I know many of you have already seen the photo below of the Taj Mahal. It’s one the most famous photos I’ve taken of India. It is related to the daily photo…
Daily Photo – The Rest of the India Story
So, I took the photo above from across a slow-moving river. After shooting, I explored a bit more as the sun was setting, then returned to the same spot, rotating the camera about 45 degrees to the right. This is what I saw.
In the distance, you can see how it is a layer of smoke in the air. This is where families come from all over the Agra area to burn the bodies of recently deceased loved ones. They then throw some ashes in the river to begin the cycle again. Indians come from all over the area to visit this river, see the Taj Mahal, and visit other local temples. It’s a very peaceful place… I hope this photo helps to describe the general feeling of the place.
I’ve been up late at night for several weeks working on a really cool new project that I can’t wait to share with everyone here. I’ll be releasing it in one week, so stay tuned. Here is a little tease of some of the behind-the-scenes stuff below.
Daily Photo – The Guardian of the Tomb
I sometimes mistakenly call the Taj Mahal a “temple”. There is a fleet of people ready to jump down my throat and tell me, in no uncertain terms, that it is most certainly a tomb. Of course, whenever I do call it a temple, these are all honest mistakes; I’m always a bit flummoxed as to why people get so agitated,
Anyway, besides all that mess, I thought you might enjoy this photo I grabbed of one of the gentleman guards of the tomb. I slipped on my 70-200mm lens (See my NIkon 70-200mm Review) to get both the guard and the tomb compressed in the background. I was a little worried that he would see me lurking about, aiming a giant lens at his head. So, I took shots quickly then moved on… I had no burning desire to make a guy like that angry.
There is a new Limited Edition Numbered Print available. It is called “Hindu Ascent”. This was taken as this old woman, who has never cut her hair, ascended hundreds of steps on her daily pilgrimage to a Hindu shrine.
When I was in Agra, I wandered around the streets surrounding the Taj Mahal for a few hours. The textures and details everywhere are an absolute field-day for photographers! There is so much to see and capture… it was totally overwhelming trying to grab all of that, while still thinking about getting into the Taj Mahal for another full slate of shooting!
So many of the little homes here are richly painted in every possible shade in the most interesting textures and shapes. This is one of many little snaps I got while walking around.
I try to share a bunch of inspirational art links throughout the week. I drop these into Twitter from time to time. I need to update this page with new stuff, but you will find a bunch of cool inspiration art on the “Things I’ve Found That Inspire Me” page.
Daily Photo – The Mighty Temple
I can’t wait to get back to India for more photography. I shot nonstop while I was there, but I feel like I did not take enough! As you may know, I process these images out-of-order, and I still have plenty to go through, but the pile is thinning with each ensuing week!
This is a beautiful and huge temple in Agra, India. I was there in the morning, barefoot, and it was quite cool and arid. I felt a little strange running around a temple, barefooted, holding my giant camera… but it was really fun! These wonderful old temples have countless angles and compositions of interest. I did my best from this vantage to capture the grandeur of the fort.
Everyone that subscribed to the free newsletter got early notice of this, and now everyone can see at on the weekend Tokyo Workshop page. It should have all the info you need, in case you live there or are looking for an excuse to pop over to Japan in the Spring!
Maybe I Won’t Go to London!
Well, of course I still will, but this article entitled “Photographers to lose copyright and right to photograph in public” gave me pause. What’s going on? If bureaucrats make these kind of decisions, it makes you wonder about all their decisions, eh? Of course, as a die-hard Libertarian, I’ve been saying this sort of thing for years….
Daily Photo – Floating Through the Temple
While in the north of India, I visited this Hindu temple. It was beautiful and decadent inside. I can’t even imagine what it used to look like back in the day. The walls supposedly had inlaid jewels and other precious stones. Despite time, it is still impressive.
I had set up for a normal multi-exposure shot, but then this Muslim woman came floating through the room, so I quickly made some adjustments and grabbed a quick single-exposure HDR.
Thanks for all the nice emails and tweets everyone; I’m glad you had a good time. That is right, I still have no plans for future workshops, but I do appreciate all the feedback and kind requests.
Chris Stamper wrote an HDR Workshop Review on his blog that was very nice. Thanks Chris – I am happy you enjoyed it! Keep up the good HDR work and fight the good fight for us! 🙂
Nikon D3S Review Continues
I have a Nikon D3S still on loan from BorrowLenses.com, and I’m putting together some images for my Nikon D3S Review. I don’t have it finished yet…. these things take a while, but, so far, I am very impressed!
In fact, I’m so impressed, that I am going to B&H Photo tonight to buy the full thing as a backup to my D3X! (You can see more info there on my Nikon D3X review)
The Taj Mahal from Akbar’s Palace
This image below was made with some textures from my Textures Tutorial. This is the only time that I “color” photos. Many times, I think people might think that I “paint” on top of my photos, but I do not. Sometimes, however, when I have an image that came out, ummm, a little more boring that it should be, I will give it a texture treatment. Maybe you are like me, and, on occasion, you take what you think will be a great shot. Then, you get home, and it just came out sort of boring.. that is always a bummer feeling. To get around that, I often use textures that I have collected from around the world.
Akbar’s palace has about one-tenth the number of visitors of the Taj Mahal, and it is almost just as stunning for photography. There are so many interesting and fun compositions, you just can’t go wrong. I recommend a full day here and a full day in and around the Taj Mahal. Besides these two major locations, the city streets, alleys, and everything in between are also highly recommended!
I know from looking at the website and newsletter stats what incredible fans we have in London and all over the UK. I can’t thank you enough… I hope you are enjoying the website, and I know you will enjoy the book when you finally get it. We need to do a celebratory photowalk over there eh? !!
[EDIT – I understand it is sold out in Canada too. Thanks cool Canadiens!]
My article on Scott Kelby’s Blog “Being an Artist Sucks. Being an artist is awesome.”
I wrote this long piece recently for Kelby’s blog. I’d like to thank RC Conception for helping to make this happen. It gave me a great chance to write a longer-format piece. I think there are many people here that will find it of use, perhaps. Please drop your comments over there on Kelby’s blog, and I’ll be sure to read them!
Daily Photo – Guarding the Portal
I really wanted to see what was on the other side of these little doors. I imagined scenes from “The Fall” inside there (has anyone seen that movie??). I tried to negotiate with this gentleman, but he just bobbed his head like he didn’t understand. I would have offered him my own shoes, but I left them on the other side of the temple with a young boy.
I never got inside, but we did exchange some pleasant conversation, even though we never really understood a single word.
More details to come soon, but save the dates and come RSVP on Facebook! I’ll be signing books, meeting you, and hanging out. I hope you can make it! Don’t worry about coming alone… you’ll make friends with the nice people there soon enough!
The Taj Mahal is an awesome place. I mentioned it last night in the live video chat (thanks to those of you that could make it — we should have a recording up soon). I spent the day taking photos of the place, and I was dog-tired when it was all done. Plus, my feet were hella dirty. You have to take off your shoes there. It turned out, actually, to keep me pretty cool. It was a very hot day; the marble was nice and cool on my feet.
I obviously used a special texture treatment on this one — if you’d like to find out more, there is indeed a “Textures Tutorial” here on the site.
The Taj Mahal is an extremely crowded place! People from all over India, which tends to have a lot of people, come visit this mausoleum from every corner of the country. It’s right near the northern border of the country, and I know first hand how difficult the journey can be to get to this point.
Just beyond one of the official entrances to the Taj is the interior of a huge gatehouse, that was teaming with people trying to get a closer look. I held the camera high in the air after trying to position myself as centered as possible to try to capture a sense of the huddled masses.
I found this daunting chap while trekking to northern India. We stopped to rest on the long road to Agra at a fairly imposing little structure on the side of the road. I was curious to see if I could find a drink or maybe a bit of food.
As I approached, this guy stood out front. I was pretty sure he didn’t speak English. We regarded one another for a bit. I tried to survey the authenticity of his weapon and the his circumspect agility. He examined at my anachronistic garb and camera for a bit. Then I gave him the international symbol for, "Can I take a photo?" He stiffened proudly in a pose. I took a quick shot, nodded, then passed by to see what he was guarding within.