-07-29 11:39
A great and powerfull image David. It´s pure emotion because I feel like inside the frame, observing this magic moment of the day with an ideal light. Take care.
mrbialy (2568) 2007-08-25 4:19
I like the mistery mood here, very graphical, colours here are to die for, good idea and eye, very good work
ykumar (45) 2007-08-28 4:57
The colours and silhouettes are amazing. The moment has been captured very well.
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2002-06-00
- Categories: Daily Life, Decisive Moment
- Camera: Nikon F70, Nikkor AF 80-200mm f/2.8D ED, Kodak Gold 200
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): My choice, Blogger slideshow, Best of Malaysia 1, Boats and vessels [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2007-04-28 4:44
- Favorites: 2 [view]