Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Learn to see like camera

As a beginner first mistake I learned was not to see like camera. Yes it is at first difficult to digest, but slowly as you observe, you will realize that your eye and camera sees differently. Even different lenses, bodies, focal lengths etc. behave differently. So as a photographer it is very important to learn to see like a camera. Is it tough to do? I will say NO, but it is not easy as well. I will share few things that helped me to see like a camera, hope this helps you too. If you have more tips to share, feel free.

1.       READ, READ, READ – The first thing you need to do is read you camera manual, cover to cover. Carry with you wherever you go, it’s just a small booklet. Read and reread, understand the working of your camera. Once done, start reading any material you can get your hands on regarding photography.

2.       PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE – What you read from the manual, practice it with your camera. There is no reason to stop just because you can’t get to a new location. Start at home, photograph anything and everything. Join communities like Project 365 and force yourself to use your camera daily. Pick up any aspect like ‘Aperture’ and practice it in real life to see how it behaves differently. What does the settings mean, how they change based on other settings. In nutshell, practice so much that all settings are your habit and you don’t need to think about them when making images. They will come naturally to you.

3.       ANALYZE, ANALYZE, ANALYZE – Scrutinize your own work. Read histogram, check the settings and compare them with results. See how same scene behaves in different settings. Once you master settings, you will know exactly to what to dial in to get a desired output. Less time post production, more time shooting :)

My camera does not have live view. If I wouldn't have learned to see like camera, this would not have been possible without getting my cloths dirty. I just kept the camera close to ground, dialed in the settings, put in a focal length and Voila!

4.       OBSERVE, OBSERVE, OBSERVE – When not with camera, take mental images. Choose a subject or a scene and think what would be the best way to capture that. And if you get chance again, then make an image and compare the settings whether what you thought will actually give you the perceived result. This will also help you develop your vision. Your eyes get trained to see the world like a camera.

5.       BE HUMBLE AND RESPECT YOUR CAMERA – Treat your camera like a companion and not like some fancy gadget. It will give you wonderful results. See it as a friend who teaches you to look at the world with new perspective and vision.

What is photography Blog Post - Click Here 
Chasing Light Blog Post - Click Here

Thursday, 28 May 2015

5 ways to enjoy Indian Railways

backpack nirvana india
Illustration for Indian Railways

If you are reading this, you have decided to travel in India. And the best way to do so is through Indian Railways. You might have heard a lot of bad things about it, however I will skip them. I will rather share some tips that have worked for me well during my travels and make yours enjoyable too. As always advice is suit to taste. If you find another way, please share. It might help a lot of people.

1.       Plan Early – Though the population has grown, Railways hasn’t kept up with the pace. Hence the trick is to plan early. You generally will get tickets 60 days in advance, which will allow you to get a seat of your choice in a train of your choice. Also look at the calendar for any major Indian festival, which are rush period. Avoid summer holidays too. (May - June)

2.       Choice of Train – If your budget allows then go for these three trains – Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi. These are the trains that mostly run on time and are given preference in terms of route clearance. Avoid any trains with ‘Special’ on it, they run very late. Train numbers starting with ‘11***’ & ‘12***’ are better ones.

3.       Choice of food – Avoid non-vegetarian food. You can always have them once you reach your destination. In case the train does not have pantry car, go with packed food like biscuits and cakes. If possible, try IRCTC restaurants on stations.

4.       Choice of berth – For a solo traveler, upper berth works fine. No disturbance like lower berth. Read a book or listen to music and doze off. For twin travelers, side upper + side lower should be worth. Two berth system, no third person to share. Families, I wish you luck, if you figure out a way, please share.

5.       Washroom worries – My rule wake up earlier than others and you will get a clean & empty washroom. You can complete your sleep a little later, when everyone is holding breath for their turn.

Do you have more tips to share about Indian Railways?

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Culinary Colonization

Chai Samosa
Chai Samosa

One of the unifying snacks combination of India is Chai – Samosa. It transcends the boundaries of region, case, sex, age. It doesn’t matter if you are a school goer, a house wife or someone who only sits only in air conditioned environments, you will always say yes to this snack combo, especially in winters or rainy season. With this combination in hand, there have been many talks of politics (national and office), movies, books, liberalization, and globalization. Then Species, cultures and languages going endangered or extinct. 

However no one has paid attention to the two items in their hand. With liberalization and globalization we see onslaught of culinary items from foreign lands putting up a competition for local cuisine.
I have observed among the environment I live in, where both options are available. People now prefer a sandwich, burger or pizza with some fancy named drink to wash it down instead of chai-samosa. I am no one to judge which one is good. Calories conscious will tell you both are not good. 

If I am samosa, will I feel culinary colonized by a burger taking over my turf. Or like those master masons I am secretly colonizing culinary kings of the other unknown plates around the world. Maybe find a restful place under a fork and knife.