This is a post from the good old days when life was easy and time was a luxury I could afford. Me and my sister wanted to try out sushi, so we headed to a Japanese restaurant in Kolkata. This was our dinner for the night!
It was new, different. Ticked one off the bucket list.
A question has been often posed at me, what kind of photographer am I? Today, I ll try to answer it.
I am in pursuit of photography with some seriousness, for the past two and a half years now. My peers, who had started along at the similar time, have become specialized. Some shoot only portraits, some are landscape guys while some are wildlife fellows. They have expanded their arsenal with better bodies and lens…and then there is me.
I have not managed to settle down to just one genre yet.
I like shooting portraits.
Also enjoy shooting landscapes.
I am not averse to shooting macro
And even the streets appeal to me just fine.
And sometimes, I do shoot purely technical shots too.
I guess, I am just not cut for the strict regime of just one type of photography. Some might say that I am straying and that I must stick to a certain genre, but I’d rather shoot things that appeal to me,even if they belong for different genre. It brings out the me in the photos. This my calling, whats yours?
If things go according to plan, as they rarely do, next week, I shall be travelling to Velas, Maharashtra, to visit the tiny turtles hatch and make their maiden journey to the sea. Stay tuned.
Street photography is always recognized as a challenging and equally rewarding venture. Its an adventure and often requires a certain skill to get the shots right. It is difficult to put into words what shall make you a successful photographer on the streets, but practice and patience are a couple of sure shot ways to learn.
My experience in street photography has taught me a few things, which I would like to share here, which, I hope shall be of use to you , my dear reader.
It may sound very obvious, but is the first rule, nonetheless. Keep the lens cap off, the camera set in a probable setting, or be in a position to adjust on the fly and fire away. The opportunities present themselves at unexpected times, you must be ready.
Keep an eye out-
Look out for frames, people, settings which can be used to tell a story. Often, a nicely composed shot, can speak more than a thousand words.
Try to blend in the crowd. Have a lens that is inconspicuous and is not cumbersome. I mean, yes, a 150-600 is an amazing lens, and can be used to isolate your subject effectively, but imagine using it right in the middle of a bazaar. People will actually be wondering if you are shooting them. The local police might be interested too. So, be realistic. Have a small, versatile lens on you. One that makes you comfortable, and doesn’t scare your subject away.
There will be instances where you are better off not letting your subject know that they are being shot. Be at a distance, be camouflaged and shoot. You ll get the best shots if your subjects are in their natural environment.
Have a smile on your face, and be ready to show the shots to your subjects. Do not creep your subjects out. Some may want to look at how they appeared, oblige them. Some might want not to be shot, heed them. If possible, ask for their permission if you really want the shot, and once you are done, show it to them. Often, they ll be ready to give you another shot, if the first one was not good enough.
There shall be many missed shots, composition fails and angry glares too, but you ll have to skim them off and cope with the constraints, and once you manage to adjust, you ll see a whole world of opportunities opening up. Good luck.
Often, we say, we are happy, or that we are sad. The definitions vary as to what is happiness. There are a few which we all agree by, and then a few eccentric ones too.
To me, happiness, is a lot of things, and I ll try to name a few. Rather, let me show you what I mean.
Happiness is, getting the view of a snow covered peak, while coming down from Tiger Hill, Darjeeling. The morning views from the viewpoint was obscured by clouds, and as we were returning towards Ghoom, the clouds cleared for just a bit, and we saw the peak.
Happiness is, when you take a burst shot at the sun, to capture the sunrise, and instead of the photo everyone took, you take an unique one, which adds character to the photo. Here, it is at Tiger Hill, Darjeeling. As the sun came up, people clamored on to take the shot of the sun. I was on the other side, trying to capture the mountains, lucky and happy, that I got this.
Happiness is, when you dream of how a shot would look, and then when you go to the spot, you actually manage to take the shot, just the way you wanted. Shot at the Darjeeling station. The diesel loco pulled in with the train, and the steam loco backed up to change tracks. I stood right in the middle, anticipating. I took three shots, and all three are spot on.
Happiness is, having a cup of tea after a long tiring day. This is at Siliguri, West Bengal.
Happiness is, when you manage to take a photo which is perfectly composed and has a lot of depth and character to it, and that it is pre mediated. This was shot at Varanasi, UP. I saw this fisherman start rowing into the river, and I ran up a flight of stairs to a vantage point. With the morning sun coming up, and the paddles ready for the next swipe, I took the shot.
Happiness is, finding a playful pet. This here, is Blacky. With one floppy ear, she is a beauty and a very playful one. Though she isnt my pet, but, after an introduction, we were happy to be in each others company. I would scratch n cuddle her, and in return, she would give me poses for the shots. Fair deal.
Happiness is, finding your old toys in perfect condition. Here are two of my oldest surviving toys. And, they still look awesome as ever.
Happiness is, working carefully and obtaining a tough result correctly. Here what you see is a burning filament of a bulb. First, salvaging this from the bulb is a feat, and then, the burn lasts for approximately 2 seconds, and then getting the perfect shot, that makes me happy.
Happiness is, meeting up with friends and catching up after a long time gap.
Happiness is, creating trippy psychedelic photos out of almost nothing. This here, is smoke, used cleverly, thats all.
Happiness is, have a dream come true. To be able to shoot the Ganga Arati at Varanasi had been a lifelong dream. To be able to capture a shot like this, is a very proper fulfillment of the dream.
Happiness is, looking beyond the fence and moving on!
This is my take on happiness, and happiness deserves celebration too. Check the celebrations here:
All the photos are mine, and they have been sourced from these pages….I, II, III, IV, V, VI , VII, VIII and IX. Do check them too, if you please.
I told you what makes me happy, you tell me what makes you happy!
Wrapping up my 3 day visit to Kolkata. Caught up with old friends, had lots of street food, mainly rolls and kebabs, did some fine dining too and toured a lot through the city. Kolkata, is an amazing place and a dynamic one too. Must visit if you like cheap food, historical stuffs and shopping!
This post features some shots on the streets, the historical Victoria Memorial Hall, Pooja and my ex-colleague and dear friend, Shubhanjana Sikdar.
Beginning with this post, I am introducing a new category in my blog, the TTL (Through the lens) series. This will be a document, a testament to the places I visit and the photos that I found interesting there.
In this debut post of the series, I put up the first part of my Kolkata, West Bengal, India tour. Its the capital city of West Bengal and is a crucible of various cultures and society. You ll find the uber and rich to the dirt poor sharing spaces very often. On the streets of Kolkata, every moment, there is a story unfolding, all you need to do is see, foresee and be ready! Time it right and you ll have a story with you.