In 2014 I was hired to photograph a wedding in Mumbai, India and since it was my first time there I decided to stay a bit longer and travel. I have always been fascinated by the photos of Steve McCurry, who has an amazing collection of photos from northern India, so I decided to head there. One of the places I visited was the city of Agra and of course The Taj Mahal.
Every time I travel I try to think of a small photography project to do. It keeps me focused and I generally go back home with better, more interesting images. During my trip in India my photo project was: The Dogs of India. So, naturally I wanted a nice photo for my project from Agra as well. And what better place to do that than the majestic Taj Mahal 🙂 I had very little expectations that I will manage to get the photo I wanted, but anyway I spent a few hours there looking for it. Taj Mahal is a magical building and honestly the photos don’t do it justice.
There were a few dogs walking around the area but nothing caught my attention at first. I was almost on my way out when I noticed a dog happily sleeping just at the right place 🙂
I needed a few moments to decide my composition and the above photo was ready 🙂 You can check my full project here: Dogs of India
Moral of the story: Challenging yourself to get a particular photo or working towards a particular goal is a great way to train yourself to find interesting images everywhere. When searching for a photo be open minded and don’t give up fast! Personal projects are a fantastic way to practice!
Varanasi blew me away the minute I stepped out of the train. I honestly think it is probably the most amazing place on earth. It is hard to describe the crazy cycle of life and death that is on every corner in the city. It is believed to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited places on Earth and it probably is. On top of that it is every photographer’s dream – strolling the steps (ghats) around the Ganges river will transport you back in time and will leave a lifetime lasting impression in you. If I can quote Lonely Planet’s travel guide – Varanasi is the India of your imagination.
Photo: Fujifilm X100S
I spent a few days there and got back home with a mountain of photos. But not just a small mountain – imagine something close to the size of Mont Blanc 🙂 The photo above is one of my favourites from the trip. It was early morning and I was strolling along the river for a hundredth time in searching for interesting photos, when I saw these man wash their clothes in the river. I wanted to get a photo with a nice angle, something interesting to tell the story and started walking around them. I tried a few photos, but wasn’t satisfied by the result and decided to sit down and observe a bit. After a few minutes I realised it will be really cool to try and frame them using the clothes line they were using. I climbed a bit higher, waited for a few more minutes and suddenly one of the men made my wish come true 🙂
Moral of the story: Slow down, observe and always try to get an even better shot!
Visiting the remote city of Jaisalmer was one of the best experiences during my trip to India. It is not part of the usual tourist routes (the small city is locates in the Tar desert about 30km from the border of Pakistan) and the easiest way I found to get there was a 14 hour train ride from New Delhi. Traveling with a train in India is an adventure that you can’t explain with words, you have to experience it for yourself 🙂 Anyway I arrived on the train station in Jaisalmer and managed to find the guy who was supposed to take me to my hotel. During the check in I found out that the biggest attraction in the city (and the reason most people come) is the camel safari in the Tar desert. I couldn’t say no 🙂
During a camel safari in the Tar desert close to the city of Jaisalmer, Rajahstan, India. Photo: iPhone 4s
Our group started the same day 3 hours before the sunset. After an hour in a couple of 4x4s, we arrived at the point where we were supposed to start the actual camel safari. For some reason I was the first one to have been assigned a camel and as I found out a bit later – the most unluckiest one. My camel had a bit of a “temper”, just enough so that I can honestly say that this ride was the first and the last one I will ever take on a camel’s back!
In order to save the memory from the journey I wanted to take a photo and since getting out my big camera while riding proved impossible, I took one photo with my iPhone 4s. It is an old phone and the camera is not particularly good, but I love this image.
The moral of the story: The best camera is the one you always have with you!