Macro At The Night Market – Putu Mayam

Outdoor macro is hard enough in the daytime with a close-up lens’ extreme shallow depth-of-field. It requires very precise focus. At night, at the pasar malam, it can be a nightmare.

I not only need to light the subject but also to handle the side effect of a curious crowd attracted to the lights like moths to a flame.

Is a challenge but doable if you can find a stall with tables. The ‘assam laksa’ stall usually has some tables and chairs to dine in. They won’t mind you shooting other food there provided you order from them, and explain what you are going to do.

Putu Mayam is the popular Indian vermicelli dessert made from rice flour, steamed with coconut milk and fragrant pandan (screwpine) flavoring. The string hoppers are eaten with grated coconut and golden (gula melaka) coconut palm sugar.

Because the ingredients are nicely textured, the aim was to light it in such a way to create dimension while highlighting the textures of the coconut shavings and golden sugar crystals.

Two Litepanels units were deployed.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f9, 1/60 sec.

Pluto Fly-By

These are actually vermicelli-rice flour string hoppers awaiting steaming on top of a pau steamer cover. The rattan dome is wrapped with a white cloth.

I found out that the South Indian Putu Mayam is from Venus and Putu Mayung is from Pluto. The pakcik hawker at the Ramadan bazaar noticed me giving the name on the banner a double take.

The intuitive man explained that in the north, it is known as Putu Mayung. It tastes just as wonderful with grated coconut and ‘gula melaka’ or coconut palm sugar.

I inverted the image and called it Plutu. The asteroid belt is out-of-focused points of light and people outside the tent.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f7.1, 1/200 sec.