A whole year between posts says just one thing – lazy people maintain this blog! All of us are profoundly apologetic about this, but between work, travel, taking pictures and maintaining the main blog, no one of us had time to update this space more regularly.
But we’ve dusted out the cobwebs, blown out the dust and made this place a tad shinier to announce a big event. We are two, yes two years old this week! It’s been an incredible journey. All the six of us have travelled tons, taken thousands of photographs, met old friends, discovered new friends, strengthened existing ones and everything in between. But above all, we received amazing support from you. There were times when the entire endeavour came dangerously close to being shuttered, but you told us to hang in there. You told us how amazing this place was to you. You told us that you’ll miss us greatly if were to shut down. You told us to travel and share. Thank you. Without you, we couldn’t have done it.
So, to celebrate, we are doing something special this week. Each of us will post a photograph that is most closest to our hearts. The photographs that have made us laugh, the photos that have made us angry, photos that have made us cry, photos that have shown us some amazing things. They may not be the most technically perfect ones. They need not be, but they are the ones we’ll cherish for the rest of our lives.
Happy Birthday, IDP! Come celebrate with us.
My grandfather (he was a keen photographer himself) once told me that preparation was everything in photography. But what happens when your preparation isn’t quite enough? You go and find yourself some chappati making roundels! Well, not everytime, but when I took “By the brook“, I did exactly that.
On the first day of my stay at Jungle Brook, I noticed in the evening that the sun set in a most wonderful fashion against the main lodge. Puffy white clouds, a few stars out and some bird fluttering home, but none of the goldeny hue one normally gets at such times. By the time I huffed and puffed to my tent and got back with the camera, the sun had set and the image that formed in my head was gone. So, the next evening, I setup shop slightly early. The camera was mounted on the tripod base and the three legged stand was put in place. And then things started sinking. Literally. The ground on which I had put the tripod was soft and grassy. Cursing myself, I looked around for something flatter and larger that would prevent the tripod from digging a borewell. The first thing I saw was the cook of the resort making chappatis. On a flat granite roundel. And in a flash, that piece of kitchen equipment was commandeered. Problem was I needed two more and he didn’t have it. And time was running short – the sun was already setting.
All this kitchen equipment talk had attracted the attention of the usually drunk watchman of the resort. But in an inspired moment of sobriety, he suggested I go down to the village of Terai and ask people there if they could lend me two for a few minutes. And so, I went. After much haggling and 50 rupees poorer, I was the proud and temporary owner of two pieces of flour dusted round granite!
Then the picture was taken.
It helps as a photographer if you aren’t one of the lazy types. Good photographs, especially landscapes are best when they are taken during what is commonly called the “magic hour” – those precious few minutes before sunset or the ones immediately after a sunrise. The relatively low angle of the sun means objects are lit more “front on” giving one a rich, brownish golden hue. And when you live in parts of the country or the world that have some haze and mist around these times, it is even more important to get off your backside and exploit the conditions. Here are some great examples of the magic hour photos from the photo blog –
My dad walks into my bedroom and asks, “Where’s the Zenit?, Are you still using it?”. I confessed I hadn’t used it much in the last year and that it still had a roll of B&W film in it. “Well, why don’t you try something out tonight?”, he prodded. And so it began!
I found my mom cooking and just about to put the pressure cooker on the stove. After two minutes spent convincing her that I was up to some good, I quickly setup the scene. The Zenit was mounted on the tripod, with the Helios 50mm lens pre-fitted. Next came the lighting that you see on the top-left of the image. Found an old, disused, but still working emergency lamp (with fluorescent tubes) and slapped on a lamp shade around it. This was to diffuse the light and not shine on the cooker harshly.
And then basically waited for the steam to escape! Every time the cooker whistled, I shot off a frame with varying settings – open up the aperture, change the shutter, change the metering spot etc; And since we have a cooker that goes whistle at least 20 times, I had plenty of chances to get it right :-)
The hard part came after the shoot. Where to develop the film? Good quality manual film processing and that too for B&W is very hard to do in India these days. But there are a handful of places left and one such is Karthik’s in Chennai. So, off went my roll there, with the finished strips arriving a week later. Once the strips came back, I ran them through the excellent scanner at Victory Labs in Ameerpet, Hyderabad.
And there you have it – Steam!
Yes, that’s right! No more lugging around that infernal piece of plastic that always sticks out like a sore thumb in your backpack. Presenting lenshoods.net – these guys offer a variety of printable lens hoods. Download the PDF file, print, cut and slap it on!
I have made three of them so far, all of them for the Pentax 18-55 kit lens and they work like a charm. About the only thing you need to make sure is that the paper you use is of sufficient thickness – normal pieces of A4 won’t do. I went down to my local stationary shop and picked up dark grey card paper.
Am thrilled to be blogging on the India daily photo blog. Much is new for IDP, in time with the new year, we have a new theme. It took us ages and plenty of conversation to make up our minds, but we’re happy.
When I checked the calender and realized that 1st January 2009 was a Thursday (the day I usually post a photo on) I decided that I wanted to do something special… and I think this was the first time I went out to make a photo with something very specific in mind.
I wanted a little plant/flower/bud popping it’s head from the earth – something I thought was very representative of what this new year means to me, and what I wish it to be for everyone.
I traveled to Hampi over the last weekend, and the morning, I woke up, stepped into the sunlight, the light was perfect and gorgeous and with a slight bit of effort, we spotted the tiniest, cheerfully bright yellow petaled flower that looked so brand new.
We sprinked a little water to make the earth damp and soft, and I zoomed in to capture the tiny fragment of life – which came up because of so many things being right -the earth, the nourishment, water, the sunlight, and a while ago, a small seed.
And that is how my special photo was made.
Once again we start something. India Daily Photo’s blog.
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