Behind the lens: From an Indonesian market to a London hotel, on the back of a spider!

© TT Sherman

There has been an immeasurable number of brilliant photos uploaded to Photocrowd contests recently, and we always love to find out more about the stories behind all of the crowd's great work. So, this week is another turn for our '3 winners' series, and we have some intriguing stories behind photos of an Indonesian river market, a 'reverse freelensing' technique on a spider, plus a spiral staircase at one of London's palatial hotels.

Step this way to meet recent Photocrowd winners TT Sherman, Anna Wilk and Aaron Yeoman...

A hope for tomorrow by TT Sherman (top photo)
[Crowd vote winner in Documentary]

I took this picture during the floating market activities in a village called Lok Baintan at Martapura River, West Borneo, Indonesia. It captures the daily activities at the village, which take place from around 7am until 9 pm. Villagers bring their crops here to be sold or exchanged, and others come to buy and then resell goods in other places.

But, besides being a place of trade, it is also where there are many socialising activities, and what is also interesting is that around 90% of those gathered here are women. I think that maybe they are life's real ‘wonder women’. It is one of my most favourite places; a place where I can capture thousands of human characters.

There are two ways that I normally do the shooting. Firstly, I shoot from the bridge; or, secondly like in this picture, I rent a boat to mingle with the people.

For this picture I got a very good moment where my position at the center of two boats form a symmetrical pattern with two women who both have raised their hands near their faces, and both are in a state of being moody. (I don’t know what they are talking about!).

I used a Canon EOS 7D with a Canon EF 100-300 / 2.8 L IS lens, and a 166mm focal length. For post-processing I used Photoshop to convert the image to black and white and to make adjustments in the contrast and sharpness of the image.

View more TT Sherman images on Photocrowd.

© Anna Wilk

'Spider photo' by Anna Wilk
[Expert winner in The colour brown]

About a year ago I started taking photos using the "reverse freelensing" technique. I loved the uncertainty and oddity of it. The effect I get is almost painting-like, not like normal photos, and I love it more than the crispness and sharpness of macro shots that are taken with a "proper" lens or extension tubes.

The spider photo was taken with a Canon 28mm 1.8. I use it together with some old manual lenses, which I like to hunt down at online auctions. Because of the method I have chosen, I don't touch the photos in Photoshop when it comes to enhancing by adding or erasing anything. My goal is to achieve all the elements of the composition at the moment of taking the photo. The only post-processing involves tonal range/curves, and some colour manipulations in Lightroom.

View more Anna Wilk photos on Photocrowd.

© Aaron Yeoman

Eye Candy by Aaron Yeoman
[Crowd vote winner in The colour brown]

I am fascinated by photographing building and architecture, especially spiral staircases. I found this little beauty of a staircase here in London after doing a bit of research of staircases that I have not photographed before. I just love the uniqueness of each spiral staircase, each has its own style and character, also some are easier to photograph then others. This was a joy to photograph. This is a small staircase in comparison to others I have taken but it's such a work of craftsmanship. I love the way straight bits of wood come together and form such a curvaceous staircase, it's wonderful, the detailing is perfect!

As this is a private property (the staircase resided within a hotel) I politely asked if I could get a photo of the staircase and they said yes. I went over to the staircase and setup my tripod dead centre of the staircase and my camera looking straight up. I made sure I had everything in focus and had a wide depth of view - a narrow depth would not have worked here. Also, the dynamic range was a bit tricky due to the different lights, so I took a number of test shots with the initial settings I had on my camera and adjusted accordingly. The photo you see was the final result.

In terms of post processing I didn't do a lot really, as I like to keep the image as true to what I saw on the day. I imported into Lightroom and corrected the barrel distortion from my lens. This helps keep the proportions of the spiral and is therefore more pleasing to the eye. I boosted the saturation only very slightly just to bring out the browns more, and adjusted contrast and levels, again only very slightly. I sharpened and added a small vignette and that was it - the photo you see is the result of this post processing.

View more Aaron Yeoman images on Photocrowd.

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