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Patient Game

Updated: Mar 6, 2023

My first blog post, 'First Foray', was very much an introduction to how I got started in photography.

It was a no holds barred, completely honest portrayal of how I did with a camera the first time I went out with a camera, all laid bare for you, my dear reader, to judge!

Post my shenanigans in the back alleys and dingy streets of Kolkata in 2017, I was swamped in a ton of work with little to no time for photography. I did however, as often as I could, try experimenting with the camera to come up with interesting results, much to my surprise.

Work grew tiresome and drawn out. Few months later I moved to Hyderabad as was required of me from my workplace.

I will not bore you further, dear reader, with the titter-tatter humdrum of my work life. However, just one little point needs to be stated here: all throughout this time, I was still taking photographs whenever I could spoon out a day or two.

Nonetheless, lets move on to more interesting stuff!

Today I would like to reminisce one of my earliest adventures in photography, the day I learnt a very important lesson: patience.

The day was the 11th of May, 2017.

It had been a few months since I have been taking photographs, and I was just starting to venture out into the limitless opportunities which a DSLR provides.

For a long, long time I used to look at images in which car lights looked like trails, flowing water looked like smoke, and the Milky Way galaxy shone up in the night sky as clear as day. I believed these to be artificial, having no knowledge of the internals of a camera, whatsoever.

As I was learning photography, I came to know about long-exposure: the art of blurring out motion.

The longer the shutter stays open, the more the motion will blur out. The trick here was to adjust the ISO and Aperture with the shutter speed, so that a proper exposure can be maintained. All the wizardry of light-trails was now, no more a mystery to me.

But nonetheless, it was fascinating.

I looked around for a cheap tripod, given my payscale wasn't getting any bigger anytime soon. Some preliminary research got me to the Benro T600EX, and I happily got it home, excited to try out long exposures.

One of my friends suggested a very unlikely place to try out long exposures, a fishery at the edge of Salt Lake Sector 5, Kolkata, overlooking the TCS Lords building. 'No harm in trying', I pondered, and travelled an hour to reach my destination. I will try to describe the location to you, dear reader, in hopes that you can visualise it as well as I can, to this day.

A narrow lane, with huge lakes on either side went straight out of the main road. This lane went on for another 300 meters or so, before reaching a small village, where the lakes on either side still continued.

The lakes stenched of fish, but I could see that the place had photography potential.

I imagined an image in my mind, of a long exposure, where the high-rises in the distance perfectly reflected in the lakes in front, and a glowing sun shimmered in the sky.

I set up my tripod and my D5200 (still with an 18-55), and waited for the evening to fall.

The problem, as I soon found out, was that I couldn't get the sun, as well as the perfect reflections of a long-exposure in a single photograph. To get the sun, I needed a fast shutter speed, and to get the reflections of the buildings, I needed it to be dark so that I could get a longer shutter speed.

It looked like the photo I imagined, cannot be physically realised.

Then it struck me.

I could take multiple photographs from the afternoon, with the sun, uptil late in the evening, with the long exposure, and then blend them together to form a single photo!

Thus, I began clicking photos, with my camera on the tripod and with the same composition for over five, gruelling hours. I stood there patiently, clicking photos every ten minutes or so, careful not to move my tripod an inch.

When it became dark, and I was sure I got something to my liking, I bundled up my gear and headed home.

Late at night, I copied all my photographs and begun the longest photoshop work I had ever done till date. Many attempts later, the image that I had visioned was now perfectly realised. I got my photograph!

I will end this blog with a lesson for all beginners: never lose your patience while doing photography. You may feel that your hours of waiting for a moment will not bear particularly delicious fruits, but it will give you something that you won't get anywhere else: immense satisfaction when the shot is nailed in the head.

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