Photographing these festivities from roof tops with your ‘normal’ lens or ‘standard zoom’ can offer unusual views. Close-up shots of deliciously cooked food and even raw ingredients can be photographed using a macro lens or any other closefocussing lens.
Keep your eyes open to capture the happiness of the children on the streets, their various emotions and their joy in the simple moments that the children on the streets usually have.
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most important Hindu festivals celebrated throughout India. This day is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the mostloved elephant-headed God. Elaborately crafted statues of Lord Ganesha in various sizes are brought home and prayers are offered throughout the ten day festival period. People offer ‘aartis’ and pay their respect to the elephant God, who is considered as the ‘provider of intelligence’. His name is mentioned in respect before starting any new venture. At the end of the 10-day festival, the statues are taken and submerged in a nearby lake, river or sea.
This is a wonderful opportunity to create ‘behind the scene’ images before the festival begins. In most towns, villages and cities, the preparation o f Ganesha statues begins six months prior to the festival. There are some communities that are engaged only in this activity throughout the year.
Full-length shots could be taken using your 50mm lens on a full-frame camera body (35mm on APS-C sensor bodies). Close-ups of fine details could be had using a macro lens. An entire collection of Ganesha statues could be taken using a wide-angle lens.
Diwali, or Deepavali as it is sometimes called, is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated every year. The festival signifies the victory of light over darkness. Different states celebrate Diwali for different reasons. Some consider it as an important harvest festival, some believe it to be the celebration of the marriage of Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu; for some, Diwali signifies the return of Lord Rama along with Sita and Lakshman from his long exile after vanquishing Ravana. In Jainism, Diwali signifies the event of Lord Mahavira attaining eternal bliss of nirvana. There are many more significant details attached by different states to this grand festival. This festival creates a wonderful mood to capture fireworks, houses decorated with lights, multicolour ‘rangolis’, sweets, various delicacies and earthenware oil lamps.
Capture the emotions and joy of kids lighting crackers in the evening hours, lanterns displayed in stores and homes, and the decorations in the local market with your wide-angle and telephoto lenses. With your macro or prime lens, get close-up images of ‘diyas’ and earthen lamps with creative backgrounds. You can capture the mouth-watering feasts prepared at home for the occasion and add these to your food photography portfolio.
Do not miss out on photographing ‘rangoli’ patterns and the colourful designs on the floors. Rangoli is an amazing art, which is practiced across the country. There are competitions held every year to encourage this form of art during some festivals. This is one of the best ways to capture the range of striking and attractive colours in artistic patterns. The woman in the image ‘Art of the moment-Rangoli time’ has created the face of the Goddess with grains, dhals and rangoli colours.
The whole country glows under the light of lamps, candles and fireworks on this day. Let your photos show the magnificent beauty of the occasion with your imagination.
Holi is known as the festival of colours. It also signifies the triumph of good over evil. The celebrations commence a night before the Holi festival with a bonfire where people gather around, sing and dance.
The next day – the actual Holi day – the participating groups throw colour on each other and enjoy in the merrymaking. The festival offers an unforgettable experience of photographing vibrant subjects playing with colours.
Protecting your camera gear is an obvious concern. Steps need to be taken to cover the camera in a soft plastic bag, thus preventing any colour (dry powder or liquid) getting into the camera. You could even try commercially available camera rain covers.
Christmas is celebrated all over the world on 25th December commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. One of the most widely practiced customs is attending midnight mass on Christmas Eve followed by spending time with family and friends , wearing new clothes and having a festival meal along with exchanging gifts. Homes and stores are replete with vibrant Christmas stars, trees are decorated with small electric lamps. Some people dress up as Santa Claus and distribute chocolates as well as gifts to children. Christmas is a great festival to capture some striking images of the sparkling baubles and tree decorations.
Some stunning bokeh images can be created by playing with focus and lens; the right time to do this will be on festival days because most of the markets, stores and houses will be decorated with attractive lights and lamps during Christmas, Diwali, Ramadan and Ganesh festival days. This technique takes a bit of experimenting, but it is very simple to create good images, the shot needs to be taken at the larger end of the aperture available, this throws the lights or bright objects in the images out of focus. It is recommended that there is some element in focus to make the image more interesting, the subject might be a lamp, a person or something else in the foreground. Any standard zoom or prime lens can be used to create these images.
Consider long exposures for special effects
Long exposures can provide unusual and artistic feel to the images. This involves taking photographs with longer exposures, ranging from 1 second to 30 seconds or even more. See the image at the bottom left. A bright light was moved from the right to left and vice versa in a zig zag pattern. The shutter was kept open for about 5 secs. This has created a special effect in the background.
The Durga mata image was exposed for 10 seconds at f/20. The lights of the moving vehicles have left a colourful trail, balancing the statue on the left.
So grab your camera, head out to any festival celebrations near your home and have a great time capturing all the aspects and moments of the occasion and merrymaking. Apart from taking the photos, stop shooting every now and then, participate in the celebrations and take time to enjoy those moments too.
Happy Festival and Celebration Clicking! |SP