The Kite Guru

Shot with Canon 1100d, f5.6, 1/160, ISO 400

Shot with Canon 1100d, f5.6, 1/160, ISO 400

And the fears are back.  This time in a good way.  In the last post I shared some feelings.   On bad days those fears are a source of disappointments.  But on good days same reasons are a source of inspiration for the next thing.  A source to keep the fire going.

It’s one of those feelings when we were a child and couldn’t wait to go for that picnic trip next morning.  The excitement gave us sleepless night.  Same feeling when an idea comes in head and you can’t wait to see the results of the efforts.

The photo above required more efforts than I thought it would.  The idea was to create a simple levitation portrait.  I was on a ‘sick-leave’ but the cousins had a  busy schedule plus it had already started raining. So we had to move quickly.  His elder brother held flash just above the head from camera right with no diffusion. Not by choice as the time frame was too short for a setup and the incoming rain wasn’t helping.  Fired away a few shots and this was the result after spending a good hour on the system.

I didn’t do a great work in photoshop as I’m still new to it but I do think this is a nice by-product of the experimentation.  Hopefully you’ll see more coming.

Take care

My Photography is Dying….?!

Update: I tend to  write these posts as I experience certain sentiments and keep them in draft.  This is not a photography tutorial blog and doesn’t need to be as there’re a billion better resources out there.  So I share some of the sentiments as I experience them.  

I wrote this post a while back but seemed like a good thing to share and I’m sure some of these feelings a lot of you out there can relate to. Doesn’t necessarily have to be a photographer.  It’s nothing but a bunch of BS we all go through when we’re down.  Just because things start to look so damn hard.  It starts to feel like the end of the world.  But on good days the  same reasons make this thing attractive.  Good thing is I (we) know ‘this too shall pass’ as someone wise said. 

Catchy title?  That statement defines my state of mind when I have gone without making or come close to making any photo for a week.  Feels like it’s leaving me.  There are certain fears that surround me when I have not made anything recently.  Here’re some thoughts that go through my mind.

I fear I have shot  my last ‘good’ frame.

I fear  I won’t get any more photo ideas.

I fear I have lost too much time to ‘make’ it worth anything.  I started late and am running 10 years behind.

I fear I have too many things to learn than I have time to.  The steep learning curve isn’t helping either.

I fear my muse has left me.  I’ve not been good at relationships and my relationship with my muse hadn’t even matured before she had it enough.  May be I wasn’t putting enough efforts to make her stay.

In the end, I fear that all my fears above are more real than just fears..

Kite Flying


Shot with Canon 1100d, f4.5, 1/60, ISO100 @35mm

I did something I hadn’t done for over 5 years.  Fly kites.  Kite flying is a fun activity/tradition in India on and around the Independence day on 15th of August.  It’s also done in many other parts of the world for various reasons and in various different ways.   So this little shoot was to rewind my memories and create portraits of the current generation.

The kid above is my little cousin who flies much better kites than I ever did.  So a portrait session to mark his skills were obvious.  I don’t know if this activity is termed as a sport but many parts of the world do indulge in this activity pretty seriously.

Shot with Canon 1100d, f2.8, 1/30, ISO200 @50mm

Shot with Canon 1100d, f2.8, 1/30, ISO200 @50mm

Kite flying is no piece of cake.  As kids we’d spend hours on the roofs even on a scorching hot day.  It’s fun to watch some seniors fly kites today because of their expertise and dominance when they are in the game.  The idea is to fight other kites and who can stay in flight while bringing down others wins.  It’s a healthy fight mostly in the sky between two kites using a specially made thread.  This thread known as manjha can even cut fingers if you’re not careful. Fun times.

Take care.

The Battle Continues

Shot with Canon 1100D, f4.5, ISO100, 1/200 @36mm

Shot with Canon 1100D, f4.5, ISO100, 1/200 @36mm

I’m getting into the habit of finishing one shoot, leaving with a ‘I-missed-something’ feeling, come back and do it better.  And I’m not saying that’s a bad habit.  I’m kind of enjoying it.   Since I’m not making these photos for a paying client this gives me the opportunity to correct myself if I mess up first time.

Shot with Canon 1100D

Shot with Canon 1100D

The picture in my last post the Battles gave me an idea and I asked my nephew to come over with his cricket helmet.  My  nephew is a cricket player and a fan.  When he was very young, almost the size of a regular cricket bat, I remember going to the local park with him and playing.  He was a quick learner and a natural.  More importantly we’d have a fun time.  Memories.

When I have a photograph in mind I consider it as a draft or a starting point and then take it from there during the shoot letting it develop.   Like I have the raw materials to cook.  Whether or not I make a great dish depends when I start cooking.  I try and keep it as close to the initial idea as possible in terms of the feel but not in terms of the overall look.  For example, I wanted an intense feel to the image but had a different picture in mind.  But the photos I got out of this shoot probably gave me a better picture than I was hoping.  I also tried making the image I had in mind but those just didn’t feel quite as close as I thought they would.  My failure totally.  Mukul, my nephew, was a great subject to work with.   I’d rather have these failures and something to work on next time than nothing at all.  I wish I could come to terms with other failures just as good as I do with making photos some times.

Take care.

The Battles

20140720-Santosh Portraits-New Delhi-India-170759-3

Shot with Canon 1100D.

I have been putting off this post for a while because I wanted to include a picture that matches the sentiments of the post.  Finally I was able to hit the publish button this week.

I learned a valuable lesson past week recently.   I learned that I have to accept that I won’t win every little battle of life.   I have to choose my battles based on my priorities and give time and effort only to the ones that really matter.  Thinking too much about  low priority battles is a waste of energy.  Sour Grapes?  May be.   But, not if you know your priorities.

I’ll share an example that triggered this thought.  We have a ping-pong table in the office for employees.  The environment around that table some times becomes so competitive that some games turn into battles instead of fun breaks.  And that’s when the table loses its purpose.   After the loss I’d find myself riding waves of negative emotions and wonder why a loss at a stupid ping-pong game bothered me.  Now I don’t play with people who don’t enjoy the game but make it a life and death battle.  I’m not playing to win a medal at the Olympics.

I’ll share a great advice from an Indian actor Shekhar Suman.  This is a lesson that he shared he learnt from his father and it just stuck with me since.  I don’t remember the exact words but I’m sure you’ll get the message.  His father told him ‘There’ll always be at least one thing that the person next to you can do better than you.  Respect  everyone.’

Take care.


Shot with Canon 1100D, f5.6, 1/250, ISO100

Shot with Canon 1100D, f5.6, 1/250, ISO100

In my last post I mentioned how I thought I missed an opportunity after reaching a point and couldn’t extract more out of my subject.  I thought I’d give it another try.  This time a different stage but same theme.  Education.

One of the biggest educators in India is the government administration system.  The kind of education this institution provides cannot be taught anywhere in the world.  It’ll push you to question yourself.  Sometimes your existence even.  It’s not for the faint-hearted for sure.  I’ve heard of well run government institutions as well but until I experience them or hear someone I know share a good story, that’s the only image I have of it.

For now imagine this scene and you’ll get a glimpse of what I mean.  You travel more than 15 kms just to get a form, bring it back 15 kms for a stamp on it to make it ‘good enough’ to be used to pay a fee that could easily be made available online and then travel another 10 kms to submit the form only to know the bank is closed for this particular form.  And you know it’s just day one of your education.  There will be more to come.

Back to the photo.  I asked my cousin to pose for me once more and this time I took enough time in setting up the scene and extracting as much as I could out of it.  Sticking to the story, Education.  Hence the map, the school bag, kid reading something.  I think I came a little close to a better image this time.  There’s this sense of warm morning light coming from left with those shadows.  At least that was the intention.  Flash about 5-6 feet away pointing towards him with a CTO on flash head to give it the morning glow look.  I made several adjustments and many shots but this one seemed to come close to what I wanted.

Take care.