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The “Gateway To India” Arch in Mumbai.

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Gateway of India built in 1911.

Gateway to India built in 1911.

One of the best places to capture humanity in all its permutations is the area around the “Gateway to India” arch.  This area, with the Taj Palace Hotel across the street, is probably the favorite of all the sightseeing destinations in Mumbai (referred to as Bombay by local inhabitants).  Both foreign and Indian tourist like to walk this area spending equal times looking at the arch and the hotel.

From dawn to the wee hours of the morning, the plaza is visited by throes interested in taking photos of both sites.  Many people stop and gawk at the Taj Palace Hotel.  Some may do so because of the grandeur of the hundred year old building while others may have a more morbid interest as it was the locale of  a 2008 terrorist attack that killed numerous guests.

Besides the sightseers, the area is frequented by vendors of every stripe, horse drawn elaborate carriages, and armies of photographers looking to make money by photographing tourists.

Photos were shot with a Nikon D700 with Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 AFS zoom lens and a Nikon D300s and  Nikkor 70-300mm f/5.6 AFS VR zoom lens.

 

Attracts thousands a day.

Attracts thousands a day.

One hundred year old Taj Palace Hotel in the background.

One hundred year old Taj Palace Hotel in the background.

School children in a line.

School children in a line.

And then the pigeons arrived.

And then the pigeons arrived.

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Written by leolaksi

December 12, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Old Delhi near Jama Masjid – great location for photographs

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Full load.

Full load.

Here are some more photos from my last trip to Delhi.  As noted in my previous postings about Old Delhi, a rickshaw is a great vantage point for photos.  Not only do you get a convenient means to travel this area, the perspective renders a slightly different point of view.

All photos taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens.

Heavy load.

Heavy load.

Back end.

Back end.

Grueling work.

Grueling work.

Rickshaw man.

Rickshaw man.

Written by leolaksi

June 6, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Beautiful architecture – Trident Hotel in Gurgaon, India

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View walking from the front portal to reception.

View walking from the front portal to reception.

I consider the Trident Hotel in the high-tech Delhi suburb of Gurgaon one of the most beautiful hotels in the world.  From its blend of Arab, Moghul and “Star Wars” (think the planet of Tatooine)  exterior architecture to its richly detailed geometric interior, one is impressed by its use of scale to convey an image of elegance and intimacy.     A visitor is never overwhelmed (and possibly alienated) by the design.  Instead it instantly connects with you.

The Trident Hotel was designed by  Thai architect Lech Bunnag and follows in his tradition of blending traditional ethnic design with avant-garde elements.

Photos taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 zoom or Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens.

Contrasting dome.

Contrasting dome.

Use of light and shadow.

Use of light and shadow.

Attention to detail.

Attention to detail.

Skyward.

Skyward.

Light to dark.

Light to dark.

Written by leolaksi

December 13, 2009 at 6:39 pm

Walking around Old Delhi near Jama Masjid

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On a small alley near Jama Masjid

 

When visiting Delhi, be sure and take a walkabout in old Delhi near Jama Masjid, the huge historical mosque that is the cornerstone of this district.  The small alleys and streets are teeming with people, animals and every means of transportation one can imagine.  It exudes atmosphere and is chockful of opportunities to practice your documentary photography.  Remember, it is difficult to perfectly compose every shot as life in this neighborhood is dynamic, so focus on capturing life on the streets, imperfections and all.

Although you may feel uncomfortable on some of these streets due to the lack of tourists, the streets are safe and the people open to having their photographs taken.  If you feel some discomfort, move on.  There’s always someone else to shoot.  Also remember, approaching people with a smile and openness goes a long way.

Photos taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens.

Congested streets

Congested streets

A frown here but really friendly later.

A frown here but really friendly later.

Hidden by merchandise.

Hidden by merchandise.

 

Old Delhi restaurant.

Old Delhi restaurant.

Written by leolaksi

November 8, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Riding a rickshaw in Old Delhi – good vantage point

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Veiled looks

Over the years I’ve traveled (and lived for a year) to Delhi, some of the best places to attempt photographs are in the market areas that are teeming with people, rickshaws, auto-rickshaws and other contributors to congestion.  Sometimes it is difficult to shoot from street level for the very reason you visit there, the mass of humanity.  Early on, I decided that one of the best vantage points is the human-powered rickshaw.  Not only do you rise above the commotion, you also have an unimpeded view of the street life.  This becomes even more important if you find yourself in a narrow alley.  If you attempt to walk the alley, you have to worry about being run over by every means of transportation.  The rickshaw changes all that.

This series of photos was taken near the Jama Masjid mosque in old Delhi.

Photos taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens.

Laborer in old Delhi

Written by leolaksi

October 31, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Walking around a Mumbai neighborhood

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mumbaidownthestreet

One of my favorite pastimes is to get up around dawn and walk around.  With the sunrise, the morning light is great.  On one particular morning in Mumbai (referred to as Bombay by inhabitants) last week, I awoke in my hotel room and spied crops being attended to in a nearby village.  In addition to the brilliant green of the fields, I spotted a bright blue wall.  I decided to take a walk over to the village.

I don’t think the residents were accustomed to foreigners coming into their village.  I asked if it was ok to take a few photos.  They consented and I fired away.  In a few minutes, a small army of children gathered.

As I didn’t want to disturb the residents, I took a few photos and then left.  Quite colorful indeed.

These photos were taken with a Leica M8 and two lenses, a Noctilux 50mm f/1 and a Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8.

mumbaibluewallleft

mumbaitwostory

mumbaitwostorymotorcycle

mumbaitaxibokeh

mumbaichickenbetter

Written by leolaksi

February 14, 2009 at 6:36 am