Mute Mondays ~ simplicity in opulence

Monaco. Circa 2012.

simplicity in opulence

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“…It’s not you, it’s me.

I thought I was ready to be in an exclusive relationship when we got together, but I’ve come to realize that I need more.

I am ready for a serious commitment and you are not. I think it’s time we part ways…I hope we can still be friends……..”

I sighed and thought of the conversation that laid ahead of me when I got home. It was going to be a tough one but I knew that it was about time……it had to be done.

I headed straight for my desk……and took my digital camera in my hand. I looked at it and said “I’m sorry…but I think I need to break up with you. I’ve met a DSLR and there’s no looking back now…”

Don’t be perplexed. I am not the crazy lady who actually talks to her camera but can I tell u……the emotions are there! I’d shared a 3 year long relation with my Canon Powershot SX120 and it was difficult to let go. Crazy, but true. :-p

In the interest of all who are new to this blog and to me, I have a “thing” for photography and enjoy clicking photos as I believe they make for great memories.

I’ve recently taken my keenness (it’s a word!) for photography to the next level and have made a sizable (read HUUGE!) investment in purchasing a DSLR. Second to blogging and/or baking, I can safely say that this is the next hobby that is currently occupying all the spare time that I can afford. While my Canon gave me enough manual control to tweak and play with the settings, the more I experimented I came to realize that I craved for more. It’s a powerful camera and I will always cherish the beautiful photos that I was able to capture with it. But ever since our Europe trip earlier this year I wanted to broaden my horizon where photography was concerned – as I browsed through the pictures, I realized that there was so much more that I wanted to do. What with the recent epiphany I had on life and grasping every moment of it, I realized that I wanted to “carpe-diem” everything that came my way – You don’t live twice!

I am a novice in photography and am constantly amazed & humbled by the sheer talent that surround me in this field (friends, cousins, colleagues etc). In a way my inspiration comes from looking at their pictures. There is a lesson learnt with every photo that I browse through : maybe a technique that I hadn’t thought of, an interesting frame composition or the creative application of exposure. And there are so many avenues to learn – online blogs, forums, websites and so on – with a click of a button I can now log on to my favorite artist’s website and peruse through all of his/her work – no longer is there a need to wait for an announcement of an exhibition or to visit an art gallery – I can now do this at the comfort of my home without stepping out. The web gives you such freedom to accomplish all that you desire – truly the mind boggles! But that is a separate discussion by itself.

Given that skilled and experienced photographers can capture scenes in a more artistic manner when compared to greenhorns like me, then what is it that makes my photo distinctive? I believe that it conveys how I envisioned the moment – such a cliché but so true! A simple vase, for example, can be captured in myriad ways – empty vase, half filled with water, with fresh flowers, with dried up twigs, in silhouette, in color or black & white and the list goes on – and each of these snaps will express something unique – a message perhaps? Or maybe a state-of-mind? A hidden emotion? Something to think about…I know I do when I look at any picture 🙂

For me photography is a much needed de-stressor from the hustle & bustle that is life these days. The best part of this hobby is that I will never run out of things to learn – Inspiration is everywhere! 🙂

Here are some snaps that I’d clicked : some old, some new – hope you enjoy looking through them.

click click click

Have u always been in front of the camera and wondered whatever happened behind the lens?

Do u think you want to give photography a go?

Do u want to capture memories but does the act (or should I say art) of taking pictures delude you ?

Have u grappled with the deceptively complex options that your camera comes with?

DO YOU NEED HELP ?

Have u nodded your head all along and have waited with breath abated for the answer ?!!! Well look no further, I have all the answers!

Enter Kalyan Varma. A young, talented and charming photographer with a zeal for wildlife and photography/filmmaking. An award winning photographer, Kalyan freelances with BBC and National Geographic and is known for his active work with NGOs & conservation bodies of India. I had been contemplating on taking up a photography tutorial for some time and a little bit of research (aka Google) led me to Kalyan’s site. A few glances at the pictures on his site and I was hooked. Very soon I found myself registering for the 2 day workshop.

The workshop, for a group of +30 photography enthusiasts, started with a short time travel back into the history of photography of how it evolved from capturing a stream of light through a small hole onto a wall and to what it is now in its current state. The session then progressed into the basic technical aspects at play whilst capturing a photo – sensor size, focal length, exposure, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, DOF etc. Kalyan also spent a considerable amount of time on picture composition, lighting and displayed quite a lot of snaps (some his own and some from other famous photographers) . He gave his views on them and how composition of a photo is essential in conveying the story of what the photographer wanted to capture. The 1st day was over and there was never a dull moment – how many classes have we attended in the past, school and college alike, where we’ve prayed desperately for the bell to ring and to be rescued? Strange, I guess this is what a good tutor and self-interest does to you!

On the 2nd day we were asked to assemble at Lalbagh at 7 AM for an on-the field photography assignment. Oh boy! I could hardly sleep that night! Kalyan asked us to capture the essence of Lalbagh in its current day and to employ the technical aspects of all that we had learnt in Day 1. With a good lesson at my arsenal I set out to catch the essence of the place through my lens. A day at Lalbagh – easy peasy! Only when I set out to execute the task did I realize how I’d underestimated it. To capture a moment of life that you might see every day but never really observe and to make a harmonious blend of all that you see into a single snap sounds so simple but is complex at best. This is when your skills are actually put at test. It was exciting and exhilarating. Kalyan was engaged as ever with the group & provided inputs/tips throughout the activity.

Later in the day he reviewed and critiqued pics that were taken in the day (and a few pics that we had shot before the workshop) – His unbiased & pragmatic approach to every picture and also his ability to make an emotional connect to each one of them as a photographer was an experience by itself – I had probably never really interpreted photos this way. Every picture has a story to tell – So simple. The workshop also included a small crash course on how to work with Adobe Photoshop and its use to enhance photographs albeit without crossing the line – Kalyan impressed on how easy it is get waylaid and how one tends to abuse pictures and mis-represent the subject/facts. The workshop ended with a very positive pitch on how anybody can take photography from a hobby and make a career out of it – It’s a skill that needs time and one needs to be dedicated & patient. All in all what made this workshop special was to be taught by a person who had achieved so much in life and yet managed to remain so grounded – Kalyan’s simplicity, enthusiasm & his penchant for photography is contagious and rubs off on you. I would highly recommend this workshop for all the novices who are keen to explore the elusive world of photography.

Photography isn’t difficult if you take some time to learn it. And it certainly can be fun – I can vouch for it. 🙂

Here’s the link for the workshop should you want to register/need more info : Kalyan Varma Workshop