Turn The Lights Down India- Low Light Photography
Travel always involves low light. If you stay overnight (and isn’t that one specification of travel?) you will need your night vision on.
Dealing with the dark side transpires in narrow alleys, medieval cathedrals, evening cafes, artistic performances, night exploring, and, of course, street animals (human and other) take on a life of their own, so to speak. In India, daylight shifts early, compared to the northern hemisphere “big light” days of summer, so switch your mindset to the limits of the medium and have settings arranged before images are forever lost to the abyss of darkness. Low shutter speeds, ISO and grain compete with drama, contrast and new vision. Things just don’t look the same with shadows and darkness defining and framing. Emotions are exposed when the stark light is peeled away to slinking, dancing shadows that carve out dimension and tonal difference. Another nightly benefit is cooler temperatures, keeping your brain from liquefying and eyesight from wandering to the frosty beers in the midday heat; ever focused on the light and darkness play unfolding through the evening.
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Not everything looks better in fading light but obliging sunsets can work their charm, even on the crumbling and deteriorating.
Despite the photographic community debate about what constitutes prime timing, luckily for everyone, sunsets are available most evenings for a brief period of time for experimenting. You can ignore the experts and come up with your own capture; tripods and filters help creativity but, ultimately, your own guidelines rule.
For composition ideas, try to get something the viewer can relate to silhouetted against the colours. Live models work and, in the absence of a beauty, a monkey delights; humans “relate” to them, they are somewhat exotic (unless they can equally easily be a pest) and they are familiar. An exotic site also achieves well on the “best places to capture sunsets” roll and, when in northern India, Chittagarh (or Chittaurgarh or Chittorgarh and many other manipulations of the word) compares with other UNESCO ruins in tragic history and reknowned beauty.
For more on Chittaurgarh Fort, Rajasthan. India see:
Connect With Rajasthan, Northern India
Street photography leans your eye out, narrows the squint, keenly trained for events about to happen.
Solitude appears to be the number one rule to keep your mind focused on immanent unknowns, namely, people about to launch into prize winning capsules of life’s best moments. From this, one would presume travelling alone will finesse street smart photo procurement, but practise in solitude is not necessarily a requirement. Just in case you are engaged with other travellers or a significant other who desperately demands “face time” over the camera equipment, you may have to politely or impolitely excuse yourself, risk their scorn and wrath if you see street potential unfolding. Some signs to keep your eye on, children shyly peeking from behind protective facades, street conversations, body language about to turn into your shutters view. Be ready with camera settings on guard for the perfect moment.
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Aside from all the tourist “must haves” of history, architecture, scenery and culture, Udaipur’s streets reek of the tangle of human activity that carries on in India every day. After a day of as many palaces as you can tolerate ( see http://heathersimondsphotography.com/2012/10/30/udaipur-its-the-live-connections/) avoiding head fracture on the low door stoops, climbing narrow stairs to the point of heart failure, listening to the guide spiel off how the rich and famous of Udaipur lived the tough life of harems and servants, a change of pace is needed. Take off to the narrow streets to check out the Udaipur scene in real time. The teeming, snarling, rabbit warren of India’s ancient streets. They are all wrapped up in vendors stalls selling cane sugar in massive lumps far too big for any teacup, to kids washing white horses for the weekend’s (or rather, this week’s weddings as Indian marital festivities aren’t don in a day), to beasts of burden walking the streets with their payload.
Evade the snarl of street life at one of Udaipur’s historic parks where bird life offers a peaceful respite. Some gardens are “places where only harem maidens could visit” or was it “the only places that harem maidens could visit”? Too much tour and street life has the mind swirling.
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