Tree worship

Yesterday we were ahead of schedule for a customer meeting, which gave us some time to explore the neighbourhood. With the good intention of saving the Indian rupees from crashing further, we decided not to drink a coke, instead opted for a tender coconut, from the heap of coconuts piled under this tree decorated with strings and flowers. A form of tree worship. What a noble way of respecting the environment. A search for tree worship gave me this wikipedia link. Tree worship is not something local to India, it is something performed globally from time immemorial. Our forefathers were very much sensitive of the environment, what about us?. Recently, there was a local press report about census of mangroves in and around kochi, to be completed in three years time by a government agency, and today I saw hundreds of them cut down, fearing some sort of restrictions on their habitats. What a smart nexus between the government agencies and the land mafia, by granting three years time to clear of mangroves from the potential real estate locations, thus, not falling into the protected land/species category. I am not strong enough to fight it. I can write about it. I can grow some trees. I can become more sensitive to the environment, and do something positive about it.

Here is the decorated tree. Canon 550D, 50mm, 1.2f

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Not to click decisions

There was a time when I clicked at everything that came my way with the exuberance of a boy with a new toy at hand. After a while and four 16 gb cards, I became very choosy about which images to release and which ones to delete. Then it became which ones to click and which ones not to click. A move from garbage collection before release to garbage collection at source, resulting in tremendous amount of savings of effort. What is the key trigger for this movement?. I will attribute it to mastery over photography. Capturing an image perfectly became a no brainer over a period of time, and that challenge was replaced by the ability to spot an opportunity to capture a great image. Today even though I had the camera with me, I did not click at anything because nothing impressive came my way. And I feel good about it. I see it as signs of maturity. Once you have a reputation to loose, then the not to click decisions are very important, else you will create gigabytes of mediocre stuff.

The project management wisdom says that projects fail at the beginning, not at the end. This is very true. Either we say yes to the projects where we do not have the skill sets, or we start projects which do not have a solid business case…the reasons could be many, and the fate of the project is always decided very early. Same is the case with a photograph as well. So the not to click decisions are as important as your click decisions, because you have a reputation to loose.

Here is a photograph which I clicked with full conviction…using my canon 550d

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Casual to ‘no compromise’

A casual approach to work will never result in exemplary outcomes. This is very true in photography. Like the Mobile phone or internet addictions, I have reached a stage where if I do not have access to a camera, then I get restless. Is it because I missed out some great opportunities to click, because I did not have a camera with me?, no, never, I am unable to recollect even one incident to justify it. It is just an anxiety of missing out some potentially great opportunity, which may or may not arise. My experience shows that unless one puts in one hundred percentage into a photograph, it is going to be mediocre. A casual approach to serious photography will not work. Here was a great opportunity, which gave me mediocre results because of my casual approach to photography.

We were driving on the suburban roads of kochi city to avoid the peak hour traffic jams on the main road. We drove into this beautiful view of the sunset behind a fertiliser factory polluting the whole area. In the fore ground there were vehicles plying, so it was a great opportunity for a slow shutter speed photograph, with red and white streams of light in the foreground, followed by the factory and it’s chimneys, and the red sunset in the background. At that moment, I did not want to mount the camera on the tripod, and ended up with a hand held shot, resulting in this mediocre outcome. I will be going there again, to get that perfect shot. One great lesson for me is, if you have to cross the boarder between amateurism and professionalism, then one has to get out of the casual approach to a no compromise approach, else, the end product will be inferior. This fact is applicable to all spheres of professional work.

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Leave your mark on it…

During the early days of my photography, I used to to give maximum attention to the main subject in focus. But these days, I give equal weightage for the main subject and the background. Before uploading a photo for the public to view, I remove all the dirt from the photograph. This has considerably improved my photographs, and now I release my photograph with my signature on it. Yes, I started taking pride in my photographs. Is this not same with whatever we do?. One of the key agile values is commitment to work, and when we say something is done, it is of shippable quality. Only someone who takes pride in what he does, can apply his signature to his work. Here is my first photograph with a copy right mark. I own it. It may not be the ultimate. I will definitely capture better photographs in the future, and at the same time, I take pride in this photograph, hence it carries my name along with it, to all the viewers who may see and enjoy it, in the coming days…. Start taking tremendous pride in what you do. Love your work. Leave your mark on it.

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