Unofficial travel photography tips.

We have lots of photography material to read on how to get best frame – technical as well as composition related. But all these hardly matter when we reach a travel destination.

Ps: Im writing this for not so professional travel photographers, who spends day & night on research and after lotsa sweat get that one great. It’s for wanna-be-pro-photographer.

Mostly, when we are traveling, we are with friends or family or if alone than also on a short trip and have time constraints. This lack of time makes us cover all the tourist attractions in that certain time frame. Though we do research about the place, read about the tourist spot, and also check the weather conditions,

Image

when we reach we get a different story! (Also adding my own personal experience)

  1. If it is an Indian temple, we have to take off the footwear few meters away and that stone floor on a hot day just makes it difficult to go an extra meter to get that wide-angle shot. Or the marble floor is too cold on a winter morning. (Like Tajmahal, Agra)
  2.  Most of time, we don’t get a single photograph from the particular famous attraction because we didn’t check the signage ‘Photography not allowed’. And you have to deposit the camera / iPhone at the entrance. (Most of Indian temples like Dilwara Jain temple, Mount Abu)
  3. If it’s related to water or a beach vacation, we don’t have rain jacket for camera or forget to carry underwater camera. (River rafting at Rishikesh)
  4. Just when you are about to shoot a masterpiece, the monk who was busy in meditation politely asks you not to click. (Bodhgaya)
  5. You are in flip-flops and sand at beach is just too hot to walk. (Puri Sea beach)
  6. You are in a group or some facebook-photographers are standing next to you and as soon as you get the interesting angle or a subject, they too come and click the ditto and post it on facebook ASAP (no need to give example here :D)
  7. Time taken to change a lens and subject moves from its place in that time-frame – one of the common things. (Pinnewala elephant orphanage, SriLanka).
  8. Guy is ready to give a priceless smile but there is a price for it and you are out of local currency or not having small bills. (Musician at Statue of Liberty, New York).
  9. You captured the moment and some goon comes to you and asks you to delete all the photographs. No reason! (Gandhi Ashram, Ahmadabad)
  10.  Weather is unpredictable. So if you are planning for shoot with sunlight then keep in mind the other option to shoot too. Sometimes overcast sky does wonders too. (Napa Valley, California)

Handy tips:

– Wear a comfortable dress, especially if you are a girl and traveling in India.

– Carry 2-3 different types of footwear for travel.

– Apart from sunscreen, carry a scarf, hat or best would be an umbrella.

– Leave the extra lens at hotel room; you might need it for other tourist attractions – next day.

– Keep a water bottle, some snacks in backpack always for the instant energy boost.

Happy traveling and come back with lot’s great memories.

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a Pro Hobby!

Since childhood one of our favorite question to ask while making friends is – ‘whats your hobby‘. When we entered in graduate school then also we didn’t mind sharing our hobbies and had long discussions on the same. Once we started working, we started trying to find time for our hobbies, infact creating new hobbies.

It is a no brainer to see that the most popular hobbies are – Reading, Listening Music, Video games apart from Watching TV/ Cinema, playing musical instruments and internet surfing & sleeping (yup, it’s a serious hobby). But in the past few years, photography has emerged as a serious hobby (also for some extra money making :)). Digital cameras, and mobile cameras has given birth to so many budding ‘Photographers‘. We started clicking with some mega pixels without worrying about dark rooms hassles or how many roles were used to get a perfect picture. Digital camera is a one time investment and you learn composition, light and many more things while clicking. Gradually you don’t mind buying not-so-better looking but better result giving ‘Digital SLR‘ (DSLR).

Journey by Paavani Bishnoi

Earlier SLR and photography books were not readily available (read expensive) and there was no concept of social media. Now you buy a cool gadget during your foreign trip or order from amazon and then keep clicking thousands of shots and upload the best one on Facebook, get ‘likes’ from friends and get ‘wah – wahi’ for your photography skills. Gradually you start using those photo editing softwares and even create a Facebook XYZ photography page to actually say, photography-is-not-your-hobby & you no more want to be tagged as an amateur photographer and  want to get paid for your hard work. After all you invested money in buying those big huge lenses!

Something which was a profession and something which was not sought by everyone, gradually became  ‘PRO hobby’ of technology aware people! Every other day, I see so many awesomeness on my Facebook page, tweet links on my twitter that I wonder how challenging it has become for a real photographer to survive & give a competitive pricing. As an example, a wedding photographer finds it hard to differentiate from a newbie photographer who got a cool- flash -website and whose work looks awesome in that wordpress theme, due to his last vacation (office) trip with variety & exposure. Will it differentiate from someone who is really enthusiastic, learned from scratch, walked a lot at 4am to get that perfect sun rise shot from mountains? Not until he first learns to be social media savvy.

Due to emerging breed of amateur photographers, few started going back to roots to differentiate themselves. They really started learning basics of photography from developing a role by using analog camera to printing with polaroids.

Someday, I will share my own photography journey. For now I will just say, I love well taken photographs even if it’s direct imitation of Steve McCurry’ Afghan girl or inspired from Henri Cartier Work.

Keep spreading the awesomeness in black & white or colors or with Bokeh or in panoramic shots, just keep clicking. You never know, someday while pursuing your hobby you may click a ‘master piece‘.

MTV – master at plagiarizing, 2010

Is it a matter of pride or a case of plagiarism – this was exact thought that came to my mind when on 18th august morning I saw my ‘Independent India’ image in MTV’s latest National Anthem video on Television.

Original MTV -jana gana mana video

After photo plagiarism case MTV India deleted previous videos, edited & uploaded new video http://www.mtvindia.com/newsense You can easily see the difference- so many images including mine was stolen by MTV.

I tweeted to MTV India and @MTVindia replied saying they are asking their production team & till then I stay a happy bunny!

STRANGE, I never got a response back after that. Instead, they deleted the tweet response, videos from MTV India website and their your tube links etc within in an hour. And 3 days later, I now see a new video, which does not have many images (including mine, which means other photos were also picked up without permission) – and the same video is on the Television and the Internet.

I kept writing to MTV on twitter and also I wrote an email to Viacom 18 COO, Rajesh Kamat  (Viacom 18 channels are Colors, MTV etc). But I didn’t get any reply.

People at Twitter / Facebook started suggesting me to send a legal letter to MTV for the same or talk to someone from media but when I tried contacting media like IBN (which is part of network 18), I didn’t get a reply.

The only option in front of me seems to be taking a legal route. In a country like ours, it is however a lengthy method to ask for credit and compensation by going to the court. However, I am tempted to do that not because of the wants for credit but also to spread awareness amongst other people of the illegal and unethical doings of these large companies. This photo steal case is 2nd for me, but there have been umpteen other cases like this which have happened with my photographer friends.

Through this blog, if there is one thing I want to do – it is to spread awareness amongst such media companies and their employees who routinely pick up pictures and content from internet without realizing that not only is it unethical but against the law as well. Perhaps it is their supervisor / seniors who don’t tell them about these basic work ethics!

When MTV India, a youth music channel, picked up my image and few more images to use in the national anthem ‘jana gana mana’ video, they probably searched for ‘india independence day’ or something similar and selected few good images and used in videos for which they spent few thousand dollars. This was all done and televised on TV without realizing that they had done a grave mistake of using images for which they did not have the copyrights.

Another bad ethical practice by MTV was them initially replying to me on twitter without understanding the consequences, where they later deleted video from website and Youtube and also deleted the tweet. They did not do the basic thing that they should have had done at the earliest was to handle this case of plagiarism in a mature way by immediately apologizing. Given what it was used for, I would have given my image for free but what eventually happened gave me a sad impression about MTV and seniors.

For saving few thousand rupees, MTV will carry a stamp of ‘pursuer of plagiarism’. They could have easily handled this more gracefully, but they ended up spoiling it and become the bad icon of the year!

I am hurt not because my ‘ Independent India ’  got stolen by MTV but for the shameful act of they trying to remove the traces of their wrong doings from the Internet. Poor MTV, you just become ‘plagiarizing icon of year, 2010!

a monk who sold her camera.

In essence of celebrating World Photography day– 19th august, I would like to share my perception on how monks & photographers are related.

Photography by Paavani, clicked at Bodhgaya, India

Monks are not simple human beings, they wear a peculiar dress and follow a set of rules. Just like photographers, they also observe extra ordinary in ordinary. Monks live an unconditional life and photographers try to give unconditional expressions via visuals. Monks change themselves from the very roots of his being and photographer present the things the way they want. A monk’s quest doesn’t end and a true photographer never gets tired of being hermit and rootless wandering habit to get her subject right. A monk gets peace when with God and a photographer gets solace with her gadgets which isn’t necessarily hi-fi. But just like having proper knowledge will lead a monk to a clearer route to God; proper equipment makes the findings easy for a photographer. But she can even do wonder with a mobile camera, and not necessarily a canon 5D mark II.

And if you have questions regarding what photographers do whole day, just like a monk, a whole day is less to pray (play) with images. So enjoy this photographic journey my dear photographer friends, and wishing lots such photography day (events & exhibitions) in your life.

Ps: it’s a pure religious post. A photographer relation with her camera and her respect hidden in photographs. Thank you.