When we were in India in 2013, I took hundreds, if not thousands, of candid shots out the car window. After the first hour or two in country it was apparent that we would never get to our destinations if we stopped for every photo opportunity. I told our driver(s) to just keep going and I would try to get the shots without stopping. While this yielded some bad pictures that were either obstructed or blurred, it also yielded many which I like and show some of the character of that vast country. I looked back through some of those photos for this challenge and decided on this one – taken out the windshield of our vehicle with the subject of a women in the car in front of us. I really liked the juxtaposition of her face and expression with the “eyes” decal on the window (a frequent sight in India). It was a quick surprise encounter but one which I continue to enjoy…..
I must admit that I was tempted to just post a picture of the guy that currently occupies our oval office…
I thought that might be a little crass so I opted for a different interpretation for this week’s challenge: Dense. I took this photo from a small boat off one of the largest Ghats in the holy city of Varanasi, India. Tens of Thousands of people gather every night to participate in the prayers led by the holy men along the banks of the river Ganges. Our guide told us that during the religious holidays, Varanasi is the densest population center on the planet. While I cannot verify that information, our attempt to exit the area after the prayers certainly had to go through one of the densest and most chaotic traffic jams I have ever seen.
This week’s challenge is to find a unique “frame” within a photo that focuses on the subject. I chose this photo which was taken on a main road near the Chambal wildlife preserve in India very early on a foggy morning. This tractor was coming toward us within a natural tunnel formed by the trees lining the road on both sides. The effect looked exactly like a frame around the tractor and the enormous load it was hauling…
When traveling, I always try to capture the nature of a place by the people who live there. India provided one of the richest and most diverse populations to explore, admire, and try to capture. I’ve shared several of those photos on this blog in the past but I don’t think I ever posted one of my favorite faces. This young girl was sitting with her brother on a small square outside a park building in a small town near Varanasi. I thought she had a tremendously peaceful look and I tried to catch it with my camera – this is a candid photo I revisit frequently when I want to remember our times in fabulous India……
I always look forward to my next photo trip – new places, new people, new experiences and of course, new challenges. I always try to envision what the photographic opportunities will be and how I will capture the shots that I want. One of the things I always use are images that I’ve done in the past that I’ve been happy with. I try to build upon that experience and formulate a plan to get even better material this time around. That process builds the anticipation for a great time to come. We are currently preparing for a winter trip to Japan to photograph the famed snow monkeys near Nagano (among other things). While the environment will be much different than my previous opportunities to capture monkey images, I’ve been reviewing past photos to inspire me for this particular trip. In particular, I’ve gone back to our India trip and looked through MANY photos to pick my favorites and to see what I like about them. A great example is this photo from the “Monkey Temple”, Swayambhunath, near Katmandu. It was taken in the afternoon so the light was getting good, this particular Macaque was playing amongst the idols, and I took numerous photos to get one that I really liked.
This has turned out to be one of favorite photos from that incredible trip to India and Nepal (to the extent that I have a large print of it hanging in my house). When I look at it, it invokes the place and time, the spiritual element of the idols, and the amazing gaze of the Macaque – almost like he is meditating or talking to his own spirits. If I can duplicate those type of feelings/thoughts with the adorable snow monkeys in Japan it will be a great trip! Hows that for optimism??
When I think of “Ornate” I always reflect on the cathedrals and monuments that I’ve had the opportunity to see around the world. One of the most incredible is, of course, the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. I could easily have picked many of the pictures I have of that monument but I thought I’d take a slightly different view that many people don’t even know exists. The “Taj” is surrounded by an equally incredible compound that is amazing by itself. The entry points and corners are marked by large, very ornate structures that would be attractions all by themselves if they weren’t just an “appetizer” for the Taj. I chose to show one of those main entryways here. It is impossible to describe the detail of these building but I hope this at least gives you a taste. For context, the white domes that can be seen on the left side of the photo are the actual Taj Mahal…..
India is not exactly a place that I would classify as “Monochromatic.” Virtually everything is awash in color as well sound and aroma. I did recall this photo that I took inside one of the temples in the ancient city of Khajuraho. In contrast to many modern (western) places of worship, the areas inside are small, intimate, and intended for private reflection and meditation. This Indian woman was enjoying a quiet moment inside the temple early in the morning before the throngs of people began to show up. I thought the light coming through the window reflecting against the wall and onto her face made an interesting scene. The tone of the light, the walls, and her face all blend into a single pallet and resulted in one of my favorite photos from this incredible place.
We went to see the new Disney movie “Monkey Kingdom” yesterday – a typically impressive piece of movie making with spectacular nature photography used to tell a story of a troupe of macaque monkeys in Sri Lanka. We haven’t been to Sri Lanka but the scenery, the towns and the wildlife all reminded us of our trip to India a few years ago. I thought I’d post this photo of a slightly different species of macaques in honor of this movie. These two little monkeys were sitting in a tree just outside the entrance to Bardia National Park in Nepal. The sun was just reaching them and kind of lit up their big expressive eyes.
As an aside, I’d like to invite you to visit my new photo galleries on my smug mug gallery site – the link is http://scottseyephotos.smugmug.com. I’m still adding to the galleries from my library of images but there’s plenty there to look through already. Hope you enjoy!
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Yellow.” Whenever I see one of the these Challenges that are color related, I almost always turn to my photos from India. I found the colors there to be extraordinary everywhere you looked. I can always find a photo which highlights any color selection imaginable – so a yellow themed photo was easy to find. This photo was taken in the early morning as the crowds were assembling on the banks of the Ganges River in Varanasi. Everyone was headed for their morning prayers and baths in the sacred river. These ladies caught my eye as we passed by because of their stunning yellow saris.
I always look for interesting signs while in unusual places. This one caught my eye in Varanasi, India – along the banks of the Ganges River. How can you not buy tea or rent a boat from this proprietor? After all, he guarantees “No Problem”!