Delivering that extra punch….

Very often as a photographer, I have faced situations which are adverse to photography. Literally there was nothing to shoot, and at the same time, the inner voice says that there is some. That is the time when I experiment with my camera, composition and settings. There is no pre-determined formula to arrive at a good shot. It is all about experimentation. The first experimentation is about looking at the subject from different angles. Adhering to rule of thirds, some times violating it deliberately. Some times blurring the background, and some other times, blurring the foreground, playing with the aperture. If I have a tripod, then I experiment with shutter speed as well. Sometimes I change the lens, filter and even the camera..to add some life to the otherwise dull subject.

In project management, especially software development projects, requirements changes are hated by the programmers, and unfortunately, any product owner who dares to experiment with the product, like a photographer, in order to make it better will end up in changing requirements. It is a good sign. The product owner or the photographer is really committed to an extraordinary outcome, hence this experimentation. Some time back, after going to a location, the first thing I used to do was to mount the tripod at some point, then trying to photograph from that angle, thus limiting myself to a narrow vision. The tripod can be mounted after experimenting from multiple angles. Likewise, the product requirements can be frozen after experimenting with the requirements for a while. That’s when agility plays a major role. Agile project management is aimed at experimentation, and if we approach it with predetermined tunnelled visions, then it is the death of agility.

Here are some photos clicked at Bangalore from a taxi car which took me from the airport to my apartment. I had enough time experimentation, and as per me, I got some interesting output as an outcome.

The first one is by blurring the foreground and focusing on the background..the second one is through the side window, the third one is by blurring it all and the fourth one is by blurring the background.

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Delivering that extra…That talks about agility…….

What is the colour of the chameleon?

One of my earlier posts was about the concern ‘what will happen to you, if you keep changing to adjust with the environment?’. Some of the readers disagreed with me, and responded by portraying the ability to mesh well with the environment as a great quality, to be successful in the global project teams of today. Yesterday I clicked this chameleon, and his colour is same is as the tree trunk, which made me think of the original colour of the chameleon?. What is the original colour of the chameleon?.

Being a manager in the outsourcing capital of the world, not only the scope of the project is defined by the customer, but how to do it is also dictated by the customer very often. If the customer is from U.K, he may ask for PRINCE2. If they are from else where, they may ask for PMP. Request for agile (scrum) can come from any where, if the client believes in results than reports. Can the manager from the supplier’s side be successful, without understanding all these frameworks?. The answer is ‘No’. One good thing is, when we go in depth, we realise that the foundations of every project management framework is the same, and revolves around plan, do, check and act or plan, do, study and act. How fast we do it, and how we approach fast failures determines the framework.

Ability to change colours, without loosing one’s true colours is truly a strength.

Here is a photograph captured with my lumix fz200.

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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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Maslow’s applied to photographers

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When I started to photograph using an Agfa click3 film camera, there was no profound thinking behind it. It was just meeting the need to take some photographs at my will. The need was very basic (in fact, at that time I could afford only that). I wanted to take the photographs of my newborn baby. It was all about meeting the basic needs of photography. Then we moved on to security zone. Wanted a fool proof system, and that is when I moved on to my first slr a yashica, fully manual, and it is still in working condition. That is the time I realised the fact that once you are a photographer, then you are always a photographer, and I invested more a bought my first digital camera, a Kodak. Throughout all these stages, my photography was on a continuous improvement trip and slowly I had a reputation to maintain. Now I realise that I was entering the ‘self esteem’ zone. After that started the soul searching to understand the purpose of my photography…..Am I at the self actualisation stage of a photographer?….just wondering about it.

Am I being very idealistic here. Did I buy by slr or DSLR for the joy of owning it (esteem needs) to tell the world that I own a DSLR. I think that is more honest. Then I did all sorts of blunders with it, because I did not know anything about photography. I have even used circular polarising filters in low light conditions without a tripod…since the investment was not small, I did not feel like getting out of photography, so I latched on to it, and learned photography technique by technique. So, in another sense, everything started with self esteem, and then moved on to the self actualisation…which is all about finding a larger purpose and meaning to photography…

The first paragraph is for those who want to understand Maslows hierarchy of needs and the second paragraph is for those who want to understand the photographer’s hierarchy of needs 🙂

Here is a photograph for you.

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Lumix fz200, f2.8, vivid, Kerala, India

Art of lifting

‘Teamwork’ is the word that came to my mind when I composed this one. Teamwork of the individually competent, where the cumulative effect is much more higher than the sum of the individual efforts. How can we get this kind of commitment at the work place?. Is the challenge by itself is the motivator?.

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Streetphotography at kochi, Kerala, India. Lumix fz200, sepia creative mode

Captured 5000+ photographs…so what?

During the past three years, I captured, thousands of photographs good, bad and ugly. So What?. That is the question bothering me these days. What is the purpose of my photography?. Is it just an expensive time killer?. I definitely feel on top of the world for a while, when lot of people like and comment on my photographs. I never feel alone when a camera is with me. It is a great distractor to escape from the very important serious work. Believe me, my project management clients have started chasing me to raise the invoices to them for the work I did for them., so that they can pay me money. .and I am not doing it…instead I am immersing myself into the pleasures of photography. I have reached a level where I feel very insecure when I do not have a camera with me. I always fear about that probable golden opportunity to create that masterpiece, which is every photographer’s dream.

In project management, there is a saying ‘Projects fail at the beginning, not at the end’. If the project selection is not right, we end up wasting lot of time and money on projects, to realise later about the lack of a sound business case to support it. This is very much true for photography projects as well. Before venturing into any project, it is better to spend some time to analyse;

1) Why you are doing it? (the business case, or the lack of it)
2) Who are the stakeholders?, Why they will be interested in what you are doing?
3) What are the deliverables?, just photographs, book, photoblog, travelogue, themes
5) Budgets
6) Time frames
7) Risks and Risk management

There is no question of leaving out something beautiful without photographing them. The thrill of photography is about it’s spontaneity. At the same time, I want to achieve something more tangible from my photography, and I bank on project management concepts to achieve it.

Here is a photograph for you, which I clicked for the sheer joy of photography and beauty…

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