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

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!

Getting Water for the Village

Here is a wonderful scene from India. I am sure that people here find these women to be rather commonplace and uninteresting, but I thought all their little movements were photo-worthy. I’m sure they thought I was a nut following them around, so I tried to remain fairly clandestine, so as to not to interrupt their natural behavior. I sort of felt like I was tracking wild animals in their native habitat. That sounds strange, I’m sure!

Yes, I used a texture on this one from one of the texture tutorial packages. Note that I won’t do this for everyone, but I wanted to point you to my friend Scotty Graham’s blog in Indonesia, who is re-selling these textures. If you buy from there, he is donating his profits to children that suffered from the earthquakes in Sumatra. Anyway, as you can tell, he’s a nice guy, and his site is certainly worth a visit!

Getting Water for the Village

Romance in India

 

Daily Photo – Romance in India

My first impression of romance in India came from Bollywood. I was pretty sure that everyone fell in love then spent a long time dancing around a grapefruit tree. There are other dancers involved, nearby, of course, as well as a series of fountains, slow-motion cattle, Hinduesque yodeling.

But then, after being there, I saw romance was the same as just about everywhere else. I did capture this couple together, exploring Humayun’s Tomb in the middle of Delhi. Enjoy!

Romance in India

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length14mm (21mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Flowers of Diwali in India

When walking around New Delhi and getting lost in the backstreets, I came to an active area where everyone was selling accoutrements for the Diwali festival. I think the ladies knew that I was not a potential buyer, but all of them on the street were very happy to show me what they had to sell. Delhi itself is a very gray and dusty town, so it makes these colorful outfits and flowers stand out even more.

Diwali

The Blood-Colored Walls of Tomb

This is Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi. It’s a wonderful place full of a rich bouquet of textures and light. There isn’t a bad shot of it to be had in this well-preserved Moghul tomb, and these light levels were made for HDR.

I’ve put another image of this tomb in the upcoming book. I talked a little more about the shot and some additional explanation about how it was made. When I go around and give talks, get feedback, and hear all the comments here on the blog, flickr, and facebook, I get a lot of repeat questions. I think the book will be a good chance to get them all in a nice definitive place where almost everything can be addressed. At least, I hope so!

The Blood-Colored Walls of Tomb (by Stuck in Customs)

The Bats in the Belfry

India is full of timeless slices of life like this.

I set up for this shot and then sat there for a while.  I had heard some sort of aviary commotion and hoped that creatures would come streaming out at some surprise moment.  I kept my finger over the trigger just in case, and then, like magic, they all came ripping out with quite a commotion.  After this, I packed up my tripod and decided to head towards this little temple to see what was inside.  I’ll be sure to put those up in coming weeks…

The Bats in the Belfry (by Stuck in Customs)

1001 Arabian Nights and the Wily Scheherazade

Do you recall this tale?

The Persian king Shahryar got somewhat upset with one of his wives, had her killed, then married a fresh virgin each day. Then he had them beheaded the following day, which was generally bad in form. Then, as the kingdom ran out of women, the vizier’s own daughter, Scheherazade, married the king with a plan… She told him such interesting stories and things night after night (1,001, to be exact), he became endlessly enraptured.

1001 Arabian Nights and the Wily Scheherazade

Stopping for a snack on the way to Agra

The road between Delhi and Agra is really somthin’ else. If you are not swerving around giant potholes, it could easily be a dead cow, a live cow, or something in between. It’s never good to make fun of the cows with your driver, so that is right out.

I’m adventurous on these things… probably too adventurous. I always like to try new foods, and I’ll eat about anything from street vendors. Usually if it looks thoroughly cooked, it generally won’t get me sick…I’ve developed a tough stomach, although I did end up getting a bit sick in Mumbai… but I think that is because I was dumb and let some mysterious ice melt in my cup.

It was a long drive to Agra, and in little towns, the traffic would slow. I occasionally jumped out of the car to get some little snack (and take photos, of course!). Here is one of an interesting chap that had some food I could not pronounce.

Stopping for a snack on the way to Agra

Alone and Dejected in a Strange Place

I sensed a profound sadness in him. He was totally alone, seemingly waiting there for someone or something. I’ll never forget it.

His name was Marzouq. He was nice and solemn. As we talked I certainly felt an emptiness there with him. I’m not sure what it was, but it was like there was something wholly unrealized in his life. While we talked, he looked at me strangely at times, a look of not knowing what to think of me and accepting me at the same time. It was comforting, and he was nice to talk to. He created the distinct impression that he was thinking about my questions before answering.

We were there, totally alone, in an unexpected rear corner of a Moghul monument. I always like to go around the backside and try to see the things that are not obvious.

After sitting to rest and talking a bit, he motioned behind him with a quick glance and raised eyebrows, and said cheerfully, “Want to see the bats?”

I said, “Are you kidding? Let’s go.”

Marzouq ducked down about ten feet from a smallish door with hard black shadows shooting inside. He began a near crab walk even while approaching the tiny door. I ducked my head too, which felt strange in the open air. Maybe he was afraid of bats streaming out, which I suddenly realized, causing me to duck down a little more than him.

He made little grunting sounds and kept waving his hand to the side for me to follow. After entering the door, a short walk, and a few turns, we ended up in what felt like a chamber. It could have been darker in there, but I don’t know how. He grunted in a way like “watch this” and he flipped on a flashlight, shining it up into the half-domed room. There were hundreds of bats hanging there, totally silent. It was eerie as heck. I set up my camera but it was way too dark even with a slow shutter speed… and I didn’t feel like light-painting with the flashlight because I thought it might look stupid and not really capture the mood anyway. We sat in there for a while handing the flashlight back and forth and making little grunt sounds. It was very strange, but entirely delightful.

Alone and Dejected in a Strange Place (by Stuck in Customs)

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