Photography Workshop Training Jodhpur 1

Photography Workshop Training Jodhpur

Photography Workshop Training Jodhpur, India - The Blue City of India's Rajasthan

Jodhpur, the famous blue walled city of Rajhastan, captures the romantic traditional vision of India with its intense colour and scents and is an incredible source for dramatic and dynamic photography for my Indian photography workshop.

Based at The Kings Retreat, at the base of the Mehrangarh Fort, we explore the old city and the wider villages of the Thar Desert and Rajhasthan, with a mixture of documentary street photography and travel photography.

The Clock Tower, Ghanta Ghar, is the central point for our street photography of the Sardar market and bustling narrow lanes of the surrounding bizarre. Also home to the famous Shahi Samosa and the Makhaniya lassi, favourites for our lunch whilst photographing! The busy markets are a great source of inspiration for storytelling images; it’s really important to look for heads in spaces to compose the best image possible. Developing your photographer’s eye is key here, and look for the unusual in the usual.

The Blue City was made famous by Steve McCurry, and we spend time capturing environmental portraits of the Babas with the background of the narrow blue streets, stepwells and temples of Mandore Gardens. Working with the Baba’s we focus on developing posing in portraiture skills and the importance of communication with your subject.

We spend a day visiting the Bishnoi tribes in their homes and get to take part with a Ramu holding a traditional Kal ceremony. We visit the famous clay potters who still use a stone wheel and make the spherical water pots which naturally filter the water and keep it cool, and a weavers homestay, that continues the tradition on making hand-woven durry carpets. A local family make us a traditional Rajasthani lunch based on millet. This trip is about experiencing India as well as providing a range of different photographic opportunities.

We take a drive out for an overnight stay at The Country Retreat Farmstay, which feels likes a tranquil oasis of rural India compared to the busy tuk tuk filled roads left behind in Jodhpur, with an incredible meal prepared on the rooftop and a night sleeping under the stars.

This is where we explore some travel photography, capturing the dramatic red of the Reika tribemans’ turbans against the dusk sky. We visit the Reika tribes in their homes the next day and a settled Yogi, nomadic gypsy, village for real-life portraiture. The focus of these portraits is to capture the story of these individuals, their life, what is important to them, where they live and work.

Next year we are planning to extend our stay at the farm so that we can spend time walking with the Reika herdsmen and following their daily lives in their homes.

We visit a Government village school who I have developed a relationship with to support with equipment and resources – the wonderful thing is they know that I visit every year and the teachers report much higher attendance as a result.

You might be aware that the Hindu faith has 33 million Gods, but you may be surprised to know that one of the more recent deities, is the Motorbike God Om Banna, based on the story of a young man that had an accident in his Royal Enfield motorcycle. He site has grown over the last few years of visiting, and now there is a shrine around the bike which visitors come to daily to show their respect, even pouring over bottles of whiskey, stalls and a hotel. It makes the perfect half way stop on our journey.

This year I was in Jodhpur early enough to spend Diwali with our wonderful host and owner of the Kings Retreat, Vishal Bali and his family. He also invited us to a traditional wedding celebration.

As I am always looking for ways to develop my workshops I hired a driver for a couple of days and explored the famous Pushkar, which was every bit the experience I had imagined it would be, so much so that next year’s Jodhpur photography workshop will include an overnight stay in Vishal’s traditional farm and an opportunity to photograph the camel fair.

 

More Info on Nikon Documentary & Street Photography Workshops

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Photography Training Workshop Kolkata India 2

Photography Training Workshop Kolkata India

Photography Training Workshop in Kolkata, India

 

Every year I visit India to lead a series of photography training workshops, read this and join me next year!

Kolkata, capital of West Bengal, is the third most populated city in India, with an urban population 14.3 million, and believe me, you absolutely feel it! A city of diverse lifestyles, being the principal commercial city with modern tower-blocks, hotels and businesses, alongside some of the oldest and most extensive areas of homelessness and communities that have built their homes in temporary shacks alongside the city’s canals and railway lines.

Kolkata takes documentary street photography to another level; as a photographer, you can become overwhelmed by the intensity of the daily life that you see as you walk around, so during my photography training workshop I focus on key aspects and choose locations to develop these skills with my photographers.

Markets are the life-centres of Kolkata and we take early morning visits to two of the largest and busiest fish and vegetable markets near the Sealdah Station area of the city. We also visit the local market within walking distance of the hotel at different times of the day, which gives us opportunities to revisit and consider what we are going to focus on photographing. Getting your exposure right is key and using back button focus means you can concentrate on getting great shots of the action, and work the scene moving slightly to micro-compose what you see in the camera frame.

The Malki Ghat, flower market, that runs along the Hooghly River and ends beneath the Howrah Bridge, is the home to some of my favourite Indian portfolio. Not only are there many stalls selling flowers, petal, garlands and arrangements for the hotels, businesses and temples, but you will see the daily life of the locals washing their clothes and cooking implements, bathing and washing their teeth in the river, alongside rituals and ceremonies in the water that is considered holy as the river forms a distributary of The Ganges. There is also a temple with a collection of shrines, and large cauldrons on open fires preparing simple vegetarian food for those who need it. So many people all immersed in their daily lives, you can capture really candid shots un-noticed – just remember to get up close, look for noses and random dogs!

College Street is lined with tiny stalls all specialising in different educational books, from accountancy to chemistry and beyond. With a busy road of tuk tuks, students rushing to lessons, hand-pulled rickshaws and over-laden carts. We go upstairs to the Indian Coffee House, not a high-street brand name, but a traditional place to meet, eat and drink chai, dating back to the eighteen hundreds. I love this location for capturing layered shots, get yourself into the right position and then wait and keep shooting so you don’t miss out on the ‘wow’ moment by checking the back of your camera or walking away.

We spend a day in the pottery quarter, Kumortuli, where the incredible sculptures of straw and clay are created for the various festivals. The craftsmanship is fascinating and great for some close-up images of hands. You will also the last of the traditional chai cups being made, as most of India now use branded paper cups to sell this aromatic sweet tea, and cotton mills with vast spindles of yarn being spun. Walking into the quarter amongst the locals you can capture everyday life, women hanging out their saris to dry, children playing, washing along the river, and squeezed between the homes small stall holders and businesses; paper-makers, laundry, and a dentist that is not exactly your NHS clinic.

With the Hope Foundation, we visit the railway community, daily life literary alongside the tracks with trains passing children playing, women cooking and washing laid out across the tracks held in place with stones. Using a slow shutter speed enables you to capture the action frozen still in the foreground central to the image, whilst showing the blurred trains behind shows the movement in comparison

 

If you would like to find out more about Mark Seymours Workshops please sign up to my mail list here https://www.shootthestreet.co.uk/contact/

https://nikonschool.co.uk/courses/street-photography Nikon street photography training workshops

https://www.thehopefoundation.org.uk/ Find out more and support the work of The Hope Foundation


Street Photography in Myanmar

Street Photography in Myanmar

A Burmese Adventure........

If you would like to see more of my street photography on a daily basis please follow me on Instagram.

Photographing the world’s street life has really captured my imagination in the last few years. There are so many incredible and diverse people and places to capture, the inspiration is endless. 2016 took me to India; Jodhpur, Silchar and Kolkata, Easter in Sicily and a first time visit to Vietnam’s Hanoi City, ……and 2017 is starting out to be no less an adventure!

 

‘This is Burma,……it will be quite unlike any land you know about.’ Rudyard Kipling

 

Myanmar, formerly Burma has opened its doors to visitors from the West, and is a country full of energy and hope for the future whilst still rich in all its Asian culture and history. The local currency is the Kyat, but you need to take American dollars and change your money there. The language is Burmese and the main faith is Buddhism. With a population of over 48 million the average life expectancy is 64 years for men and 68 years for women.

From London Heathrow via Doha on Qatar airlines (great service, leg room, films and amazingly efficient turnaround between connecting flights), I flew into Yangon, formerly Rangoon, the capital and took a cab to the City Star Hotel. The hotels throughout the trip provided a clean, basic place to rest after a long day’s photography. Breakfast was included and there was lots of fresh fruit. For dinner we tended to eat at the local cafes, I mainly ate chicken fried rice as deciphering the menu was tricky as everything is written in Burmese. I would recommend you try the local avocado coffee drink, it was delicious.

We arrived at Chinese New Year and managed to capture some of the celebrations including the dragon dancers along the street and the red lanterns lit against the night sky.

There are lots of different types of street photography in Yangon as a busy capital city including street markets, the train station and then the fishing port and market.

 

Street photography in Yangon

At the fishing port I took a series of shots focusing on the guys shifting and cutting up the blocks of ice for the fish to be kept in in the market place. No health and safety, the guy wore t-shirts and shorts, flip flops on their feet and used great metal hooks and saws to move the ice and break it down to smaller blocks and ice chips.

Returning to the same situation and photographing at different times of the day means you capture the complete story and can make use of the different times of natural light. I really like the photos I took from dusk into sunset of the boats and fishermen in silhouette.

There are also many street markets; there is a great range of fresh fruit and vegetables, local fish including octopus, and a lot of dried fish. The meat market is an experience – the cheaper cuts and offal being bought by the locals and the better cuts of meat going to the more affluent members of society. I captured a butcher cleaver in hand and cigarette in mouth as he chopped up some meat on the open stall.

Everywhere you look young boys are playing football on the street with compact wicker balls. Also simple wooden hoop and stock are still played along the streets. The local men gather on the floor to play card games, but be mindful here as they do not like being photographed gambling on cards.

 

Markets and makeup in Meiyek

The Burmese people are incredibly friendly and welcoming, everyone is eager to greet you and let you take their photo. We took an internal flight to Meiyek and the customs guys asked for our passports and used their i-phone to take a photo of them and let us take pictures of them, then they pointed us in the direction of truck outside to collect our suitcases.

Following our one internal flight we spent the rest of the trip travelling between places in a small hired van along very basic and bumpy roads. Women are employed to pick up the gravel and then cast it over the surface of the new roads whilst the men stir tar along the road side.

Posting my images from Myanmar, one of the comments lots of people have made is ‘what’s on the women’s faces?’ The answer; Thanaka, which is a local beauty/skin care product made from cuttings from the Thanaka tree. Its astringent properties cool the skin, act as a spot treatment, as well as being an effective sun block. In addition to their faces, women wear a thick layer on their arms to protect against the tropical sun when working outside. Young girls working in the cities use the same product as a fragrant natural makeup.

One of the main projects I focused on was recording the monks of Myanmar. Many of the monasteries included young boys that had been orphaned as well as young men that had entered the life of the monastery rather than end up in prison. The monks welcomed us in, gave us food and were happy for us to photograph them as they went about their day. The monks wore dark burgundy robes and with their shaven heads against the pale blue walls, created stunning natural situational portraits. I took photographs of the young monks as they went about their prayers and studies, and completing daily chores.

We had a day or rest and relaxation on the beach, gorgeous soft sand and sea water as warm as a bath, really was a little bit of heaven.

Kipling's Mandalay

We stopped at the location that was the inspiration for Kipling’s poem Mandalay, Mawlamyine, and it remains pretty much as it would have been when he was there writing.

We photographed the wonderful Buddhist temples, including the golden pinnacle in Yangon and the famous Giant Reclining Buddha at the Chaukhtatgyi Temple, with its while skin, red lips and golden robes, it is an incredible sight. A second reclining Buddha is currently being constructed. A whole community had grown up around the temple so there are lots of street life photography opportunities here as well as the Buddha and Temple.

Although Buddhism is the main faith, Myanmar is made up of 135 ethnic groups and their different religions and faiths. We photographed the opening of a new Hindu temple, with many people coming to bring offerings and to pray.

This was such an incredible experience, really like no other place I have been lucky enough to visit. Here is a selection of some of my favourite photographs from this trip. I don’t feel I even got a hundredth of what there was to capture and I really can’t wait to go back. So if you fancy joining me in 2018 to explore and photograph this stunning country please sign up for my newsletter and keep following and liking my post of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep updated with training course information and booking details. I hope you’ll join me, I know you will have an amazing experience.

 

MORE IMAGES.....

If you would like to see more of my street photography on a daily basis please follow me on Instagram.

 

A Burmese Adventure........ Street Photography in Myanmar

 

If you would like to know more about my Street Photography courses in India, Vietnam and Myanmar please add your name to our mail list here

 


Chai Tea in Jodhpur

Travel Photography Course India

Travel Photography Course India

With the Travel Photography course India coming to a close it was final chance for an early morning photo walk around the Clock Tower in Jodhpur and the market before breakfast and a morning of editing and discussing portfolios and what makes an award winning competition image.

 

Chai Tea in Jodhpur

It is really helpful when everyone shares their top images and this enables me to provide a critique and feedback to identify strength in images and how to take them to the next level. Seeing other people’s work inspires you as a photographer and gives you another way of looking how you have captured a character, event or situation.

 

During this time we work as a group but it also gives me time to work on an individual basis with the photographers.

 

On the details of the course I ask photographers to bring their camera they are used to working with, lenses, batteries, memory card/s of course, plus their laptop loaded with their preferred photo editing programme. I use Photo Mechanic and Light Room for my editing and work flow.

 

As with all Nikon courses and my travel photography course India there is an opportunity for the photographers to evaluate and review their experience and alongside that I like to establish a more personal review, so that I can share this directly with you, so if you have been following this blog and thinking that you would like to join me next year in India or on one of my other courses, you can get a real sense of what it is like to have attended the course.

 

It is at this point that I must that Vishal at the Kings Retreat for being a wonderful host and guide for myself and the photographers on this course. He and his team work really hard to ensure everyone has a memorable time.

 

If you are travelling to Jodhpur I highly recommend a stay at this traditional Indian hotel in the Old City, and the food in the restaurant on the roof top is delicious! Check out the tandoori paneer and dahl makhani for perfect real Indian cuisine, but also try an ‘Indian pizza’ straight from the wood burning oven, they are completely unique and incredibly good; our favourites were the spicy paneer and garden pizzas! You can also book bicycle tours of the city and Vishal and his team will try their best to ensure you get to experience all the hidden gems of Jodhpur.

 

Travel Photography Course India

Jodphur child

Johpur town square

Jodhpur Street scene

Early morning friends in Jodhpur

We leave knowing that we will be back to see our friends at the Kings Retreat next year, with a new set of photographers, ready for another wonderful Jodhpur adventure.

http://kingsretreatjodhpur.com/

 

Thank you to Vishal and his team at the Kings Retreat, The Farm House Retreat and the many wonderful locals we met and photographed during our stay this year. Namaste!

 

 

Nikon UK/Europe  https://www.europe-nikon.com/en_GB/

Manfrotto https://www.manfrotto.co.uk/

Photo mechanic http://www.camerabits.com/

Light room http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-lightroom.html

Kings Retreat http://kingsretreatjodhpur.com/

The Country Retreat http://www.thecountryretreat.in/home.aspx

Air India http://www.airindia.com/

 

 

Post script – post course

 

India has its own way of doing things and this trip we had the added bonus on all large currency being taken out of circulation at midnight! Just like that, no warning – this city is now chaos as everyone tries to exchange their money into smaller denominations at the banks and all ATMs are empty, with no shops or services wanting to take 500 and 1000 rupee notes. A little complication, a whole lot of inconvenience, but hey its India, chai, chillum chapatti as the locals say, no point stressing!

 

A day post course just to relax in the Sun City with a chilled beer before packing and the two flights to Kolkata via Delhi, before picking up course two in Kolkata next week with the Hope Foundation.