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