Blog

Sharing my experiences of this beautiful world that we live in through photography. And some geeky tech photo stuff.

How to Photograph a Monk on the street

December 24, 2013  -  Monks & Priests, People, Photography Tips

sadhu-india-monk-portrait

This photo was taken a few years ago. I was walking along one of the smaller streets in Jaipur in Rajasthan (India) to get away from the hectic traffic when I noticed this sadhu sitting on the side of the street. As soon as I saw him I knew I had to photograph him.

I don’t want to be judgmental but as I got closer to him I got the feeling that he was not really a sadhu (monk) but rather someone who dressed up as one in order to receive alms or have photographers like me take photos of him.

Most of the time I ask when I photograph people. So, I went up to him and asked if I could take a portrait of him. Sure enough he very readily obliged but said I needed to leave a donation. Fair enough. He needs to earn a living and I want his photo. A fair trade. I was not there to find out if he was a really sadhu or not. Just wanted his photo. So, since I was paying for this opportunity I got him to pose up against a wall, adjusted my camera to the right settings then took this photo.

Photo Tips:
Here’s a photography tip on photographing a monk on the street. If you are traveling and come across such an opportunity don’t let it go. What little money he asked for was nothing in comparison to the photo that I have enjoyed looking at many times. Most people get offended when the subject requests money. I personally think it is a fair trade. I asked them they did not ask me.

Also, since you are paying for the photo, take your time to get your camera settings right, right angle, lighting etc so that you get the shot that you want.

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Helpful Tip to Photograph in Crowds

October 13, 2013  -  Photography Tips

Most monuments are filled with tourist milling around taking photographs and just enjoying being there that it is almost impossible to get a clear shot of the subject without a tourist in it.

I had a similar experience in Central Java, Indonesia, a few weeks back. I was at the spectacular Borobudur Temple and it pretty much has people walking around it all day. The temple is gorgeous and filled with many statues of meditating Buddhas. All these statues in the central part of the temple are enclosed within small domes. But one Buddha statue had the enclosing dome sadly blown off in an a terrorist attack some years back. Though that event and the destruction is a sad event it provides a great photography opportunity for the temple with the meditating Buddha in the foreground.

The problem is that you never get a clear shot without a tourist in the background from dawn to closing in the evening. Except during closing. When the temple guards come out to usher all the tourist out. Hang back as long as you can, find one guard that is friendly and sweetly ask him to give you one minute to photograph this. And if you ask super nicely and are super friendly, they’ll almost always say yes. So, I did and he said yes.

You literally don’t have much time to do this. So, well before you even ask find a spot to photograph from, compose your shot and get all the settings right on your camera. Take a few photos with tourists in them. Once you got your shot all set up on your camera, wait for closing and then go back to that spot and shoot without the tourists. This saves you a whole bunch of time since you hardly have any time to take that shot once you get permission to do so.

The first shot below shows the monument with tourists in the foreground.

The second shot, same angle, without the tourists. Right when the monument is closing and everyone is being ushered out.

Tourist standing all around throughout the day preventing an opportunity to photograph the monument alone.

Tourist standing all around throughout the day preventing an opportunity to photograph the monument alone.

At the time the monument is closing everyone leaves leaving a perfect opportunity for a clear shot.

At the time the monument is closing everyone leaves leaving a perfect opportunity for a clear shot.

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Changing your Perspective

April 2, 2013  -  Photography Tips

Many of you know I have a love for photography. I wanted to share with you a couple of photos that I took late last year in Salzburg, Austria, while walking around the old part of town. I mainly want to highlight how by changing your perspective you can get a completely different image of the subject. The subject in discussion here is a fountain next to the Salzburg museum.

The first image below of the fountain was taken with a church in the background. An ok photo but nothing impressive at all. By moving around to the other side of the fountain, kneeling down and keeping the sun directly in front of me I took another photo. A much different result. A much better one.

The same works with the mind. If your awareness resides in the conscious mind your perspective on life is a certain way – externalized and dominated by your five senses. If your awareness is in the superconscious area of the mind your perspective is more like being on top of the mountain. You get to see the whole picture, make wiser decisions and create better outcomes.

Shot with the church in the background.

Shot with the church in the background.

Shot kneeling down with the sun in the background which allowed for the water to be lit up.

Shot kneeling down with the sun in the background which allowed for the water to be lit up.

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