“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
– Ansel Adams

 

 

By Divine Grace, I live near a hillside in Pune. I often wander into the hills just for the love of being with nature. These lonely yet not alone walks give me enough inspiration for Photography also. I started learning  Photography after being motivated by a dear friend of Swamili to take up a hobby long back. Luckily there were many unused cameras at home including one DSLR also. If you ask me to learn a new gadget I would rather keep it under my pillow and sleep for some days, so that slowly technology will seep into my brain. In a nutshell,  I had a wonderful DSLR lying around and I didn’t know how to use it!.

 I started searching for someone who can teach me the basics of this camera. Luckily for me, I found a Photographer who was willing to come to my home and teach me the basics for a small fee. He taught me the very important triangle concept in photography, the shutter speed, aperture, and iso, and one composition rule. The rule of thirds. I started taking pictures with this knowledge.

In  those days my diary was full of gibberish  like f/ 8, f/2.8/ f/ 5.6, 1/ 50, 1/ 200 1/ 160, 100 , 200, 400 etc.   These were the EXIF data of all the pictures I studied from many sources. I thought by byhearting these numbers someday I will shoot like a pro. I kept on writing down these numbers filling my diary. There were also numbers like 50 mm, 14-24mm, 24-35, 35-70, 70-150, 70-300. These were the focal lengths of different lenses. I tried to use them all. I spent all my  money on taking these lenses for rent. I never regretted this because I wanted to find my lens. I believed I have a lens with that only I will settle. The tryst with different lenses continued till I bought my  50 mm 2.8 the nifty –fifty in lenses. I am settled and happy with it now and have no plans of changing it. I learned to use it for all my needs. No more lens hunting sprees.

 Initially, I was taking a lot of pictures and they were all in jpg only and I thought they were good enough. But something was missing, I couldn’t figure out what was missing in the pictures. Yes, the required number of pixels was missing in jpg files. I wasn’t aware of RAW files and their uses.

The first time I heard of Sheil Sir was when a friend of mine told me she knows a veteran Photographer in Pune and he also takes classes.  This ignited my dreams of meeting him and learning under him. Another two years passed before I could meet him and learn the basics of editing and get some mentoring.  Shifting from jpg to Raw was not easy. I was scared at the thought of RAW files which are so huge. A few shots would consume an entire memory card.   Sheil Sir was so strict and he insisted I shoot in RAW only and refused even to take a look at the jpg files I showed him. He was no ordinary Photographer, Shridhar Despande Sir, an  IITian, an ardent photographer for thirty years, mentored hundreds of newbies like me. Just his mere presence made me feel like I am doing all mistakes. ( I even wrote an imposition of hundred times ‘’I will not shoot in jpg’’ )

But he never scolded me except once and that was too bad, maybe that story can be a topic for another Photoblog.

Thank you Sheil Sir for not throwing me out for all those blunders I did.

I can’t forget this strong advice he gave me one day ‘’ Surekha, you don’t have to fall every time to learn something ‘’

I think I lost myself a bit into the past. But there is a great sense of joy in remembering those days. Everytime I take a picture it is an action of surrender. Jai Sri Hari . 

 

“It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart, and head.”
-Henri Cartier-Bresson

THE HEARTH  (CHULHA )

My hobby my love 2

 

There is a watchman and his family staying in a small house near the hillside, I found their ‘Chulha ‘ a very interesting subject to shoot. The lovely morning light falling on it through the small creeks in the roof was an added attraction. Somehow I wanted this image. One day I asked the watchman’s wife ‘’ Aap yahan khana kab banati hai’’ She was not very interested in this conversation. ( being turned down by subjects is nothing new to a photographer ) . She simply said ‘’jab gas khatam hota hai’’ . That meant I will have to keep waiting for the gas to get over till she decides to cook there and give me a shot. I tried again ‘’ Aap mere liye kuch bana djiye chulhe pe’’  She didn’t give any reply to this. The watchman was standing there and listening to our conversation. He was probably more kind hearted. He said ‘’Aap usko apni bahan samjiye , aur kabi bhi aake photo lijiye’’ . I heaved a sigh of relief. I didn’t trouble my sister for a while. Then the fire/smoke challenge was announced in the insta food community which I was following. I tried burning onions and brinjals on my gas top to take smoke picture along with fire. They all looked charred and I knew it is not going to work. I remembered watchman’s Chulha. I headed to their place on my scooty carrying my tripod and camera. I had the permission of the watchman anyhow. Luckily the Chulha was in full glory that morning, water was boiling in it with lots of smoke. My sister came there with a mug to take boiling water and I got this beautiful shot. Can’t tell you how happy I was at that moment. Just one shot and I had it.  I submitted the image. My western friends in the community also probably never saw such smoke and fire. I got published. Next day I went and told the watchman’s wife how the photo became a hit. She smiled a little . Well I tried 🙂

Some more pictures from my recent shoots.

Another one from the smoke /fire challenge also got featured.

 

My hobby my love 3

 

Hibiscus Tea

My hobby my love 4

Here is Sharanya giving me a helping hand. She sometimes  helps me in shoots.

The Papaya

My hobby my love 5

 

A friend sends these farm-fresh papayas. I couldn’t help shooting them. Arranged some papaya leaves around them from my garden and made this image.

 

Ghee

My hobby my love 6

I love the process of making ghee from malai at home. Especially when I take out the soft butter in my palms after whipping the crème …it is Divine. You must try and experience this !! 

 

Vishu Konna ( Flowers of golden shower tree )

My hobby my love 7

These are known to be very auspicious and we keep them infront of Sri Krishna on Vishu

(the Malayalam New Year).  It is compulsory to wake up and see these flowers first thing in the morning.  the Malayalam New Year. 

I love old stuff

My hobby my love 8

One from my still life gallery. 🙂

When the morning light weaves a magic !!

My hobby my love 9

 

 

Hope you enjoyed this photowalk with me.

Here is me wandering around the hills. Not a recent pic 🙂

My hobby my love 10

Hope you enjoyed this photowalk with me.

Please choose your favourite picture from these and let me know in comments. 🙂 

Cover a dreamy  Highland scene from Scotland.

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Surekha Chandrasekhar

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