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A Different Angle

Updated: Mar 6, 2023

Some fifteen odd years ago, I visited the Taj Mahal with my parents.

It really was a sight to behold. I distinctly remember the towering structure reaching out for the skies, with its white marble glistening in the afternoon light.

As far as I can remember, that was probably the first time in my life that I really wanted to take a photograph.

We had a tiny film camera of yore, and I exhausted out one roll of film in an hour.

Back home, when the photos were developed, I found that most of them looked remarkably similar.

Mostly, what I had done was to take the same 'snap shot' of the Taj Mahal, like a million different people has done before. If you would stack up mine along with the Taj Mahal photographs available online, you really won't be able to tell the difference.

I was really dumbfounded. How was it possible to get unremarkable photographs of one of the most beautiful structures on the planet? This was supposed to be easy! Was I really that bad with a camera?

All these years later, I was able to ascertain the reason behind my photos looking so ordinary.

The photographs where not bad, in any sense. They just were not personal.

You might be on a trip to, something like the Messa Arch, which has been photographed countless times since time immemorial. It is still possible to bring out something which no one has ever taken before. The trick is, to find a different angle.

While I was just getting started with photography, there was one long exposure photograph which I was planning to take: the Big Ben replica which was made in Lake Town, Kolkata.

Like any proper landmark, this clock tower has been photographed a million times since its inception. The most obvious (and safe) place to get a proper photograph was to stand in the footbridge overlooking the tower, and fire away!

I started my scouting from the footbridge itself. The problem was that I really didn't like the angle.

There was plenty of distraction around, and instead of catching the red lights on the back of the vehicles, I was getting the while headlights only. From prior experience, I knew this would look much like my Taj Mahal photos: unremarkable.

It was time to get into the thick of things!

Walking down the stairs, I navigated my way through the cars to right in the middle of the road, beside a divider. To be honest, it really wasn't the safest place to be in. Cars were speeding on both sides, and a traffic constable was looking on from afar, wondering if I had a death wish.

I cautiously erected the tripod.

It was blue hour, and the city lights had just started to come on. Kolkata at night truly is at its most vibrant.

I was able to capture the image which I wanted after a couple of tries.

This life risking manoeuvre allowed me to capture an image, which I have not seen replicated to this day. Because it was so personal, I was happy with my efforts.

Some fifteen odd years ago, I visited the Taj Mahal with my parents.

And I really wish, I tried out a different angle.

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