It may often happen that you go to a place, make a few images there and come back, feeling that you did not manage to capture the essence of the place. The place you visited may have been interesting and beautiful, but your photographs may not reflect the same. May be the place wasn’t photogenic, may be there were some missing elements, may be you weren’t there at the right time of the day (for photography), or may be there are some other reasons. In some occasions, a good subject or a good place may need some kind of supplementing to enhance their appearance. It could be some people walking by, a spot of sunlight that falls in the right moment or a few pigeons flying past. These supplementing entities, of course, are not available at your disposal all the time. It pays to be ready, wait and watch.
About a month ago, I was at Bikaner leading a photography tour, exploring the ancient havelis in the old ramparts of the town. The havelis are colourful and beautiful, but are a tough subject to photograph. They are located in narrow lanes with not enough space to step back and capture the entire stretch of the building. Very little sunlight enters the lanes where the havelis are, making it impossible to make use of light play.
After deliberating at the location for a while, I decided to drop the idea of photographing the havelis themselves, but use them as a background instead. Now, I needed an angle where there isn’t any distraction besides the road and the uniform colour of the havelis in the background. A bit of walking around solved the problem easily. But I still needed a matching foreground that could throw the havelis into the background.
Choosing the right subject was important here. The havelis are centuries old and clearly showed signs of past. It would be perfect, if something equally ancient could be found to become the foreground subject. But in the absence of it, something traditional would have worked as well, such as a man or woman in traditional clothes, a camel-cart passing by or so on. Similarly, something that appeared old relative to its peer group, but not necessarily as ancient as the havelis would also work as well.
Naturally, I had no control on who/what moved on the roads in front of the haveli. So, it was time to just wait and watch, and hope that some one or some thing interesting will pass by. The result is the images below. It took me less than an hour of waiting time to make these photographs.
A colourful auto-rickshaw with havelis in the background.
A lady walking through the havelis
An old vehicle – a Jonga Jeep manufactured by the Indian Army, and the havelis behind.
In many occasions, it pays to wait and watch for something interesting to emerge. Such as this photograph below, which would not have been very interesting without the pigeons. It was worthwhile waiting for those pigeons.