Shutter Therapy at Ranganthittu, Mysore. After making portraits of people and a couple of weddings, I wanted to do a personal project to unwind. I had a couple of options - landscape, macro, wildlife or my personal favourite street. I have not done wildlife and the nearest place in Bangalore for a one day trip was Ranganathittu. It was still the fag end of the season and it made sense to go there before all the birds head out. So I planned this with my friend and photography enthusiast Aravind to head out early on Saturday. we rented a couple of telephoto leases from Toehold, emptied our memory cards, recharged our batteries and set out at 5 a.m. A brief stop at Mandya for breakfast and reached Ranganathittu at 8 a.m. We were early and there were a couple of cars ahead of waiting for the ticket counter to open.
Since this was our first trip, we were not familiar with the terrain or what birds to expect. We just went with the flow. We wanted to head out on the boat, but we wanted to ensure that we were absolutely comfortable with our settings and was getting the right exposure. So we decided to walk around first and board the boat in the evening. The layout map of Ranganathittu helped us make a rough plan for the day. We decided to head in the opposite direction of the boating area and cover those places on foot. We reached the banks of the river and saw what lay in front of us. The islands in front of us was buzzing with birds - pelicans, painted storks, open billed storks, spoonbills and marsh crocodiles. The trees housed tiny shy birds that were hard to get a good look.
Initially, it was a little frustrating since we were getting a hang of birding for the first time and trying to get our exposures right. This was difficult since the birds were cruising at 50 kmph switching from bright open skies to bamboo backgrounds and dark and shining waters. We had to ensure we maintain the lowest possible ISO and maximum shutter speed to freeze the birds. I did not know the names of the birds, their behaviour or mannerisms. It was an induction to the most beautiful world of birding and I was hooked. I got to know the names from the signboards all over the place and made a mental note to google more about the birds I was capturing.
I shot close to a thousand images and below are the ones I think came out all right. I edited the images on Lightroom and made changes to colour, contrast, highlights and shadows. Enough of the process and on to the images themselves. Drop in your comments with feedback.
Click the images and go through them in fullscreen. Cheers.
I had the wonderful opportunity to shoot a lovely family. Sujatha, a friend and colleague, her husband Sathya and their adorable 9 month old son Dhruv.
But this shoot is not just about these three, but also included three other exuberant and highly inquisitive kids - Tarun, Shreyas and Trisha. Also an equally eager set of uncles, aunts and grandparents. A perfect recipe for a great photo shoot.
It was a lovely cloudy Sunday morning. I reached Sujatha's house at nine in the morning to catch little Dhruv at his most active time of the day.
It turned out that he was still sleeping. Just as I peeped in on him in his cradle, the little fellow stirred up to find a complete stranger thrusting a huge camera in his face making strange clicketty click sounds. We quickly warmed up to each other and as long as I did not try to come too close or pick him up, he was happy to let me do my thing while he did his. With this unspoken agreement between the two of us, we got down to brass tacks.
I loved this series of shots with Dhruv and Sujatha, but was uncertain which to keep and which to discard. Unable to decide, I decided to create a collage. Brilliant the me.
Dhruv and Sathya. My favorite picture of the day.
Noticeably, the mother and son were more at ease with the camera in their faces and Sathya was left trying to figure out what he was doing here. It took some time for me to get him to loosen up and be himself with his son. Then this moment happened out of nowhere.
Tarun, Shreyas and Trisha. Three bubbly kids who adored their little cousin and wanted to be part of the shoot and I had a great time being around them as they did their best to keep Dhruv occupied. Tarun, the youngest was the most inquisitive and wanted to review each picture I shot and was giving me tips on how to pose and shoot better. I hope I did not disappoint him too much.
A big shout out to Sujatha and Sathya for having me shoot their little family and for also permitting me to use some of the images for this post and for my website. I had a wonderful time making your images guys.
Congratulations. You have made it to the end. If you liked the moments, and want me to capture yours or for someone you know, feel free to call me or share this page with them. Cheers.
Its been a while since I went to Nandi Hills and I've been meaning to write this post forever, but never got around to it till now.
The night before leaving for a drive to Nandi Hills with friends, I happened to find a great book from www.craftandvision.com called A Lesser Photographer by C J Chilvers. It was a book meant to create a greater emphasis on the real aspects of photography, the subject, light, perspective, story behind the image and not on the gear which is what most people getting into photography these days do (including yours truly). The book also raised a very interesting question - how do you photograph a subject or place that has already been covered by many brilliant photographers before you?
With the ideas fresh in my mind, I set out to catch the sunrise at Nandi Hills, which is an hour's drive from Bangalore. We set out at 4 a.m., peppered by a few stops to pick up friends on the way and a few cups of hot tea. We reached the entrance at 5:45 a.m., to find hundreds of cars already lined up at the entrance. They open the parking lot at 6 a.m. By the time, we managed to get tickets and find a parking lot, the sun had traveled a few degrees up and the entire spot was covered by people taking pictures of the sunrise, their friends and the in thing today - selfies/groupies.
I whipped out my camera and looked around to make pictures based on the ideas I had read the previous night. I will let the photographs speak for themselves.
Thanks to Townista, I got wind of this great place that I've missed all these years at Bangalore. The Kitsch Mandi is a hidey hole at the Pebble - Jungle Lounge in Palace Grounds. A quick background, Kitsch Mandi was started to support creative entrepreneurs through organizing Art festivals and workshops. The place has been around apparently for four years started by Diva Ganeriwal and Laila Vaziralli (more details here). You guys rock.
To cut a long story short, it is a great place to appreciate and support art and the artists. Have a conversation with the people who are creating their craft and bringing it out to the world. If that is not enough to satisfy you, there's always the great food and booze. You can wind up on one of those cozy mattresses and listen to some great Indie bands, while you catch a game of cards or carom or connect four that's lying around with a friend. And hey, you can get your kids and pets too. Just make sure they are well behaved (an oh.. while we are on the subject of taking kids, jut so you know, people around will be smoking).
This time around, they had artists like Archana from Ink Trails with her beautiful illustrations. I loved the one depicting the traffic situation in Bangalore. Go check out her prints. You can buy the prints directly from her (Nah, I don't get a cut). There was Pigtails and Ponys with their adorable accessories for the pretty head (getting one for my daughter definitely). Honey R Us was there with their delectable range of gourmet honey. They like to describe it as "rare and unusual, seasonal and reasonable, pure and raw, stunning and salivation!" (maa kasam, I didn't make that up).
And hey, I almost forgot about Bheemstyx - the all purpose stick store. My personal favorite was the ET stick that you see above. These are sturdy sticks that you could take to your next trek/hike or even gift it to your grandparents if they are really a riot. They also make a great conversation starter should you be incapacitated to carry around a supporting stick to college/office - hey all you with those fractures, get one of these. Hmm... should I fake a fracture to get one? Una Accessories was there with their great range of colorful bags for the ladies. There was this quirky stall with the guys from The Indian Family Sticker store (quite a mouthful) who simply make these small 5x3 stickers for your car's windshield. You have a great range to choose from and they are fun.
I know I did not write about the music and the Indie bands that were supposed to be playing at Kitsch Mandi simply because I didn't hang around long enough to see/hear them play! Well, that should be reason enough to go there again ;)