Three Frames From Aarey Colony

I paid a sunrise visit to Aarey Colony to my favorite country road. By the end, my assistant and I were sceptical about getting any keepers. I did manage three.

Caption: Timing is nothing. Truth is a lie. Reality is absurd. And Aarey is in Mumbai.


Some film shooters say that manual focusing (and a host of obsolete tech features) slows the process down for them, making it more "in the moment", etc. I find such throwbacks to bygone tech eras extremely annoying and counterproductive. I don't shoot photography to slow down, to meditate, or to otherwise feel in the moment. Those things have nothing to do with photography, in my book. Those are lifetstyle issues. The only thing I care about is getting the shot. All these other intentional obstacles photographers deliberately put in their way to make taking a shot more difficult and next to impossible, in some cases, smacks of nuttiness. That being said, when one owns a manual-focus lens, however brilliant, like my Samyang 135mm f2, one can't help but to slow down, especially when shooting wide open with a moving subject. One thing I don't like to do, however, is to conflate available limitations with "process as a lifestyle choice." It's not my choice to slow down (I'll reserve that for when I'm dead or in a coma). And I'll reserve my meditation dates for a bottle of wine. And I'll watch my hit rate plummet as I nail 1 in 10 shots at f2 - without the benefit of praising some delusional set of benefits from missing 90% of the time. But I will take that 10% and run with it like an Olympic sprinter to the finish line, gold medal or not.

Caption: This farmer may start to be wondering why I occasionally happen upon him and take photos. It just so happens that each time he's always amidst beautiful scenery, no matter the look he gives me. Truth is, I've chatted with him before and he understood I was taking his picture. But another farmer approached me while I was shooting and began asking me a host of questions in Hindi. When I said "buildings" he then understood my intentions, even if that particular intention was only a background concern. I've found that indicating something in the background was much easier than explaining that I love to photograph people in their natural environments, as in environmental portraiture. I've found that brevity is still very much the soul of wit when dealing with issues of translation.

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