Sometimes it's good to turn your back on the view that everyone else is looking at.
Last year was the first time I have come to Sri Lanka without taking my heavy camera bag complete with SLR and 3 lenses and all the film and filters and stuff that goes with it. All I took was my new compact digital camera and a couple of memory cards and a spare battery. The quality of my 7 megapixel small sensored camera was nowhere near as good as that of a 35mm SLR but I could chuck it in my pocket and take it everywhere I went.
The beauty of Sri Lanka is immense. One of my goals is to be able to spend a month or so travelling around Sri Lanka with just my camera and a good friend. Without the "joy" of deadlines and other people we would be able to stop wherever we want, spending as much time as needed to capture the light and scenery. I find the light and natural colours in Sri Lanka are much more vivid and conducive for good photography. In London, the light always seems grey to me. We have a plentiful supply of picturesque scenery in the English countryside but I have never really made the time to take a trip out just for photography.
But, back to last year. I found that, with my pocket camera, I was out taking pictures of things that I would not have done before. There are so many occassions when I would leave my camera bag at home because I couldn't be bothered to carry it around. As a result I actually got some unusually interesting pictures.
One of the things I am trying to do is to look at things that most people ignore. I have sometimes found an interesting scene or a gorgeous photograph by looking at the crowd rather than the performer. I am no Robert D'Oisneau but at least I can continue to learn and try.
Photography, like music, is definitely a lifelong learning curve. I can't begin to describe my admiration for top photographers who can see a picture in their mind and then proceed to create it. It is a vastly underrated talent. I just wish I could do it!
My one piece of advice - Turn around and try to look at that scene through "different" eyes. You never know what you might see!
Video: K. Balachander on Bharathiyar
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