I recently had an opportunity to travel from Vellore to Bangalore by road.
Good thing was that the journey took place in a private car. My son in law was driving. My wife and daughter were in the rear seat and I had the front seat next to the driver. This is the best position to be in if you want to take photographs along the way.
I had done some homework. I had given a thought to which lens I shall use. I selected a medium zoom lens which would allow me to take photographs of near and distant objects and avoid the need to change lenses midway. Changing lenses in a running car is not easy, and moreover, doing so costs you some photographing opportunities. I had also done most of the technical settings based on the knowledge of how the conditions would be out there.
Photographing a road while you are travelling on it has its own challenges. There just are too many sources of jerks to your camera. The car itself is constantly vibrating. It is also going up and down in tune with the contour of the road, and these ups and downs cannot always be anticipated. The road cannot be expected to be satin smooth. Then there are turnings, speed-breakers, potholes, barriers, and of course, the driver in the front suddenly breaking!
In addition to these external challenges, the real exciting challenge is to be anticipating and ready all the time. One never knows what will unfold before his eyes in the next ten seconds, what turn the road will take, what slant will greet you, what interesting objects (houses, rocks, hills) will you encounter by the side of the road, how the light will suddenly change presenting you with some predominantly light-oriented image-making or what that small orange object you are seeing in the distance will turn out to be. You need to capture each as it comes. There is no second chance. Once lost, the opportunity is totally lost. All you can do then is rue – may be for months and months – the lost opportunity.
I like the challenge. The idea is to do your best, technically and aesthetically. Put your craft and art to the best use and make images. At the end of the session, take a count. How many of the images had to be discarded for technical reasons (camera shake, to dark, too bright etc.)? How many had to be discarded because they were aesthetically not right? How many ‘good’ or ‘keepable’ images do you end up with?
And, all this while you are enjoying the journey. You are enjoying the scenery. You have time also to marvel at the human or nature’s genius. You are still with the group, participating in the small talk and otherwise contributing your share of the group tasks (paying for tea and snakes every once in a while, changing the CD in the CD player, passing on the water bottle, keeping supplying grapes and peeled oranges to the driver etc.)
For the first time since I took up photography a bit seriously, did I have this opportunity and I gave it my best shot (pun to be noticed and appreciated because it is intended!) and here is the select crop for you.
The road I am presenting before you is the National Highway No. 46. It starts from Chennai and later joins another highway leading to Bengaluru.
We joined it about one thirds distance from Chennai, at Vellore. When you look at the photographs; you will see the beauty of the highway. But that’s the point where the romance begins. Chennai to Vellore is straight, drab and nothing much to click about, though I have some good ones of vehicles and other things. The moment you cross Vellore, the fun begins. See for yourself the smooth undulations, smooth and sometimes acute turns, the curves, the ups, the downs, the other objects around that make the image interesting, the mystery that lies at the other end of the road, the mood created, and so on. The point of view of the pictures provided by my seat is such that the viewer always feels being in the car and journeying ahead. There is a slightly eager anticipation of what lies next – a tingling sensation. Sometimes I feel a video would have been more effective. Maybe I do it sometimes. But my primary medium is a photo.
Have I succeeded in my effort? Judge through.
Liked it? Let me know.
See you soon.