Halls of India

Movie Recommendation:  The Fall

The Fall – IMDB Info

I know…  you don’t come here for movie recommendations, but I’ll make one anyway.  If you’ve never heard of it, then you’ll be in my boat earlier in the year.  I don’t even know how it missed my radar… but it did!

If you love beautiful imagery and unique epic movies, give this one a run.  I’m interested to see what you think!  Today’s photo reminds me a bit of it, because a lot of the cinematics in the movie are from beautiful and bizarre places around India that have been featured here on the blog!

Daily Photo – Halls of India

I understand that many of these royal halls used to be inlaid with rare stones. I can’t even imagine what it was like… since they are already beautiful and detailed with all the stones missing! I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a re-creation of one of these, even where the stones are fake. One place that comes to mind is the Amber Room in St. Petersburg, but I haven’t been there yet… although it’s on the list.

HDR Photo

Boat in Mumbai

Having a Driver

Having a driver is so nice! Really… it sounds so elitist and decadent to say, I am sure… but it really is wonderful.

Now, here’s the deal… I think it sounds extraordinarily extravagant, but in places like India, China, SE Asia, and hundreds of other places, it really is not. It might only cost $10-$30 a day, and these guys will follow you around all day long. It’s like a mobile base that holds all your extra camera stuff, snacks, drinks, and lots of sweet sweet air-conditioning. So, when traveling to exotic places, even though it can be expensive to get there, you can actually move around within these countries with relative ease and style.

Another $10+ per day will even get you an “umbrella assistant” that will follow you around and hold an umbrella over your head. Again, it sounds so over-the-top, but why the heck not?  If I were feeling generous, I might even pay another $10 to get an umbrella assistant for my umbrella assistant, but that would just be redonkulous.

Daily Photo – Boat in Mumbai

Mumbai and Bombay are the same place. If you say “Mumbai” quickly with a thick Indian accent, you will see what I mean, and understand it why the stiff-upper lipped British just went with “Bombay”.

One of the more interesting bits of the city lies along the waterfront. The quay is filled with hundreds of boats going each and every direction. I popped on my 70-200 after a quick visit to the car so I could find some interesting things out in the water.

HDR Photo

The Rest of the India Story

The Original

I know many of you have already seen the photo below of the Taj Mahal. It’s one the most famous photos I’ve taken of India. It is related to the daily photo…

HDR Photo

Daily Photo – The Rest of the India Story

So, I took the photo above from across a slow-moving river. After shooting, I explored a bit more as the sun was setting, then returned to the same spot, rotating the camera about 45 degrees to the right. This is what I saw.

In the distance, you can see how it is a layer of smoke in the air. This is where families come from all over the Agra area to burn the bodies of recently deceased loved ones. They then throw some ashes in the river to begin the cycle again. Indians come from all over the area to visit this river, see the Taj Mahal, and visit other local temples. It’s a very peaceful place… I hope this photo helps to describe the general feeling of the place.

The Rest of the India Story

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO320
  • Focal Length20mm (30mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Guardian of the Tomb

New Secret Project Goes Live Soon – Get Ready!

I’ve been up late at night for several weeks working on a really cool new project that I can’t wait to share with everyone here. I’ll be releasing it in one week, so stay tuned. Here is a little tease of some of the behind-the-scenes stuff below.

HDR-Photo

Daily Photo – The Guardian of the Tomb

I sometimes mistakenly call the Taj Mahal a “temple”. There is a fleet of people ready to jump down my throat and tell me, in no uncertain terms, that it is most certainly a tomb. Of course, whenever I do call it a temple, these are all honest mistakes; I’m always a bit flummoxed as to why people get so agitated,

Anyway, besides all that mess, I thought you might enjoy this photo I grabbed of one of the gentleman guards of the tomb. I slipped on my 70-200mm lens (See my NIkon 70-200mm Review) to get both the guard and the tomb compressed in the background. I was a little worried that he would see me lurking about, aiming a giant lens at his head. So, I took shots quickly then moved on… I had no burning desire to make a guy like that angry.

The Guardian of the Tomb

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/4
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length105mm (157mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Doors of India

Comments on the Site

We have thousands of posts here and other subpages. Comments get sprinkled in all over the place every day. I do my best to respond, so please do not take it personally if I can’t get back and answer a question. I was thinking about hiring someone to do it for me – but that seems kinda strange… so I’ll just keep trying to do my best!

I noticed a sour grape over on the About Me page. I always leave up negative and critical comments (unless they are outright offensive). We run about 99% positive around here, but I’m always open to dissenting opinions, as in this one from “TRC” below:

Submitted on 2010/04/20 at 7:21pm

sorry, but your photos look way to clarified and contrasted that it completely defeats the purpose of SLR photography. . . . . .

If i wanted wanted a shot that has every thing sharp in it, i’d use a point and shoot.

Where is the shallow depth of field, its like you’ve maxed out the clarity levels in every photo and crushed the blacks in every photo. . . . .

You photos look crap.

Daily Photo – Doors of India

India is filled with all sorts of amazing temples and fine examples of Mughal architecture. When visiting the famous places, there are often a lot of “periphery” buildings that are quite empty. The crowds flock to the centers of these places, but all kinds of little treasures wait around the edges. I think being a photographer (beginner or advanced) helps you to enjoy the other bits as much as the major bits.

The only problem, if it can be considered a problem, is that you are constantly over-stimulated by any place that is remotely interesting! There is a bit of sensory-overload, but I guess there are worse things in life!

The Purple Portal

More Adventures in Hans Zimmer’s Studio Coming Soon

Watch this space for three more photos from Hans’ amazing studio coming up soon.  I’ve had a chance to process more photos, and I’ll be releasing them very soon!

You can see the first set of photos here in “The Secret Lair of Hans Zimmer“.

New Print Available – Hindu Ascent

There is a new Limited Edition Numbered Print available.  It is called “Hindu Ascent”.  This was taken as this old woman, who has never cut her hair, ascended hundreds of steps on her daily pilgrimage to a Hindu shrine.

Contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com for info on getting this limited print!

Daily Photo – The Purple Portal

When I was in Agra, I wandered around the streets surrounding the Taj Mahal for a few hours. The textures and details everywhere are an absolute field-day for photographers! There is so much to see and capture… it was totally overwhelming trying to grab all of that, while still thinking about getting into the Taj Mahal for another full slate of shooting!

So many of the little homes here are richly painted in every possible shade in the most interesting textures and shapes. This is one of many little snaps I got while walking around.

The Purple Portal

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.3
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length17mm (25mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Mighty Temple

A Collection of Art

I try to share a bunch of inspirational art links throughout the week. I drop these into Twitter from time to time. I need to update this page with new stuff, but you will find a bunch of cool inspiration art on the “Things I’ve Found That Inspire Me” page.

Daily Photo – The Mighty Temple

I can’t wait to get back to India for more photography. I shot nonstop while I was there, but I feel like I did not take enough! As you may know, I process these images out-of-order, and I still have plenty to go through, but the pile is thinning with each ensuing week!

This is a beautiful and huge temple in Agra, India. I was there in the morning, barefoot, and it was quite cool and arid. I felt a little strange running around a temple, barefooted, holding my giant camera… but it was really fun! These wonderful old temples have countless angles and compositions of interest. I did my best from this vantage to capture the grandeur of the fort.

The Mighty Temple

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/4.2
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length11mm (16mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Floating Through the Temple (And Tokyo Workshop Details)

Tokyo Workshop Details

Everyone that subscribed to the free newsletter got early notice of this, and now everyone can see at on the weekend Tokyo Workshop page. It should have all the info you need, in case you live there or are looking for an excuse to pop over to Japan in the Spring!

Maybe I Won’t Go to London!

Well, of course I still will, but this article entitled “Photographers to lose copyright and right to photograph in public” gave me pause. What’s going on? If bureaucrats make these kind of decisions, it makes you wonder about all their decisions, eh? Of course, as a die-hard Libertarian, I’ve been saying this sort of thing for years….

Daily Photo – Floating Through the Temple

While in the north of India, I visited this Hindu temple. It was beautiful and decadent inside. I can’t even imagine what it used to look like back in the day. The walls supposedly had inlaid jewels and other precious stones. Despite time, it is still impressive.

I had set up for a normal multi-exposure shot, but then this Muslim woman came floating through the room, so I quickly made some adjustments and grabbed a quick single-exposure HDR.

Floating Through the Temple

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length10mm (15mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Taj Mahal from Akbar’s Palace

Another Nice Workshop Review

Thanks for all the nice emails and tweets everyone; I’m glad you had a good time. That is right, I still have no plans for future workshops, but I do appreciate all the feedback and kind requests.

Chris Stamper wrote an HDR Workshop Review on his blog that was very nice. Thanks Chris – I am happy you enjoyed it! Keep up the good HDR work and fight the good fight for us! :)

Nikon D3S Review Continues

I have a Nikon D3S still on loan from BorrowLenses.com, and I’m putting together some images for my Nikon D3S Review.  I don’t have it finished yet…. these things take a while, but, so far, I am very impressed!

In fact, I’m so impressed, that I am going to B&H Photo tonight to buy the full thing as a backup to my D3X! (You can see more info there on my Nikon D3X review)

The Taj Mahal from Akbar’s Palace

This image below was made with some textures from my Textures Tutorial. This is the only time that I “color” photos. Many times, I think people might think that I “paint” on top of my photos, but I do not. Sometimes, however, when I have an image that came out, ummm, a little more boring that it should be, I will give it a texture treatment. Maybe you are like me, and, on occasion, you take what you think will be a great shot. Then, you get home, and it just came out sort of boring.. that is always a bummer feeling. To get around that, I often use textures that I have collected from around the world.

Akbar’s palace has about one-tenth the number of visitors of the Taj Mahal, and it is almost just as stunning for photography. There are so many interesting and fun compositions, you just can’t go wrong. I recommend a full day here and a full day in and around the Taj Mahal. Besides these two major locations, the city streets, alleys, and everything in between are also highly recommended!

The Taj from Akbar's Palace

Guarding the Portal

Amazon Sold Out in the UK

Thank you London! (and all over UK, obviously!) I can’t believe it… I saw the Tweet earlier today that Amazon UK is out of stock… that is amazing! (But not yet at the U.S. Amazon store!)

I know from looking at the website and newsletter stats what incredible fans we have in London and all over the UK. I can’t thank you enough… I hope you are enjoying the website, and I know you will enjoy the book when you finally get it. We need to do a celebratory photowalk over there eh? !!

[EDIT – I understand it is sold out in Canada too. Thanks cool Canadiens!]

My article on Scott Kelby’s Blog “Being an Artist Sucks. Being an artist is awesome.”

I wrote this long piece recently for Kelby’s blog. I’d like to thank RC Conception for helping to make this happen. It gave me a great chance to write a longer-format piece. I think there are many people here that will find it of use, perhaps. Please drop your comments over there on Kelby’s blog, and I’ll be sure to read them!

Daily Photo – Guarding the Portal

I really wanted to see what was on the other side of these little doors. I imagined scenes from “The Fall” inside there (has anyone seen that movie??). I tried to negotiate with this gentleman, but he just bobbed his head like he didn’t understand. I would have offered him my own shoes, but I left them on the other side of the temple with a young boy.

I never got inside, but we did exchange some pleasant conversation, even though we never really understood a single word.

Guarding the Portal

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