Chinatown Marker
Chinatown Market

Topic du jour … market photography.

No, not freakin’ Walmart.  Though that can be sad & fun all at once for the dregs of humanity you’ll see there (see also: late night in Las Vegas).

I’m talking of food markets, especially ones that are in more traditional / less supermarket vibes.

This can be a farmers’ market, neighborhood store, produce stand on the side of the highway, ethnic markets, etc.  The main thing to look for is a display of colors and interesting products.

Boring stuff first: much as with my last post about murals, the technical details are: I tend to go handheld with ISO 400, aperture of f/5.6 to f/11 (as small as I can get away with), and shutter speeds of around 1/120 – 1/200.  A tripod is rarely an option unless you are in tight with the merchant and they will let you block an aisle.  In which case you might also want to buy a lottery ticket or go unicorn hunting.

I find that produce and meats are the most entertaining.  Or specialty stuff like spices and booze.

For example, in the photo above, it was the fruits and veggies that drew me in (incidentally the photos in this post came from a recent trip to Chinatown in San Francisco – go for photos and stay for the Dim Sum!).

In the next, it was the combination of the color of the goods, the angle of the street, and the interest of the single person in frame.

Chinatown Marker
Chinatown Market

Then the meats – particularly fun in Chinatown!  They do not tend to have this at the local Safeway!  Though they ought to.

Meat Market
Meat Market

Now if I’d had the energy I’d have gone down to Little Italy and shot the counters at the deli for all those nummy cured pork products that the Italians do so well.  What can I say?  Pork is my favorite vegetable (apologies to Anthony Bourdain, but dammit, the man’s spot-on about this).

Instead, it was on to tea town!

Tea Store
Tea Store

I didn’t find any fun liquor, but you can imagine the pretty bottles with their various-hued contents, especially if against a backlit bar.

Oh hell, it may not be from Chinatown, but it involves fire and Chinatown has firecrackers (yeah even in a drought, trust me), so check this one out too.


Some sugar cubes were harmed in the making of this blog post.  I take no responsibility for the dead critters in the storefront though.

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