Dada (दादा)

My visit to the Andaman islands now nearly a year ago has a special a place in my life and work. After recovering from the spinal surgery that gave me back my left leg it was the first shoot that tested my body’s capacity to go on.

Immediately after a shoot in July last year my disk revolted and put my left leg to sleep for 3 days till the doctors pruned it allowing the nerves to reclaim the limb. Recovery was slow and painful and more so because I had to lie in bed and do nothing.

On the shoot I spent a large amount of time driving around the islands, nearly drowned myself taking photographs, climbed trees, trucks and hills to get the shots I did. It was when I returned from the island in one piece with my leg still willing to walk with me that I had the confidence to go on.

After traveling the waterways in a tiny boat (that had my heart racing till we got off) we reached a village were I took this portrait which remains one of my favorites from the trip.

Canon 100-400

For some time now I have been thinking that the $1600 that I spent on my 100-400 was a waste and yet another of those hasty decisions I took and now ….

I must thank Trevor again for getting me the lens, for some great reason it was cheaper to have the lens mailed to his Florida address from New York (B&H) then picking it up at a local store!

After nearly a year of being stored away in my new steel cupboard I took the lens out with me today. Ah Boy! Was I glad.The Egyptian Vulture is a small vulture that was once very common in our part of the world, but like all other vultures that have vanished in and around Lucknow this species too is extremely rare to find.

So now I don't think buying the lens was a bad decision, well not until I pack it away in the cupboard again!


We stopped by a football match while touring northern Andaman to witness the same passion and excitement that I had known as a child. Having socked in the energy of the place we were headed to the next village when these brothers caught my eye. The light was warm and the emotion pure, one shot that's all I took.

Chandani Chowk in Yellow and Orange


Disclaimer: These are not my photographs, they are Kritika’s. She is attending an introductory photography course at St. Stephen’s. ( yes I am teaching the course of-course)

My Mom’s a teacher, Dad I am told left the IAS to teach, (and no that's not a joke) so you might think that I wanted to be a teacher since I was a child. I don't think so, on the contrary I think I had a teacher overdose and never ever even considered teaching as a distant possibility.

With time things change and well I guess so have I.

Kritika’s photographs have been taken on a Sony point and shoot camera and that makes me doubly proud of her work.

Nazar na Lage (नज़र न लगे)

At a visit to one of the villages on my recent visit to Bundelkhand. The black Kaajal (काजल) you see on the child’s forehead is a result of our ancient belief that it wards off the evil eye.

Sunset Landing

I hate traffic jams as i am sure most of you do but not always. Had the traffic not come to a grinding halt there was no way I'd have had the opportunity to take this one.

Chandini Chowk

With clouds looming over the skies I completely forgot about the fact that there was bandh on in Delhi. Most of us wouldn't think of taking our cameras out a drizzling cloudy day now would we? I for one am always too worried about getting even a drop of water on one of my cameras. But we did go to Chandini Chowk and though the shops were all shut we did have some fun. Sarah was more courageous than me but i did brave the rain now and then and got a couple photographs.

Baneras the ghats

“5:30 ?”

“Yes 5:30 should be good.”

I realized the Sarah was a SERIOUS amateur.

I had visited Banaras once a couple of years ago. During the week that Sen, Vikki and I spent in the city we seldom left the Ghats. Staying at Mishra Lodge on Trilochan Ghat we’d step out onto the Ghats every morning and drink loads of tea between our shoots till the night would call it a day. It was a busy period with the festival of Shivratri falling in the middle of the week. The elusive naga sadhus were out in full strength and the ghats buzzed with life both day and night.

When we got to the Ghats it was still dark, women and children invited us to buy flowers and dias to offer the river. The sun was still below the horizon but the light creeping out in the distance announced its advent as did the solitary priest who readied his instruments to greet the day with the morning Aarti.

Soon we saw the sun appear as it struggled to break free from the bars of clouds that seemed to arrest it a little longer. When it finally broke free it was as if the city had laid out a red (well orange really) carpet for it to cross the river. Within minutes the Ghats were a buzz with pilgrims, the Ghats were alive!

For the next couple of hours Sarah, Dharma our guide and I walked the Ghats. Sarah did most of the shooting while I was content helping her with her photography. When after a few hours our legs began to revolt we took the boat and cruised down stream.

The boat ride done we spent some more time on the ghats before heading off for breakfast. Back in the car Dharma told us that nearly every tourist that visited the city made it to the Ghats for the sunrise, and it was quite clear why.

So if you do make a trip to the city make sure to fight the fatigue to greet the rising sun as it walks the red carpet across the river to announce a new day for the city. Once you have seen the sunrise you will then have to return for the evening Aarti something you just cant miss.

Just around the corner

A puppet show in Jaipur

Often all it takes to get a good shot is looking around the corner.

Pushkar 2009

‘Hey Fanthome’ a familiar voice welcomed me as I struggled to find change to pay the rickshaw, it was Rohit. Rohit had introduced me to Hotel Hill View where I was to spend the next few days while in Pushkar. Some three years ago sipping tea at a stall on the last dune of the cattle fair Rohit and I met, we got talking and our cameras clicked. (Inspired by San who was trying to take a jab at us.)

Pushkar seems to be a permanent fixture in both our calendars and I am always glad to sit and discuss everything from Religion, Politics, and other things that don't sound as profound like cameras, photography and food in the evenings when I stop shooting. Being a professions traveler Rohit has introduced me to many things in Pushkar that I would never have found on my own, the Tibetan restaurant being one of them.

And now the trip to Pushkar and back to Delhi.

Our trip from Mangle ki Beri (25°20'47.96"N 71°40'54.65"E) to Pushkar (it’s on the map) 500 km by road started late. (I hope you are not surprised.) When Anna Ram had told me the camels came in a truck I of course visualized 12 camels standing in 3 neat rows. Once the truck arrived and got into place I realized just how different things really were. The truck had to be filled with sand and then the hesitant animals were made to sit (not stand) one next to the other with their fore-limbs tied so that they would not stand up. The entire process of loading the 11 camels that we took to the fair lasted a good 3 hrs, it was dark by the time we were ready to leave.

As a child traveling inside a train or bus I had always envied those who traveled on the roof and was adamant that I was not going to sit inside the cabin this time round. Folding a huge tarpaulin to form a comfortable mattress of sorts I placed my bags in one corner making room for three others who preferred the wind and stars to the cramped confines of the cabin. A short stop at the local temple some Prasad for good luck and carefully ducking the power lines stretched across the road we began the journey.

Sindari was our first stop, dinner at a dhabha where we had Bajre ki roti, Kadhi, and Dal. Sitting cross legged on the khatia I proudly had my dinner. And now when I say proudly there is a reason for it: firstly sitting cross legged is an accomplishment for me, something I was not sure of doing post surgery, but it was more about the comment the driver made about the way ate my dinner. Seeing me crumble the roti as the locals did rather than tear pieces as we do in UP, he complimented Anna Ram for teaching me to eat properly.

So with Dinner done and the cold wind getting to my bones I pulled out the blanket, shawl and sweater and …. (well that's all I had at the time) some how trying to stay warm. When I woke next we were about 11 km from Pushkar. The hints of the rising sun behind the hills gave me courage to venture from my blanket and face the icy cold morning as the truck took to the winding roads as we approached our destination.

By the time we reached Pushkar the sun was peeping over the eastern hill making the town blush in reds and yellows. The silent night that was only disturbed by the rumbling engine was now chased away by the grunting of camels, neighing of horses, honking of horns, blaring of loudspeakers, and shouting people, Pushkar was awake.

After watching the camels leave the truck I told Anna I was leaving for the Hotel, “Not going to sleep with us on the dunes” he asked, “Now way” I quickly answered. Later in the evening having tea he was quick to understand why, “yes this is not the village, any one could walk off with your camera at night” he said and I was glad he was not offended. (In the days that I spent at his place my wallet with all the cash for the trip, cameras, phones and everything else just lay on a cot out in the open and never did I worry about a thing.)

I spent the next few days walking the dunes, meeting with old friends debating stories about why the lake had no water, eating one Falafel after the other and at the end of each day I had my glass of sweet milk, without cream and walked back to hotel to crash for the night.

I left Pushkar early this time, before the Horse dance, before the Camel race, both happy and sad. I was happy (not just for the ride on the top of the truck but,) because I had taken a journey I had always wanted to and also because after last years lackluster attendance this year the fair was full of cattle. Anna Ram had already sold 2 of his 5 camels. And yet in my happiness there was the regret that I had to leave early and also the humbling learning that the fair was packed because people wanted to get rid of their cattle after the drought being unable to afford keeping them any longer.

My last evening when I sat at a dabha with Rohit and San eating ‘Dal Bati’ our host an old friend told me that once the fair was over they could be close to 500 or even more cattle just abandoned on the dunes because taking them back was an option few could afford.

Another year and I know I will be back, there seems to be little constant in my life, seldom knowing where I’ll be at any given time of the year but Pushkar has always remained a milestone of another year gone by and another year to look forward to.

Mangle Ki Beri

What now? I asked the cab driver when he told me he had no fuel and the pump too was dry, 'We'll find some' he said and drove on while the gauge pressed hard at 'E'. This area of Rajasthan is full of Oil and coal some one had told me the day before ... But right then we had none, it kind of reminded me of a ship at sea. After driving into the wilderness for about 15 minutes we got of the road and headed for a tractor on the hill close by, there after some negotiations we got some fuel and moved on to the village . Unlike the day when I had come here it was really really hot, lucky for me I got home by mid day.

Once I had washed up I crashed for the day and as it happened night too. Catching up on my sleep was paramount today we have to leave for Pushkar and I don't think I'll get much sleep on the journey my first in a truck!

This trip has been something, and its not just about the stay at the Taj in Jaipur where I was dressed in an expensive silk kurta drinking tea that cost a couple of hundred bucks as I met some of the smartest brains of the land (civil servants), or for that matter my unscheduled trip to Jodhpur to meet a friend I had only met twice before, or the trip to a village to stay with a family I had never met, in a land I had never seen ... it was all this and much more.

I had seen folks drop tea into a saucer and sip it rather than drink it from the cup but being served tea in a steel bowl, well this was something new.

While mother never lets me forget how over weight I am my hosts insisted that I had every bit of my bread (roti) dipped in Ghee. ( I had hoped to loose weight on this trip but little chance of that happening.)

Waking at 5 to answers Nature's call too was fine the hour was not all that unearthly, but carrying my lota into the sand under the watchful stars (that outnumbered those in Lucknow and Delhi) looking for a good place, well that was.

My days here with this my newly adopted family have been great, I have always loved Rajasthan right from my first visit with Saurabh in my third year at college, always felt safe and free. This trip has taken everything to a whole new level, I traveled alone without my car for the first time. The affection that Anna and his family have given me has changed something, for the first time I am not all that excited about the Pushkar fair but t I guess its fair!

Level crossing

So what’s so special about a goods train crossing a level crossing?

When we were children traveling from Guwahati to Lucknow each year the good trains always filled the day with excitement as we brothers struggled to keep track of the carriages whizzing past us. Some how it was always easier for us to count when the trains were at a distance rather than on the adjoining track, but why ? ( and now imagine me scratching my head hoping to come up with a genius reasoning.)

Motion is something that we photographers just cant get away from, nearly everything we shoot moves. Notice how the motion blur in the photograph is more on the left and less on the right to the point that there is no blur in the train and it appears sharp.
Depending on the speed of the subject, the apparent angle it forms at the point to the parallel running thrugh the camera, its distance from the camera and the shutter speed on the camera this blur may increase or decrease.

Its one train so how can it be still at one end and moving at the other?

Joy !

Stations 1

Of all the various elements that one can play with in photography for me the Depth Of Field (DOF) is my favorite.

As one matures in the art the initial aim of being able to see everything crisp and clear changes to allow some elements to be sharp while other are not.

Photography is often described as the art of exclusion, but its not just limited to the frame you choose. Even within the frame that you choose you still have the freedom to decide: to keep some subjects clear while others can be blurred beyond recognition to help you tell your story.

32˚ Fahrenheit

I was all set, the warmest jacket, thermals, my trekking shoes and I had the front seat right next to the pilot. The roar began to change its pitch as the chopper pilot did his last checks before the thumbs-up and like magic we were airborne.

Yes I had fantasized about being a pilot and more so a chopper pilot but this was something else. The Boss had given me 20 minutes to be at the pickup point and go on the ride. (Thank you Manny!). In those 20 minutes I got my Lowe-Pro Dry-zone packed with my FM 3A, F-80, and F-90 and a couple of lenses including Otto’s 24mm that he leant me. (Thank you Otto!) As we flew the valley and over the peaks a thousands ghastly thoughts rushed thru my brain but none survived the stampede and soon I was able to free my mind to admire the beauty of the landscape around me. (Though not quite the same but zooming in on Google-Earth does give you an idea of what I saw.)

The chopper landed on the ice field and we stepped out to walk on a slippery rock hard surface that was just ice and nothing else. The guide gave us our crampons and we started walking and that's when I realized the BIG MISTAKE I had made. No I did not forget my slide rolls or the batteries or the light meter, nope, I was just over dressed. The sun shining brightly thrugh the pristine air, the white ice reflecting it all back … I was getting baked standing on ICE! Soon the jacket came off and then the thermals till all I was wearing was a t-shirt. I cursed myself for bringing all the extra luggage on this short trip as I struggled to keep my balance.

For the next hour or so I fought the heat and the weight on my back and took a couple of photographs that made scream “I want more…”

How can you have a river flowing IN a Glacier ? What, you mean there are CAVES inside the Ice? So it takes 300-400 years for this ice to reach the lake ? are amongst the many questions that I hurled at our guide who patiently educated us on the subject. The Chopper returned and we flew back, no ugly thoughts this time … all I was thinking was, how do I get back?

In another week or so I was back in Delhi and the warm summer welcome I got made me want to return to Alaska even more. I had to return and I did after a 2 years and that's when I put together 32˚ Fahrenheit. The 21 photographs are amongst a lucky few that I was able to find the resources to scan, print, and frame many other not so fortunate and yet excellent shots still remain prisoners of the leaves that form the Alaska file in my cupboard.

After nearly 3 months in Delhi and a week in Mumbai 32˚ Fahrenheit is ready to hit the road again.

Below is the link to an article on the show that is in my opinion the best one written so far thank you Matt.

Alaska 3

When I first heard that Harbour Seals have their pups on the Icebergs that break off from the face of Tide Water Glaciers I was not sure if I should believe what I was hearing.

On one of my first trips on the second visit to Alaska we went up Tracy Arm (to investigate). We went up the winding fjord till the ice stopped us from getting any closer to the Sawyer Glaciers and that’s when I saw them for the first time. Over the repeated trips up the Arm I saw several mother and pup duos resting on the ice that was warmer than the water it floated on! Yes that’s right, in the water the Seals loose heat much faster than on the surface of an iceberg.
But why do they have have pups on the Icebergs ?!!
There is always a reason for everything in Nature; the maze of icebergs create a protective barrier against the Killer Whales that just love the tasty seals.

The brown beasts in the other photographs are Sea Lions that are extremely aggressive creatures both amongst themselves and towards the world at large. An entire pack once attached the vessel we were traveling in, glad it was not made of wood!

This set is for Susan

I met Susan in India and not in Alaska when she did a photography experience with me in Delhi. My friends Varun and Animesh run this extraordinary travel-experience company called Tallis and Co. ( ) Its not a travel agency, they wont book your bus tickets so don’t get the wrong idea.

Both Susan and Bernie walked the lanes of Old Delhi, had lunch at Karims and I was told had a great day and lots of good photographs.(Okay no more bragging here)

When Susan commented on the Alaska photographs this morning I was reminded of the star fish I had shot at Sitka and so put this collection together.

For any one in two minds about going to Alaska .... “JUST GO!” Is all I can say, you’ll thank me when you get back.


I was in love with Alaska even before I got there! I had seen photographs and heard stories from so many friends that I was just waiting to see it for myself.

I had always wanted to make a trip to Antarctica but that seemed just as unlikely then as it does now after my surgery. So finally I got 2 weeks with the team up in Alaska, the boss allowed me to stay on - thank you Manny.

In the two weeks that I spent there I had enough time to take a chopper ride to Juneau Ice Field and do a two hour walk in crampons that I had never worn before. I saw a glacier calve though I did not capture it. Saw the picturesque Mendenhall Glacier and Arctic Turns that had flown up from the southern hemisphere for the summer holiday.

I did get some shots on this first trip but much more important though was the resolve that it had rooted in me to come back again and spend more than 2 weeks. I did return and that’s when I began working on 32˚ Fahrenheit my first Solo Exhibition.

Reflections 1

This work is from the holy city of Banaras, a city that has given me many great memories. It was in Banaras that I had 'bhang' (भांग) for the first time. After waiting for over an hour for it to hit and not having any luck I decided to call it a day. A couple of hours later when I was woken by a phone call I remember sending the next hour our so just floating around the room chasing the damn phone and rolling on the floor in splits of laughter with Anshuman and Vikki.

One afternoon when we made the mistake of walking towards the town and away from the Ghats I crossed this roadside hawker selling mirrors and some other sundry items. Immediately the reflections caught my eye, but looking from where I was standing all I could see was an torrent of people brushing past in great haste. I walked off, yes I did, who wanted to shoot that I thought to myself.
Then the ‘If only’ came, if only there was something interesting in the reflection…. I looked up at the opposite side of the road to see what was there. Deciding not to be lazy any more I went down on my knees, waited for a break in the endless flow of people and got a couple of shots of the hoarding.

The news paper (अखबार)

While growing up I was not much into reading, but the paper always interested me with all the black and white photographs that it carried. We never got the paper the same day living as we did in a remote village, but being more concerned with the imagery I didn’t care less.

Now things have changed a little, some say I am obsessed with the paper, though I feel its just a routine, like my morning cup of tea that I just can’t do without. Even though a large section of India remains illiterate and education has still a long, long way to go, the newspaper rules the morning in most homes, tea stall, and market places every day.

In villages in rural India where just a handful of people might be literate you’ll find one fortunate soul reading the news to group of attentive listeners. In the cities and towns though you’ll find people in balconies, on garden benches, at home or just about anywhere, including the entrance of a temple getting a grip on the news.

Lajja 2 (लज्जा २)

We had finished work and were walking back to our Jeeps waiting to ferry us along the dusty roads to the next village when the Pradhan (head of the Village) insisted that we stop and listen to a couple of songs (there was no point refusing). The artists, a mother and daughter duo got ready, the Dholak was tested and they began singing. We were informed that they belonged to a gypsy village not far from where we were.

While I could hardly catch a word of what they were singing because of the strong accent, I did catch the sparkle in the girl’s eye. Initially the camera made her rather uneasy and nervous but I did make her smile and then she broke into a giggle. As she tried hard to restrain herself from laughing openly by covering her mouth I was able to squeeze in 2 shots before she hid behind her mother.

I have asked myself, “Why are people so shy?” But now, somehow, I am grateful for it!


Taken some where in the state of Uttara Khand as it is now called this is one of many photographs of temples in the his 'heavenly state' that has the sacred of sacred religious pilgrimages in India.

Brooklyn Bridge NY

Yellow Cabs

Looking down from the Empire State Building!

New York 1

When I first visited NY I was cautioned to be careful, I was told that since I was more of a country person (some called me a villager!) it was a place I would not like much at all. Some told me that the busy New-Yorker was rude and never helpful so I needed to be prepared?

About a year ago when my best friend Abhik left for the states to live in Jersey, I told him he'd love NY just as I did. It wasn't just about the authentic Indian cuisine, or the joy of standing inside B&H watching the conveyor belts moving everywhere, or spending a day on the Brooklyn bridge, there was something MORE! The city has character like no other, and yes the people are helpful. Not just the Indian cab drivers, who I think believe that Manhattan is Chandani Chowk, but every one.

As a photographer the life in city is overwhelming, at times I would forget to shoot as I watched the streets teeming with people of all colours and from all walks of life.

Photography Unlimited!

The Beach

Some years ago my good friends Marius and Victor joined me on one of my absentminded walks in the Mexican town of Cabo San Lucas on the west coast that took us a secluded beach. We spent the afternoon shooting the walls of water that violently broke on the shore as we made sure the cameras never got wet.
After 3 hrs of fun we were told to leave the spot, the previous week had sen two your men sucked into the ocean. Every time I had failed to beat the waves and held my camera high never did i fear for my life, all i thought about was the camera and the shot I wanted to get. It might have been different if some one had told me the story before we began shooting.... hmmm I don't think so!


Initially when I started shooting like many others my aim was to produce those crisp clear images that would have ever one go WOW! In those days it was sin to have anything blur in the Image, one aimed at freezing everything.

Then with time once one had perfected the freezing it was time to thaw... I began experimenting with motion in a new way. Rather than have a crisp image the aim was to have a certain amount of blur in the shot to highlight the movement.

A theater environment often forces you to choose a low shutter speed to get the right exposure and this usually gives you blurry images, but if you get the balance right you can get a shot that has that crispness to it and yet highlights movement.