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I’m mid-flight from New Delhi to Bangkok, and then tomorrow I’m on my way to Myanmar. I have just enough time to reflect a smidgeon on the photography tour I just led for National Geographic to Rajasthan. One of many things I love about National Geographic tours is that they are so international in nature; there were avid photographers from the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Thailand, and France. It was a group of singular synchronicity and fun.
We had many lively discussions. They had very thought provoking questions for me as we went bumping along in our magical bus through the desert of Rajasthan, such as “What is the element that is most important for a photograph?” What makes a photograph great? I’m sure all of you will have your own answer but here is mine, quite simplied.
Those of you who have taken workshops with me know that I talk about how photographs have the possibility of great Color, Light, Action (large in your face action or just a twinkle in the eye), or Pattern (or you could say Composition). CLAP, if you need an acronym.
You need two of these elements to create a photograph but to make a memorial one, one that SINGS… you need an added factor. It could be a punctuation of another element (as I discussed in an earlier blog post). However, I think it is more than that…it is when there is a harmonic convergence of the emotion of the photographer with the emotion of the moment (even if it is inanimate). In a way it is a photographic epiphany. These are rare, but it what all virtuosos of light aim for in their art.
And, because they are rare, this is why I continue to photograph. I don’t expect to reach my photographic Everest; I just love the journey through the ups and downs and many plateaus.
© nevada wier India, Jodphur. Evening Street Scene.
© nevada wier India, Rajasthan. Early morning Pushkar Fair.
© nevada wier India, Agra. Taj Mahal.
October 28 Update: I just arrived at the Pushkar camel fair and have 15 minutes (and a good Indian cell/bluetooth connection) to explain a bit about the images I posted the other night. The updates are in this color red.
October 26: I don’t have much time to write but here are a couple of images from Rajasthan on the sand dunes! I’m leading a National Geographic Expeditions tour and we are having an amazing time. More on the photo technique tomorrow. but for now enjoy … the natural light and exuberance
This image was taken with a 100-400mm lens probably close to 400mm. It is not easy to find the perfect sand dune – where people and camels can walk right on top of the ridge so you can see their feet kicking the sand. So this was a find! We were riding our camels in the evening, spotted some local girls and enticed them to come with us to dance on the dunes. Because of the dusty sky the sun did not flare into the lens. I have so many great ones that it is hard to choose my favorite. I surely do not mind that!
and here is an image combining natural light with a bit of off-camera fill flash with a warming gel
This image was taken the next night at Jamba. This is a spectacular place but not the “perfect sand dune” for silouhettes showing feet so I bent very low, almost lying down, and photographed upwards. I had a slightly amber gel inside a diffuser on my flash which was held by my left hand outwards and upwards, at -1 EV. I took a light reading off the sky (about 20 minutes after sunset) and held the camera as steady as I could with my right hand. But I wasn’t worried about camera motion or the fact that 1/3 sec. at f/3.2; I knew the flash would give the illusion of sharpness. I positioned myself so I could see the two men and the camel in the background. I love images with depth.
And now I’m off to enjoy Pushkar! more camels. more images. more fun.
PHOTOGRAPHY EXPEDITION TO RAJASTHAN, INDIA
November 3-15, 2008
March 1 -13, 2009
October 20 – 30, 2009
Magical desert cities, captivating people, and vivid colors have long drawn National Geographic photographer Nevada Wier to northern India. Join Nevada on a once-in-a-lifetime photography expedition to Delhi and Rajasthan. With your camera at the ready, delve into the markets and fortresses of Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, live among the Bishnoi desert people, and witness the celebrations at the Pushkar Camel Fair during the Oct/Nov tours and the fabulous colorific festival “Holi” in March (a must see!).