I decided to head to the Munoz wet market early in the morning (6 am!) to capture a few quick snaps. Even this early, the market was already bustling with activity.

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Inside, it was chaos. Hundreds of people jammed together in a tight space, all looking for the best deals on meats, vegetables, and other goods.

Hawkers called out to buyers, offering their plum wares. An array of goods were spread out on worn and creaking tables, ready for the picking.

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The vendors were curious to see me with my camera. “What are you taking pictures for? Could you take a picture of my wares? Do I smile?” Several were unresponsive or were actively shy at the sight of me pointing my lens to their face. One man even confronted me and asked me to delete his picture.

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This man, though, was different. His smile was as generous as his personality was. “You take pictures well,” he said. “You’re a natural at taking people’s photos!”

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Inwardly, I smiled. If only he knew how nervous I actually felt, taking all of these pictures! Despite all my recent efforts, I still felt like an impostor photographer. I still feel the limits of my abilities.

Taking photographs at the market showed me, in fact, how far I have to go.The chaos and the tight confines of the market corridors were a challenge that I could not fully overcome. But despite that, it warmed my heart that a stranger decided to take confidence in me. It was a rare and beautiful thing to hear.

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