Thursday, July 07, 2005

Misty mountain hop

Misty mornings are about the only mornings I can tolerate. Being mostly nocturnal, I am of the firm belief that dawn is the time of the day when men of reason hit the sack. Sounds of people bustling around, radios blaring encouragement to people who want to ruin their lives by running out their doors before lunch, sounds of traffic... no, morning is definitely not my time of the day.

However, a misty morning is different. For instance, it ensures that the sun does not take me by surprise by suddenly jumping out from behind the nearest hill with a "Gotcha!" and a blinding set of rays to boot. Nope, misty mornings are relaxed periods of diffused light, wet grass, quiet birds, and beautiful hillsides.

Now, going over to a beautiful hillside at half past five in the morning, even for a guy like me, is the easy part. Photographing it, however, as I realized when I got my prints, is bloody difficult. I had ended up underexposing almost every picture I shot that morning. All of them ended up looking more or less like this:

Misty Morning

Another thing I am not too thrilled about when I pull the rather prominent-looking camera out in public, is the amount of attention it attracts. I wonder how people deal with it. I feel dashed uncomfortable, and mostly end up taking hasty shots, which, unfortunately for my ego, end up looking a lot better than my carefully set-up ones.

Anyways, so here I was, taking a lot of bad photographs without realizing it, and walking down the road, when I came upon this group of aged chaps who seemed to be engaged in some sort of early morning prayers. Now I am still unclear about the ethics of photography, and wondered for a while on the problem of taking their pics without disturbing them. You see, it would not be nice to take their pics without asking them, and if I were to ask them , it would mean disturbing them from their prayers, and if I wait around till the end of the prayers, then the whole point of the exercise is lost.

So while I was still trying to work this out in my head, while clicking away at passing undulations in the landscape, when I heard something of a "Hoy!". Turning around, I saw that the prayers had ceased and the group was looking at me with a little interest. One of them beckoned at me to come over.

"Which paper do you work for?"

Now this is one question that has surprised me on an earlier occasion, too. I have friends who have bigger and more prominent-looking cameras than I do, but they have gone through their entire lives without anyone asking them this question, while I, within a month of purchasing the camera, have been asked this question twice. The last time, I'd lied through my teeth, telling a bunch of rowdy-looking youths that I was freelance and all that sort of thing, but it's not the sort of thing you do with a group of respectable-looking elders.

"Oh, no, this is more of a hobby."

Apparently this was something they heartily approved of, and they displayed their approval with encouraging cries, stopping short of thumping me on my back.

"So what do you do?" Elderly gent #2 asked, when the uproar had died down.

"I'm an engineer."

More displays of approval. Rather surprising, since these days you can't throw a brick in Pune without hitting an engineer of some sort. However, I refrained from asking them what all the excitement was about.

"Will you take our photograph?"

"Oh, sure!" Nice of them, I thought. Now if only they wouldn't look at the camera.

"Try to relax. As you were. Ignore me..."

Unfortunately, coaxing a subject into relaxing for a photograph is not the easiest of things, and there you are:

Prayers


I should ride down to that place again sometime, and give those nice people this photograph. Some of them had even invited me to their homes for some morning tea. And maybe I'll give the misty morning one more shot. Literally.

11 comments:

Anurag said...

I love the second photo. You will have to get over your inhibition if you are interested in people photography. I still haven't been able to get over mine. I feel very uncomfortable approaching people and asking them whether I can shoot their pics.

Talking of photography, I watched a compelling movie yesterday -- City of God. Watch it if you can.

RS said...

Your photo probably was underexposed but your post is just right. Interesting read!

nomadic_waves said...

Dropped by.

Senthil said...

Anurag: Yeah, that's what another friend told me, too... sigh.
Hey, couldn't find City of God at the regular video places... where did you get it from?

RS: Thanks! :) Nothing compared to your "pieces of life", though. Amazing.

Nomadic_waves: Er... thanks...

Anonymous said...

Lovely. The misty mountain shots and 'em nice, old men.
Ah, Pashan. I miss Pune, I think.
~ Shibani.

Swathi said...

i liked the first foto - reminds me of my attempts to capture such beautiful misty/dewy mornings but sadly the fotos come bad but the memories linger on..

Senthil said...

Shibs: Thou speak sooth, milady. Now hop on the next train and get here by this weekend!

Swati: Yesh... but we shall try, try, and try till the bank balance runs out, shall we not?

Anonymous said...

Ah, now that's going to a wee bit difficult. But, come, I will. Soon enough. :)
~ Shibs.

Words Worth said...

Misty mornings never sounded so appealing. Lovely blog.

Senthil said...

Shibs: Right-ho. I shall hit the 'forward' button till then.

Words worth: Thanks :)
And excellent ID you've got there. Wish I'd thought of it...

Dark Druid said...

Wallpaper'd this!! Is it Okie?

Something about this !!