Growing up in Mauritius where over half the population are of Indian descent and being used to Indo-Mauritian customs give you a sense of familiarity with India. Countless travel shows and documentaries, and the ability to google any information you need about the country further reinforce the sentiment. My trip to Hyderabad and New Delhi earlier this month taught me that India was much more than I had imagined.
When you’re there, India is about having spicy dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; it is about being bewildered by the cacophonic and chaotic flow of cars, motorcycles, auto-rickshaws, and pedestrians, and wondering how anyone managed to navigate that; and, it is about watching your Indian hosts use English to converse because India is so vast that they do not even speak the same language and that it will never be possible for you — a foreigner — to know India fully.
But, India was not all new experiences. The hospitality, especially, was reminiscent of life in Mauritius: the casual way the hotel receptionist offered to walk three miles to the mall after her shift to make a purchase for me, the fact that our hosts kept turning up at 1.30pm when we had agreed to meet at 12.30pm, and when we became worried about missing our flight because they insisted on making a detour for us to visit Taj Mahal followed by a night tour of New Delhi and a stop at the famous Haldiram’s for aloo paratha and butter milk.
As I copied files off the D200 into my Photos folder, I realised that I had not taken a single shot with my Nikon since January. Looking back at the keepers, I’m glad I made the effort to shoot some of the Farnborough Airshow 2014 fly-bys.
This picture was taken with the D200 and a manual everything Sirius 70-210mm f/4-5.6. I had to force myself to check the metering every so often as the lighting conditions fluctuated so much. The trick, I found, was to spot-meter on the clouds at +2 as dictated by the zone system and leave the exposure in the rest of the frame to take care of itself.
The Panasonic Lumix FZ18 was an amazing bridge camera. Except for interchangeable lenses, it had the qualities of a DSLR; it allowed precise control when taking pictures, from setting exposure to manual focusing. This picture was taken with the Lumix shortly before I upgraded to a Nikon D40. As the situation demanded, the depth of field was set to cover from the hyper-focal distance to infinity, then the camera pointed in the direction to capture the Red Arrows as they flew into the frame. The only weakness of the Lumix FZ18 was the amount of noise it produced. This picture is captured at ISO 100, yet is more grainy than pictures at ISO 3200 from modern DSLR cameras.
My pet peeve when travelling on the Paris Metro was stopping at one station and following confusing signs down endless corridors only to end up at a different station a couple of blocks from our intended destination.
Candid photography is my favourite genre. I like pictures that are unique combinations of events, feelings, and places. While a beautiful landscape can be re-visited and a portrait re-created, a moment remains truly unique.