I always wanted to dabble in photography,
but had a lot of questions in my mind. Which camera to buy? Tips for good
I had similar questions in my
mind about painting – so I put my questions to Prabhakar Bhatlekar, the
renowned caricature artist and my friend. He had a simple formula to share ‘Just
take a brush and start… that’s the way to learn and do it!’ The prospect of
hard work, trial and error is so discouraging!! I had thought about asking a
similar question about photography to Abhijit, Mr Bhatlekar’s son, and an
accomplished photographer, but I checked myself. The advice would surely get
repeated, I felt. But yeah, there was merit in what he said.
I then bought a camera. And broke
it! I wasted three cameras. The third camera fell in the sand on the beach. It
got wasted and it was an expensive one. But I bought a new camera, and showed
it proudly to all. My DW, very considerate woman that she is, took a deep
breath, regained her composure and said, “Photography is really an expensive
hobby, I realise.”
The point I want to make it is
that I may not have talent, but perseverance? Nobody can doubt that aspect of
Here are the results which I proudly
present to you.
On my trip to Sri Lanka I went to
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. As I entered I saw an elephant being fed some
fruits. I hurriedly took out my camera and clicked.
As I moved I saw this cow and
baby elephant standing together and silently communicating [oh, why can’t men
do it that way?], the camera was out and I clicked.
Timing is the essence I told
myself. The camera has to be ready to click, nobody waits for you. As I said
this to myself, and looked at the passing herd [in the case of elephants a herd
is also called a ‘parade’] of elephants through my camera, a Japanese girl
walked into the frame. Beast and Beauty, what a combination! Serendipity!!
[That word was coined from the word Serendip for Sri Lanka]. Click, click. Incidentally
the beauty and the beast were walking in the opposite directions – well, that is
how it should be!!
We moved to Kandy. And I captured
the scene at dawn, morning and dusk. From my room. The DW asked, “What’s the
point of taking the same picture again and again?” That’s a different perspective
on photography. “Just I take yours, darling, every now and then” I said. One
has to be very sensitive to different perspectives just as to the different moods
of people. And humour does the trick. A trembling hand can waste a good
picture. Ask me, I know.
And I spotted three monkeys
huddled together. They have at least two qualities which distinguish them from homo
sapiens. Firstly, they often huddle together and secondly, they do not like
to be photographed.
We left Kandy to go to Nuwara
Eliya. Tea estates. We were now climbing the hills. Mackwood Tea factory we saw
and the setting of lovely office made me take the camera out again. There is
something about high places. The image looks certainly better than original. I
don’t know why. The same can be said about people in high places too, and I
know exactly why, but more about it some other time.
We reached Tea Factory. This is
the name of a hotel, believe me. I saw where their manager used to work - what
an office! I clicked a photograph just in case it inspires some entrepreneur to
offer good workplaces to his employees. Our generation did not get it, but why
not tell others what is possible? eh?
And then we reached Ahangulla. South
of Bentota. Why did we not stay at Bentota? Sorry Sir, a retired man affords
only so much. The swimming pool was on the beach. The beach had a gentle slope
and then the sea. So from an angle it looked as if a thin line divided the
swimming pool. I sat there at the beach with my DW [and my camera, of course].
Suddenly a couple arrived. A newly married couple. Their photographer asked
them to strike ‘Titanic’ poses. Just as those in the movie and in its posters.
The couple happily obliged.
My heart sank. I would have used ‘Dilwale
Dulhaniya’ poses instead. Titanic? Gross impropriety. But I hurriedly picked up
the moment. Used zoom. I was pleased with the results. [That is how good photographers
The sun disappeared in the sea. The
lights were switched on. And another couple arrived. The bride was in blue
dress and was a shy girl who was reluctant to strike Titanic poses.
Now that is called one on one
free. [In our days it was called ‘bonus.’ But the word was much maligned by
textile workers and American bankers. Don’t they have something in common? Both
have managed to outsource their industry’s production.]
The next day we went for Madhu
river boat safari. Here is a moment I caught while clearing the mangroves. Remember
what I said about the timing? Well, that is the trick. Time does not stop for
anybody. Nor does the boat.
And suddenly our boatman swung
the boat in a full circle in Bollywood style. ‘Water monitor’ he shouted. You
mean ‘Varanus salvator?’ I asked. I have always been scared of all animals
put in the Class Reptilia. So much so that I had not forgotten my zoology.
Varanus salvator is a carnivore. It is a protected animal, protected from man.
When you see it, you wish to seek protection from it. “Eeeeeeeeeek” my DW
shouted. But I held my camera firmly and took many shots. This is an
interesting thing about great photographers. They are never sure. So they take
many photographs of the same subject. Numerous, actually. One photograph is
sure to come out very good. The trick works as you will see. When your speedboat
is moving, though slowly, do you have a choice? Click, click, click…
We returned to our hotel. “Did
you come here to practice your photography skills or to celebrate our 36th
wedding anniversary?” My DW [Darling Wife] asked. I knew what it meant. I had
to take her photograph. Here it is, my friends. Isn’t she beautiful?
Labels: Ahungalla, Kandy, Madhu river, photography, Pinnawal Elephant Orphanage, Sri Lanka