Beauty in the water

I'm back, doing what I love best. If you haven't noticed I did take a brief hiatus to concentrate on a few things, some photography related, some not. It has paid off and instilled a fresh perspective, from which I can already see some very significant gains.

While on the note of significant gains, one thing surely didn't go amiss, and that's the weather. Lately it's been absolutely glorious. There's been a chilly breeze sweeping across the mountains right into town, which could catch you off guard and result in some mesmerizing goose flesh. It sort of reminds us, that even though the sun is shining bold and bright, the short yet most needed winter months have indeed arrived. The only thing left to be done now, is make the most of it. While contemplating where my latest journey should take me, I dug into my image collection to reminisce how beautiful the outdoors around me truly is. A stone's throw from the gorgeous northern coastline of Oman, this is a 'wadi' I visit every year. This time is no different. My first stop in my winter travels will surely be here.

My camera gear is ready and I can't wait to set out. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.
Whatever it is you do, take a camera along and keep shooting! :)

A portrait with a twist!

Just recently I had a plan mapped out in my head, which basically focused on creating some portraits with a bit of character attached to it. I wanted to marry a few aspects together and see what I could come up with.
I wasn't expecting to find inspiration from a reality TV show, but that's exactly what happened while watching re-runs of 'LA Ink'. Watching Kat Von D do what she does best set my mind in motion, and helped me find the missing link to my unripened plan.

To be able to incorporate my portrait style with the personality of a tattooed subject was the gist of it. Right off the bat it sounded quite simple, but like I said earlier, it needed character. The chase was on to find the right subject. After exhausting local contacts I prowled social media. Just shy of four hundred friends on facebook and all I had to show for in this case was a handful. Luckily, one of them was flying into the country very soon, and after exchanging a few messages we managed to set a date and time for a quick photo shoot.

Working with 'Vim' was fantastic. He has a great presence in front of the camera and his fun yet mature demeanor could not be faulted. It's fair to say that we had a pretty good time going back and forth between poses and lighting setups, and got exactly what we set out to.
I had so much fun during this shoot that I've just started a new project, trying to work more with people and capture all there is to, from a face. This here is one of many, that we shot on the day. To view the rest from this shoot you only have to wait a tad bit longer, as they will be up on my site once it's launched. Drop me a line, let me know what you think.

If you would like a similar portrait or even something vastly different, all you have to do is use the 'contact form' on the blog or drop me a quick personal message on my facebook page right here.


Let down by colour! - Part 3

Welcome to part 3. If you're one of those eagerly awaiting this newest installment, then hopefully this post lives up to it.
This here is an image which initially caused me a heap of problems. Shooting at this angle was near impossible. I had circled the Elizabeth Tower and the Palace of Westminster trying hard to find a clear line of sight for a promising image. The wide angle lens I borrowed was in its widest setting and yet after everything I tried the result was severely mediocre. Here I was in one of the best cities in the world, shooting a famous landmark. The last thing I needed was to go home having photographed it like everybody else. No, this was not about creating a snap shot image to print as a postcard and mail to grandma. This was about finding elements that help catalyze the natural beauty of the Elizabeth Tower and its surroundings.

After numerous tries it dawned on me, that in order to get the image I wanted I had to work an angle. Usually I love working different angles on my images, but this proved to be harder than I thought. With my tripod and camera set as close to the ground as possible, I now had to figure out a way to get behind the viewfinder and compose the image. Unfortunately this meant having to get on all fours and lie on my belly, all this in the middle of bustling London. Amidst an ever growing number of awkward looks I got on with my work, perspiring profusely from the heat of the summer sun. I've had my fair share of moments while pursuing an image but this really did take the cake.

After what seemed an eternity fussing over composition and balance of light I hit the shutter button, twice. The shots were satisfactory, yet there was a definite void which I felt could be sufficiently filled.
The beautiful afternoon sun shone some amazing light, which kissed the cotton like clouds and made for a visual spectacle. Unfortunately the default colour in the image robbed it of all this. Another little niggle was the silhouette of the foreground which drew too much attention to itself.  Absolutely hell-bent on a unique outcome I found that the solution to these observations was to create a black and white image.
The conversion proved its worth. Pure black and white gave a cleaner image, something more visually engaging. Gone was the ordinary details, now replaced by something worth writing home about.
This was it, the image I'd been chasing. Lying on the asphalt soaking in my own sweat was a distant memory, one which was now overcome by sheer elation.

The nifty fifty and why you need one NOW!

Nearly always my camera goes where I go, with all my photo gear in tow. I pride myself on being able to just grab my stuff and go shoot. This crazy spontaneous attitude of mine has to date resulted in some great moments, helping me create work which I'm particularly fond of. However, in all fairness I must also acknowledge the support I've always had from what is probably my favourite lens, i.e my nifty fifty, a.k.a the Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF. It truly is one of the best things that has happened to me as a photographer.

When I first began shooting I focused purely on portraits, so I did what most people do and shopped for a decent portrait lens. I found a select few and after reading till my eyes were sore I decided on what I was after. In the week it took to deliver my nifty fifty I fell more in love with landscape photography and hence portraiture was put on the back burner. Unfortunately so was the lens, which in hindsight was a pretty silly move.
It took me nearly half a year to actually get back to using it, and from the minute I did I was hooked. I couldn't believe what I had been missing out on. That was the decisive moment where it attained a permanent spot in my camera bag. After all, I would have to be really stupid to not carry it with me. It packs a serious punch and is ridiculously small. I'm talking fits-in-the-palm-of-my-hand small.
This little beast is sharp, lets in a plethora of light and weighs almost nothing. Win-win right? Well, there's more. Factor in the amazing 'bokeh' it helps produce and you have yourself one of the most versatile lenses to have ever left the Nikon factory.
I love it. I absolutely do. What I'd do without it I really don't know. Here was a lens that was meant for much more than portraiture. It's a shame it took me so long to figure that out.

If you spend hours reading on the internet like I do, then you're sure to stumble upon a sincere amount of talk on this lens's big brother, the 50mm f/1.4D AF. The question being constantly asked is if it's worth the extra wad of bills.  I've had the opportunity of using both and even though the 1.4 is great for the money its little sibling is not far from it. Not far at all really. The 50mm 1.8D AF is without a doubt one fascinating piece of engineering. I'm staying true to it, at least until the camera geeks at Nikon release something that is considerably better bang for buck.

If you own one then you most definitely concur, but if you don't and you're still on the fence about it, go get one. I'm sure you will have nothing but good things to say about it.
If I haven't convinced you yet then hopefully the images below will. Do let me know what you think.

The Low light shot- Purely candle lit, shot handheld at f/1.8, 1/80s at 
iso 1600.

Sharpness and Bokeh in one - Lit only by natural light, shot at f2.5, 1/100s 
 at iso 400 

Detail in motion - shot at f3.5, 1/640s at iso 400

Facebook or Google+ ?

It's been a long time coming and I'm glad that I've finally made up my mind. This is something I actually lost sleep over. I would mull over it for ages, take it to bed with me and stay up still thinking about it. The decision to move into social media was always an obvious one but I personally wasn't too sure if I could commit the time required to keep it going. The only reason I was able to do this was because of the great family and friends that I'm surrounded by. I was constantly encouraged that this was a step in the right direction, and if anything I should be grasping for it with both hands. Just when I thought it was over I faced another dilemma, but this time only because I got over zealous.
I have seen and read many good things that photographers have learnt by being a part of Google + and I wanted in on the exposure. I spoke to many like minded people and got some pretty great input, which helped me eventually reach a decision. The best way forward was to be part of both social media sites, i.e Facebook and Google +. However, between all the photography, blogging, proof reading and building up my website there is only so much time at hand. Hence for now, I've decided to commit wholeheartedly to a Facebook page and of course this blog.
As always the content will be updated frequently and better yet you will get to have a sneak peek into all my new upcoming projects via my FB page.
If you're on Facebook, which you most likely are, then you can find me here.
Once again, thanks ever so much for simplifying my decision. I hope you like what you see ( no pun intended)

Let down by colour! - Part 2

Welcome to part 2. Now if you cheated and looked at the image before you read this, my guess is that you were left pleasantly surprised. Surely this isn't something I would shoot on an ordinary day. You know what? You're right!
Seldom do I find myself bored out of my mind. But when I do, I hate it. This was shot while waiting for a client inside a hotel lobby. I had to do something to keep myself busy while I waited, so I decided to shoot the lilies sitting on the table in front of me. If you know your flowers, then you're no stranger to that lilies are simply gorgeous. This bunch was no different

My primary idea was to isolate one flower and make it fill the frame as much as possible. However, right from the first shot I knew there was something wrong. As satisfied as I was with the composition I wasn't sensing anything from the image. There really was too much going on with all the colour. Basically, it was too busy an image. Since I didn't have the time to post process in black and white I set the camera to capture minus the colour and shot again. The difference was worlds apart. I personally feel that it dramatizes the image just enough to keep the audience focused. Really nothing more that I could have asked for.
I'd love to hear what you think.

Just do it!

You've seen it countless times, plastered across billboards and double decked buses. In all probability you even own something on which it's boldly scrawled. The good folks at the Oregon based sports wear giant have for as long as we can remember bombarded us with these three words. Three key words, which in my opinion do not necessarily have to be used only in a sports related context.
This here is a statement that rings true for anyone with a camera, who ultimately resorts to calling them self a photographer, which brings me to why I wrote this in the first place.

There is this one thing as a photographer that constantly bothers me, much like an annoying rash. I've noticed that people nowadays spend more time talking about photography than actually taking pictures.
You're probably wondering how this works. Let me explain.
Firstly, if you frequent forums, websites and social media as much I do, then you're most likely to have stumbled upon an elite set of people, who've made it their life's work to tell everybody how they should be doing things. Now at first glance this may not seem so negative but if you hang around a little longer you will begin to notice how every conversation finally narrows down to photographic gear, and what you 'should' use if you want an image to appear a certain way. I beg to disagree. Quite honestly, who cares? At the end of the day you are the one ultimately responsible for creating an image. As far as I'm concerned, whether you used a DSLR or a point and shoot camera shouldn't matter.

Ideally, what we should be doing is spending more time, out there, with the camera. It doesn't matter what you shoot. What matters, is that you shoot at all. We need to be exploring the limitless possibilities that capturing an image holds. We need to stop making excuses and keep doing what we do, more regularly. So what if it is raining? Hold an umbrella and keep shooting. Life doesn't stop, why should you? Go out of your comfort zone and unleash everything you have learned. Keep shooting, day and night. As is the case with many things in life there are no short cuts to success. You and I are both photographers. Taking pictures is what we do.

Just do it!

Let down by colour! - Part 1

Truth be told, we all know well enough that at some point or the other it has crossed our minds. I know for a fact, that I fall victim here ever so often.Every image I capture is followed by a thought process, one which helps me deliberate if the image is as I would like it to be. Very often, as I said before, this is accompanied by a voice inside my head, questioning the apparent inclusion of colour. Don't get me wrong, I love colour but then again there is something so dramatically striking about keeping it simple, purely in black and white.

This here is the beginning of a series, a series of images based on a theme, where I will tell you all about a certain image and why I thought it looked better in black and white.

For the first part of the series I talk about one of my portraits.

My subject here was a lovely little boy, blessed with the energy levels of a cheetah on steroids. Like any kid his age he had his own agenda, and sitting pretty for me was definitely not on it. After constantly darting around with me in tow I eventually managed to coax him into a corner, and have him stand long enough to finally press the shutter button.
Now when I shot this image I wanted it to be all about him. Unfortunately, the image directly off the camera was polluted with rich colour in various areas. Due to this the focal point was being drawn away from his gorgeous face and those spectacular eyes. Converting the image to black and white meant I got what I was looking for, a simple image with ample meaning.
Let me know what you think and check back for part 2.

Under the influence

There's been a healthy addiction brewing, one which I haven't been able to contain so well. An addiction that many of my friends now know about. An addiction to architectural photography. I've been trying to track down its source, and recently while perusing some images I found the culprit. London! Yes, the beautiful city which holds a distinct balance between the old and new.It did heaps for me, notably by being the raging catalyst in my exploration of architectural photography. I've been influenced so much, that now I absolutely love this form of photography.

Every now and again the planets align in my favour and I'm rewarded with a unique opportunity. This time was no different.  I was told of a wondrous historical house, set upon a vast beautiful land, hidden cozily, not far from a coastal Sri Lankan town. It's not often that one mere sentence can inspire me, but this sure did and I was raving to go visit. If not for being inspired, I would definitely have been supported. This was one of those rare moments where I was accompanied by my missus on a photo trek. She loves travel as much as I do and is quite the adventure junkie herself. Excitement rising twofold off we went.
Just outside the picturesque coastal town of Bentota we detoured onto a road less traveled, and journeyed through some lush bush.Twenty minutes later we were met by an enormous wrought iron gate, glistening in all its glory after the light mid day rain. The hounds found us before the caretaker, and after quite the persuasion on his part they decided to let us in, but kept us within their sights.

To call this place surreal would have been the biggest understatement ever. It felt like something out of a novel, something that could have possibly been the work of the lady, famous for portraying a boy with a scar on his forehead. Sprawling, old yet intricately beautiful, oozing inspiration at every corner. What was even more mesmerizing was how much history it held. This was the very grounds on which renowned Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Manning Bawa once lived. Being a local I had heard so much about him, but having never been to such a site I was unable to fathom his intensely brilliant work. The craftsmanship was absolutely amazing. It depicted an era gone by but not forgotten. To capture it in a word, this place was a true 'gem'.
After a wonderful tour I set up my photo gear and began to work. One of my favourite images, in my particular style is that of the 'Porte Cochere and Glass Room'.

Let me know what you think.

For the love of 'objects'

Lately I've noticed a sudden surge of blog visitors from the largest country in the world. It took me by surprise initially, but it turns out that the guys who introduced us to the AK-47 assault rifle take their blog reading pretty seriously. If you're not so weapon savvy and your geography is really rusty then 'Russia' is the country I'm talking about.
One reader took it up a notch and wrote me an email, in what seemed the most bizarre yet fabulous font that I have ever laid my eyes upon. As much as I had to decipher the message, I was caught staring at how beautiful the russian text was. I eventually snapped out of it, and with a half decent effort from an online translator I managed to understand the crux of the matter.
In a nutshell 'Igor' wanted to know how I go about creating images of objects and what type of lens I used.

Now normally I don't like to get too technical, for fear that most people would feel I'm just rambling on about something that does not really interest them. But then again I'am a photographer, and if some one does care about how something is created and wants to know how, I feel that it is my responsibility to help them out. Information is definitely power.
I did reply to Igor's email and later realised that the contents of it were definitely worth sharing.

Photographing objects can be pretty awesome experience. What's amazing is that you don't really need something that looks like a million bucks. When I go about shooting objects I look for a few key elements, namely simplicity, form and texture.
To create the image, you obviously need the subject. Now this is where some photographers struggle. Overcoming this means having to think 'out of the box'. Once you do this everything else gets progressively easier. Look around you, at all those mundane looking objects. Look closer. You might have missed something about it that you never noticed. Now prop it on an interesting surface. Work the background. Get behind the camera and give it a few test shots. Notice how the image speaks to you? This is just the beginning. There are countless ways to experiment. If you read my post on 'Photography - beginner tips', you probably recall how I said that 'Experimentation is expected'. Keep at it and you will be rewarded.

With regard to the type of lens used, I personally find that my 'Nikon 50mm 1.8D' prime lens serves me very well. It helps to have a lens that lets in a surplus of light and provides tack sharp images. This particular one achieves both without a sweat. Another notable advantage is that it weighs close to nothing, so you can slip it into even the smallest of camera bags and carry it around. However, there are those that may prefer a prime with a longer fixed focal length. Obviously this would depend on what you usually photograph and how far you need to be. If you have the opportunity to try both, then this would definitely simplify your decision.
Below is an image that I captured using the above mentioned lens. I kept the background simple and accentuated the texture of the lamp, all the while maintaining a surface that works with the entire image. Do let me know what you think. As always I love to hear feedback.

A quick tease...

Yes, it's finally here! I've just received my new flash unit, and I'am so excited. I have to go take a closer look so I will leave you with a teaser of what's to come.

I was in a mad rush to open it, so I only managed to use my phone's camera for the shot above.

In search of the shot

I've been back in the desert for a while now, and while the mercury is threatening to reduce us into liquid form I'am adamant as ever that there are images yet to be captured.
During the summer months the hostility of the weather here is immensely dramatic, but what constantly beckons me to the outdoors is its unspoiled beauty. The landscape in certain areas is treacherous, yet adds volumes to the final image and as a photographer I'am a sucker for an image like no other.
Donning some loose clothing and accompanied by what I thought was a sufficient supply of water I set out to find what I was looking for. I think its fair to say that I came back thoroughly exhausted, bordering on dehydration yet extremely satisfied.
This was shot inside the depths of a wadi while waiting for the last bit of the summer light to fade. Let me know if it captivates you as much as it did me.

'Flash' update!

My old flash unit decided that it had had enough with me, and since there was no option of walking away, it quite simply, killed itself. It served me well. However, there was no time for sentiments. I had a shoot coming up and rocking up without a flash was not an option. I therefore had to fast forward my thought process and do some quick reading to accustom myself with the newest flash units available.
I finally narrowed it down to what suited me the best and bought it. It should be here soon and when I do finally get my hands on it I will try and write a review for it. This is exciting. I can't wait. If you have already subscribed to my blog then you will know the minute I get it:)

The calm before the storm

One of the perks of photographing landscapes is that it instills a wonderful sense of actually being there when you view the image. As a photographer however, I have learnt, that every perk usually comes with a pitfall. Shooting amidst the dense tropical country I call home this came in the form of bad weather.

Over the years I've found myself shooting in different adverse conditions, so much so that when the local village folk scurried away I just carried on with what I was doing. What amused me was the look on their faces as they went past me.To be quite accurate it probably translated to 'this guy is stark raving mad'. As amused as I was this also intrigued me, so I caught up with a young chap and asked him what the fuss was all about. He just looked at me blankly, pointed towards the heavens and murmured something akin to 'trouble is coming'. OK, I must admit that the skies looked darker than usual, but hey this was Sri Lanka. It rains here as often as chameleons change colour. My smile just perplexed him even more and off he went, apparently in the right direction. What came a few minutes later confirmed every bit of it.

Bone dry to soaking wet, all in under a minute. I did try and outrun it but clearly nature had won before I even began. What made matters worse was the rain brought with it a formidable ally, in the form of the wind. Not just any summer day breeze.This was a howler of a gale on an agenda to tear me up into minuscule pieces and disperse me like pollen from a dandelion.I was well and truly beaten.I had to swallow my pride and seek refuge among some foliage beside the upper bank of the river, hugging my camera gear in the process. Definitely not how I envisioned my day to go. Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity the storm passed and I dragged myself back to the car and drove home. A shower and a hot chocolate later I sat down and processed the images that I had managed to capture before nature unleashed its wrath on me. The one below is my artsy twist on a pre-storm landscape.
Comment here and let me know what you think.

The Evening glow

The summer is well and truly here. Forty two degrees in the shade. You're thinking Fahrenheit. I'm talking Celsius. Ouch is right! Don't worry, I'm typing this seated in a cozy chair surrounded by conditioned air that's nearly twenty degrees cooler.

No matter where I'am I thrive on being able to capture images. Unfortunately in this kind of weather that was like asking to go on a date with a heat stroke. Such a shame. I obviously had to give in to nature and wait it out till the mercury dropped. Basically this meant having to stay indoors till about late evening. Once the environment was comfortable I was back on my feet scouting for opportunities. Living near the beach completely simplified the decision and off I went.
One a few occasions I walked past a bunch of dense weedy undergrowth. Not giving it much attention I chose to use it as a prop in my bigger picture of the surroundings. The resulting image was bland. I needed something of substance, something that spoke to the viewer and gave them the sense of a vibrant image. Getting a little closer I noticed how the weeds possessed a beautiful texture that really shone when hit by the sun at the right angle. I decided to exploit this and make the weeds my actual subject. Crouching right next to it I fired away, maintaining the fast evading sun in the background. Every now and again I'am left surprised by how a certain not-so-interesting subject can actually make an image pop. This was one of those moments.
Let me know what you think.

La Paf

Few would think that this is the nickname given to a bunch of precision aerobatic pilots who fly at speeds and formations that would make the average person puke his guts out.
Yes, case in point and better known as 'Patrouille Acrobatique de France' these guys are a cut above the rest. What they do makes Bear Grylls's adventures seem like child's play.( I'm just kidding, I have a lot of respect for Bear and what he does)

I had the opportunity of watching them live. Yes, LIVE! You're probably hating me right now, but that's ok. What was also cool was that this was one of the few times I got to whip out my telephoto lens and really use it to its maximum focal length. All 200mm of it. I must say I was super pleased with the performance of the lens. The added feature of VR (Vibration Reduction) was a definite plus and the focusing was spot on.  For reference sake these 'Alpha Jet' beasts climb at a rate of 51 metres per second and have a maximum speed of 1000km/h at sea level. Imagine keeping up with that.

The show seemed to run forever but eventually when it was done and dusted I had amassed 2 gigs worth of images, courtesy of my trigger happy finger.
Back at home and browsing through the images I realized that action photography was one amazing field to be in, let alone just for a day.
The image below was one of my favorites. I timed the shot to catch the 'La Paf' drop right out of the heavens.

This was one epic day. I would go see them all over again, and again and again.

Going for glory

When you have a camera in hand you are constantly looking for a scenario with the least of faults, such that the ultimate image is nothing less than spectacular. You could have perfect lighting, adequate sharpness, brilliant colour and still ruin an image. I for one have made this mistake countless times. One of the key areas to how 'great' an image looks is in its composition.
I've learnt that if you compose an image well then half your battle is already won.

Just recently on my trip back home I had the opportunity of shooting some elephants. We have an abundance of them and quite honestly the standard elephant image is now bordering on 'pretty boring.' I decided to glorify the shot by shooting the elephant in a way that it captures more attention.
What do you think? I love feedback, so please do leave some.

Look Up!

Some of the best lessons I've learnt in photography have been through personal experience, and the image below was testament to this.
On location in London I had been shooting for nearly two hours on a hot summer day. The weight of the gear and the weather were taking its toll. While taking a break I closed my eyes and dropped my head backwards to ease all the tension in my neck. When I reopened my eyes a few seconds later, this image was what I saw. I had stood for nearly twenty minutes under the tower bridge trying to capture the landscape around it, whereas this beautiful sight was right there, all along, above my head.

If you read my post on 'Newbie tips' then this is what I stress about in my last point. There is absolutely no limit to how creative you can be. Ease up, don't just look at the obvious. Do that and you will notice a change for the better in your photography.

Standing still

Weekends minus the outdoors has always been a no-no for me. I can easily get lost in my own enjoyment so keeping a packed camera bag with a fresh battery and memory card has forever come in handy. Decide, Drive and Arrive! Easy as that. Ok, maybe the deciding part isn't so easy when you have a whole host of locations to choose from. Either way on this particular trek into a 'wadi' in Oman I was greeted by a surreal stillness. Not even the slightest breeze.

I wanted to capture how the harsh light from the sun ignited the texture in the mountainous background, simultaneously reflecting a beautiful light on the rock in the left of the image. Precariously balancing on a boulder this image would not have been possible without my trusty three legged friend, a.k.a 'the tripod.' It's times like these that I thank myself for lugging around all my gear.

Wadi Shab- Oman

Challenging the odds

As photographers, no matter where we venture we always hope and pray that the odds are in our
favour. Quite often experience teaches us otherwise. The wonderful thing about this, is that moments like these can produce some divine results.

The last time I went home I took a trip to the hills, swam in some gorgeous rivers and hiked up some fabulous mountains. I shot a whole load of images, one of which was particularly hard.
Just as I was done composing this image the mist came in from no where and engulfed my background, bringing with it a blue haze. I waited patiently until some of it cleared, but then I thought that I could use this to my advantage and decided to create something different. What initially seemed like a lost cause turned out to be a surreal image.I absolutely love this place and I can't wait to go back. This image is my take on how some challenges can also be rewarding. I hope you like it.

Ramboda Falls, Sri Lanka

Photography- beginner tips :)

After a hearty breakfast this morning I sat down and wanted to blog about my latest set of images, but quite honestly my mind was blank. Just as I was about to shut the laptop and go find some inspiration to write, I chanced upon an email from a friend. Apart from the usual talk about work and his two dogs he had written to mention that he had considered learning photography and wanted some pointers on where and how to start. 
Naturally I thought this was a great idea for a post.

As a budding photographer you can find all sorts of information on the internet but the process of filtering it according to your needs can be a slightly daunting task. I'm going to list some of the processes that I adapted as well as followed in my journey, such that it would help any of you interested in following the path of my friend.

  • Start simple - Almost every beginner out there wants to buy the best camera, own a plethora of lenses, stuff them all in a massive bag and walk around like Al Pacino in the 'God Father'. Unfortunately at the end of the day all you're left with is your inflated ego and a sore shoulder. Remember, at this stage in your learning curve, less is more. You do not need an advanced camera for this. A decent point & shoot camera should be enough to master the basics.

  • Read, read and re-read - Having the tool and not the technique will get you no where, so find the time to do your research via the internet or the hundreds of photography books available. 

  • Walk your camera - Not literally of course, but what I mean is to never leave it behind. Opportunities come when you least expect it so you should have your camera with you to capture those elusive moments.

  • Stability is not optional - We have all taken that one particular picture which we really liked, but upon closer inspection, it was in shambles. Slight, unintentional blur can be a disaster. Buy a tripod, and most importantly use it wherever possible.

  • Practice makes perfect - I have learnt a lot through reading, be it books or the world wide web, but I can honestly say that nothing works better than actually getting behind that camera and pressing the shutter button. In the last half a decade that I've been shooting I've taken a whole load of crappy pictures. The great thing about these pictures is that it helps you critique yourself and improve as you go along.

  • Patience is key- Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day. Apply this to yourself and you will be able to learn well, and most importantly enjoy what you're learning. 

  • Experimentation is expected - One of the best ways to learn this art is to keep experimenting. Think outside the box, play with your camera settings and you might be pleasantly surprised with your new images. 

  • Get creative- You don't have to hike over the weekend to get that awesome shot. All along it could have been waiting for you in your back yard. Nobody can put a lid on how creative a person can get. Look around you, find inspiration amongst the simplest of things. Start doing that and soon you will be limitless. 

Well, there you go. I really hope this helps anyone wanting to delve into the wondrous world of photography. Do feel free to share your thoughts on this. Any additional information is always welcome.

For the love of more originality

Recently I was comparing some photographs and it struck me that most images of famous places or landmarks were shot from one particular vantage point, thus producing an image that was extremely cliched.
Take a minute and think about it. You've probably seen more images of the Eiffel tower than eaten croissants for breakfast. Now, of those images how many can you think of were unique? Almost none! Its nearly always the same angle, composition and time of day. The same goes for a wondrous place like the Taj Mahal. 
Photography is about creating an image and this is a tip that always comes useful. Scout the location of your subject and plan how you want to compose it.However at the same time maintain a sense of interest in the photograph. Adding a few more details at a completely different angle could mean the difference between a good image and a great one.

I put this to use when I went about shooting the lovely city of London and the images I came back with told a different story. Here's one of St Paul's cathedral. I wanted to grasp the grandeur of the cathedral but also capture its surroundings and the life that goes on amidst its presence.

I hope you like my take on more originality.

A thousand two hundred and two steps to go....

For those of you who don't know me well enough, I absolutely love the outdoors. I've done this climb a few times before, but doing it all over again always instils a fresh sense of adventure. As hard as it may be to lug around the camera gear on an uphill journey like this, it's totally worth it when that elusive picture is finally made. This one was shot just before the climb.

Sigiriya (Lion rock)- Sri Lanka

Some coastal love!

Walking along the pier in Brighton, the weather was great but out towards the sea there wasn't much worth capturing. Turning my head to the left proved to be the game changer, as this scene was almost begging to be photographed. I just propped my tripod, composed it and shot.

Cure for the itch (The Intro)

To be fascinated is a beautiful thing. It's something I learnt of in my early years as a child while playing with 'lego' and just about anything I could get my tiny hands on.
The fact that through simple coordination a wonderful object could be built left a sense of joy and accomplishment that was incomparable to much else at such a tender age.As I grew older so did the fascination, so much so that it least surprised my parents when I became an automotive engineer.
Yet even while dabbling in everything car-related I could almost feel another itch coming up. A few months later while holding a fancy camera at a store in Kingston upon Thames I knew the cure had been found.

Venturing into photography I only barely knew the basics. Unlike most people I couldn't afford the luxury of photographic courses so I relied on various sources to teach myself. With time and dedication I started to see results and my level of fascination rose two fold. From then on there was no looking back.

That moment right there was precisely when the 'shutter bug' in me was born.

I have now been shooting for just over half a decade and will be using this blog to share my work and also receive as much comments and feedback as possible. For those of you interested in my website, it's currently a work in progress and should be up for viewing in the second half of the year.

I hope you find some fascination amongst my images. Like I said, to be fascinated is a beautiful thing.

Naushad Saleem