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People from my travels – India

I have been honing my skills at people photography during this fall trip to India.  Environmental portraits tell stories of people. Here are a select few. I have added technical information where I could,  for those with interest in photography.

These two girls were on the road side in the heart of Jaipur and I was driving the Jeep up a steel incline towards the Fort.  I stopped pulled out my camera, held up the traffic, turned on my charms and asked the two kids if they would smile for a picture. They obliged – what an infectious smile and I managed to capture its intensity.

Traveling through North India, we drove in from Agra to Jaipur and then to Delhi. Jaipur, also known as the pink City is  a place of legends, of history, forts and palaces.  A city with a riot of colours, bright and aggressive at that. Reds and all warm shades dominate the clothing. Here I have captured a snake charmer and his assistant, all in fine hue of orange. I clicked from all angles and with wide aperture to ensure the backgrounds were not cluttered. My new Tamron f 2.8 lens shows up its sharpness even when wide open. Generally if you need to click quickly, I prefer using smaller apertures,  say f8 or so, to avoid focusing problems as you need to click very quickly (often from the hip) and later adjust in RAW or photoshop.

These guys were so used to the tourists clicking their pictures (they expect you to drop a few bucks) they pose better than many professional models I know. Their choice of colours, clothes and that far away look in their eyes, all spoke volumes. Even the snake (Cobra) seems to have learn the fine art of posing.

The above was a whole team of snake charmers who seemed to be in a trance fallen prey to their own music and act

 

 

The morning commute in rural Rajastan. I shot both these from the car window. On the left it is amazing to see the cyclist stop as the Sun rises to offer his prayers on his way to his work place.

On the right – not exactly the GO bus, but seem to serve the purpose

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This vendor had some fine merchandise – from Pashmina shawls to hand made wool and silk carpets. Good prices too, but because there are guarantees about their authenticity. So strangely like many other people we go into an established brick & mortar shop and pay a higher price. To get an environmental portrait like this, one needs to approach and communicate with the subject. Took it at f8 to get everything in focus

The head gear, as you will see from many of these pictures seems mandatory and that with the brightest colours you can find.

On the steps of the Amber Fort. Jaipur is full of history and stories of the past.

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The riot of colours on the roadside was shot from the window of the car

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Shallow depth of filed helped focus on the three people in the midst of a crowded bazar who were the key players in the unfolding story. Going by the environment, expressions and positions you can almost guess the exchange between these three

My wife was trying on some of the alterations to her dress this tailor made and you can see her in the reflection behind him.

Parasols from a local market.

The elephant ride up the steep slope to the actual fort is a spectacle in itself.

At the entrance to one of the monument, a henna artist at work

The child though not photographically emphasized, forms the key element in this picture

A Rajastani shopkeeper displaying his wares

The ladies out shopping for handmade tribal wall hangings

The Royal treatment by the door man at the Wyndham hotel in Agra

People make the difference

Stepping Back in Time

There are places where time stands still and life remains stuck in a bygone era. Late summer I had an opportunity to travel back about 100 to 150 years.

An opportunity to walk through a period when fur trade  and pioneers ruled. A time of trading posts, quaint little towns;  a time when the rail road, and street cars were the in things. People took care and time to dress up. This Capitol Theatre was recreated from the 1920 original that was located at Jasper Av. and 100 st in Edmonton.

Every day 100s of volunteers dress up and man the several recreated sections of the town and everything works as they should. Cars, trains, street cars and farms are running as usual.

Right through to the 1920, when times were tough.

All of that was shot in the Fort Edmonton Park in Edmonton, AB. A photographer’s paradise indeed.

Bay of Fundy – New Brunswick

Had to travel to Fredericton on business, but had an extra day to drive around New Brunswick. Fredericton was warm and welcoming

Fredericton along the river

Drove down to Saint John from Fredericton. Kept off the highways and was rewarded with some beautiful  Mari times back-roads.

A quaint litle church along the backroads

A refreshing stop along the way

Saint John was a beauty. I arrived there at the start of the cruise season when the first ship arrived in port and was given a rousing welcome by the local community, who are heavily dependent on tourism.

At the cruise port - Saint John NB

Another view from the quay

The bay of Fundy apparently has one of the highest tides in the world. Its amazing witnessing the tide move in. We were at this little fishing village with people on the beach walking for miles and a few hours later everything was under water. At low tides most of  the fishing vessel rest on the sandy bottom or the beach and are fully afloat when the tide comes in

The boats at high tide in the harbor

Fishing harbour at low tide

The caves at high-tide

The caves at high tide

Walking on the beach at low tide

The caves and beach at low On tide

During high tides the water from the sea goes upriver and at one point creates a reversing fall & rapids because of the reversing of the flow of the river upstream from the bay. At its peak the tide rises as much as 53′ which is as high as an 8 story building!

A look at the beach

The river flows upstream during high tide

Stairway to heaven?

Trawling on the bay of Fundy

The Flower Pot Island at low tide

Leading lines

The Light House

The way up

The drifting log

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you’re an artist.

Winter Wonderland

Some of you have had enough of the snow and cold this year. Perhaps like me you are wondering whatever happened to all that global warming we were promised…

The red barn near Sudbury

One of the earliest storms to hit the area was well before winter arrived. And I was in Sudbury driving to Northbay when overnight we had freezing rain. Come morning and the car was encased in a shell of ice. The hotel provided us knives and screw drives to chisel through the ice and get the doors open. The car was idling for over an hour before it was in any condition to be driven. Got some lovely winter pictures during that drive though.

Abandoned!

 

Sticking out

The last time we had a snow storm, (thats pretty often this year), I rushed out pretty early with my camera, driving and clicking around my neighbourhood. Its a pretty picture of winter wonderland with the fresh snow and snow topped trees.

Forgotten leaves

walking by the forest

The other day I walked the dog around the lake and ponds behind our home, all bundled up as it was well below the freezing mark. The ponds were frozen and there were so many people – families, kids and youngsters playing hockey or enjoying skating around on a bright crisp day. I did feel totally overdressed watching some younsters on the frozen pond playing with nothing more than a Tee shirt. Oh to be young!

On the pond behind our home

 

Playing hockey on frozen pond with T shirt

 

Pond hockey near our home

My dog loves the snow - our deck after the storm

Cocoa in the snow

The church on 10th line

First steps on ice

The house around the corner

Clearing after the storm

Shoveling time

Braving the storm

Our street - Snowflake Lane

Our home

The frozen bush

In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen,
snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.

A train trip to Calicut (Kerala – India)


Its been over 7 years since I traveled in India. Of course you immediately notice the  many ornamental changes but have to dig deeper to identify the infrastructural and attitude changes.

I flew into Mangalore which of course worried the family given the recent accident at this airport.

As my sister lives close to the railway station it is walking distance. An interesting exercise walking along the tracks and onto the platform

Visiting the south in the throes of the monsoons has its own charms. It rained most of the day I started on my train journey.

Mangalore is a great place to start a train journey. A long time ago it used to be a terminus, which many trains considered it to be its final stop before turning back. Now majority of trains merely pass through it having been hooked up to the Konkan railway.

I insisted on boarding one from my past that actually started from Mangalore station – the Madras mail for the old timers which would arrive in Calicut early in the evening.

In India stations are a destination in themselves, exciting  if you are in to people watching. Of course it takes a experience to filter out the unplesant. It was interesting to see how people spent their time waiting to start off on their journey.

I have always enjoyed watching the rolling stock and engines at work and found that age has not  mellowed that interest. Much to the dismay of my dad I got off the train to watch the engine move around some of the compartments.

Finally the train pulled out of the station starting another journey.

Rain came down at full blast as the train pulled away from the station.  In fact it had been raining for the last couple of days which resulted in flooding in most parts of Kerala. Nothing new I suppose and everybody seems to be taking it in their stride.


Rain did not seem to stop  most people. The tea boy finished his chores bid good bye to those leaving and went back to await the next train. The little boy waited patiently while his father fiddled with the cell phone while trying to prevent it from getting wet.

Kerala basically has two seasons – rain and no-rain.  It rains incessantly during the monsoon season. Rivers are swollen and takes on a red hue contrasting with the greenery around. Roads and paths become streams and rivers… but life goes on.

Calicut Finally or Kozhikode as it is locally known. It was a pleasant 5 hour journey.  Fortunately rain had stopped by then.

Despite several beautification and building projects, little seems to have changed in downtown Calicut. Same old buses and shops.

Walking past the old bus-stand brought back memories of running to get the last bus back to the college. REC – Mukkam cried out the conductor. Nothing had changed – they still do.

The old market place behind the bus stand showed little signs of change; bustling with activity as usual

The entrance to SM street looked more or less the same. I rememberd some of the shops from the old days including ‘Snow white’ the launderers

The Mananchira maidan next door and the old park restaurant area had a new look.

Calicut for me brings back memories of banana chips and spices. One of the first things I purchased was a large bag of chips to munch away

Banana chips, despite the advent of new technologies continue to be made traditionally by hand. Fried in a large cauldron of oil burning coconut husks. Aroma of coconut oil in the air.

Coconut, spices, pepper, and chillies produced in the area and hills beyond are traded in the Calicut bazar.

A trip to Calicut is not complete without checking out the beach. It has changed over the years with the several beautification projects (opportunity for the authorities to make some money). But on a sunday it is as crowded as ever. It does seem to appear a little more neater, cleaner and organized. Gone are the days of shady activities given the fact that it is lit up like a christmas tree

Many changes are obvious, like the large  ‘aunty’s’ driving tiny cars rather precariously

Or the new colourful buildings downtown. This particular one houses the Malabar Palace which does have a good restaurant, though poor service. Loved the break-fast buffet here.

Many others blissfully remain the same.  Be it guys  riding around on their motor bikes ogling at the chicks. Or the totally out of place architecture of the Asoka hospital near Mavoor road.

The ‘kappalandy’ guy has not changed either. Perhaps his dreams have…

Many of the old businesses continue to eke out a living. Similar people in an old tire retreading business and an handicraft shore, where I have spent many a hard earned dollar.

Illiteracy by traditional measurements are high, yet reading the daily newspaper is more important than attending to business

Time to move on

Bye till our next stop