Last year I visited Goa with my friend Tanvi Sharma, the very first thing my friends questioned was that what am I going to do in Goa because neither I drink, neither I go to the clubs. That very instant I realised how their level of perspective is based on false judgements.
Through my Infrared series I am going to share that how a photographer sees cities. It really doesn’t matter to a photographer what others do in the same area as they find their own taste and shots in any place. Mostly people believe its a party place but as a photographer my perspective is totally different which made Goa even more beautiful and intriguing for me. The problem is that before even visiting Goa we make a pre judged identity of what others think it is which limits our creativity to explore the other side of this magnificent place.
On this trip I not only clicked but also enjoyed and had fun in the most well known clubs of Goa without consuming alcohol.
For me finding a new frame is more crucial than anything else. I see every location first as a frame and then when I finally fulfil my hunger for different shots, I relish.
I believe It’s hard to find people with similar interests. I haven’t really found anyone as mad and addictively passionate towards photography as I am. I prefer to travel alone at times so that I can enjoy my own company and interests without any interruptions.
I explored the south part of Goa. The best thing was that I travelled off season so the places were not crowded. I was lost in my own thoughts and observations while sitting in the shacks, sipping coke or juice and watching the beautiful sunset was truly enchanting which leads to a world of imagination and ideas to shoot.
Always keep in mind that there are no excuses for a photographer. Take it as a challenge and the location itself will decide the level of photography. Every region is magnificent be it a slum, street, haunted house, a beach, a desert or the hills.
Experience the magic yourself and make your photos fascinating.
Warning: Strong language reader discretion is advised…
Visit 21st century Holi in Mathura and experience how Kans nagri and Krishna nagri look like….
“Ye bhagvan ki nagri hai” (This is city of God) I heard this line somewhere from the back when one priest guide was coming out from Banke Bihari temple with his tourist bhakts..
“aur ache se hogae na darshan bhagvan ke… agar aap yahan na aate to bhagvan ke darshan kaise hote bataiye” (If you hadn’t come here you wouldn’t have had the opportunity of getting this auspicious sight of him) a second voice came.
Yes it is… Where 6-7 locals molested 1 female foreigner and when her friend asked them to stop they started fighting with him…
Yes it is a place of God… Where 1 priest standing inside bankey bihari temple asks for money to use camera and when you say you are also from here not from outside so he replies “Apne Jhaan* ka baal ukhadke dikha tab maanu yahan ka hai, bada aaya yahan ka hoon”.
Yes it is a nagri of bhagvan (Holy city) where locals show LATH in dick shape to group of girls sitting on 1st floor and say something in brijvasi language and would also start chanting Chut chut chut chut…. (Vulgar words)
While coming back in auto, a guy sitting next to me said ‘kitni gandgi hai yahan sadko pe…Modi aae to saaf ho’… ( How dirty the roads are, it will be clean when modi comes next). Apparently they can see dirt on road but not the inner dirt they are acquiring over these past few years…
These incidents remind me two lines by Krishna in Mahabharat to Duryodhan…
“जीस तरहा मंदिर में किया गया पाप पुण्य नहीं बन जाता,
उसी प्रकार धर्म विरो की उपस्तीठी में किया गया अधर्म धर्म नहीं बंजाता.”
“नारी नारायानी होती हैं और भरी सभा में नारी का अपमान/वस्त्रहरण अधर्म हैं.”
I’m happy I don’t live or was born in this Holy city if Shudh ( pure) people think and behave like this…
It reminds me of one line by Krishna to karan in Mahabharata – “In the name of Dharma you stood quite and was just seeing draupadi’s chirharan, you are equally a part of the crime.” Even a person who is a mere spectator of what’s happening in front of you is also at fault. So stand up.
Molestation is not just physical… Its mentally too… When you are standing in front of girls and boys start chanting chut chut (Vagina) at that time, that time also a girl would feel molested..
I was telling my friend “Krishna what have you done buddy… Your Raaslila (play) has become so dirty these days and people are teasing and touching females in the name of you.”
Then i experienced something which can’t be expressed in words… With my friends we went to shoot old age and widows holi in Gopinath temple which is quite famous now.. The whole environment was so good and with positive aura…Now i could relate how actually KANS nagri (todays nandgaon and barsana) would look like and how krishna’s place (Gopinath temple) would…In 1 place you can see humans doing batadmeeji (eve-teasing) with females and people in the name of god believing what they are doing is exactly what krishna used to do with his gopiyas (female friends). On the other hand, there are beautiful, old ladies who don’t even know you but still would talk to you and play with you like their own sons and grandsons…
There I met “Dida” that’s what people call old ladies there…
I was just sitting in front of her and was waiting for the main priest to come and start Phoolwali holi… She was looking at me continuously, some kind of spark in her eyes…Then she said something to her old friend sitting next to her in bengali as I could see her pointing her glance towards me… I didn’t understand anything but I got an idea that they were talking about me.
Suddenly another priest came and asked all of us to get up and stand on side because a big priest was about to enter. Luckily Dida and I were standing again next to each other…She was still looking at me with those sparkling eyes, but this time I smiled and then the conversation started.
She told me that I remind her of his grandson. He looked just like me and his health, face and hairstyle also. His name is Sujoy Majumder.
I took one selfie with her and hugged her wishing her Happy holi.
After seeing the unholy Holi, I went to experience the gulaal and phoolwali (flower) holi. Everything became colorful from red, yellow, green, gulaal and from different flower petals.
All old and widow ladies started chanting Radhe Krishna and were dancing happily. Playing holi with everyone. It felt so good to see all those ladies playing freely. Even though they are widows, they have a right to play and enjoy colorful holi just like any of us, and that’s what I felt there. I also saw some ladies crying and remembering their loved ones. While some were crying seeing many unknown people playing holi, clicking them and dancing with them.
“The widow community started celebrating the ‘festival of colours’ in March, 2013 and since then it has been an overwhelming journey of transformation. The age-old repressive practice of alienating the widows and disallowing them from leading normal lives has almost culminated with the opening up of this festival for them. Along with this, it has levelled fields for the widowers as well as the widows, ensuring gender equality on a large scale and further strengthening the cultural landscape of the country.” – Ravi Mishra
For the first time I experienced something like this and I will definitely visit this place next year with my female friends.
Note: Local people on streets of Krishna’s birth place Vrindavan were very nice.
“Started by chance” series became an important part of my travel series. Something which began from road, moved from desert to beaches to mountains to magical sky, basically everywhere. The main idea was to show every place differently because many of the places we go to have cliche shots, so for making them interesting and beautiful, you need to click something which is out-of-the box.
I started this series in 2014 when I was en route Pangong Lake, our car broke down in the middle of the journey that too on a plain and straight road. Shooting Ladakh road without subject won’t look fascinating to me or anyone for that matter, so I asked one of my friend for an UpsideDown pose, like the one in the series.
Though I started this series with this friend of mine, I won’t travel everywhere with him. So I decided to continue my series but with different models.
I can take shots under this series from various places where I travel to. When I started this series I didn’t know that one day it will become so popular that people and my friends will come and ask me to be a part of this series.
Many times other travelers and photographers try similar kind of shots in their travels and also tag me. It’s good to see their version as well. They motivate me to do more of this series and in a better way too. Right now my aim is to take this series to almost every possible place of India first, and then on world map. This series is about showing world through a different perspective.
Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens Review
Available on Amazon: Canon – Nikon
I got an implausible chance to try my hands on this beauty or I should simply call it ‘ The beast’ Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art Series Lens on my 2nd trip to Spiti valley, with my friends. I must articulate that it is one of the most excellent and the sharpest lens I have ever encountered and is giving a tough competition to available “L” and “N” series lenses of Canon and Nikon.
Weight around 950g, is an immense and a perfect lens for all Landscape, Architecture and Astro photography lovers. I have taken a number of Milky Way shots, star trails, night selfies and stunning landscapes of Spiti.
Aperture value goes from f/1.4 to f16 making it faultless for daytime shoots to Night photography to wide landscapes to street photography. Extremely fast auto focus motor works really well even when you are shooting from a moving car or capturing any movement. The lens is exceptionally sharp even at f/1.4 which is a plus point for its users.
But I would suggest that before buying this lens you must need to keep in mind that it has a fixed 20mm focal length. So if you know actually for what you are buying this lens for before taking a decision is healthier. While focal length determines working distance and therefore perspective, very wide angle focal lengths are a lot about making foreground subjects larger in relation to the background subjects and about including a lot of background in the frame. This angle of view is notably able to give the viewer a sense of the presence in the images captured by it. 20mm with f/1.4 makes this lens a perfect partner for Wedding photographers as well. It is wide enough to capture a bride and a groom inside the hall with beautiful interiors or shooting them outside with a superb landscape background.
This lens actually made me say “Wow” when I saw results for first the time on my camera’s LCD. Bokeh by this lens is extremely fascinating and made me awestruck. I have even attempted some creative shots as well with this lens and the outcome was gorgeous. I tested it on Nikon D800 and Nikon D810.
Nevertheless I hope I will add this Beast in my Kit Bag really soon.
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
– Ibn Battuta
The above quote by Ibn Battuta makes a lot of sense. We are all travelers through the pathways of life. Along these chequered pathways, we meet and leave friends, stay glued to our families and seek belief in a source, for inspiration and for the strength we require to struggle on to our destinations. Regrettably, only very few of us get there. And those who get there are the ones who understand perfectly that the journey of life is about tenacity and perseverance. I am not traveling since childhood. My first trip out of my home town ( Delhi ) was in 2010, Kerela. I have been travelling nonstop ever since. Capturing and documenting places with my camera has become an addiction now. I always carry a diary whenever I travel – to write my activity of the whole day at night before sleeping so that it becomes easier to jot down all the main points for blogging. In this blog I have highlighted my experience in Kaza, the sub-divisional headquarters of Spiti Valley in the Lahaul and Spiti district of the state of Himachal pradesh in the western Himalayas of India.
Jagged mountains rise on either side while the river coils across the valley floor like twisted locks of long smooth hair. The town of Kaza boasts of high mountains with snowy crowns, crystal clear rivers, streams and barren brilliance mixed together with patches of green. It is positioned along the Spiti River at an altitude of 3,650 meters (11,980 ft) above mean sea level, is the largest township and commercial center of the valley.
Kaza was on my list since a year and finally I got the opportunity to visit this mesmerizing place with a friend named Arjun. In a private Volvo bus we left for Manali from Delhi on the 11th of Sept 2015th evening. After a thirteen hour tiring journey we reached Manali securely. On our way in a pre booked taxi, the driver informed us about the poor conditions of the under constructed hotel where we were going to stay and about the uncomfortable rooms as well, at the same time he suggested another hotel nearby which was providing free wi fi and a hot shower. So as modern era kids we were tempted to go to the suggested hotel. The moment we reached my friend checked the hot shower & it was working fine. We were not so much interested in the free wi-fi because our 3G was working well in Manali. It was a decent hotel with fine rooms in just 400 INR. We slept early after dinner around 8 pm because both of us were extremely tired after a hectic and sleepless journey. We had already hired a shared taxi for 800 per person for Kaza from Manali. Pawan, the taxi driver said he will pick us around 5 am. So we woke up just about 3:15 am. I opened the hot shower and guess what? Hot shower was not working and freezing cold water scared the hell out of me. I dropped the idea of taking bath and instead washed my face and hands. We got all set around 4:30 am and immediately called the driver who must have been sleeping like a log because even after continuously calling him he did not respond. Out of worry we called the concerned person who booked our taxi and luckily after 3 tries he picked our call. We complained about the driver not picking our calls and making us late for the departure. In another ten minutes the driver called us back and asked us to wait for half an hour. Finally around 5:45 am we started from Old Manali’s bridge for Kaza.
Our first stop was the very famous Rohtang Pass where we halted for half an hour for breakfast. We stopped in two other places for a cup of refreshing tea. Our second last stop was the well-known Kumjum Pass, a perfect place to walk around, get some snack to eat and to freshen up a little bit.
We reached Kaza around 4:30 pm. For your information only BSNL network works here and most of the villages are out of reach of mobiles. We did not had any hotel booked and did not had any contact to connect in Kaza. Our search for a cheap home stay begun where we found Nyingma House with good rooms and a nice location at a reasonable price of 600 per night.
After covering 740 kilometers from Delhi (229 m = 751 ft.) to Kaza (3,650 m =11,980 ft) in 48 hrs I was feeling mentally and physically fatigued. My body required rest. As I was starving we went to eat where I met the chef of Nyingma named Sagar who is just like the Male ‘Basanti’ of Sholay movie. This guy could speak nonstop on any matter. I was eating food and due to my heavy head I wasn’t speaking much. But this guy did not like me silent at all. He assumed I was upset so again and again he said to me “Arey Nimit sir itna kam kyun bol rahe ho aap…zindagi mein khush rehna chaiyeh… And blab la bla.(Nimit sir why are you speaking so less, in life one should stay happy … and bla bla bla) and I was so tired that I was thinking deep inside “abey chup hoja…yaha dimag ka vaisa hi dahi bana hua hai and tu bol bol ke aur Kadhi banaade“. (Shut up dude, already my mind has become like curd and your nonstop talks will make Kadi out of it).
After some sound sleep I felt better. The best part of Nyingma was Free Wi-fi. At night we clicked some shots from the roof of the hotel. Milky Way’s visibility was less here in comparison to Ladakh.
On the second day we decided to go to Kee Monastery hence stayed there for two nights so that we could get some good nighttime shots. We left around 12:30 from the hotel for kee and waited near the petrol pump for a shared taxi but no one was going to that road and everyone showed us a hand sign about which we had no clue what it meant. We stayed there for 1:30hrs. Someone told us that a local bus comes around 4 for kee. In the meanwhile we ate some apples, dry fruits and after 1.30hr a man gave us lift to kee in 700 INR.
But our bad luck continued in kee monastery as well. Monks notified us that the administration has changed so they do not have any vacant rooms. We got worried about the stay but because my friend had a tent and I was carrying a sleeping bag, we decided to camp out near Kee monastery.
Monks offered us dinner at Kee Gompa which also helped a lot.
We camped and it was terrific to see million of stars and kee monastery together. It was a wonderful experience. We clicked star trails and Milky Way. Arjun also tested Steel Wool photography over there.
Because we had already got some good shots of Kee so next morning we decided to go back to the Kaza hotel. A man gave us lift from Kee to Kaza in 600 INR. We again rested there for one more night because travelling and waiting for any means of transportation in Spiti is very hectic. I did some experiment with milky-way and the star trails shots at that night from the roof again. I had heard so much about Spiti from friends that it’s more beautiful and better than Ladakh but in my opinion I found Ladakh much more beautiful and photogenic in comparison with Spiti. Ladakh has vast nature varieties like lakes, desert landscapes. In Spiti there is only one lake which is Chandratal. But yes Ladakh is more commercial than Spiti. Locals informed us about the Indian army making an Airport in kaza and one road connecting directly to Ladakh as well, so in the coming year Spiti will be easily approached by the travelers which is helpful for Spiti’s natives because their main earning source is Tourism. You can find so many Israeli here in Kaza. Kaza has a very good marketplace and if you love Gol Gappa, you can find in the bus stop. Chowmein, Momos, Thukkpa, Samosa, Jalebi, Rasgulle are easily available in the market.
Next day we left for Langza. It was just 16 km from kaza. Taxi charged around 700 INR.
The first scene of Langza is spectacular. I couldn’t control saying wow when we reached. It is that beautiful. You can find a lot of home stays in Langza village.
We decided to click some nighttime shots because it was looking gorgeous at daytime. But our bad luck continued here as well. In the evening weather changed so drastically from a clear sunny sky to heavy clouds. We managed to take out 1-2 shots even in the heavy cold wind. Our fingers and face were frozen. Wind was so damn ice-cold and fast that even I could not stand stable. I kept my camera on interval for some star trails over “Sheila Peak”. The Valley was looking gorgeous in twilight layers. After half an hour cloud covered our 10 – 15 stars so we decided to come back at home stay for dinner. They served us Chapattis (bread) with Aalloo (potato), matar sabji (peas) and achaar (pickle). The family was so pleasant and nice that they shared some of their life stories. After dinner we went to our room and put our alarms of 3’o clock so that we could check if the clouds moved out or not. We had to leave next day for Dhankar. The weather worsened at night. Snow started falling so we decided to go back and sleep. At 8 am we got ready. While waiting for our hotel owner who was going to give us lift to the city, I clicked some photographs of people including children. I had clicked sheila peak before as well. While on our way to Langza I clicked the same view again. There was a drastic change in the view, this time mountains were more visible because of the heavy snowfall.
Because our plan for Dhankar got cancelled, we decided to hire a taxi at night to travel near by for night shots from a higher view. We asked for a taxi from our hotel manager named Urgian Chhering Dongthoth (UC). He arranged one of his friend for driving at night for 3-4 hours which turned out to be a spectacular idea as we got really amazing astro shots and after coming back to the hotel we rested for few hours and right after dinner we decided to walk out for few more astro shots. At night we decided to do steel wool along with stars and Milky Way shots. Arjun was not ready to go out with me due to exertion. But after convincing him for 15 minutes he also got ready to come for the shoot. We walked around 1 km to avoid houses and street light pollution with our cameras, tripods, torches, steel wool and water bottles. Because roads were empty so after few distance we decided to try first steel wool normally. I wanted steel wool with Milky Way on the top since long. So I set my camera on tripod and on timer on interval shoot mode. My friend helped me to burn steel wool as it was windy. And I got fortunate because I got my perfect shot on the very first try. After that for next 3-4 hours we tried steel wool and other Milky Way shots. I also clicked few star trails. While coming back to the hotel Arjun said thank you to me because I made him go for the shoot and he was highly content with the result of the photographs. Late night around 2 am we came back to our hotel and slept because we had to take the tempo traveler next morning for our way back to Manali.
At morning we took the tempo traveler with other unknown travelers who were coming back to Manali.
Before leaving Kaza nature showed me it’s one more magical “First light on Kaza” view. While the driver was busy in filling diesel, I decided to go out and took a shot of that wonderful frame. I am blissful that I went out and clicked.
It has been a wonderful experience at Kaza. After coming back to Delhi, when I saw the pictures I realized that it was not the bad luck following us. That did not happen in fact it was the hard work I did to get these fascinating shots. I must say it was completely worth the entire struggle.
I have added some of my day and night time lapses from Spiti in Youtube 🙂
This year in the August end or September starting I’m taking (Astro-Landscape Spiti Tour #ALST ) too. I hope night photography enthusiasts will be interested to join me on this. Good Day 🙂
Varanasi situated on the west bank of the Holy River Ganga, VARANASI also known as Banaras, Benares and Kashi, is an important holy city for both hindus and buddhists. According to some it was founded by Lord Shiva 5000 years ago, though modern scholars believe it to be around 3000 years old.
In 1897, Mark Twain said “Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together”.
Varanasi is “The oldest living city in the world, the city which was already old when Buddha was young”. Varanasi always seems a magical place for visitors and especially for photographers.
You will find around 100 ghats. Each of the ghat has different name, history and importance. You will find many colorful frames on street and ghats of Varanasi.
Some Hindus believe that death at Varanasi brings salvation. Many of Varanasi temples were plundered and destroyed by Muhammad Ghori in the 12th century.
Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath located (13km) near Varanasi.
Varanasi is the spiritual capital of India. Scholarly books have been written in the city, including “The Ramcharitramanas of Tulsidas”.
In 1656, Emperor Aurangzeb ordered the destruction of many temples and the building of Mosques, causing the city to experience a temporary setback. However, after Aurangzeb’s death, most of India was ruled by a confederacy of pro-hindu kings. Much of modern Varanasi built during this time by the Rajput and Maratha kings, especially during the 18th Century and most of the important buildings in the city today date to this period.
* Dasashwamedh Ghat
* Manikarnika Ghat
* Harishchandra Ghat
* Panchganga Ghat
* Assi Ghat
* Babua Pandey Ghat (Dhobi Ghat)
The Dasashwamedh Ghat is the main and probably the oldest ghat of Varanasi located on the Ganges. It is believed that Brahma created it to welcome Shiva and sacrificed the horses during the Dasa – Ashwamedhya Yajna performed here. A group of priests perform “Agni Pooja” (worship to fire) daily in the evening at this ghat as a dedication to Shiva, Ganga, Surya (Sun), Agni (Fire) and the whole universe.
Top 10 Indian Photographers you should follow on Instagram
Photographers use their cameras as tools of exploration, passports to inner sanctums, instruments for change. Their images are proof that photography matters—now more than ever.
By Robert Draper
I would like to share my list of Top 10 Indian photographers whose work I admire and consider interesting in each and every aspect including the use of good frame, minimum editing and a creative approach. Photography is on the mind of everyone these days, it’s fascinating and skillful technique can take you to wonders. And if you have someone in your list whose work is nice and I have forgotten to see, you can simply comment their name or link in the comment box. I would love to see the work of aspiring Indian Photographers.