A Bunch of Work from 2013

I did less work than I would have liked in 2013. Various factors led to this, but mostly I spent the year either chasing client work that never came through, planning & putting work into personal projects that have yet to be realised (ahem, the webcomic, mostly), or actually enjoying myself with extended family. There […]

Leading the Witness – A Black & White Photo Essay

I should really not have forgotten about my compact camera. Since I’ve been quite prolific on instagram over the past year I have been neglecting my other cameras. Sure, the Pentax SLR gets trotted out quite often, but mostly it’s the smartphone camera that’s been doing the day-to-day shooting. An extra piece of kit to […]

Black & White in Bombay 2

A ball of twine
It’s been nearly six months since I last went to Bombay; a trip I have mixed feelings about, since I mostly went for my cousin’s wedding, and despite being there for a month weather and schedules and general fatigue conspired to keep me grounded most of the time.

I took a lot of pictures — thousands — but most of them are personal, of family and friends, and I don’t share those. Looking through my haul before committing them to DVD backups (remember, kids: back up frequently, often, and in multiple mediums), I found that in between the personal photographs I had snuck in an artistic one here and there.

A hand holding a small spider-man figure
As I mentioned in a previous post, I had got a lot of photographic toys that month. One invaluable purchase just before we left for India was a cheap manual flash and a wireless trigger. It helped out a lot in the finicky lighting of the wedding venue, and while I still have no idea how to use it effectively, a lot of fun was had experimenting with my equally photo-crazy cousins — such as in the shot above.

Photo of a shirt on a chair and a man taking a photograph
Sometimes you’re stuck at home with nothing to do, and when the urge to photograph strikes you’ll point a camera at anything just to scratch that itch. This isn’t a bad thing, as you can get plenty of interesting pictures around the average household.

Close up of leaves of a potted plant
And sometimes, all you need to do is look at things in isolation.

Photo of a man's hands
Speaking of isolation, a willing human subject is always a good thing to photograph, and if they aren’t made up and feeling pretty first thing on a Sunday morning, you can still get a good photo out of the rest of them.

picture of a taxi in dadar
At last! A chance to go out. Planting myself firmly in the front passenger’s seat, we set off for Navi Mumbai. The good thing about any Indian wedding is that there is always the possibility of traveling somewhere for it and various ancillary functions.

mile marker at vashi
I had just attached my 58mm manual zenit lens, this was my first time taking it out of the house — and it was stuck at F2 since I hadn’t modified the aperture pin yet.

scooter parked under a tree
Considering all these factors plus the moving car, and my general failure at taking to new things (or old things, for that matter), some of these pictures didn’t turn out half bad.

y-shaped column of flyover construction
The joy and excitement of doing something new and unfamiliar is sometimes just the thing required to make you stop over-thinking things. Sure, many of these pictures could be better, had I spent hours and hours getting to grips with the lens at home, learning its finer points on pictures of bottles or something — but a trial by fire (or a trial by moving car on insane Indian roads while manually-focusing at F2, as it were) is often the best way to do something new.

brickwork on a building
Put another way: you need raw brick to make a solid building, even if said raw brick is never seen by any of the occupants. Look, a cliche metaphor and an appropriate picture to go with it!

picture of a flowering plant
In the end, of course, thinking about things helps, and whenever you get a chance you should definitely stop to smell the flowers, and maybe take a photo or two.

macro shot of flowers
Keep Looking. The photos will find you.


(NOTE: All the photos in this post, shot in colour, were post-processed by simple saturation, contrast and gamma alteration in IrfanView, hands down the most simple and invaluable image viewer and editor on the planet. I’ve been using it nearly every day for 14 years now. If you haven’t, then do give it a try.)

More Cafes, More Cats

At my local chai refuelling station, this cat — the calmest, cleanest little thing you’ve ever seen sitting on the edge of a garbage can.

Black & White in the Streets of Bombay

men drinking tea near a roadside barber
Been back from my India vacation for a fortnight now, and only now getting round to sorting through the pictures I took. I didn’t do as much street photography as I would like — I’m still not comfortable taking pictures like that — but I did manage more than I ever have, and I think I am starting to come out of my shell. Unfortunately it will be several months before I can practice the form again.

Another thing I haven’t done in a long while is take Black & White photos. I love them, but other than a few experiments with my brother’s camera when he was in college, and then a few shots when we first got a digicam, I have never tried it. Another problem I’ve tried to overcome, and I hope you like these….

the railway building
a corner of Bombay University
A traffic cop at Haji Ali crossroads
Dabbawalas converse under a footbridge at Charni Road
A wall filled with torn posters near Marine Lines
Fishing boats and people take in the sunset near Backbay bus depot

Townie to Burbie

Took the excellent BRTS bus all the way from Rajabhai Tower to Thane. Excellent ride, but I wish I had the SLR on me to pull off quicker shots. I’m far too shy about using my camera in public, though (it’s a necessary precaution when I’m in a more restrictive place like Dubai).



Nearly finished Jigsaw Puzzle of Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa
A man walks in front the letter E of a large roadside sign