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”!
I chose this photo because it is related to one of the under-covered world news stories of the past few weeks – the India elections. As you may have heard, over 500 million people voted in the election which turned into a referendum on the “modernization” of India. When we were there a little over a year ago we had the opportunity to visit a very rural school and sit in on one of the classes. We were amazed at the interest, discipline, and capabilities of the young Indian students. I think this photo captures one of the primary aspects of the Indian move to a higher standing in the world order – education of the hundreds of millions of young people in the country to allow them to strive for a better life. My split second story is one of hope for all those children.http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/split-second-story/
While I sometimes take “street photos” around home, I am much more likely to focus on the street life while away from home. Here are a few from various places we’ve been in the past few years…..
This first one is during a downpour in the little town of Rapallo, Italy – we shared this small tunnel for a few moments trying to keep out of the deluge…..
This next one is from Nice, France. She caught my eye as I thought she might be a little underage….. Her father came back to the table a little later and I felt better about her future!
I captured this image while we going down a highway outside of Delhi, India. The man’s pensive look caught my eye first but I also wanted to catch the colorful adornments of the trucks passing by…….
This young lady was just relaxing next to her bike on a sunny afternoon in Katmandu. I thought the scene captured the native dress, and a little of the local flavor with the hindu shrine next to her…..
This last colorful scene is from the floating islands of Lake Titicaca where the Uros people live. It was a still morning with tranquil people in a very beautiful place.
If you’ve been to my blog before, you probably know that one of our joys is being able to travel the world and see it through our own eyes rather than just the filter of the daily news. I went back to our India/Nepal trip of last year and picked out just a few of my photos that I haven’t shared that say Joy to me. I say “a few’ because there are so many more that I could have used….hope some of these bring some joy to you.
This photo was taken as we walked around a small Indian village to see how the locals lived and worked. This little girl was one of numerous children who followed us around and seemed greatly amused at their own pictures that I showed them.
This is from that same village where we visited a local school and were blown away by the enthusiasm and joy that the students took in their studies.
I captured this solemn moment at Buddhist temple in Nepal. Obviously a visitor like us (by the camera strap in the photo), she was enJOYing a moment in meditation while spinning the prayer wheels at the shrine.
Our Indian guide was gracious to let us join in his celebration of his wife’s birthday. In her honor, he decided to pass out small food packages to the poorest of the poor in the city of Varanasi. This man was expressing his appreciation to my wife as she handed out some of the packages.
Couldn’t think of another way to express this. These young men saw me taking pictures along the banks of the Ganges River and wouldn’t stop waving and greeting us until I snapped their smiling faces. I can imagine the disney tune “its a small world after all” playing every time I see this photo.
I’m not sure who enjoyed this impromptu meeting more – my wife (on the left) or these young female college students that we met at a university outside of Varanasi. They were as interested in who we were and where we were from as we were in their studies and lives and as students.
This man was very involved in his son’s progress in learning his father’s trade. Their expressions and manner showed pride in what they did and also in their relationship.
I thought this little girls smile was amazing and it made me think of how different her life as a gypsy was from ours in the US. They were in an ox drawn cart on a major highway -obviously carrying all their possessions – but enjoying life in a very different way.
Our trip was an amazing experience and we were exposed to many different cultures and religions. One of the things that struck us was the joy and serenity that most of the people in that part of the world take from their beliefs. I thought this photo captured the individual focus of those beliefs – a stark contrast to our more communal system in the west. A quiet joy to close my post….
We had many things we were looking forward to when we went to India earlier this year but if I had to choose one, it was to see and photograph a Tiger in the wild. It turned out to be much harder than I imagined as it took until our last game drive in the last national park we would visit to finally see one. We had chased all over 3 different national parks/tiger preserves to no avail. We had heard them growl, had gotten close to where we knew there was a Tiger, but they remained elusive until our final day. Then, a quick report by radio, a mad dash across the park and finally a good view of the majestic beast. She didn’t do anything of great interest but the thrill of actually watching her in the environment she rules was just amazing. It was an experience that I will always remember and something that I hope we can preserve for future generations. Of all the incredible animals I have seen in the wild this may be the most spectacular “one”.
This was taken in Banhavgarh, India after one our safaris. This young lady was peeking out of a gated compound – don’t know whether it was a school, a home, or what. What I do know is that she stood out by her splash of color and her luminous smile.
Its been a while since I posted one of these candid portraits. This one was taken in a train station near Satupura, India. This was one of thousands of photo ops that were available during our layover there. I thought it was interesting because of the woman’s strong presence even though she was of very modest means and clothing. The very young puppy lying near her only added to the scene which was strongly lit in the shadows of the station.
Thought I’d post another for this challenge using the same set of subjects but with the focus on a different “layer”. This time the focus is on the “middle” generation who is a beautiful young woman speckled in mud from working to repair their home made of logs, branches and held together by mud. I again used depth of field (aperture) to control the separation of the layers of the photograph (the other family members). Hope you enjoy this additional “layer” of their story….
There are always great opportunities for uncovering layers in a photographic sense. My choice for this week is again one of favorite photos from our India trip earlier this year. We met a family of migrant farmers who were homesteading on national park land. I was struck by the stately beauty of the matriarch of the family and the youthful beauty of her progeny. I was able to capture all three generations (layers) of the family in one photo – to me it tells a story of togetherness, resilience, and a set of family values far different than most of us are familiar with.
As an aside, I was going to submit this photo to a local contest but a former judge of the contest recommended cropping the family out – something I though ruined the photo by deleting the story of the family layers…..
I decided to go back and look for another “eerie” photo. I went back to my India photos and came across one of my favorite photos from that trip. This man was preparing his morning meal and tea along the Ganges River in Varanasi. What drew my eye right away was the mural of Mother Teresa’s gaze looking over him. I thought it had kind of an ethereal feel to it which is again amplified by the B&W treatment. It may not be perfect for this challenge but it is an opportunity to share one of my favorite photos with you……
As much as I tried, I can’t resist another photographic comment on the US budget impasse. I chose this photo because of the adage of the “wise old owl”. It is time for our “leaders” to get the truly wise people together, discard the harmful rehetoric of the “wise guys” (those with more bluster than knowledge), and find the common ground that we all know is there. Any of us who have ever been in a management and/or leadership position know that these types of compromises are made on a daily basis at all levels of organizations. Just lock yourself in a room until you get it done.
The second subliminal message of this post meant for our leaders is WE ARE WATCHING YOU, WE REMEMBER…….and WE VOTE.
When I think of “infinite” I think of unimaginably big to the extent that it is not understandable in the normal way. That is probably why I am always drawn to nature and to nature and wildlife photography. The vastness of all things nature is indeed infinite and it is impossible (at least to me) to understand how it all actually works together to form our “world” of experience. I know that is not a very good definition or discussion but maybe I can explain it in my photo and what it represents to me. I took this photo from the back of a 4 wheel drive vehicle moving RAPIDLY across the rocky and very hilly landscape of Bandhavgarh National Park in India. It was our last game drive there and we had yet to see a Tiger so the driver was “motivated” to get us across the park to where there was a sighting. I was sitting over the rear axle so there were many times (including when I took this photo) that I was actually off the seat and flying – only staying in the jeep by my death grip on the roll bar with my free hand while trying to take a photo of this unimaginably great vista with my other hand. The combination of being in exotic India, actually looking for a Tiger (!), the excitement of the more than slightly dangerous drive, and one of the best sunrises EVER – always makes me think of the infinite (there’s that word again) number of variables that had to come together perfectly to form that moment. I marvel at that every time I look at this photo and still can’t believe it. Sorry for the long explanation – here is my photo….
Where else would I look for a photo for “saturated” other than my India album. Virtually every picture I took there could be used for this challenge – of people, of places, wildlife, whatever! I did a quick scan of those photos and chose this one that I hadn’t posted before. This is a scene I captured along the Ganges River in the city of Varanasi. As you may know, this is considered a very holy place in the Hindu religion and every day features religious activities attended by thousands upon thousands of pilgrims. This holy man was sitting in front of a mural depicting some of the primary gods among the hundreds of million deities in the Hindu religion.
In a land (India) that is well known for, lets say, logistics issues – it was nice to see a sign that promised that there would be “no problems” – and I guess that applies to either your tea OR your boat! Reassuring? Taken along the Ganges River in Varanasi, India.