Sunday, July 24, 2016

From the Archive -Learning- "Photographing Silhouettes"

(From the Archive)
Photographing Silhouettes
A silhouette is an image with a darker subject against the light or bright background. Silhouettes have been very popular among the art lovers since long. If clicked properly, Silhouettes attract the viewers very intensively. A silhouette can portray a whole story. With a few points in mind we can photograph such images exclusivity.

1. Strong Subject: Our subject should be powerful. If we aim at a weak subject, our image will not leave impact on viewers’ mind. We should try to choose the subject with interesting shapes and curves. When our subjects are human beings, we have to aim at shooting their profiles in order to capture their feelings and expressions.

2. Story Telling Value: The image should convey some story. A flat image with no message will not be appreciated. 

3. Concentration on Limited Subjects: We have to avoid so many subjects in our image. A mix of various subjects often destroys the image. On the other hand aiming at limited subjects strengthens the photograph. 

4. Proper Light and Situation: The best situation to photograph a silhouette is that of early morning or late evening when the sun/bright sky is behind the subject. Furthermore, shooting the silhouette against the sky with miraculous formations of cloud results into amazing images. While shooting indoor we can place the subject against a door, a window or an arch which is allowing the bright light coming inside from the back. Here a window or an arch works as a good frame.

5. Exposure: Correct exposure plays very important role. We should give exposure according to the brighter background and not according to the subject. This will darken the subject dramatically turning the picture into fantastic piece of art.

6. Focusing: Since a silhouette is the presentation of a subject in unique way, we have to focus the main subject prominently. Not only this, the background also plays important role. In order to get well focused background we have to set the aperture at small size. i.e., at f 22, f 16, f 11 etc.

7. Aesthetic Presentation: A flat silhouette photograph has no meaning. We should always aim at the image that has the potency to attract one at first sight. Here our aesthetic sense works a lot. Some have this sense as a gift of God, while some others develop it with their constant efforts in the field of art and by seeing masterpieces of other artists. An aesthetically perfect image is that which gives a feel of pleasure and peace at first sight.

(Images Courtesy: Mr. Rajeev Kashyap, Mr. Abhijit Dharmadhikari, Mr. Bherulal M Kanoja, Mr. Atul Choubey and Mr. Devendra Sharma)

--Dr. Pankaj Sharma

Sunday, July 3, 2016

-Profile- Camera for a Cause : Vivek Singh

Camera for a Cause
Vivek Singh
When he is not juggling files, he is out in the wild. Meet Vivek Singh, district food marketing officer in the food and civil supplies department of UP, a self taught wildlife photographer, who shoots the wild, but with his camera. 
A chance visit to the wildlife park at the insistence of his daughter during the Easter holidays sparked off a mission of a lifetime for him. In those days when internet was not the obvious source of primary information, one of his daughter's friends visited Bandhavgarh national park and her insistence for a similar trip landed him in tigers’ own country. The mesmerizing encounter with the majestic tigers of the park propelled him to think of bringing the magic of wild and the message of conservation to the larger audience. Photography was the obvious choice to bring this magic home, says Vivek. A nature lover to the core, he has been concerned with issues of nature and conservation from an early age. He was the editor of the school magazine on environmental issues and instrumental in forming a group of nature lovers for conservation cause in the college.
Meeting ace Nat Geo Photographer Kalyan Varma helped Vivek crystallize the vision and he took to wildlife photography seriously four years back, to bring forth the beauty of the wild and the message of conservation through his lens. His love for nature and photography and a burning desire to preserve the fast vanishing biodiversity of India in particular, made him take up wildlife photography as a mission. “I discovered purpose of my life”, says Vivek. The Crying need for the preservation of the rich and diverse fauna and flora of the country requires awareness of the issues in the first place, believes Vivek.  And none other than the tiger, the national animal of India, fits as the symbol of his conservation efforts. Sitting at the very top of the food chain, the fast dwindling population of the tigers worries him. And if the tiger goes, forest goes, warns Vivek, quoting from the Udyogparva of Mahabharata-"the tiger protects the forest and the forest natures the tiger".
He uses canon 7 D Mark II Camera and canon 100-400 mm lens remains his favorite for shooting wildlife though occasionally he also uses 70-200 mm lens and 300 mm prime lens. Travelling extensively Vivek has covered almost all the well-known national parks of India with Bandhavgarh in MP and Ranthambhore in Rajasthan being his favorite. Shooting with some of the finest names in Indian wildlife photography like Kalyan Varma, Sudhir Shivram & Aditya Singh has given him an insight that helps him feel the jungle from the heart. His works are put on exhibit regularly in India and he has also held two exhibitions abroad.
Vivek has his priorities set. What as a citizen can we do to redeem the dwindling forests and vanishing fauna? He points out that most of us think that preserving nature, preventing deforestation and reducing man-animal conflict are all issues related to government and hence individual initiatives are pointless. He finds this perception totally erroneous. An active and informed citizen alone can ensure that India's wildlife is preserved for posterity. As a first step visit the national park near you, says he. The visit will not only open one to the magnificence of Mother Nature and educate about the conservation needs but also generate the much needed revenue for the purpose. A vigilant tourist inflow will also help check the illegal nexus of corrupt officials and poachers. As with any other issue, conservation of wildlife especially tigers need to be tackled through the tool of education. Quoting Rudyard Kipling, Vivek insists that the jungle speaks to one who knows how to listen to it. His only worry is time. Time is running out. It's now or never. Can we do it for our kids?, asks he.
A transfer to Varanasi brought him closer to the magic of street photography as he started documenting the life & times of the most ancient city on earth but wildlife photography remains his primary passion.

--Dr. Pankaj Sharma