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.

That Part Time Thing Part III

Shot with Canon 1100D, f5.6, 1/100, 100ISO, off camera flash frame left.

Shot with Canon 1100D, f5.6, 1/100, 100ISO, off camera flash frame left.

This is the last rant about the Part-time thing we try to manage. The things I mentioned in previous posts weren’t out of the ordinary but probably some you already knew and were just needing to hear from someone other than yourself.  For example, we already know we should be exercising but most of us don’t!

At the risk of sounding a wise-ass again I wanted to mention another thing.  And I know you know this one already too.  Don’t forget the family. Even if you have a long list of photo ideas, do take some time out to photograph your family members.  Make photos to show us, the viewers, what’s it like to be them, what do they mean to you, what’s their role in your family?  This will not only help you connect with your family more but also create priceless visual memories.

The photo above is of my cousin.  A very bright student.  I wanted to make this portrait of him that tells he is one.  In came the books, stationery, clock, study table in the background in the frame to make a part of the story. The casual posture and smiling face hopefully portrays his comfort with the books and studies which I hated most of my school life.  This little shoot also taught me another important lesson. I’m terrible at interacting with people. I was finding it difficult to keep him engaged.  And that’s someone I know already.  I failed to go further after reaching a point with this one.

Take care

That Part-time Thing Part II

Idea Generation??

Idea Generation??

Last week we identified wasteful activities and eliminate them from our daily schedule to make time to shoot or spend towards learning our craft. We identified how we can take out time from existing schedules for our crafts and still be available to be a husband, dad, son and a friend.

So, now that you have made some time, what do you do with it?  Do you have some ideas that you can play with? It doesn’t have to be a Nobel-prize-winning-picture-perfect-kick-ass-make-you-famous-overnight one but anything as simple as a topic like ‘Circle’, ‘Colors’, etc will do.  Join a photography forum online and they’ll give you projects that you can participate in and even get critiqued. Participate on those online forums. I don’t want to give recommendations here because you might already have an option in mind.  Just pick any.  There’re tons of good forums out there.  And it’s all free.  Just pick a keyword and shoot around that keyword for a week.  That way you’ll never run out of ideas. Sometimes we find ourselves with a long list and make it an excuse for not working because we don’t know which one to pick.  Get to work.  Create something.  Anything but do it.

I’d also highly recommend a book You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins. Visit for more. Even though the writer has talked about the art of writing and struggles of writers but if you replace writer with photographer or any craft you’re pursuing you’ll identify the struggles Jeff describes in this book and how to deal with them.

When I’m reading a book I keep a notebook and a pencil on the side.  As I read through light bulb start blinking over my head and I start scribbling on the notebook.  Somehow reading a good book always triggers ideas in my head and I make sure to write them down on the paper so I don’t forget them later.   A new project, new photo idea, new blog post topic, an article.  Anything.

I’d love to hear from you where you get your ideas from and how you make sure you implement it and not just leave it in your head to rot.  Please share with us using the comments section below.


That Part-time Thing Part I


I started this blog as a platform to share my journey as a photographer. Why a weekend photographer?  Because I have a full time job and I mainly shoot during the weekends.  I’m sure I’m not alone in this battle of managing time. I share little things and tips as I learn and hope it’ll help others who are in the same boat as I am.  I call it a part-time thing because I do it only when I have ‘free’ time during the weekends, whatever ‘free-time’ means.

So this is what I did.  I started with making a note of my daily schedule and identify where I can divert my time towards photography or even reading.  This’s not a goal setting time table we used to make during our exams or after bad results that we never followed because they were just unrealistic and were results of impulsive reaction to bad results.  Or may be it was just me.   I just noted down and reviewed what my typical day looks like.  Noting the schedule on a piece of paper  helps.  Be realistic and I’m sure you can make at least half an hour or more every day to devote to practicing your craft.

Start with small steps.  May be something like reading a book or listening to podcasts during commute to office or waiting in a queue or at the doctor’s.  That’s just few of the examples where you can ‘make’ time. Identify the wastes and eliminate them.

If Art had a final destination probably we would have lost Art a long time ago with a handful individuals holding the Completion Certificates.  The beauty of Art is in its ‘No final destination’ or ‘ no final milestone’. There’s no Completion Certificate. And that’s what makes it so beautiful because you can continue to grow knowing there’s still a lot to be learnt and explored that keeps you interested and scratching your heads and what not.

Some challenges will be easy to overcome while some may take a while, practice and discipline.  Distractions like social sites, new accessory deals online, new lens that you think you need, previews and reviews, making plans of starting a small business that’s never going to take off etc are few of the challenges.

I’d love to hear any tips you guys have for me and for others reading this.  It’s not an easy craft but definitely one of the few that anyone can pursue these days.



Life Plans


Shot with Canon 1100d, Natural light coming from picture left with a silver reflector on right as fill under the hat.

When we were kids we didn’t give much thoughts about what our goals are and what we wanted to be and where we stood on our capabilities.  There was no difference between the two.   Only now I realized I was and to some extent I still am a dreamer.  I would think the world is a stage and there’s someone who’s watching and directing all of us as characters.  Except me all knew who. Some times I’d wonder if there’s a prank being played on me and I’ll only realize it when I grow older when someone opens up.   When I thought about what I wanted to be when I grew up it was as if all I needed to do was show up and things would just fall in place.  All I had to was decide which one I wanted to become.  When I was growing up I had a plan to be a cricketer (no matter what level I reach I just wanted to play), my academics took a hit and I got low marks, with no support or any guidance, I left cricket for good and tried to work hard and become a Chartered Accountant.  I became neither.   At one point I was so sure I won’t get married because being married seemed too much of a responsibility and I wanted to travel the world.  Today I’m married and have a baby girl. And happy so far.

We can be silly when we’re kids.   The idea behind sharing these life plans is to share with you how life has its own plans but what we can’t afford to do is stop working.  We laugh when we think about our ‘ideas’ about the world.  Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes captures those days perfectly.  From writing my own biography to giving interviews why I was so great from the beginning and what kept us so grounded. It seems as kids we all have thought of it at least once.

Above is another image of my niece that I really liked for that unmistakably kid laugh when being photographed. Natural light coming from camera left with a silver reflector hand held from right bottom to provide a fill under the hat @50mm, 2.8, 1/160, ISO 200.


Galaxy S Photos

It’s been a while since I shared my camera phone photos.  As each day passes by and brings newer and bigger responsibilities my photo taking routine is taking a hit somewhat.  Here’re some that I pulled from the archives.

It's getting hot here

It’s getting hot here

Everyone revolves around a smart phone now

Everyone revolves around a smart phone now

The original photo bomber

The original photo bomber



Take care!