It was raining heavily in Old San Juan City, Puerto Rico when I woke up at around 4.30 am in the morning. It was Saturday, 10th May, 2014. Initially, I was too upset and started thinking that my planned photo-shoot trip in Old San Juan was going to ruin completely. Then I realized that I can shoot in the rain from the car, if required I could drop my window glass and stop for a while to take few shots – at least that would be far better than doing nothing and sitting idle at hotel room. Thanks God, traffic was not too bad; I had got some time to get few shots. In some cases, I needed to make turns to the same alley again and again where I missed due to heavy traffic. I roamed around in the alleys of Old San Juan City while driving the car slowly and looked around for photo opportunities until 8.30 am. It was still raining then. At the end, I had nothing to regret – I got few shots those are unique and little different from shooting perspective. For me, it was nice experience.
While processing and putting all these images together, I was listening to John Denver’s famous song “Sunshine On My Shoulders”. And yes, it is so lovely I can repeat it again and again.
Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy, sunshine in my eyes can make me cry.
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely, sunshine almost always makes me high.
If I had a day that I could give you, I’d give to you the day just like today.
If I had a song that I could sing for you, I’d sing a song to make you feel this way.
If I had a tale that I could tell you, I’d tell a tale sure to make you smile.
If I had a wish that I could wish for you, I’d make a wish for sunshine for all the while.
“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness — just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”
- Laura Ingalls Wilder, Writings to Young Women from Laura Ingalls Wilder – Volume One: On Wisdom and Virtues
“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air…”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes (American Poet, Lecturer and Essayist, 1803-1882)
“Kind hearts are the gardens, Kind thoughts are the roots, Kind words are the flowers, Kind deeds are the fruits, Take care of your garden And keep out the weeds, Fill it with sunshine Kind words and kind deeds”
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow quotes (the most popular American Poet in the 19th century, 1807-1882)
The world goes up and the world goes down, the sunshine follows the rain; and yesterday’s sneer and yesterday’s frown can never come over again.
- Charles Kingsley
“May you always walk in sunshine. May you never want for more. May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.”
- Irish Blessings quotes
“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”
- Walt Whitman
Please leave your comment and feedback in comments section, would appreciate a lot. Thank you.
সবচেয়ে সুন্দর আত্মার অধিকাংশ শক্তি আছে – this is Bengali, a sweet Indian language and I speak in this language at home. English version of these Bengali wordings should be like – “The Most Beautiful Soul has Maximum Power”. Now you can figure out of your own what it actually means.
I found this charming lady at Times Square, New York City and took few shots. When I saw Bengali typeface tattoo on her back, it looked very interesting to me and I immediately asked her if it was okay to take few shots of her and the tattoo of her back. Thanks to her (I know her name but it is better not to use it for sensitivity), she spontaneously agreed to pose for few shots in the busiest street of New York City. I do appreciate this and got few amazing shots.
For quality view of these images, please click HERE
I have taken the following two images are from our recent visit to Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. The little kid featuring in the first image is my son and on the right hand side of this frame, there is very old cemetery known as Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis, built around 1860 (2nd image).
For the first time, my son realized that everybody eventually dies. And his mom & dad will die too and he will be on his own without his parents in this world as he saw the cemetery and made a connection with the scene and future. It was a sudden shock in his innocent mind and since then, he started asking questions about life and death. For him, this thought was heart breaking, by his looks I could easily make out that he was terribly upset and it seemed like his world had already collapsed.
In my last visit to my home country India, I was invited by the bride (in fact a close family friend) to take few of her wedding photographs in her bridal dress at the ceremony time. And of course I did and always love to do this for a friend.
These images came out okay – not as good as I expected, I had some issues I never thought I would face that much. Indian weddings are always chaotic and this one was not an exception… lots of people in a small place, hot atmosphere all these make me so nervous. The space between camera and bride was a concern and dedicated photographers always have the best spot by their own right.
Anyway, even after all these, I loved to do this and I will continue doing this and improvise whenever I will get a chance in future.
These images are from my recent trip to Los Morrillos Light, also known as Faro Los Morrillos De Cabo Rojo, is a historic lighthouse located at the southwestern tip of the island Puerto Rico, in the municipality of Cabo Rojo. El Faro Los Morrillos was built in 1882 by the Spanish and even since it has been a guide for ships to navigate safely through the Mona Passage.
There is little story about this particular image above. While taking this picture, the guy is the photograph was asking me “hey, what are you doing up there? Is there anything to look at?” I smiled and replied to him – nothing. And then I waited for the guy to leave and I got the below one.
This one obeys some basic rules of photography like leading line and right decisive moment, I guess, but first one is something like it is asking to the viewers what you are looking at. I have difficulty to choose which one is better than another. I like first one for the gesture of the guy and inherent question what is there in this picture. And the second one is also theoretically solid in terms of decisive moment (not that I care too much) and symmetrical aspect. I leave it up to you guys what you will choose if you were me.
And after that for a minute there was none and I got the below one – certainly without any human figure it is looking little blank but Fibonacci figure is very prominent in this.
Then I came down at the ground level (it is not an very big lighthouse) and took another shot from below. Here is the view from down to top and it is more or less similar to the above one – cast-iron spiral staircase leads up to the top point.
At the time of return back, I saw very bright and vibrant color inside and took this one at focal length 16 mm (on full frame camera) and corrected distortion as much as possible with Adobe Lightroom.
All these images are taken with Nikon D800, Nikon 16-35mm f./4 and processed with Adobe Lightroom. Thanks you very much for your views and opinion.
To put it simple and short, I am referring to Paul Strand’s words – “It is easy to make a picture of someone and call it a portrait. The difficulty lies in making a picture that makes the viewer care about a stranger“.
Is it making sense to you? For me, it works and I believe that the quality of true portrait photograph. A colorful painted face or a gorgeous expression of a celebrity is always attractive, not for the quality of the photograph but for the real appeal in the subject itself. When the person in the frame is a complete stranger and a normal looking person without any special feature and still one care about the photograph that is the photograph I honor as a true portrait work.
I love photography and taking pictures of anything that makes sense to me, I don’t classify myself or attach myself with a particular genre because for me that does not exist at all – even if I don’t realized it so far. Well, what do I look for? What do I actually want to capture and for whom am I going to do it?
These are the fundamental questions come to every photographers mind once they are satisfied with the queries and eagerness of all technicalities involved with photography – shutter speed, aperture etc. That is the transformation process and it’s bound to come for self-learned photographer’s mind as there is no syllabus exists and currently I am going through similar kind of transformation. Now, I have my own taste and definition that I always look in a photograph. When I see those in a photograph, it satisfy me and I feel good about the photographer and make a some sort of connection with the photographer and when I don’t see anything in a photograph I care about, I feel disappointed for not seeing a good picture. Okay, that’s pretty clear and straightforward, what next.
What are those things I look for and hunt as a photographer? Here are the core values and all I stared caring about in a photograph recently. I believe photography is kind of personal extension after certain time and a series of photographs as a whole talk about the person – the photographer’s characteristics, taste, and intelligence. In a good photograph, for me, what you see – it is always more than that and it has some sort of capability to evoke human emotion in a tricky way. Photographers leave some clue knowingly or unknowingly (as they practice a lot – they might improvise it instantly) in a photograph to connect with something else those is already known or hint to think about something else which is sensual, touchy and play a role in life. Yes, I am talking about surrealism. This is core part of an art and it is in a good photograph if that quality as art.
Now, photograph with a real scene that is happening around us is something that we all are very used to and it is very difficult to see it in a different way – here the job of a photographer is to find a particular scene or combination of objects and it’s arrangement in such a way that make sense. What make sense? Means something you can connect or relate or interpret in a different way – not necessarily directly related with the subject – it can go far beyond what you see in the photograph. That means a good photograph is not only a photographers job – it is to some extend viewer’s responsibility to get what it might mean – of course it should have provocation and a subtle hint has to be there that connect.
Explicit elaboration of connecting material within the frame might not be a good taste for a photographer, some actually don’t do that and it is not their style. For example, a smiling face of a beautiful girl with some floral ambience does not much leave much to connect – it is very obvious to guess the mood – and we quickly relate with something like romantic and now juxtaposition of other things start play the factor. Here the point is it diverts mind easily to a definite direction and do not leave a space for interpretation.
So, by all I mean I like to say here that a photograph even though it is combination of well-known objects – it has to be a piece of abstract – it’s a photographer’s job to let viewers interpret the scene in a different way. Now the complexity begins and it is the deciding factor how close you are to create an art with everyday objects. Real intelligence, depth of life, sensuality, a lots of practice to see and realize, a real master’s guidance if available – not all are lucky enough all play together to make a photograph – such a photograph that is really a photograph I care about.
Now, individual photograph gives a feeling to start with and connect for some time. People say it as story telling because it is easy to explain and give a nice justification what it is all about and keep involve with the subject as much as possible. It stays within the frame (read it as subject) and not let go beyond – far beyond. I have no objection with that. Photojournalism is that kind of art – it tells the exact story what is in there in a smart way and it is all about the subject and if there is something extra that is a bonus. Okay, that’s fine. But here I am not talking about photojournalism – a true photography with no photojournalism attitude – photography as an art form. Here subject is just a tool of an expressive mind to use and give a surrealistic sense and unknown unidentified reaction that will kick off easily in a sensible mind but will keep going inside for a while and might end or stay forever. That’s a power of true photograph.
I am really after to make such a great photograph – I am just preparing myself to get there. It’s a realization and a complete satisfaction that this is what I want – this is the way it has to be. To get a pure abstract that has a meaning to me is the one I am thrilling that I can make someday. It is far now, but with time and constant work, I think, it is possible. It’s all the pleasure or frustration when you believe you are in art making process. I cherish when I see that kind of photograph someone making or after with serious dedication – I feel I am not alone in this.
Questions come to my mind – is it that kind of work always possible in street or any particular genre of photography? No, I think, it is possible any genre and only depends how smart the photographer is in his craft.
I would like to clarify here that I am not a great photographer – not even close by any means, a self-learner and this is my realization about photography as art form at this point of time while writing this little blog of mine (date: 24th April 2014) and I am going through a transformation phase and I might end up with a different interpretation about photography in next 2 years – who knows. But for now, my goal is to capture something that make sense and reach to viewers more than what is in there. Hope, I make my points clear.
Thanks for reading and bearing with me. If you think it make sense to you, write to for encouragement or if you think this is absolutely non-sense or bull shit, let me know that too. I would love to know your opinion on this. Thanks.
It is festive time; people are celebrating Holi (Hindu festival of color) in India and other Asian countries, even some places in US, painting each other with colors. In western world, its St. Patrick Day celebration and people are on streets with green colored dress. It is time when we are almost ready to welcome spring, trees are about to have their first blossom of the season. Though it is very cold in New York City but the mood of spring is already in the air.
I was out there after office hours in search of colors, patterns, humanity or absence of humanity or twisted humanity or whatever I felt good can be captured in my camera that makes sense (at least to me), all in a corner of the New York city, away from regular city traffic.
I ended up in a south-west corner of Lower Manhattan along the Hudson river – the place known as Robert F Wagner Jr Park (in Google Map), normally a quiet and remote place from the rest part of the city. I loved the look of the city from this place and captured in the frame – golden light from the setting sun on its walls, it has a very blunt look, at the same time it’s cool & calm and having a lively vibration. I cannot put that in words, I do not know how to do it.
When I saw a couple in the middle of urban concrete structure, it was like a spark to me. Something in there which was breaking the rule in a very positive way, a photographer was waiting for a nice sunset across the Hudson with his tripod, and a girl with her cell phone romantically involved with someone – must be close to her heart. All these were a nice touch and I could not expect more for an evening.
Finding a country road in the middle of city, New York City
By the way, it was really a nice sunset across the river, and I needed someone in the foreground in my frame to complement this nice sunset – I was not in mood to just to take another snapshot or a slow shutter one (though I was carrying a tripod and I am always very lethargic to use that). By that time, the girl with the cell phone just finished her prolonged talking, and I had a quick look on her – she is bright, young, and perfect for my portrait frame with golden setting sun. So, I approached to her and explained what I was looking for and how she can be a part of this. She agreed immediately. I have taken first 2-3 test shots and asked her just to be in herself in the backdrop of golden sun and warm sky. I am glad she did her best. After 5-6 min, her boyfriend arrived at that place and she was actually waiting for him over there and was talking with him only over phone – she revealed during the shooting. Here is what I have got from that day.
Again, I am not disappointed that much, but I am aware now where it needs improvements. From learning perspective, I know there was a lot which could have been done. I do not have an external flash – it would have been nice if I use a Speedlight with an umbrella or softbox setup. Okay, as this is street portrait and authentic street portrait, I do not have that choice. And to be honest, I have to work on that part more; at least I need to get a decent Speedlight first.
By the time I was done there, it was dark and time to go back home. While going back, I have taken again few shots that make sense to me.
Friends in the mid of Violet and Green, New York City
This image do not have any frame.
Lotus, WTC, New York City
Remembering Sherlock Homes, WTC Terminal, New York City
A Lady with Umbrella, WTC, New York City
Smoking Away, WTC, New York City
WTC, New York City
I like the hazy picture of the woman smoking a cigarette outside the WTC terminal. I like this shaky and blurry way much more than a sharp image – it makes sense more to me. This is how a story goes in a corner of the city and continues out there…
Here is a photoseries on Grand Central Terminal – “the world’s loveliest station” as described by travel magazine Travel + Leisure in its October 2011 survey. Grand Central Terminal is “the world’s number six most visited tourist attraction”, bringing in approximately 21,600,000 visitors annually.
View on YouTube (Time: 4 min) with excellent music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmFMsb4JfA4
Refer complete photoseries of 40 images at website: http://www.sudarshanmondal.com/Series/Episode-Grand-Central-Terminal
Grand Central Terminal (GCT) is a railroad terminal at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States.It is the largest such facility in the world by number of platforms with 44 serving 67 tracks along them. They are on two levels, both below ground, with 41 tracks on the upper level and 26 on the lower, though the total number of tracks along platforms and in rail yards exceeds 100. The terminal covers an area of 48 acres (19 ha).
The terminal serves commuters traveling on the Metro-North Railroad to Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties in New York State, and Fairfield and New Haven counties in Connecticut. Until 1991 the terminal served Amtrak, which moved to nearby Pennsylvania Station upon completion of the Empire Connection.
Although the terminal has been properly called “Grand Central Terminal” since 1913, many people continue to refer to it as “Grand Central Station,” the name of the previous rail station on the same site, and of the U.S. Post Office station next door, which is not part of the terminal.
Please leave your comments here. Thanks for watching.