Sunday, December 9, 2012

What went behind!

Just thought of putting together some of my images and the images shot by me! :)

This is the collection of a small set of images where my friend Shivakumar L has shot some photographs of me making images on the field. This was done over a time span of about one and a half years at various locations where we shot together.

The below image was made on the way to Magod Falls last year. There was a green vine snake lying dead on the road and I was shooting from ground level to get some vehicles in the frame.

And this was the resultant image which I had shared in my blog Life in Abundance!

In the same trip when we had been to Chandguli Temple and I was making images of thousands of bells around the temple and Shiva made a picture keeping me as one of the subjects! :)

And below is one of the results from my camera.

When we both were on a trip to Yana the same year,  we had stopped at an interesting stream to shoot. As the water level was moderate we decided to get down into the water and make some images. To get the water level perspective I had to take my camera as close to the water surface as possible. Since it was not quite possible for myself to go to that height, I decided to try this technique.

Here is how the resultant image looked. In my terms though the image is not that excellent but the technique used will be useful in the future to get some unusual perspectives.

It was during the summer of 2011when Shiva and self were on assignment to shoot for the book on Daroji, about which I have talked here recently. We were shooting in the villages surrounding the sanctuary to show their day-to-day life. It was during one such moment when I was showing the images shot to the people around that Shiva made this image.

The image that I was showing to them was:

In all the above moments I had enjoyed making images and I had come back here and shared those images with all of you. Hope you had also enjoyed as much as I did.

..... and I hope the same would be true for this post too! :) 


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Some faces which didn't quite make it!

Few days back we were called for a dinner to celebrate the launch of the coffee table book - "Daroji - An ecological destination", authored by Vijay Mohan Raj, Ganesh HS and Samad Kottur. We were called to hand over our contributor's copy of the book. I was excited to see the book.

It was in last year May that myself and my friend Shivakumar L made a trip to Daroji to make some images of the people around Daroji for this coffee table book. I had written some first hand account of my experience in my blog - "Faces from the land of mines". It was a wonderful on the field experience for both of us and the trip had yielded some nice images.

The book has come out nicely with some stunning images from authors. Some perspectives are brilliant and some are from rare angles. Though many of our images didn't make it to the final version of the book, I am quite happy about the overall experience that I had with respect to the approach towards people portraits.

The images shared in this blog post are the ones which were made during the trip and are unpublished.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Saffron,God and Ganga!

We were in Haridwar. The city where the sacred river is revered with utmost devotion. The city that holds the world famous aarti for the river Ganga, the river which is much more than just a river for the Hindus!  I was seeing her for the first time! I was excited and why not!

Though we didn't see much of the city, we had a glimpse of what is is like to live there.  I was attracted by the sheer life in it. You will see loads of Sadhus walking past on the roads. Some staying there from long time and some would be on their transit. We had a glimpse of few aghori sadhu's as well.

We went to the bank of Ganga in the early morning, but we missed the aarti in just a few minutes. The river had swelled, thanks to the heavy rains in the mountains. The water was brownish and the flow was full. The bank was occupied by men in saffron and normal devotees equally. Both were taking a dip in the cold water. I took the water in my hand and it was indeed very cold. We spent some time roaming on the banks.


There is something in that place which touched me. I saw some kind of a commonality in all the people who came there that morning irrespective of their ages and practice. But I could not clearly explain what that is. I felt it but couldn't express it. But I enjoyed it.

By the way, why we were at Haridwar?  We were on our way to Valley of Flowers!

Click on the images to view them bigger.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Let there be light....even when there is no flash!!

We often face the problem of having not enough light when we are shooting in the late evenings and during the night. I am not talking particularly about Nature Photography here but about general photography. But by applying little bit of thinking we can get some very good results which otherwise is not possible just by bumping up the ISO setting of the camera.

(Click on the image to see it bigger)

On my last trip to Kodai I was staying in a nice resort which was having a nice garden space with some very interesting lighting. When I shared my idea of making some images in that light my wife Sahana happily agreed to pose :). I had nothing but a camera fitted with 18-200mm lens. No external flash, no tripod and the max aperture rating of the lens is also poor for the low light. But I wanted to make some images under that light by some or the other means. I hate to use built-in flash as it makes images flat. I use it very very very rarely...almost never!

My cellphone Nokia E-63 came for my rescue! It has an LED torch on its back.Though the torch is not that great, it looked like it was quite ok if I use it properly to get some of the images that I had in mind. 

(Click on the image to see it bigger)

The series of images in this blog are shot using the torch light of my E-63 to lit the face and by keeping the camera on either a table or on the compound wall. All the images are made using very low shutter speed. The key here is to place the torch in such a way that it should lit the face properly and expose the frame for the light on the face so that everything else is rendered just like it is, the mood of night.

So the next time when you are out on any vacation or trip and want to make some images under the evening light then remember this trick. You dont have to have a DSLR to make these kinds of images. Any point and shoot would also give almost the same result if you apply this method. Just use your brain! :)

Without my mobile, in the below image, I could not have got both moon and Sahana in the same frame with this lighting.

No need to say that it is my image of the trip! An image in which I have both the moons
- one ruling my Sun-Sign (Cancer) and the other ruling my heart! :)

My first post after marriage! It took quite long to get back here.
Feeling good to be back!


Monday, January 23, 2012

When the circle completes, (but) in a wrong way!

Scenario 1:

It was July of 2007, when I became a member of a small expedition group to find an elusive bird - Laterite Rock Bush Quail in the scrubby and plain areas of Marikanive, near Chitradurga. Subbu sir, Sudhir Shivaram and self were there for three days looking for a bird which was sighted last time by Dr.Salim Ali in the 1940s. That particular sub specie of Rock Bush Quail was always believed to be living around that place but there was no recent evidence for its existence in the present time. We were there to bring a photographic evidence for its existence and some preliminary data about its present state.

The area was largely consisted of brick red or near maroonish soil - laterite soil. Along with rest of the photographs of some of the bird species found in the area, I had made some images of the landscape of the region which included the laterite soil to give the image a context. It was purely from the documentation perspective. After coming back I had shared that image on India Nature Watch (INW).

It was July 2007.

CLICK HERE to see the image on INW.

Scenario 2:

It was on Jan 14th, 2012. I was in a school in RPC Layout where I had been asked to be one of the persons to judge a photography competition conducted as a part of an annual event of Havyaka people in Bangalore called Pratibimba. We were given a classroom where we arranged all the images on desks before we started evaluating them.

After deciding on the winning images, I was looking around in the classroom as there were few charts hanging on the walls which were done by some of the students. They were interesting and made me remember my schooldays when we were also used to prepare these kinds of charts and posters to decorate (!) the walls of the classroom. It was an in-explainable pleasure at those days to see our charts on the wall. Nice feeling it was. I went nostalgic looking at some of those charts in the room.

My eyes went to a chart on 'Types of soils in India'. Hmm...Interesting one, I thought. I started reading the chart and that's when the photo of the Laterite Soil gave me a feeling of deja vu! I stared at it for quite some time and it took me really some time to believe that it was my photo, which I shot during my Marikanive trip and subsequently shared on India Nature Watch! Wow! (not an expression for this moment though)

The picture was pasted there on the chart after cutting it from either some book or some chart which is available commercially somewhere. It has been put to use for commercial purpose by some one who just doesn't care about intellectual property and looking for free source in the internet to make their living!

My friend Harsha Bhat, who was with me while I was staring at the picture was totally dumbstruck when I showed him the original photo in my mobile.

The image has completed a full circle - from being in my mind before I tripped the shutter, then to my camera, then to my hard disk, then to the internet, then to some print media (with some revenue to it) and finally here I was standing in front and staring at it in total bewilderment!

The circle was completed, but in a very wrong way.

Thanks Shreenidhi for the photograph.

Sad and no cheers,

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Two men

When I heard them playing a harmonium and tabla along with the song, I was having my lunch. It was 2:15 on a Saturday afternoon and the heat was intense outside, very unlikely for a winter afternoon. I had come to home by taking a small break from a function and to take my mom.

The duo was going to each home in the street and singing a couple of lines of a song with a near perfect music from the equipment that they were carrying. I observed them for sometime and they seemed not bothered about how much money people were giving. They were hardly looking at the coin or a currency note. They were just stretching their hands, if at all anyone came outside the home to give them something. Otherwise they didn't bother to call anyone and were moving forward.

I couldn't resist myself from jumping out of my dining chair to grab my camera. I hate stopping people just to pose for me. When I am doing people photography or travel photography I prefer to work silently and do not prefer to ask people to pose for my photograph. Hence I wanted to be there near my gate before they get past my home.

When I went to the gate one of the guys with a blue face was just turning around from the home opposite to my home. A silent smile passed by on his face and he greeted me in an elegant manner and said "Namaskara". I dont know why but his smile and gesture touched me. It was very hot outside. The tar on the road was equally hot and here was a guy, in thick makeup and bare foot, who seems so oblivious to all these external uncomforts and smiling and greeting me in a dignified manner as if he was performing in a drama and I am his co-actor on stage! I was deeply moved!

By seeing a camera in my hand the other person also joined this guy and before I telling them anything they silently stood there. I clicked exactly 5 frames before I gave them some money and walked back to home. It was a silent affair. Within a minute everything was over and they were on their way ahead and so was I.

Back at home my mother told me that she has been seeing these kinds of makeup-men during some festival time and told me that doing such things are part of tradition in some community. She told that she will not get surprised even if they both were having a job or doing some business and doing this at this time of the year (around Sankranti) just to keep the tradition alive! I had heard stories of people going like this singing to keep their age old tradition during some particular time of the year but seeing someone fully dressed up as if he is about to go on stage was something which shook me completely. By looking at the way they were treating the people who came forward to give something, in fact, indicated that what my mother was telling may not be wrong. And she was confident about that!

Three days after the event when I looked back at those five photographs today and think, I really find some unknown feelings in myself. A little more thinking with their perspective of the whole act made me realize that what my mother was telling could actually be true. The two men were there to continue their tradition, which was not born out of any superstition but out of a sheer motive to beat the greatest enemy of man - the ego.

They were fighting a battle and I was seeing all the indications of them winning it!