Postcard From Delhi III

In News & Stuff, Travel by David13 Comments

nizam-flowersHello from Delhi. First day of the Lumen Dei Tour and already up to our necks in new experiences and already being prodded further steps down the road of our photographic journeys. Our team is fantastic – wonderful photographers, all of them, and all with a great sense of humour. We spent the morning around Jamma Masjid in Old Delhi, then the afternoon at Nizamuddin. Tomorrow we’ll do it in reverse to take advantage of different light.

nizam-flowers2I learned something today about the way I see light. It seems I look at problems to be solved, whereas a photographer like Ami Vitale looks at opportunities. The image above is a great example. I first saw the scene (left)  and thought the light was too bright, the dynamic range too high, and dismissed the scene entirely. Then I watched Ami shoot, and instead she used the “problem” to her advantage, exposed for the hand and allowed the rest to go to dramatic shadow. My way of seeing was problem based, hers was opportunity based. I saw “here’s why this light stinks,” and she saw “here’s why this light is amazing.” So then I shot the one above, but it’s a poor imitation of a better shot I saw Ami take.

Anyways, it’s a journey and each time I learn something new I get closer to expressing myself better. Man I love teaching 🙂

Tomorrow another day in Delhi, then off to Ladakh. If I post between now and then, consider it a bonus. Otherwise, see you when I get back from Ladakh.


  1. Thanx for the hint! already had a look at your post about exp&met and downloaded darwin’s ebook.. I’ll go out & shoot… trying to understand why sometimes brother blue sky is not so brother to me! ;D

  2. Author

    @Andrea – Your light meter is capable of taking readings from different areas of the scene – but the camera itself can’t expose for all areas of the scene at the same time so you need to pick one. Do you want to expose for the hand and have all other areas go deep black, or do you want to expose for the boy’s face, hidden in shadow, which would force the hand and flowers to blow out (overexposed) completely. So in that case a meter reading off his hand specifically would help.

    You’re shooting digital however and if you use Photoshop, Lightroom, or Aperture (etc) – I recommend you read this in regards to exposure in the digital world:

  3. Hi David and everybody out there!

    Sorry for the silly question but I’m quite a newbie at “annotated photography”… what you exactly mean with “exposed for the hand”? the thing is: sometimes in M or AV mode with my 450D letting the light meter do the work I get an almost perfect 18%gray shot…in particular on chilly overcast days…so I turn on spot etering and exposure for green trees or red something…recompose and shoot..and guess: I get a strong overexp shoot!!! Where I’m wrong?!? btw I really appreciate both ten & ten more!! greetings from Italy!

  4. Author

    @WGW -Wait a sec. Cameras have LIGHT METERS? How did I miss this for over twenty years?

    Seriously, you missed the point by such a margin of error that I’m tempted to give you a prize. Perhaps this isn’t the blog for you…

  5. Interesting point of view. I think sometime we think to much about the technical issues and forget to shoot with the art.

    I often have to kick my ass and say “stop thinking about this light meter, just focus on the feeling and keep shooting !!!”

    Even with a lack of technique or an “insolved” problem, a picture can be great.

  6. WGW, I don’t think this post was at all about light meters, I think it was about remembering to see past normal “problems” of light (like this situation) to find and choose opportunities to make interesting images.

    Have you ever “missed” an image because you were bent on capturing something else? I know I have. But most of the time we don’t ever know what we’ve missed. 🙂 As I understand it, this is a reminder to improvise with what the light’s doing.

  7. How your camera’s light meter works one of the first lessons of a Photography 101 class. I can’t believe this is a new revelation for you especially when you are teaching other people…

  8. A great lesson indeed… Thanx for sharing this! Brings me back to the roots of it all. It doesn’t matter what you look at, but what you see…. 😉

  9. Pingback: Postcard From Delhi III – David duChemin (pixelatedimage) @ Photo News Today

  10. David, thanks for the insight and the encouragement that each of us has something we can teach others and there is always something even the pros can learn.

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