Photographer's Note

Okay, I know my whites are blown out (too much flash in the foreground) and I should have used a higher f stop to increase the depth of field (to sharpen the focus of the girl) but this was one of those grab shots that you miss if you wait half a second. I had my camera on aperture priority, and set to f3.5 for some other pictures I was taking in this market, and had no time to make any changes to the camera settings. But I wanted to post this shot as a learning experience (isn’t that what TE is all about?) as this was the very first durian that I have come across that doesn’t smell. Most Malaysians, Singaporeans, Thais, etc. will tell you that the durian is the king of fruits and they will sell their sarongs for a good durian, hold durian parties, durian festivals, and generally go crazy over the fruit - but few westerners can get past the smell which is variously described as a combination of rotting eggs and smelly cheese (a contributor to Wikipedia describes it less kindly when he or she refers to the smell as being close to that of cat faeces).

But last weekend I came across a group of Chinese tourists in a roadside market near Kampung Kundasang at the foot of Mt Kinabalu, trying these durians which had no smell at all. They said they were delicious, and snapped them all up before I could try one myself. They seemed to be in ecstatic raptures as they were eating the fruit (although I suspect they were exaggerating a bit when they saw a westerner with a camera!). The fruit was soon gone, as were the tourists, and I had no time to ask where they were from – but I would suspect Singapore or West Malaysia as that is where they go craziest about durian. After eight years living in Malaysia, I have got used to the smell. In fact I quite like it now when I walk into a supermarket during the durian season, so I suppose it is correct to say it is an ‘acquired smell’ like the taste is an ‘acquired taste’, but I expect it will take me the rest of my life to acquire the taste given that it has taken eight years to get used to the smell.

This was cropped fairly heavily to improve the composition by removing some other hands and arms that were grabbing for the fruit, but there wasn’t much I could do about the blue tarpaulin about the background. Then usual PP adjustments to levels, contrast, saturation and USM.

ahmet54, shopgirl, kensimage has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1237 W: 108 N: 2568] (7789)
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