It is not uncommon for you to do something simply because you enjoy doing it. Passion drives your love for that activity, and you go so far that you never look back and realize how far you've come. We never take the time to reflect on what the journey has taught us. But, every now and then, life forces us to pause and reflect on the milestones we've reached and how the journey has shaped us into a person you never imagined you could be.
It occurred to me one fine day as I reflected on a few questions posed to me by my friends and followers. To be honest, until I came across a few queries that led me to document my process of what I do, why I do it, and how I do it, I never had the opportunity to reflect deeply on the photographic journey that I had embarked on several years ago.
Example 1 : The Little Umbrellas
Every time I come across an intriguing subject, I often see myself photographing colors, shapes, and patterns. This fascination for various hues, patterns, and shapes inspired me to explore a wide range of subjects including paper, fire, water, flowers, and architecture. My approach to photography is to make photographs by capturing what I can't see, and this further motivates me to explore and capture the hidden beauty. According to me the focus of art is creation rather than invention. The goal of invention is to discover something that has never existed before, whereas the goal of creation is to use what already exists to express your inner world. Creation emerges out of the way you look at things. The way you look at something has the potent to transform ordinary into extraordinary. Similarly when it comes to photography, how to present the most ordinary subjects is of paramount importance. The main supporting element of every creation is perspective. I can go beyond what the human eye typically sees by using photography and various perspectives, and I can use colour theory and creativity to manipulate the tones, hues, and colors of an object to show how I see it. To achieve the desired feel or mood in the photograph, I enjoy taking liberty in experimenting with white balance, light, and temperature.
Example 1 is a closeup of beautiful leaves that have been processed and visualized as tiny umbrellas. Example 2 shows a macro shot of colored papers that appear to have mystical curves or caves. A close-up shot of a weathered window in Example 3 explores texture and patterns.
Example 2 : Mystical Curves
1. If the subject has an excessive amount of contrast (high/low) compared to the average tone, I adjust the exposure value while I'm shooting. For instance, raise my EV to the higher side (+1, +2) if the overall exposure is lighter or to the lower side (-1, -2) if it is darker.
2. I always shoot in RAW. It gives me more freedom to experiment with the white balance and adjust highlight/shadow depth. The drawback is higher size, but I don't believe it to be a major issue given the affordability of storage devices today. If your camera has this option and you are not shooting in RAW, set your colour profile to Adobe RGB. But remember to change the colour profile to sRGB after processing and before uploading to the web.
3. I play around with white balance a lot until I get the tone I want for my image. Although it's a nice tool, one needs to be careful not to push it too far and lose the natural look of the image.
4. When I'm not satisfied with the results of white balance adjustments, I occasionally experiment with camera profiles in Lightroom.
5. In RAW processing, I experiment with exposure, contrast, and light adjustment. I also believe in finding your personal favorite settings by experimenting with it.
Example 3 : Weathered Window
One has to know the rules to go beyond the rules. One must therefore discover and create their own style and workflow over time. The aforementioned procedure has been my guide throughout my photographic journey. But in the end, I think that each person must make their own decisions about when and where to stop the adjustment sliders because each image is different and there are no standard settings.
I have been been member of National geographic magazine (NGM) website from 2009. I am uploading my selected photographs regularly under "Your shot". Fortunately enough, my several shots have been selected as NGM editors as favorite & have been published in Daily Dozen as well as stories under assignments.
Images published in Daily Dozen & your shot assignment stories on NGM
Under Daily Dozen, each weekday NGM editors showcase their top 12 submissions. Members vote on editors favorites, and the winners appear in the Editors' Spotlight and be featured on the @natgeoyourshot Instagram account.
Assignments are not contests. Assignments are designed to mimic the process of being a photographer on assignment for National Geographic magazine. The editor(s) have an idea for a story they want to publish. They give the assignment to a photographer, who then goes out in the field and shoots. The photographer often brings back 10,000-plus images, only a handful of which go into the story. Throughout the experience, the editor and photographer are working together to make sure the images that come back are in line with what the editor has in mind for the story. The final selection that gets published may not include what were technically the best photos, nor the ones that the photographer or other editors liked the most. Rather, they are the ones that the editor decided worked together to best tell the story. Editors make a subjective choice based on a lot of elements, including the technical quality, how an image portrays one aspect of a larger story, and even the layout that’s available on the page.
It came to my surprise that my recent shot "snowfall" was published in National geographic Your shot selection on 29.09.2016. I was surprized because it was relatively very simple shot of an ordinary subject straw in the garden. The shallow depth of field was giving interesting blur effect which I was visualising as snowfall because it appeared as small cute snowballs to me. For giving tint of cold I shifted white balance of the captured image in RAW during post processing.http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/daily-dozen/2012-02-13/
I was so happy to know that my photograph "Rush on Platform" was selected by editor of National Geographic (NG) your shot monthly assignment "Built To Walk". I feel getting noticed a image from more than 10,000 entries is itself a compliment which gets extended by having a editors note & published in the story on NG assignment.
I do participate in Your shot consistently & like to get feedback from all around.Moreover this shot has been earlier published on NG Daily Dozen on Feb13, 2012. Daily Dozen is collection of 12 curated images by the editors of NG from the weekly uploads. This shot was also shortlisted in top 50 images in Sony World Photography Organization 2013 international photo contest.
About the image:
This image was captured in my Betterphotography Magazines face off contest for better photographer of the year 2012. It was taken on Dadar railway station of Mumbai in morning before office hours elaborating the rush & hurry of people. The local train has became integral part of Mumbai & the peoples lifestyle.
EXIF Data: 1.3 sec , f16, ISO 100, 17mm
Fabulous. A diptych of human movement. There are so many balanced elements in this image of mass movement (light, space, symmetry) that the whole image is tensed--poised between calm and chaos. Bravo.
I was so happy to know that my photograph "Curves" was selected by editor of NGM your shot monthly assignment "Create It". I feel getting noticed a image out of around 11k entries is itself a compliment which gets extended by having a editors note & published in the story on assignment. I do participate in Your shot consistently & like to get feedback from all around.
About the image:
I worked on the series of paper abstract quiet a long. This work includes getting closeup of color papers exploring interesting forms & colors. This all work was done using my macro lens. I simply get fascinated while doing this kind of work & can invest my hours while working on it. This image was created by using simple paper curves with a spotlight. The shape gives a feel like lady resting on a beach to me. Although everyone is free to interpret there own feelings in abstract photography.
Let there be light! The lines, contrasts, movements, lights, and use of colors. What is there not to like about this picture? The abstract feeling and the minimalistic approach. This picture is so aesthetic and beautiful. - Liz Andersen, guest editor for the Create It assignment
Earlier my image "Sky & Clouds" was picked up by editor with his note on assignment " Nature in Black and white" The image was captured from the corridor of my house presenting a view of sky through the frame. This was giving a illusion as reflection of cloud in a big mirror ? Whereas it is a straight view of sky from my balcony on a cloudy day.
Nice idea of looking at nature from a man made structure. - Peter Essick (National Geographic Photographer)
I hope my images get noticed by the editors in future too :)
Dear friends during online surfing it took to me surprise that my image "painter" was shortlisted in National Geographic Daily Dozon for the 3rd week of May 2011. Unfortunately I didn't got any mail intimating that to me but seeing my image as a part of shortlisted group of images was nice experience.
For those who don't know about Daily Dozen NGM from the Daily Dozen, Photographer across the world post their images under the section "Your Shot". Images under these categories were shortlisted for the Daily Dozen. a selection of photos publishes in monthly National Geographic magazine if photograph gets qualified through voting machine.
I am happy to share with all of you that my photograph : "Apartment: Reflection" has been displayed on the home page of National geographic My Shot page on 4/8/2010.
This is my first time to get such an honor on this site. I hope to like repeat such success in future also.
About The Image:
This shot was taken during photowalk 2010 in Indore near Bombay Hospital. I like the distorted reflection of the building forming in glasses of another building. Unfortunately from the road I was only able to see a partial reflection. I realised that the view could be better from the upper floor. I requested the watchman of the building to allow me to get a shot from the required point of view. He not only allowed me to do so but also came with me & guided for the location. You can find me with a shadow of that watchman under center blue arch.
0.033 sec (1/30)
Off, Did not fire
This Photograph has been selected in Top 10 images as "Honorable Mention" in Worldwide Photowalk 2010.
It gives me immense pleasure to share with you all that I recently got an opportunity to take part in group art exhibition ‘Emulsion’ in Indore. I was so happy and excited that I decided to share my personal experience at this event with you all. This art exhibition featured the work of seven photographers and four sculptors. This was held at Indore's "Canaries Art Gallery." The event began at 5:30 p.m. on September 16, 2016 and lasted until September 20, 2016.
Details of participant & event is as given below:
Image 1 : Invitation for the event & Participants
After a nearly three-year long break, I took part in a group art exhibition called "Emulsion," which featured photographers and sculptors. I find the processes of preparation, printing, mounting, framing, and display to be a little stressful. Because it seems difficult to store and maintain the work after the show, I'm hesitant to take part in exhibitions. This may be due to the fact that I began using a digital camera for photography (I started doing this after 2006) and that I posted the majority of my images online on my websites, Facebook, and photo-sharing websites.
My photography work had nearly ceased for about a year, except for maybe a few clicks here and there. It's difficult to restart a shooting career if interest wanes. During this time, one can start clicking, participate in art-related activities, visit exhibitions, or simply keep exploring the work of those you follow. But instead, I find myself avoiding all of these activities, particularly not visiting Facebook and other photo sharing sites. Time constraints brought on by hectic schedules and the tendency to only think about ideas without trying to put them into action are the main causes of work getting stuck. I think that such a phase doesn't need a good justification, but a new beginning does, in my opinion.
But once I got going, I realised that I was beginning to enjoy my working style. Because this exhibition was planned on such short notice, I was once more on the fence about taking part. However, senior photographer Mr. Tanveer Farooqui ji took the initiative and was charged with handling the issues that had previously prevented me from taking part. This left me with the task of choosing and getting the files ready for printing. This also occurred with similar assistance from senior photographer Mr. Upendra Upadhya ji for my most recent exhibition, "Photon," in 2013. I merely agreed to it because I believed it would help my photography work gain more momentum. This time, I was confident in showing off my most recent collection of macro photographs, which were taken over the past few months.
I've been working on everyday subjects for a few years now because I enjoy the process of discovering beauty in these ordinary subjects. I'd like to continue on that topic, hoping that long breaks will be limited in the future.
ABOUT THE DISPLAY
Subject of Displayed Work : Beauty in leaves.
Image 2 : My Ten displayed images in the exhibition
About the theme: Certainly, flowers are beautiful, but that doesn't mean leaves aren't, either! It's my little way of trying to get your attention on the lovely things about leaves. I believe pearls are formed when an oyster receives a drop of rain or dew, but I have seen them glitter like a pearl on the leaves. I tried to capture and present the pure sound of "OM" in these leaves as well as the contours of butterflies, stars, and even butterflies.
Since my previous exhibitions, I have been practicing the exercise of creating tiny thumbnails of the images to be displayed in order to finalize the arrangement for the final display. This saves a huge amount of time during gallery installation. Additionally, it prevents last-minute confusion about arrangements. Due to my liking the way they all complemented one another, I decided to mount ten images in two rows on the same wall.
DURING THE EVENT
Along with other well-known photographers from Indore, I participated, and I saw it as a learning opportunity. Although there are many tutorials on the internet and in books discussing technical aspects of photography, there are very few that explore aesthetics. This can be acquired by speaking with senior artists, photographers, and painters to understand their perspectives on the artwork that is on display. Seeing the different levels of reaction to the displayed art from a regular person to a senior artist also enriched my life.
Event Images with Shriram Jog ji, Hemshankar Pathal ji & kirti pandya (Photo Courtesy Balwant Chouhan)
The most important aspect was interacting with the participants, other artists, and friends. I enjoy receiving feedback on my work, especially from painters, because I focus primarily on shapes, patterns, and colours. I'm pleased to report that I received a lot of positive feedback as well as insightful observations and recommendations.
Slideshow : Images from the event (Photo Courtesy Tanveer Farooqui ji & Balwant Chouhan)
The event's most interesting highlight was meeting renowned theatre artist Mr. Shriram Jog ji. I happened to see him perform in a Marathi drama called "Kahi Teri Kara Re" at Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya in Indore. The owner of "Vaibhav Nursery," Kirti Pandya, paid a visit to the gallery, which was another highlight. With his gracious assistance, I have been photographing at his nursery for about 8 to 9 years as I have wished. It was very touching to see his acceptance that he had developed a new perspective on these plants after looking through the images that were on display.
A WORD ON PHOTOSHOP PROCESSING HYPE
The majority of viewers, I noticed, seemed preoccupied with evaluating how the effect was created or to what extent it was edited. Actually, I had the same thoughts earlier, but I stopped doing that. I think it takes the artistic vision of a creator to achieve the desired effect using any available tools, and according to me one should not impose any constraints on how you view things. One ought to be allowed to approach a subject however he pleases if he is not aiming for scientific documentation. The subject's natural beauty must be preserved while keeping treatment to a minimum. When I see other people's work, I just ask myself if it's working for me or not, regardless of the method used to achieve the result.
I completely understand the human desire to understand the process, but I find it utterly unconvincing to make judgments solely based on how something is processed. It should be remembered that in the past, when using film cameras, a photographer would process the images in a darkroom to get the desired result.
In photography, the word "editing" seems to have a lot of different meanings. When someone asks or says, "Edit kiya hain kya?," it appears that they are already convinced that processing tools can accomplish anything, including automatically turning a mediocre photo into an exceptional one. As opposed to that, I consider these tools to be enhancing already beautiful images. Editing process can be subdivided into basic, advanced, and creative.
Basic: Adjustment brightness, contrast, colors, cropping & rotation.
Advanced: Adjustment by basic editing + cloning small areas, dodging, burning etc.
Creative: Advanced editing + merging different images, adding elements not present in original frame.
Most of the time, simple or sophisticated editing is sufficient for my style of photography. Anyhow, this subject is endless and somewhat debatable. I also believe that occasionally the processing tools have lost a little bit of respect due to overuse (resulting in an unnatural look).
It will be more beneficial for them if they try to understand the viewpoint of an artist rather than concentrating on technical questions at such an event, which is my kind advice to beginning photographers.
The event ran from 3 to 8 p.m., and since I didn't want to miss a single piece of feedback, I made an effort to spend as much time as I could in the gallery. I was fortunate to receive insightful comments from viewers about the differences between printing on canvas and paper, the fine composition improvements in the images that were displayed, compliments on colour schemes, and information about plants that was genuinely fascinating.
I'd also like to thank everyone who participated, especially the seniors, for giving me a chance to exhibit my work alongside theirs. Throughout the event, I also look to them for advice. It's impossible to list every single detail because the event lasted almost five days. I sincerely appreciate everyone's kind comments and admiration for the work that was on display. This involvement will undoubtedly fuel my continued interest in photography.
Because this event was planned on such short notice, it's possible that I didn't get to invite many of you. We made every effort to invite people via Facebook, Whatsapp, email, and text messages. In such a case, I ask for forgiveness because I made a human error. I'd also like to thank all of our friends, followers, and visitors for spending time with us and providing encouraging feedback. I'd also like to thank those who were unable to attend this event; I completely understand their personal reasons. I am already overwhelmed by the response and hope that they will continue to show their support for my work.
Today this website completes the first year. Last year I started this website basically to keep backup of my files & simultaneously to display in user friendly way to the viewers having interest to explore my photography work. I was really happy to receive overwhelming response & love. Over 6000 unique visitors visited this website & around 40 visitors taken effort to mention their valuable feedback & words of appreciation in the guestbook. I sincerely appreciate their feedback & expresses lot of thanks for loving my work !
The interesting data for me was there is some percent of serious fans who can stay on this website more than 20 minutes to hour. That's really encouraging to know.
I was planning to display a new set of work on this day but unfortunately due to busy schedule from some months I was not able to work on it. I regret for that but also hope very soon I will start sharing new work.
The experience with Zenfolio (the service provider) was really good. Regular updates were being added giving new features & templates. Though I have preferred the first designed template minor changes were added to the site like addition of new logo & watermark to the images. Your valuable feedback will be welcomed for adding any correction/features to the site.
Thanks to all of you & keep loving!!
Dear Friends on the occasion of festival Diwali I express my greetings to all of you. I wish this festival brings happiness in your life. I am happy to share with you all that my article "Me & My Photography" is published in annual "Diwali online Magazine" by Foto Circle Society.
'FOTO CIRCLE SOCIETY' is an organisation formed by a group of enthusiastic and active photographers in 1998, with motto - 'Together we progress'. They have started publishing online annual magazine FA FOTOCHA ( F for Fotography) exploring the artist mind instead of usual technical details we found every\where in other articles.
In this article I tried to open my mind as a photographer, my understanding towards Abstract photography & thought as well as some confused mind as openly as possible.
I hope you like it. Since it's in Marathi I am sorry for non-Marathi friends. Maybe someday I will translate in English on my blog. For this article after a long gap it inspired me to write down on paper in Marathi language. The electronic media really cut down my habit of writing letters/ diary..may be my lazy nature is more responsible than the electronic media.