Friday, June 20, 2008

A walk on water...

Alot of people have asked me how I shot this unusual photo of a woman walking on water. It always makes me smile, because the trick in it is really small.
Good photos are all about timing.

First things first –the model in this photo is a fantastic ballet dancer –Tanya, who has for years trained in various forms of dancing and has superbly flexible body n on top of that she loves to play with water. Now that is quite important, that people should love doing –whatever they are doing, n end results are invariably good!
She happened to be playing a significant role in a documentary film which I was shooting in M.P. (India), and while going to the location, we crossed this small river which wasn’t exactly too deep. She got excited, jumped off the jeep n next moment was playing around with water. Somehow instinctively she seemed to have found a spot which was quite shallow. I stared at her amusedly for a while from the jeep, but then impatience took over me as the light was dropping fast…

She was adamant upon not leaving the spot till I shot a picture of her playing with water. So I came upon this idea n told her to find a spot which had just very little water for her to stand comfortably, yet enough to make a splash when she jumped. It was a little tricky as she had to give enough thrust to create the splash, jump forward n then kind of balance herself to look it like she is floating or walking on water, n I had to shoot this at high shutter speed, get my timing correct to catch her in mid-air, keep her in focus n catch the water as well to get the desired feel.

The beauty of this photograph is that it was a one take shot n i shot it while sitting in the jeep. We couldn’t have spent more time on the spot as we were getting late for the video shoot n locals were gathering quite fast, amused at the sight of a beautiful foreigner playing with water in the middle of a jungle !

Sometimes good pictures just happen…like this “walk on water”…

Thursday, June 19, 2008

To get a crazy shot, you got to be crazy enough!

Rains always make me do crazy things. And almost every time I do something out of the box, I regret it eventually; especially whenever I come back home n realize that I have yet again managed to mess up my expensive lens. But I am a crazy guy n like crazy people, Rizwan Sikander for instance. He is humble, courteous, talented yet absolutely crazy!

He ended up at my place saying, “I want a unique picture”. Now, I have heard that before a million times. I asked how mad you can go and the look on his face said it all. We reached Versova beach (Mumbai). It was raining mildly yet the sea was in its full glory and the way waves would hit the rocks n the splash at times rise almost 15 feet, it would scare any man. Rizwan n me both hesitated a second. Was it worth the risk, standing on a rock with the angry ocean on your back side, at the peak of the monsoon period? But , I must say this guy has courage, probably that’s the reason he has always won all the reality shows he has participated in, including Fear Factor India '06 on Sony TV n created history by being the only finalist n eventually winning it!
I asked him if he would stand on the rock, appearing to be peaceful, while the waves rose behind him almost covering him. I warned about the risk of falling off n hurting him on the small sharp edges of the rocks beneath. That was my duty as a photographer. Before I had finished, he took off his shirt n was up on the rock in seconds. It must have taken some 20 shots, n for him as many hits from behind, before we got this one perfect shot!
He fell off the rock twice, cutting himself mildly below the knee. And my camera was all wet, and it was almost impossible to shoot anymore because of all the moisture it had absorbed.
But whenever I look at his picture and the peaceful expressions on his face, the powerful wave rising behind him some fifteen feet, I feel good! It always tells me, how one should be in life, in the face of danger---peaceful…courageous …! This picture has the great attitude of a winner.
That’s the spirit of Mumbai and I absolutely love this pic n Rizwan for making it possible.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

When Ami Vashi almost got drowned during a photo-shoot in Goa

I love Ami
Not because she is ex-Miss India or very beautiful and warm…or cos she got everything to make a movie-star...!
But because she is as mad a person as I am.

I was shooting at Goa for the Telenorr campaign with Ali Zafar n Sonya Jahan for a Pak agency when Ami suddenly decided to fly down to Goa in the middle of crazy rains to shoot some outdoor photos. I had warned her about the rains, Telenorr campaign was fine as their theme anyways had rains but shooting photos in such unpredictable weather is crazy and really disastrous for the lens.

I love outdoors…it’s always fresh n different n my friends always call up on me to shoot fresh n outdoor pics-guess that really works well with Bollywood producers as well

Anyway, to cut a story short how it happened…

After getting her beautiful Saree already torn ,shooting a pic with hand on the tree while a chameleon hid on the other side ( she didn’t notice n I didn’t tell)…..getting a few odd bruises…she spotted a nice rock about 20 feet away from the beach n decided to get shot with it.

I was reluctant…but I got on to a higher rock and shot couple of them…then she wanted to sit on it and wait for the wave to hit her n me to catch the splash
…sure…why not?

But we didn’t realize since it was monsoons n had been raining…the water level as quickly started coming up….
Couple of splashes were fine…they were low n quiet. Until she noticed a huge wave coming to her n got excited, motioning me to shoot as it would hit the rock. She waited anxiously…n so did me, with one eye closed n one looking through the lens…got it… got it …got it…....and then…oh! Where is Ami?I couldn’t see her on the rock anymore!

The monstrous wave lifted her clean off the rock and threw her some 15 feet away. The impact must have surely hurt her .The waves then started retreating to the sea…the force started dragging Ami back…she was half in water and screaming my name ….choking on muddy water badly. I laughed at her n took couple of her pictures screaming. I thought she was just trying to make me to get in the water, but then I realized the angry waves were actually pulling her back in the sea…
A million thoughts went through my mind upon seeing Ami almost getting drowned n go past me…then as if I woke up from a trance, I jumped in the water, clutching on to my camera …n with one hand pulled Ami back out of the water.

Needless to say this episode added a few more bruises n cuts to her…and I felt miserable the rest of the day for allowing her to get in to this mess….she was my responsibility after all! ...and while she almost slipped into water, i was busy taking photos. I hated myself so much !

Later on, in the evening over a cup of tea….sitting outside in that lovely resort, we laughed over the whole thing…and she said she wasn’t scared one bit…and at least we got some great shots!

I looked at her a few moments longer than I would n wondered
…such innocent laughter...such pure looks…so courageous…absolutely my kind of girl…Her boyfriend was surely one hell of a lucky guy!
I smiled back at her saying no more shoots in water for you…she just laughed …

And guess what, she called again this morning…”hey it’s raining…let’s shoot some photos”

Sure! But nowhere close to the sea!

photos- 1. On the rock- a beautiful shot
2. When the monstrous wave hit her!
3. When the wave started pulling her back in the sea! Notice the force of water around her body!