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:
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:
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.