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How do I Photograph the World?

by Prashant Gupta  from United States

Through the Colosseum Arches by Prashant Gupta

Every great travel picture on Instagram, measured in terms of the number of likes it gets, is pretty much the best sight you could see when you get to that particular location. The photographers wait patiently for that perfect moment when there is just the right amount of lighting, people, ambience etc. to capture the pictures that make us go “Wow”.

On a Himalayan Trek by Prashant Gupta

Recently I’ve become fairly addicted to Instagram and over a period of time have followed a number of photographers. Now, my feed is filled with these perfect pictures but they fail to amaze me the way they used to. Reason?! I’ve become immune to how awesome they are.

Now every post is exactly the same, absolute perfection. I think its human nature, every day we live through many imperfect moments, so much so that when we actually see something perfect, it makes us stop and take notice. The vice versa is true too.

Cliched picture in the making in Pisa by Prashant Gupta

So, now it’s the imperfect captures, the ones which have a story because of their spontaneity, because they were taken to capture the candidness of the moment that appeal to me. Often, when we ourselves actually get to those landmark places, we have neither the energy and ( in most cases) the equipment for those postcard-like pictures. So, what I focus on, while taking my pictures is capturing the subject while approaching or detracting from it. This is the route which everyone has to take to get there, and there’s nothing more exciting than finally getting those first glimpses of the monument you’ve read or heard about all this time. With the subject in sight, you’re enthused, you start taking longer strides until you’re finally there and can admire itsbeauty. When it’s time to leave, you can’t help but glance back after every few steps, to contemplate that you were just standing there a while ago, how for a few minutes you were a part of its aura which exudes all around the world. These are the precise emotions which I intend to capture with my pictures.

New York City by Prashant Gupta

Some people travel to show themselves the world and some to show-off to people that they’ve travelled the world. Now, and I’m not judging here, the kind of pictures I’m suggesting should accomplish either aims. Because the silhouette of your subject is obviously recognized by everyone, and there’s no better way to show or remember a place than by capturing how you got there. I mean, people can place cutouts of Lady Liber ty and have their pictures taken next to it, but obviously a picture of you riding the ferry to get to Liberty Island with the globally recognized silhouette in the background does place you there.

The picture from a bridge in Pisa by Prashant Gupta

Now I was in Pisa earlier this year, I knew I didn’t wanna post that picture of me trying to hold-up the Leaning Tower because it’s been done a million times by a million people. No, what I  wanted was to show myself (or remember) was the quaint Italian countryside I came across while crossing a small bridge (which was on the way to the Leaning Tower). It’s the regular everyday stuff of a location that places you there not the landmark.

Somewhere in Athens by Prashant Gupta

We all know that everything’s not perfect and we applaud one another when we see someone salvage something out of what they had, rather than what could’ve been achieved. So when you actually reach a destination in your travels, don’t be daunted by the fact that it can’t be captured with the device you have, rather walk-around, look out for a spot from where you can fairly  capture your subject, add your creativity, account for your perception of the lines and angles and make a truly great picture. Think about it, you’re gonna have to scout for the perfect place to capture an image, you’ll look around, stumble upon something that’s not advertised as much and get to know the place a lot better. So, my friend you in the process of taking a picture might actually have had more fun than regular tourists waiting in line for a clichéd shot next to the subject.

On the way to Sikkim, India by Prashant Gupta

It’s not just the result (a post on instagram) but the behind-the-scene-effort it takes that makes it

totally worth it. And I’ll leave you with a photography tip, I ripped off the internet.

“When theessence of a scene or subject is more about shapes and angles than colors,switch to grays cale or B&W inside the camera”

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