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Thread: Nex 7 and India Trip

  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnW's Avatar
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    Nex 7 and India Trip

    I just returned from a wedding in Delhi, where I made some time for a little street shooting. What a rich and diverse city.

    I shot almost everything with the Sigma 19, and most at waist level. Really like that perspective and technique. Very pleased with the performance of camera and lens. The combo is a little slow to wake from sleep mode, but otherwise a real pleasure.

    A few examples below and more on the web site.

    John









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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    Hi John,

    Glad to hear that you had a good visit. I will check your photos more thoroughly a bit later. I am currently in India -although for a very different reason ( and with limited time to bring out a camera) Only with my Leica MM and a NEX5N plus a Leica adapter ( so that i can interchange lenses between the two cameras). Oddly, the Leica got noticed as a "camera"!

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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    I just returned from a wedding in Delhi, where I made some time for a little street shooting. What a rich and diverse city.

    I shot almost everything with the Sigma 19, and most at waist level. Really like that perspective and technique. Very pleased with the performance of camera and lens. The combo is a little slow to wake from sleep mode, but otherwise a real pleasure.

    A few examples below and more on the web site.

    John
    John: I'm really at a loss for words. But that's not mainly because I'm no native English speaker. Those are truly exceptional!

    The series you shared here, but all the more the whole series on your web site is simply excellent. Those captures show so much of the every day life in India, but on top of that most of them convince by a brilliant composition, surprising angles of views and a wonderful PP. Again

    BTW: Would you mind to elaborate a bit on your PP in this series, cause it's simply marvellous.
    Best regards - Hermann

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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    John: After enjoying your India series a bit more thoroughly, I'd like to let you know my personal favorites at least (regarding content, impact and composition):

    #1, #3, #4, #15, #23, #47(!), #48(!), #53(!), #63, #68, #69, #70, #71, #72, #73, #75, #78, #85, #86, #106, #107 and # 108.

    Once again, thanks for sharing and IMHO you really should try to find a way to publish those wonderful captures as well in a printed version!
    Best regards - Hermann

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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    John.

    Amazing series.

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    Senior Member JohnW's Avatar
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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    Thank you, Hermann and rayyan. Really appreciate your kind words.

    Hermann, for post-processing, I don't do much. I first try the default conversion in Silver Efex Pro, with a little Dynamic Brightness and Amplify Whites. Those two sliders are magical, I feel (more on them). I've been unable to replicate their effects in Lightroom. I then dodge/burn, if necessary, with Control Points. Sometimes I don't like what SEP does, so I use Lightroom, mainly with the Tone Curve sliders and local dodging/burning. Pretty simple, really.

    For this series one of my goals was to try to create more complex photographs using perspective, layers, and more varied figure groups. This was the first time I used the 19mm and waist-level LCD, but once I started, they seemed ideal. You can get really close but unnoticed. And, of course, India is so bright you can shoot all day at f11 or 16 with a fast shutter speed. Plus, Delhi is so crowded and frenetic that few notice you. Pretty much ideal street shooting conditions.

    I've been to Delhi many times, but never to Majnu ka Tila, which is the largest Tibetan settlement outside of Dharamsala. Loved it there. Right in the midst of Delhi, but like stepping into another country. The Muslim section is mostly the neighborhood around Nizamuddin Dargah.

    I'll start printing now, and a book is a pretty good idea. Thanks again.

    John

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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    Thank you, Hermann and rayyan. Really appreciate your kind words.

    Hermann, for post-processing, I don't do much. I first try the default conversion in Silver Efex Pro, with a little Dynamic Brightness and Amplify Whites. Those two sliders are magical, I feel (more on them). I've been unable to replicate their effects in Lightroom. I then dodge/burn, if necessary, with Control Points. Sometimes I don't like what SEP does, so I use Lightroom, mainly with the Tone Curve sliders and local dodging/burning. Pretty simple, really.

    For this series one of my goals was to try to create more complex photographs using perspective, layers, and more varied figure groups. This was the first time I used the 19mm and waist-level LCD, but once I started, they seemed ideal. You can get really close but unnoticed. And, of course, India is so bright you can shoot all day at f11 or 16 with a fast shutter speed. Plus, Delhi is so crowded and frenetic that few notice you. Pretty much ideal street shooting conditions.

    I've been to Delhi many times, but never to Majnu ka Tila, which is the largest Tibetan settlement outside of Dharamsala. Loved it there. Right in the midst of Delhi, but like stepping into another country. The Muslim section is mostly the neighborhood around Nizamuddin Dargah.

    I'll start printing now, and a book is a pretty good idea. Thanks again.

    John
    John: Thanks a lot for your further information about your trip to Delhi/Majnu ka Tila. In my mind your pictures really give an authentic impression of the social reality there, the atmosphere and mood, particularly regarding your attempt to focus your view on varied figure groups and their interpersonal relationship.

    BTW: I fully agree on your estimation of the 19 mm and waist-level LCD usage for (almost) unnoticed street-photography, works even in Central Europe with decent results.

    Last but not least thanks for the information about your PP and the link to the SEP help. I still use SEP, version I, and maybe I finally should give SEP II a try, since there seem to be indeed some improvements (particularly regarding the linked information about advanced tonality controls).

    Good luck with the printing job and best regards.
    Best regards - Hermann

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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    Excellent collection and interesting website.

    Congratulations.

    Paul

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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    Some very very nice stuff there. Personally I´d like to see a tiny bit more contrast, but that is just me...so keep on rocking

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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    John, outstanding images. Consistently strong captures from beginning to end with a nice variety of angles and vantage points. Well done sir.
    ........................................
    Joe Marquez
    www.thesmokingcamera.com

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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    simply outstanding, not the least at the homepage too..!
    Thorkil

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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    Excellent, John...a great way to start my morning.

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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    John - just looked quickly at your web site - what a wonderful series - I will return later to more thoroughly appreciate them. Thank you
    David

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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    John, lovely pictures here and on your website. But, to be honest, India is a country I just cannot imagine in B&W. Such are the charm and power of the colours to be found everywhere that, despite the very real appeal of your pics, I cannot subscribe to your view.
    The last pic in this series is especially compelling. Is it one of the buildings alongside the Taj Mahal?

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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by philber View Post
    John, lovely pictures here and on your website. But, to be honest, India is a country I just cannot imagine in B&W. Such are the charm and power of the colours to be found everywhere that, despite the very real appeal of your pics, I cannot subscribe to your view.
    The last pic in this series is especially compelling. Is it one of the buildings alongside the Taj Mahal?
    Thanks for your comments, and I certainly appreciate your perspective on color. I shoot black and white almost exclusively, but for this set seriously considered making an exception for the reason you cite. I wrestled with the decision for a week or so.

    I processed several files both ways, but in the end could not bring myself to go with color. The color is so compelling in some that, had I done so, the set would have been largely about the color. I suppose this raises the perennial color vs. b&w issue, for which we all know there is no "right" answer—only preference.

    Maybe this point will help your understand my decision: For me the pictures are not about India; they are about people and how they live their lives. In that sense I don't mind losing the boldness of color that so characterizes India. In fact, I believe doing so much better aligns the final photographs with my perception and intention.

    No, the last shot is at Jama Masjid mosque in Old Delhi. Most of the other pictures with an Islamic flavor are in the neighborhood around the Nizamuddin Dargah, also Old Delhi. I had been there in the late 70s for a poetry mushaira and the surroundings left a deep impression on me. So glad to have finally revisited to photograph.

    John
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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by philber View Post
    John, lovely pictures here and on your website. But, to be honest, India is a country I just cannot imagine in B&W. Such are the charm and power of the colours to be found everywhere that, despite the very real appeal of your pics, I cannot subscribe to your view.
    (...)
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    Thanks for your comments, and I certainly appreciate your perspective on color. I shoot black and white almost exclusively, but for this set seriously considered making an exception for the reason you cite. I wrestled with the decision for a week or so.

    I processed several files both ways, but in the end could not bring myself to go with color. The color is so compelling in some that, had I done so, the set would have been largely about the color. I suppose this raises the perennial color vs. b&w issue, for which we all know there is no "right" answer—only preference.

    Maybe this point will help your understand my decision: For me the pictures are not about India; they are about people and how they live their lives. In that sense I don't mind losing the boldness of color that so characterizes India. In fact, I believe doing so much better aligns the final photographs with my perception and intention.

    (...)
    John
    Philippe, John: A very intersting discussion about the pictures shared by John and as a side note about street-photography in general.

    Although I can follow Philippe's arguments to some degree but, as a last consequence, if I take a close look at the pictures in question, for me their strong impact for the most part literally results from the waiver of color. Some of them without any question could and would impress as well as colorful, "folkloristic", i. e. decriptive captures of touristic sights. But the shared pictures in "abstracting" B&W bring the subjects, their social situation and their relationship quasi analytically into focus, the beauty as well as the harshness of social reallity. This is for the most part highlighted and underlined by straight and strong compositions. Thus they tell me more about India than lots of colorful impressionistic captures of a beautiful country.

    So to my mind and if I get the aspiration of the series right, the shared pictures, in particular, if you look at them as a whole, are indeed outstanding!
    Best regards - Hermann

  17. #17
    Senior Member JohnW's Avatar
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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    Well said, Hermann. And I, too, have enjoyed the discussion. We talk so much about gear, but relatively little about why we do what we do aesthetically.

    John

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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    John, you make a great case, and I understand and empathise. In retrospect, some of my India portraits -and I hold India to be the portrait heaven of the world!- might be more interesting in B&W. But definitely not all. Certainly not my favorite ones.
    Let me share something with you. It was in India that I realised I had found a country where beauty and money did not have to coincide, the way it happens in Western countries. And that epiphany happened as I saw women of great beauty with impeccable saris of wonderfuls colours improbably emerge from slums that were desperately poor and a colourless grey. Giving up colour would be giving up their ability to rise up and emerge from the dinginess and misery, if only for a walk. No way would I give this up. I hope this point of view does not offend you.
    Thank you for this interesting discussion. Namaste!

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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    Lots and lots of photographers out there continue trying hard to make nice pictures of all the beautiful landscapes, cityscapes and beautiful people, flora and fauna (yes, cats particularly) all over the world and nothing wrong with that, not least since we all can enjoy the results of their efforts in fora like this.

    But there are as well a few photographers who try to leave those paths and want to scratch the surface, to lift and look behind the curtain a little bit. In the best case they will provide us with yet unseen perspectives and dimensions of (social) reality and some worthwhile insights. Some call it art. And here remains as well a place for high-quality PJ.

    Notwithstanding the above the thoughtful consideration whether to choose color or B&W is of course in each case due to the subject matter. For me in this particular case that's still without any doubt B&W. And last but not least those pictures really deserve the (and be it controversial) discussion.
    Last edited by contrelamontre; 19th March 2013 at 05:27.
    Best regards - Hermann

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    Re: Nex 7 and India Trip

    Good points from both of you. I think your perspective, philber, underscores the very personal nature of self-expression. For you India's color has meaning, which takes it far beyond the snapshot or tourist genre. Having been through many of the settings you describe, you paint a vivid picture of your experience. I understand now why you feel removing color would compromise the significance of the photos for you.

    Now that we are discussing this, it's interesting to me that I've been to India over a dozen times, yet its color has never been a visual factor for me. I notice it sometimes, but I'm far more drawn to form, design, and social content. I expect a perception expert would say people are just wired differently. I'm sure others probably respond more to the incredible sounds of India.

    Anyway, I think the main thing is that we understand ourselves and our values, and then align our creative efforts with that understanding, regardless of what others think. To me that seems like our primary task as photographers, because I think that's what makes an honest and integrated body of work.

    John
    Last edited by JohnW; 19th March 2013 at 07:34.
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