Last summer while I was in India, I was sitting on the terrace of my childhood home one evening, sipping a cup of filter coffee and fiddling with my iPhone’s camera. The thing was, it has been two weeks into my vacation and I haven’t shot anything yet. Although, I carried this phone for about an year, I never really shot much with it. Actually, I was least bothered about this tiny lens since I always picked my SLR for shooting. I brought along my SLR to India, but it rested mostly inside my bag. Because of its bulkiness I guess, it mostly attracted attention from the people around. In general, this made me really uncomfortable and I find it hard to focus on my shooting, which is the reason why I refrain myself from shooting any street life.
From where I sat, I looked around to see if anything interesting caught my eye. I saw kids playing cricket on the street below, the sun setting behind the numerous rows of concrete houses, my neighbor speaking loudly into his mobile and my grand-dad humming a carnatic raga while tuning the frequency on his radio. Is it possible to capture each of these moments and be able to tell a story? Ofcourse, that’s what people with great imagination and an artistic eye have always been able to do, irrespective of the lens. The challenge for me has always been to capture moments like these. As much as I enjoy landscape and cityscape photography, there has always been a part of me that yearned to make images that showcased everyday moments. It’s the subtlety that has been the most challenging to capture. At that moment, a thought crossed my mind whether this tiny lens, could become another tool in my hands and help me develop an eye to capture such delicate moments. I wouldn’t attract much attention either while shooting given it’s small form factor. Starting there, I decided to experiment and immediately clicked a handful of images.
It has been a hectic couple of months with office work taking most of my time, meaning I hardly got out with my camera. The winter holiday during the last week of December provided me the much needed break from routine with plenty of opportunity for travel and to photograph, the details of which I shall be posting in my upcoming posts.
For the first post of this year, I have an image shot at Acadia National Park in the beautiful state of Maine. It was Priyanka’s and my first visit to New England and we felt the further east from New York we traveled, the more beautiful the landscape got. Acadia National Park is situated on a bunch of islets, close to the tourist town of Bar Harbor which makes a good stop for a quick bite or a drink before heading to the park. The image of the lighthouse seen here is a popular shooting spot located in Bass Harbor (different from Bar Harbor), the southern most part of the park that is accessible by road. There’s a short trail across the parking lot which leads to a staircase that goes down to these rocks.
Every now and then, I have this drive to go through my archives hoping to find images that skipped my eye in the past. Such a thing always turns to be productive and it was no different the last weekend when I found this gem of an image lying untouched in my catalog. Of course, it comes with a handful of imperfections and flaws, but I sat down to see how far I can go with it.
This is an image shot at the majestic Multnomah Falls, along the Columbia River Gorge near Portland, Oregon. I took this image around Christmas time last year during a road trip to Oregon with Priyanka and a bunch of friends. Seen below is the lower falls along with the bridge that rests below the upper falls. The easiest way to get to the falls is taking the I-84 eastbound freeway from Portland. Or take the slightly longer Columbia River Scenic Byway that runs parallel to I-84 running through a thick tree cover.
Before/After Post Processing
Like every other photographer, I have been and continue to be influenced and motivated by different people, artists, technology, etc in my creative journey. My family helped me to make my first images, others motivated me to pursue new photography styles, some have taught me processing techniques and few have inspired me to be passionate about the art. Today, I am starting off a fortnightly series discussing their influences on me and the lessons learned. The first one’s gonna be personal and I consider this to be a small token of gratitude to three amazing men of my family who sowed the seeds of photography within me.
As a kid, I have seen my Granddad, Dad and Brother use SLR film cameras extensively. When cameras itself were a rarity in middle class Indian homes during the early 90s, it was amazing to have two foreign-made optical machines. Granddad’s Yashica was a 60s masterpiece and still produced sharp black and white images thirty years later. I was surprised when he presented it to me one day when I was still in my primary. I used it as a toy pretend-snapping my friends and family. It felt good to be the only kid in the neighborhood to have a SLR, despite not really taking images. Over the years, every now and then he spoke about composition and lighting to which I paid a tiny attention. But I believe, unknowingly, somewhere in me was laid a foundation to pursue the art while playing with his prized possession and listening to his technical mumbo jumbo.