Posts Tagged South India

Flexibility and balance

Flexibility and balance sounds like the name of a yoga class but actually I’m writing about my thinking process while planning my next trip.

First of all…where to go? India of course, no surprise there. Some of my friends have been around the world several times while I’ve continued to go back to the same place each year. What can I say? I’m hooked. I wish I had the time and money to see and do it all but if I can only go away for a few weeks there’s nowhere I’d rather be than India. It’s home. Photographically, returning to the same place challenges me to see in a new way, to go deeper. Also there are long term projects I like to continue working on and new ones to start. For balance I’ll try to add in a spot or two that I’ve never visited along with my favorites.

Next…when to go? After talking with the airlines I discovered my favorite (most direct) routes were either fully booked or filling fast since I am looking to travel during November/December, a peak time. Hearing this I quickly reserved my tickets. Now I have no flexibility to change my travel dates because the plane tickets have stiff penalties but I can be flexible with my time while in India.

I like to prepare in advance, have some ideas of what I think I’d like to do but be able to change course at any moment. If something interesting comes along I want to be able to be as spontaneous as possible. I also like to move at my own pace when shooting. If I find myself in a sweet spot the last thing I want to do is leave. Flexibility is the great opportunity one has when traveling alone. There are many advantages to traveling with friends or a group but I usually prefer to travel on my own.

For those of you considering travel, whether for photography or other reasons…Do you prefer to visit new places or return to ones you’ve been before? Do you like to make plans or keep yourself open and see what shows up? Do you like to travel alone or with others? I’d love to hear your comments. Safe travels to all!

Here are a group of photos taken in and around Indian temples.

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Streets of South India

My Hindi language tapes have just arrived in the mail.  After an unforgettable week at the Kumbh Mela I’m planning on spending more time in North India where it’s more commonly spoken, so I’m going to get started on Lesson One in a few minutes.

Until now most of my 13 visits to India have been spent in South India. All of India is amazing but South India has a special place in my heart. I could go on and on as to why but here’s one reason…the food. Nothing on earth beats a South Indian breakfast. Idlis, Sambar, Pongal, Upma and Dosas are examples of what’s on the breakfast menu along with fresh Coconut, Tomato and Mint chutneys. Delicious!

Below is some of what I saw in January on the streets of South India. I like to make these photos as “close up and complicated” as possible, to quote the mantra given to me by a great photographer, teacher and friend Norman Mauskopf. I’m looking to include as much information as possible without cluttering the frame. That may mean using limited depth of field or just moving a step or two to position the key elements where I want them. Often I will set up the shot and then wait for someone to walk or drive into the frame, adding another dimension to the story. Street photography often reminds me of a juggling act. My thought process goes something like this…  “Here comes a lady in a great sari that’s perfect for the background.” “Hurry, the main subject is leaving.” “Oh no, get that arm out of the way.” “A cow is walking thru…great.”  It can be challenging but also extremely rewarding when all the elements come together. I’ve heard stories of photographers who spend an entire day in one spot waiting for their shot. Talk about patience and dedication.

To get multi layered photographs it helps to be in a place that’s filled with action. I’m interested in knowing…what are your favorite spots for street photography?   Phir Milenge. (See you later.)