Sunday, September 20, 2015

Glimpses of Vishwakarma Puja celebration in Haldia

Glimpses of Vishwakarma Puja celebration in Haldia
Vishwakarma Puja (also known as Vishwakarma Jayanti) is a Hindu festival of worshiping God Vishwakarma, believed to be the deity of architecture, engineering and anything related to machineries, in the month of September. As we all are living in the machine age, Vishwakarma Puja celebration is not merely limited to engineers/architects/mechanics but anybody operating a tool, be it a bus driver or laboratory technician, to pray to the God for prosperity, wellbeing and professional safety. Although Vishwakarma Puja is widely observed in most parts of India, the grandeur of its celebration in various industrial towns and cities definitely stands out from the rest. Keeping in pace with other industrial belts, the petrochemical city of Haldia gets fully drowned in the festive vapors of Vishwakarma Puja and remains so for more than a couple of days!
Glimpses of Vishwakarma Puja celebration in Haldia
Few thousands of Vishwakarma idols are worshiped in proper Haldia city itself. Seeing the pandal-hopping enthusiasm of local people till midnight, an outsider can easily get confused whether it's preterm Durga Puja. A vast majority of pandal hoppers comprises villagers gathered from various parts of the Medinipur district and other surrounding regions of Haldia. They usually flock in large groups in chartered buses and vans by afternoon and commence their Vishwakarma Puja parikrama right from the Haldia Dock Complex which is made accessible to commoners once in a year only in this auspicious day of Vishwakarma Puja.
Glimpses of Vishwakarma Puja celebration in Haldia
Like any other Hindu festival, the concept of theme-puja has taken its toll on Vishwakarma Puja too. Puja committees hire idol artisans and theme artists from distant places to make their puja pandal stand out from the rest. It is not only the creative department where puja organizers compete to outsmart each other but also they set up stages for live cultural programs like drama, singing, dancing etc which serve as entertainment cum halting excuses for visitors.
Glimpses of Vishwakarma Puja celebration in Haldia
People of Haldia preserve high expectations in terms of puja celebration from well known companies/industries like- Indian Oil Corporation, Haldia Petrochemicals, Haldia Dock Complex, Tata Chemicals, Exide Industries, Hindustan Unilever, Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum, Dhunseri Petrochem etc to mention a few who happen to be the giant organizers of Vishwakarma Puja in Haldia. Apart from them, in every fifty meter interval you'll find a Vishwakarma idol being worshiped with eardrum piercing loud commercial songs.
Glimpses of Vishwakarma Puja celebration in Haldia
Haldia, being a scattered and fast growing city with a considerable radius, people usually take pandal safaris on motorized vans and battery operated three-wheelers. It took me exactly five hours to cover the full circuit of puja pandal map 2015 of Haldia on my motorbike, which included at least half an hour of food break and my honest confession of visiting only relatively larger puja pandals by the main roads. You can sniff the carnival spirit from a simple fact that tt takes substantial time for Haldia folks to come out of Vishwakarma Puja hangover and get back to their daily routine. So, if you're anywhere in a reachable distance from Haldia during this time of Vishwakarma Puja festival, now you know where to head. Happy belated Vishwakarma Puja!
Glimpses of Vishwakarma Puja celebration in Haldia

Friday, September 11, 2015

Learning Minimalist Photography with my Coffee Mug

Learning Minimalist Photography with my Coffee Mug
Minimalism is a concept that is quite hard to define. Frankly there's no single definition in the market (grossly speaking) which can completely hold the essence of this word 'Minimalism'. Although minimalism is still virgin without a proper definition, its sense can be well understood. The basic philosophy behind minimalism is "Less is More". Whether it is a painting, sculpture, photography or any other form of art, if it is a minimalist work it'll have least components in it and still it'll generate powerful visual impact on the viewer. As the literal meaning of 'minimalism' goes, a minimalist photograph will contain a very few visual elements, portray simple things which we usually don't consider shooting and most importantly, it would leave a big ground for you to perceive it in most flexible ways. 
Learning Minimalist Photography with my Coffee Mug
From the photographer's perspective, as a minimalist photograph is supposed to contain bare-minimum elements, he has to invest more time in the creativity front to compose a minimalist photo. On the contrary, owing to its lack of details, the viewer is free to ride on his imagination and interpret the image in 'N' number of ways! If you're aspiring to be a minimalist photographer (or, artist of any other minimalist art form), you have to master the art of appreciating only the essential and also develop a less sentimental heart to leave out less essentials. As a minimalist enthusiast your objective is to minimize the number of elements in a photograph, without killing its point of interest.
Learning Minimalist Photography with my Coffee Mug
Best part of minimalist photography is that the photographer doesn't need to venture out to take shots. You have ample subjects lying idle in or around your home which are simple, yet interesting enough to pose for your minimalist photography learning. Make this subject heart of your composition and choose a modest background which won't subdue your benevolent subject, rather it would make it more striking. Eliminate any distracting element that might cause crowding or compete with your subject for attention grabbing. Use contrasting and vibrant colors to catch eyes of your viewer. This time I failed in this matter, as colors I had chosen, although could be enough contrasting, came out quite dull at the end.
Learning Minimalist Photography with my Coffee Mug
Once you're learning minimalist photography, keep your eyes wide open for interesting patterns, textures, geometrical curves, shapes, bold lines anywhere in your surrounding, as these can make interesting minimalist photographs. Experiment with different compositions, crop it if you need to and keep it low either in elements or details to practice minimalist photography. I'm enjoying minimalism and surely my blog will get populated by many more minimalist images. Meanwhile, you keep clicking too!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Fashion Show by college Students (Part 3)

Fashion Show by college Students
This is the continuation of my previous photo post- Fashion Show by college Students (Part 2). To keep up with his earlier promise yours truly is back with many more colorful young faces who had brightened that evening. Those of you who've missed the last two posts would certainly need a line of introduction to this fashion series. It was an inter-college talent hunt cultural program comprising various events like dance, singing, antakshari, quiz, three minutes to fame, fashion show etc, where participants hailed from various colleges of Haldia. I was the rookie fashion photographer there, turned up with a solid reason of not having anything better to do in that evening.
Fashion Show by college Students
If you're a green-horn in event/fashion photography like me I would take the liberty of sharing the little knowledge I've gained through trial and error (more sophisticated term is 'experience'). In small events, usually the actual fashion show starts after a considerable gap post announcement. During that moment of impatience spectators don't bother to spend their energy in encroaching towards the ramp. That's is the perfect time for you to find your sweet spot with the camera!
Fashion Show by college Students
While grabbing the cherry on top don't be too naive to block the view of people sitting behind you and the reason here is too obvious. Maintaining a low stance can be a good idea. Although a tripod can dramatically enhance your outputs, placing one in front the ramp may not be so practical, considering there will be many other photographers fighting for the perfect capture in a limited space. Be respectful to other clickers, even to those folks shooting with a smartphone. If there's a particular person obstructing your camera view, ask politely if he can bend down slightly.
Fashion Show by college Students
Communicating courteously with your fellow photographers is an essential skill, especially in the present scenario where every Tom-Dick-Harry is shooting with a mobile phone. Remember, being too modest to ask for things is no better than being too aggressive to accomplish things when it comes to event photography. I feel it is better not to shuffle between still photography and video modes when you're stranded with a single camera.
Fashion Show by college Students
Carry at least an extra memory card and a spare battery. Probably you'll be clicking photos in continuous mode and you won't realize how quickly you're accumulating wealth at the expense of space and power! Once more I'm repeating what I had said about settings in the last post. Keep the aperture minimum for the focal length, boost the ISO, maintain a high shutter speed, let the lens auto-focus and press the shutter in continuous shooting mode while praying for tack sharp image results.
Fashion Show by college Students
In this half an hour of fashion show I had clicked around 700 shots of roughly 60-70 participant models. Only 10% of photos were OK to my eyes and rest 90% either deserved deletion or extensive editing. My post processing knowledge is only slightly better than zero as I don't enjoy learning the art of photo editing. Off-topic aside, I wish I could post at least one photograph of each model. As this is the last post of this fashion show series, my sincere apology goes to all those awesome models whose photos I couldn't publish here. You must know that all of your precious photos are safely stored in my hard-drive and if you ever need them I'm just an e-mail away.
Fashion Show by college Students
Did you check the first post of this series: Fashion Show by college Students ?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Fashion Show by college Students (Part 2)

Fashion Show by college Students
This is continuation of my previous photo post- Fashion Show by college Students. As I had promised earlier I'm back with many more smart faces clad in gorgeous outfits. Who can make out that they are all engineering, medical, law, management, marine or arts students from various colleges of Haldia, with no connection whatsoever with this glossy glamor world?
Fashion Show by college Students
It is not difficult to anticipate that reigning the catwalk is no way an easy task for amateurs, especially in semi-urban regions of India where commoners are not yet sensitized to the glare of fashion world beyond the realms of television/Internet. In a fashion show such as this where the entry for spectator is totally unrestricted, commoners gather to find easy entertainment through covert criticisms and taunts. I'm merely presenting before you the ambiance and not pinpointing at the grossness of mango-men towards fashion- Love us or Hate us, that's how we are!
Fashion Show by college Students
Clicking models on the runway turned out to be more complex than I had assumed earlier, more so with my 18-55 mm kit lens. In a small fashion event you can't expect that the production house would spend a fortune on designing the ramp or fitting ambient lighting to illuminate the platform. Thus light on the approaching models is never sufficient for your camera to auto-focus quickly on its own. What you can do is, keep the aperture minimum for the focal length, boost the ISO, maintain a high shutter speed, let the lens auto-focus and press the shutter in continuous shooting mode while praying for the good health (read 'sharpness' here) of outcomes.
Fashion Show by college Students
Fashion is definitely not the design or dress you put on but the attitude which showcases the fabric over your skin. I was amazed by the confidence exhibited by majority of the participants in the show, despite the lack of a fashion designer, makeup artist or professional grooming of any kind to guide them at any step. After all, this is the age of e-learning, Wikipedia and free Youtube tutorials for almost everything! I'll be posting more photographs of this fashion show and you'll simply miss them if you forget to peep back. So, see you.
Fashion Show by college Students
Click here to checkout the final post of this series: Fashion Show by college Students (Part 3)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fashion Show by college Students

Fashion Show by college Students
My experience as a spectator of fashion show beyond the frame of Fashion-TV was zero. Paris Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week, Fall Winter collection, Summer collection etc always sounded too glossy for my ears to ever wish to attend a live fashion show (here I mean local ones of course). But last weekend when I heard of an inter-college talent hunt show which also comprised a fashion show, I thought of paying a visit with my camera. What's wrong in trying fashion photography?
Fashion Show by college Students
Models who participated in that fashion event were students from various colleges of Haldia. Usually in a real fashion show, models exhibit attires designed by fashion designers. Here, participating students were not just catwalk models but also fashion designers and sponsors of their own clothes. Despite any grooming session and prior experience in the glamorous fashion field most of the models performed fairly well and few of them were exceptionally fluid on the stage!
Fashion Show by college Students
Before the show had began I hauled myself diagonally in front of the ramp. Finding a place straight in front of the stage would have been ideal for photographing models but it was simply not feasible. It was my first attempt on fashion photography and I had no idea of settings which usually work in such myriad and complex lighting conditions. Trial and error was the only door open to me. Definitely, using the point and shoot camera was out of the equation.
Fashion Show by college Students
To freeze those dynamic models I had to bump up the the ISO (to 1600) to get the desired shutter speed (around and above 1/160 sec). Shots were pretty grainy (full of noise) but I guess they are acceptable for casual use. May be a dedicated prime lens would have done justice to such event. Who cares when I'm a happy point and shooter! I'll keep posting photos of more of such gorgeous amateur models rocking that ramp. Won't you bother to check back?

Click here to check the next photo post: Fashion Show by college Students (Part 2)