Photography: Nature,Architecture,Wildlife,Photojournalism

Posts tagged “India

For the love of coffee

Adventures with coffee, around the globe..



copyright Marcus Sam



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Love of Coffee MarcusSam (9)

Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid in the evening.

The following series encloses 15 photographs of Masjid-i Jahān-Numā meaning World-reflecting Mosque situated in Old Delhi, India. Built in mid 1600AD by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, its the largest mosque in India. The monument, the prime shooting location of many Bollywood movies can hold 25,000 people during prayer times. It is also close to a major ancient Indian market known as ‘Meena Bazaar’ and one of the oldest and most famous eat streets in India, the ‘Chandni Chowk’. From the Jama Masjid, one can see the ‘Red Fort’ at a distance, home to some of the most powerful Mughal Emperors of all times. Do leave your feedback if you like the series.


People washing themselves before prayer.


Sunset over the mosque



Ali wondering where little sister Alisha is, as she is not allowed inside during the prayers


Prayer Time





Sunset over the old city


Sunset from another angle




Lights get on


Chaotic traffic in Old Delhi




A new photo angle


The image from the top of the mosque


Let there be light

Amateurs worry about equipment, professionals worry about money, masters worry about light, a quote by which almost every emo newbie photographer swears by, till they graduate to a level when they have to worry about all the three..

Coming to which it cannot be gainsaid that light is almost one of the most powerful factors which determines the quality of any photograph, light natural or artificial.Photographically speaking light is the lifeline of an image, with even the most advanced DSLRs requiring atleast a minimal amount of lighting to take a photo.

Before we proceed lets have a look into what lighting has to offer over camera equipment or money for the matter.


marcussam_mobileThe above Image has been taken by me in 2007/08 using a 2megapixels mobile camera (Loc : Pondicherry ,India).

Form the above image u can see light transforms something which might otherwise look very ‘amateur’..

But then we can’t just get light willy nilly, hence we have to use camera functions to compensate for  loss in ‘ideal lighting’..Now how does a camera decide what ‘light’ it needs to take a photo, generally it uses the ‘shutter’ function and increases its delay, or in simple sanskrit, it increases the time for which the shutter remains open to let adequate amount of light seep in to freeze the exposure. But then we get all those blurry images (for most photographers don’t carry a tripod 24×7). Hence we need  to take the help of the ISO function, which is most under-understood by amateur photography people. Ideally a cheapo camera has the capability to deliver good images at the lowest (starting) ISO – 50/100/200 at a ‘non shake shutter speed (ideally 1/40secs range- a speed at which camera shake doesn’t matter) beyond which the image gets grainy. But even with the best of DSLRs, the highest ISO u can pump an image without killing it is around 12800. So we need to go for aperture size, a bigger aperture lets more light inside naturally, letting images to be taken under serious low lighting at good shutter speeds and somewhat high ISO..


marcussam_streets (1)The above image displays a fine mix of a High ISO, High Shutter Speed and a Huge Aperture. (Loc: Mumbai,India)


Another image portraying a fine mix of ISO,Shutter Delay & Aperture. (Loc: Rome,Italy)

Now lets observe how a same place looks under different lighting conditions. Below is a series of 3 images taken under 3 different lighting conditions.Images taken in Kolkata, India.

1. Above the Bridge

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2) Below the Bridge

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3) Under the Water

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4) Complementary image to explain ‘using exposure to render beauty’


Lets have another pictorial example of the same from another part of the world. Images from Florence, Italy.

1) Early Morning

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2) Early Evening

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3) Early Dusk

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4)  Complementary image to explain ‘using exposure to render beauty’


Hence from the above study we can see how a mix of light , equipment and ofcourse money is essential to render a beautiful image, light being the most important followed by money to get the equipment and pay for the ‘free lunches’…

And yes its the Friday of the year, first of December so I leave u guys with some Season’s Greetings.. Have a Great Life People..!! =)


Concept, Research & Image copyright : Marcus Sam

King of Jaywalking

Yep, since no one has claimed this title yet, I shall proclaim myself the King of Jaywalking..

As the fact of the matter is, I like to take pictures while crossing roads, jaywalking or not.It often provides you with angles that are unique and unexplored.The word crossing might as well be replaced sometimes by the words ‘running across’ instead, haha…Oh yes its illegal in most 1st world countries,till u are caught of course , by either the police or by the Grim Reaper. But since I am from India,its a no biggie.. stuff happens in India willy-nilly which if happens in any other country, the whole country would shut down…

Do u like to take images while crossing the street? I had this awesome comment from a friend by the name Sue Summons in my Facebook page :: ‘Not ready for that yet. Want to live a bit longer lol’..

So here are some images I have taken around the world that are from the middle of the road..



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Of History, Gods and Politicians

The Karla Caves- Maharashtra

The Karla Caves near Mumbai-India are a complex of ancient Buddhist rock-cut cave shrines dating back to around 160BC (around 100yrs younger than the Petra -Jordan )
The main hall has 37 octagonal pillars and the main stupa (the object of worship) in the front with a wooden umbrella/chatri on the top of it..The wood is believed to be as old the structure itself.The structure is a bit off the avg tourist circuit.The compound shares its ground with a Hindu temple (dedicated to Goddess ‘Ekvira’), believed to be even older than the caves themselves.

These caves enjoy a lower tourist head count compared to its peers, the Ajanta Ellora and the likes because of 2 reasons

a) It is out of the common Buddhist tourist circuit comprising of Bodh-Gaya,Varanasi (Sarnarth) and Nalanda. etc.

b) The ‘charm’ of something so old, is hugely overshadowed by the presence of the Ekvira Temple just somewhat attached to the caves.The people visiting are more interested in the temple than the caves as a separate entity.

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The Ekvira Devi Temple is believed to have been constructed by the Pandavas of ancient Indian mythology. (If u know – Hare Rama Hare Krishna sect, try to understand it this way that Lord Krishna was the God who endowed wisdom upon the Pandavas, so the thing dates back to 1000s of yrs ) and so does the Ekvira Temple.

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The Main Caves


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The wooden frames as well as the teak umbrella on the top of the Stupa is believed to be as old as the caves themselves..


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The Black Houses of India

The Black Houses of India: The tar coated village houses, a photo essay.

Going around India, a predominantly monsoon irrigated country with agriculture as its primary industry, it is not uncommon to come across 1 season mud houses.. These houses are mainly made of unroasted mud bricks which are stacked and packed with more mud and clay which might last one or more seasons depending in how strong the rains are..The good side of such construction is apart from the rains, they are ‘all weather proof’ the thick mud walls are almost impenetrable to the scorching summer heat which constitutes of almost 6 long months,including the months when it rains (the times when it doesn’t rain, its hot and damp)..  Also from the biting cold winters when it doesnt snow but reaches as low as 5-7 degree celsius on the coldest days along with cold winds and frost.. Sometimes it even rains during the winters, making life worse for the people who live on a wage/earning of less than 2US$ a day.. The Govt. has planned to issue Credit Cards to these people, consisting of farmers, labourers, industrial menial workers and the like, but that’s another story altogether …

Here the rains are worshiped.. Lord Indra an Indian Hindu God, is worshiped as the God of rain & thunder..he is somewhat like the Greek God Zeus..Head of other smaller Gods…Every year when the rains are delayed, he’s summoned by hymn & prayer and lo within 2 months there are splendid rains…Everyone is 80% relieved, just that a little over rains wash away the mud from the mud houses….

So how do we weatherproof the houses from even that? Someone, most probably not a God, came up with the idea of applying coal tar on the walls, on the outside..That way the houses would last more than 1 year, unless Lord Indra  gets super angry with that specific family and washes away even the tarred walls…But u can never win with these Gods u see…If Lord Indra is really angry with that family, he wouldn’t give enough rains on the farmland owned by that family altogether..That way they wouldnt be able to spare money to purchase coal tar to apply on the outer mud walls of their family house…

Coal tar also known as ‘alkatra’ by the local villagers is a derivative of coal obtained from heating it at temperatures around 1000 deg C in the absence of air…Its the same compound used while lining roads…

In the picture above u can observe a few things

1) Modernization…Permanent brick houses by affluent village landlords replacing the erstwhile mud houses

2) The mud roads which form mini swimming pools when it rains

3) The effect of politics..Notice the Communist sign in the left and the Hand sign on the right (black building) – The sign of the Indian National Congress, which is in power presently… Maybe people of first world countries living under first world conditions under a Govt which has the word ‘Congress’ somewhere in its name,should visit these 3rd world countries and see what the Govt is doing for these 3rd world people, and return back to their own country and stay happy with their own Govt…

4) School Children…Govt has made Primary education free ,along with free meals during the classes… This attracts a huge crowd of children to the local village primary schools…Even the parents are happy, i have no idea whether they are happy with the fact that their children are getting educated or they are getting to eat atleast once a day…Either way its great…. Now children who are educated are no longer willing to do menial work with their father on the farm lands, instead they want to travel to the cities, search for jobs and get frustrated adding to the unemployed queue….

Most of these villages are like river tributaries, off shooting from the National Highways that connect the big cities..U have to travel around 10 miles from the nearest highway in order to reach a village…SOme of these roads have rivers flowing through them (literally) during the rainy months…U have to either swim across these rivers to reach the village, or take a different longer road, which no one else knows before its needed..

Even among these poor people, some are richer…. A rich man lives in a house, a poor man lives in a hut..

Indian people love cattle..Not just because they are holy, but also because they are useful…U get milk from them which is used as the primary constituent of many food products, everyone knows that…2nd most important use of cattle is their manure..Indians dry up the manure and use that as fuel for burning at homes..These can be used to cook food (mostly) and during winters also serve as heating fuel…Villagers generally pile up the manure at 1 place and use their bare hands to make small ‘cakes’ which are then stuck to the mud walls of their houses and made to face the sun till they dry…It can be used as and when required…U can also use the manure as natural fertilizer when u require..And with the advent of the new ‘biogas’ technology, some villages even harvest the methane produced from decomposing manure, to use as cooking fuel..But that’s rather rare…Why take so much trouble when u can directly burn the dried manure..?

Check out in the picture below how the cowdung cakes are stuck to the walls for drying (right hand side house) .

Generally women do the house works..Everything which can be imagined as a  housemaker’s task..House maker in the most primitive sense, which includes even making the house…to cooking, taking care of the babies, apart from giving birth to them etc etc…Villagers generally have many babies…Reproduction is the chief pastime…There is no other ‘hobby’ material to do…Any hobby requires atleast to any one of 3 things i)Money ii)Knowledge/Education iii)Time..These poor people have none of the 3.. There is Television in some houses but who really cares what vamps from daily soaps are doing, for people who cant even gather a proper square meal ?

There are huge forests surrounding most villages..Some of these forests are natural, some man made…These forests serve not just as home for local wildlife, commonly the Langur and the elephants, sometimes even the tigers , but they also act as employment ground for a few lucky villagers…These people are employed by the forest office to take care of various tasks in and around the forests…A fixed income, a bliss to many….

Author/Image : Marcus Sam

Industrial District

Industrial District

Afternoon siesta..

A Tyre Mechanic enjoying an afternoon siesta near a highway motel, known as a ‘Dhaba’..

Spicy Man


A man selling spices on the street…It is believed that India produces 44% of the world production of spices…


Happiness of being photographed for the 1st time in someone’s life….I personally hate glum faced modelish pozes which many photographers swear by…There is nothing that matches a candid shot of sudden expressions, but if u cant bring out something candid, atleast u can make the model/subject wear a smile…Really does looking constipated make u look more glamorous? After 1hr session of makeup and photoshop, anyone can hide your flaws, why not remember smiles hide more wrinkles than photoshop..But i guess a trend once made cannot be changed all of a sudden, but atleast we can try to look up in the write direction…Please reblog if u agree with my views..Thanks…