IMG_20140604_200939

Guest Blog – Food For Thought

inspiration, photography, Tutorial, tips and tricks

Food is what sustains us, by providing us with energy. Essentially and primarily food had that one solitary function – to provide man with energy as and when required. People ate when they felt worn-out and exhausted after hunting, collecting and well, surviving. However that was ages back. Food has evolved along with man and other things. Food, as many will agree, is an outcome of art. Some eat to live, many live to eat.

IMG_20140604_235241

 

Food photography is rather popular in the present time, where images of scrumptious fares are extensively created and appreciated. Instagram, Facebook and many such social media forums are flooded with photos of food that people eat. It is almost a ritual to click a picture before devouring what’s presented on our table.

IMG_20140715_152037

Why do we click pictures of what we consume?  Why do we share?  What are the outcomes?

First of all, we snap pictures of food, because it is a pleasure to look at what we are about to eat. It is akin to capturing the taste in a picture. The same logic works when we eat food that looks good, and avoid what looks distasteful. Clicking a picture ensures that we savour what we eat and we call to mind and reminesce what we ate.

Secondly, sharing everything on social networks has become an important part of life today. As interpersonal relationships have reduced in physical reality, sharing in real life has reduced drastically. Consequently virtual sharing of images of food gives us the same satisfaction which was received by sharing a table with several loved ones. The need for social conformity is also taken care of when people hit the “like” button on a social forum.

IMG_20140613_184218

IMG_20140604_235816

IMG_20140629_224736

 

Finally, creating tasteful images of the food we eat can prove to be beneficial. Seeing a picture of something which looks delicious releases certain chemicals in our brain as eating the same would, even if in lesser quantities. It works to increase appetite, provide pleasure and activate taste buds. Sometimes it awakens gustatory memory and gives us the satisfaction of delayed gratification. We tend to crave for good food, we tend to pay attention to and enjoy our meals more. And most importantly it speeds digestion too.So the next time your friends begin snapping away to glory when your dinner is served be patient and feel free to join in. It is worth the wait!

Note: I would like to thank Mr.Debdutto Banerjee for giving me the opportunity to write on his blog. I admire his posts and photographs and wish him all the very best.

Shamoita is a psychology student and is presently pursuing her higher studies and has her own unique take on life and photography. You can check more of shamoita’s work at her instagram account at http://instagram.com/shamoita

 

Borail Range

7 tips for shooting landscape photographs

Landscape, Travel Photography, Tutorial, tips and tricks

I love to shoot landscapes, and from my experience of being a self taught photographer, i learnt a few things the hard way. Here goes my top 7 tips for photographing magical landscapes.

1. Research - The first thing that comes to people’s mind when thinking about landscape photography, is great vistas and shooting them in good light. By good light i mean the “magic hour” (1 hour before sunrise and 1 hour after sunset). Though this is quintessentially the best time to shoot, before even going out for the shoot, one must conduct a thorough research about the place, its weather conditions, the time of sunrise, sunset and also the direction from which the sun is going to rise or set. I always make sure that i do my research up to the tiniest of details. I would go to 500px.com and look at the great images that have been created. Inspiration is a major part of being able to make jaw dropping images. Knowing about the weather is crucial, because we might be standing in front of a great scene, but that morning, the sun, sadly may not show its face, and we would be utterly disappointed to get something of a dab photograph. Doing my research properly, i knew that i would get nice storm clouds up in Assam. That was the way i had planned my trip, and was able to make this image.

Clouds and Hills

 

2. Getting up early and staying up late - Think of it this way, have we ever looked at the afternoon sky and said to ourselves, ‘wow such a lovely sky’. If we haven’t done that, then chances are that landscape photographs taken in the afternoon will not be as flattering. The best light, or the magical light normally occurs during dawn and dusk and beyond that for an hour or so. So get out of that cozy bed, grab a cup of coffee and get out and make your photograph.

First Ray Of Light

“A good photograph will never come to you, you need to go out and make one”

3. Shoot abstract – Break from the ordinary and shoot the landscape in a unique manner. I always make it a point to create abstract images of the landscape, because, one it helps me grow as a photographer and also it is more pleasing than creating images that have been made to death by billions of other photographers.

In the shot below, i noticed a peculiar similarity between the two sets of clouds, in that they were travelling quite parallel to each other. Zooming in on the hill i got this abstract image, even though i had a vista waiting just in front of me to be shot.

The Tower of Clouds

Another shot which i loved creating is the abstract cloud shot,  Instead of the whole cloudscape, i concentrated on a particular part, just beyond which the sun was hidden.

Cloud

 

4.Include foreground – Foreground objects in an image gives us a sense of scale, and makes the image all the more dynamic. It helps us to travel through the image. Foregrounds can vary from from flowers, to rocks on the banks of a river. Getting down low, will help us to use the foreground elements in our images in a much stronger way.

Satkosia tree branch

The tree gives the viewer a good place to rest his eyes and wander around the photograph.

5. Adding a human element – I have always been of the group of people who think that adding a human element to the landscape enhances the photograph and add’s an extra bit of life, and dimension to the image.

Walking All Alone

Walking All Alone

The human touch brings life to the photograph.

clouds

6. Shooting in raw – This for me has been my mantra for getting the details back from parts of the images which otherwise would have been unusable. The amount of recovery that we can do using this format is unbelievable and one needs to try this to believe it. “Raw for me”

Jatinga sunset

All the details in the sky was brought out in post production and it would not have been possible if shot in JPEG. So set your camera’s image capture to raw, and never touch it.

7. Post Processing – If anybody said that digital photography is being ruined by post production then certainly that person does not know how to perform good post processing. It is something which like our camera techniques will come to us gradually and is an essential part of creating the final image. From the days of film to todays age, post processing is the only way we can get our vision of the image we captured to an actual print.

Borail Range

This image taken during sunrise in Jatinga, Assam has gone through a fair bit of post processing to be able to get to this final result. Do not be afraid of playing with the digital pixels, after all if we do not enjoy ourselves can we ever make good photographs!!

8. A few additional tips – Apart from the above few tips, i would like to list down a few more tricks. Always try and carry a tripod. I know it is heavy and it is a botheration to be carried around, but this is a life saver. It will help you capture images in low light, avoiding high iso and thus during the time of processing less noise to think about. Also apart from the star light effect there is really no need to stop down the lens to f/22. f/8 or a f/11 will give us more than enough depth of field. Use the live view function to scan all the corners of the frame properly before taking the photograph, try using the self timer, to avoid any camera shake whatsoever when on a tripod. Last but may be one of the most important is that our photographs are made up of light. Try to find contrast in a scene. That is what makes or breaks an image. Refer to one of my previous blog posts about light to get more about this http://debduttobanerjeephotography.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/its-about-light/

Kanchenjunga, Darjeeling

Hope that, few of my tips are helpful to you guys. What is your favourite trick or tip for shooting landscapes. Leave your answer in the comments section, would love to know your take on this.

Until next time :) :D

 

lock

5 tips for inspiration in photography

inspiration, photography, Tutorial, tips and tricks

It’s been quite sometime that i have been thinking of writing a blog post based on the idea, of, what inspires us to take photographs. This is my version of what i see as inspirations and what keeps the fire inside me burning, so that i may aim in creating better and more compelling photographs.

1. Personal Projects – This i think for me, is one of the corner stones for inspiration. A personal project lets us think and observe more, than just taking a photograph. It is also in a way more rewarding, because we are not working for any client, but for our own satisfaction. We are not on any deadline, thus we can take as much time as we may wish to get the desired result.

lock

I have been working on this project on different kinds of locks for several years now. Personal projects also helps us to see the transition of ourselves as photographers.

2. Seasonal Photographs – What i mean here, is to make pictures of something that is happening right now, then and there. E.g. to make photographs of fall color during winter or showcasing the rainy season in one’s particular city. These too are somewhat of a personal project but is not that long term. It can also include photographs of current events around the world, like football/soccer photographs during World Cup, 2014.

wpid-img_20140505_093947_1_1.jpg

Right now, it is early July and we are experiencing a monsoon season. I am trying to create a body of work, which revolves around “monsoon in my city”.

3. The one thing that is bound to get us filled with inspiration is to look at the work of photographers we admire. We may study their work, look at how they worked through their photographic career and sometimes even try to copy them. In this process of emulating them, we gather inspiration like no other.

4. Learning new camera/editing technique – I still remember the day i first found the goodness of dodging and burning. It was during my earlier lightroom years, but after i had learnt a new technique, i was constantly trying to implement that in different photographs. We must always try and improve ourselves and learning new ways of using our camera equipment or learning editing techniques goes a long way in inspiring us.

mani square black and white

Learning to createthe new contrasty looking architecture photos, along with the use of dodge and burn.

5. Me time – Sometimes being with oneself, thinking about what we love about photography, and what are the kinds of photographs we want to create. This makes us think what we love and then we may act upon it. Sit with a bottle of wine in a nice small cosy room and think, it will perhaps give you one of the best ideas.

Jacobs Creek red wine

Bonus Tip :- Leave your camera gear behind and start looking for subject matters to shoot, or try to seek interesting light. You would be amazed on how itchy you become, just because you do not have a camera. Sometimes that can be a good thing because you would be desperate to take pictures, as you see them, but the restriction of not having the camera, fuels the urge of making better photographs even more. Thus in turn when we do have the right camera equipment, creating a photograph would come more naturally making one happy inherently. :D

cloudscape sunset

What are the things which inspire you to create wonderful photographs. Would love to hear from you people.

If you like this article do share it on different social media so that others may view it too.

Till next time ciao :D :) Happy inspiration :)

wpid-img_9467-edit-edit-1.jpg

Orissa – The lesser known parts – Satkosia – Mahendragiri

Landscape, Travel Photography

Hello everybody, this post is about my recent roadtrip to Satkosia, Mahendragiri, the lesser known and less touristy places of Odhisha (Orissa). This would be more  of a pictographic/photographic representation of Orissa through my eyes.

Satkosia :- A wildlife forest surrounding the banks of river Mahanadi, and forming a gorge. The place looks majestic and eerie at the same time. It was in the month of February, that i had visited and the early morning sunrise was worth waking up for. The bank of the river bed looks like a barren land, and can easily be described as some place outside our earth.
wpid-img_9423-edit-3-1.jpg

I tried to make a vertical panorama too out here, because i thought the foreground water and small stones created a good visual impression.

wpid-img_9417-edit-edit.jpg

Next on our tour itinerary was Mahendragiri. Due to some unavoidable circumstances we did not get to stay or visit Mahendragiri, had to take a detour, but the roads we crossed and the Landscape we encountered was simply breathtaking.

wpid-img_9525-edit.jpg

On route met with this young boy, who chatted with us a bit, and i with his permission tried to make a portrait of him. He was so happy looking at his own picture.

wpid-img_9553-edit.jpg

I really liked this barren stretch of road, and this old withered out tree enhanced the feel of the picture.

wpid-img_9538-edit.jpg

What i experienced in Odhisha (Orissa) was the opposite of what people know about it. This state is much more than just Puri, and Chandipur. People should try and visit these places more often. The serene beauty is just breathtaking, and to have roads where you go on endlessly, with nobody to see for more than 50 miles. That is the sense what a traveler yearns for. This post for the love of this place, hope to be back there soon.

wpid-img_0066.jpg

Its all about Light

photography, Travel Photography, Tutorial, tips and tricks

We all go through that phase in our photographic career where we just cannot get enough of gear. The moment we buy an expensive camera, we think that now we ought to buy a super expensive lens, only then would we be able to get those pictures, which we see and admire. Believe me, i went through this phase for quite sometime, and the only positive thing i gathered from my personal experience is that photography is majorly only about light. It was the most essential thing during the times of a pin-hole camera to today’s modern digital slr’s. Its how we use light to enhance our imagery and use it to our advantage is what we need to learn.

IMG_9633In the image above, i knew exactly what i wanted to do, that is why i waited for the cloud to cover up the sun, so that the sun rays would wrap around it and create this lining around it, which creates a dynamic separation from the background.

In this next photograph i deliberately waited for the small kitten to come into a small slit of light which made its face illuminated and thus rendering the background dark, eventually increasing the tonal range of the photograph.
wpid-img_0066.jpg

 

Early morning and late evening lights are always great for landscapes. No matter what lens and what camera is used, good light is the quintessential element that is required for any photograph.

wpid-2012-winter-181-wallpaper.jpg.jpeg

These layers of the Himalayan Mountains would not have been so clearly visible, if this picture would have been shot at high noon. The low angle of light creates a separation between the different ranges thus helping in creating this photograph. This image could well have been captured by any phone or a point and shoot, if and only if the timing of the shot would have been in the “magic hour”.

wpid-img_6842-1.jpg

One thing that i have learnt over the years, is to be more observant to light. We do not always have to have our camera or mobile phones right in our face, ready to snap a picture. Even when we don’t have these image capture devices at our disposal we should observe how light creates its own magic. Once i got to understand how light works, i was able to use it to my advantage. In the above image i deliberately under-exposed so as to get that streak of light. The same concept was used to make this photograph of the person checking the genuineness of the currency note, in the little slit of light.026-Edit

All these images were captured with an entry level dslr and most of them with a standard kit lens. Its really not about the gear but about the perspective and willingness to observe light and use it, wait for it to change for the good. Being a natural light photographer, i really have to make do with whatever light is available, and the most interesting thing is i find natural light to be the best possible light source. I would end this post mb showing a picture i took with my mobile phone.

wpid-img_20140505_093947_1_1.jpg

 

Getting down low and waiting for a headlight beam to illuminate the rain drops is all i had to do. The rest of it was taken care by the light. I would like to end this post on the note that, “its not about the gear, but about how we use it, how we use it to chase light and capture light”.

Enter your comments on whether you think that light is as important as i put it, or do you disagree. Lets here some opinion. Share, tweet, comment. Show some love.

Till next time cheers :)