There was a time when we shunned cameras. Way too often, we saw people missing the moment while trying to capture the memory of it.
Things changed when our article on the Palaces of Baroda was accepted by a leading travel magazine… and it took 18 months before it saw print. The problem: the photographer assigned to illustrate it. He just took his time to get the job done.
We figured we stood a better chance of getting our travel stories published if they were packaged with images. So we enrolled for photography classes to learn the basics of the craft.
And so on subsequent assignments, we lugged along cameras and before we knew it, our perception of the world through the viewfinder changed. We started to look beyond snapshots; at the quality of light; its moods during the different times of the day; the angle at which it hit the subject, the play of shadows… We learned to appreciate the soft defused glow of overcast skies and of how it lit up a subject without losing details in patches of dark shadows.
Without consciously realising it, we started focussing on details and colours which we might have otherwise missed; the intricate carvings on a pillar or column of a building, arches, a colourful sari spread out to dry, a devotee praying… We found ourselves going beyond the obvious; looking for images that captured the mood of a destination… and it did not necessarily have to be a pretty picture.
As with all things, there are occupational hazards. Ever so often, and particularly so in India, a smiling face pops up in the viewfinder with eyes pleading to be photographed. On one occasion, at the Taj Mahal in Agra, we had placed our cameras on a marble bench to steady them when suddenly a cluster of people gathered around us and took turns placing their faces on the bench to look at the much photographed monument through the viewfinder.
Not all our photographs turn out the way we see them in the viewfinder. But that is ok in the digital era: we delete the bad ones. And sometime try to salvage them in photoshop. But that is another blog.
Today our cameras accompany us on all our travels, be it on assignment or on holiday. But we know when to call it quits and put the cameras aside and enjoy the view and/or experience even if it means missing out on a few excellent frames!
The next blog: Faces of India courtesy our cameras