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Learning to See

Creativity is work ethic.


This sentiment was the main theme in one of David duChemin’s blog posts and one that made me sit up and think. ( Don’t follow him ? Come on, you can’t be serious… here you go, , please do ).


In an aptly titled post, Wishing for Creativity, he says :


Being more creative is not something you wish for. It’s something you do. You don’t hear athletes saying, “Gosh, I sure wish I were stronger, or faster.” What you hear them saying is, “I’m going to the gym,” or “I have to train harder.”

Creative work needs only a few truly essential resources and the most needed of those is time. 


For me, creativity needs to be on my calendar. If it’s not on the calendar, it won’t happen. 


Creativity is not something you are born with ? All it needs is hard work ? And commitment ?

Really ?

I had read elsewhere, a suggestion that, if you are a photographer, you should look for opportunities wherever you are. Even if you don’t have a camera on you. Look for what is catching your attention. Identify opportunities.

A particular perspective. Or the way the shadow creates a pattern. Or the play of colours of the wall and the person walking past it. Or an interesting face.

Or you could walk around in Bharatpur.

When it is foggy here, you don’t need to really try hard. The ghostly, moody images are all around you. Its not particularly difficult to see a particularly striking tree, or a cormorant on a half sunk branch. You can still work out different compositions but the scene is there…right in front of you.

When the fog lifts, you are suddenly like the painter who has his favorite brush snatched away from him. You are not sure what you should do now. How do I paint, you wonder !

You are forced to create opportunities. They are not being served on a platter any longer.

Can I shoot at that cormorant next to you through the foliage ?

Or  that far away cormorant through the trees ?

Those egrets that are fighting…do I try a slow shutter speed there ?

That pond heron sunning itself…there is a nice pattern on the water behind it, can I try something ?

That reflection...hmmm…interesting…is there a possibility there ?

Bharatpur is a throwback to the old days.

Here time moves at its own leisurely pace. The fast paced life of instant news and meeting alerts seem to be just a possibility in particularly far fetched science fiction story.

Bharatpur is made specifically for identifying opportunities. You could sit down at a spot for hours just because it seems like a potential opportunity for an interesting image. It could be interesting because of the deep green background. Or due to the dark shadows on the water. Or due to the way the light is falling on the water or through the trees. You wait. A subject will turn up. It is inevitable.

Or you walk around aimlessly. Sometimes you get frustrated at the total lack of possibilities. Then Rahul strolls over and points out something right under your nose and now you are frustrated at yourself for not having seen it yourself.

It’s a frustrating journey.

It’s a rewarding journey.

I am learning how to see.

Yikes !!! I spot a Peeping Tom !!!

Does this perspective work ?

A tourist from another country walked up and curiously enquired which bird was there in the bushes...


The spirit of a flying egret ?

A fight is on !

Sometimes things need to be turned upside down for it to work

A common bird ...or an unforgettable setting ?


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Lovely photographs ! Haven't been to Bharatpur but I see why you say it's made specifically for identifying opportunities. You've identified quite a few, brilliant ones at that :-)

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Thanks !! Its a beautiful place...has a very old fashioned feel to it. Of course, the number of birds are dropping each year which is a shame but despite that it has an allure that is irresistible...especially if you want to 'create' images :)

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