Goan Walls, Colours and Life

Today, I decided to visit my last year’s catalogue and look through the pictures to see if I find something I might have missed. And I was not disappointed.

These two pictures (yes, it’s a diptych) were taken while walking around the Goan streets. Beautiful solid colours here, in stark contrast are balancing each other in the complete frame and individually too.

Very few Old Goan buildings are coloured exactly alike and solid colours are used for front facades; interiors are usually in paler colours/white with solid colour highlights.

This rendering or piping in white is the result of the unwritten rule during the Portuguese occupation of Goa that no private house or building could be painted in white. Only churches and chapels enjoyed this privilege, as white was associated with the Virgin Mary and therefore the virtues of purity and chastity (both desirable in Goa), but, surprisingly, Goan Hindus also respected this practice.

As a result of this code, an interesting and aesthetically pleasing trend developed, as competition among neighbours gave impetus to variety.

Goan Walls, Colours and Aunts
Goan Walls, Colours and Life

Seen here, the woman is in the everyday dress/gown and the man in a beautiful royal blue kurta.

General Merchant
General Merchant
Passerby
House Number 140

Love : Happiness : Toby

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.”
Johnny Depp

You read that right? Love : Happiness : Toby

Now who’s Toby? And how did he suddenly spring up? From where?

Somehow. From somewhere. ❤

My friends and myself, ordered a home delivery from a nearby restaurant that one day, around two weeks ago.

Ting tong! The delivery boy rang the bell.

Clank! We open the door, hungry.

In comes trotting, this handsome, tiny guy, floppy ears, thin to the bones; into the hall, into the bedroom, straight to the bed and off to sleep!

All hunger left to the winds, we went in, and started cuddling with this cute little bundle of brown fur, smelling of mild shampoo and milk, oh so heavenly!

His eyes. Stark green and huge. Complementing the golden brown of his fur, his eyes made him a beauty. An instant hit. 😀

Toby
Toby

He was scared though, not eating anything, not saying anything, not licking anybody, just sleeping all the time. We tried searching for someone who might own him, but to no avail. So, we decided to keep him. 😀

Took him to the vet, got his vaccinations and deworming done. After being force fed Cerelac and curd rice for a few days, he started eating on his own and has now taken a liking to Pedigree these days. 😀

Toby
Toby

The point of this post, apart from introducing Toby is, urging people to adopt.

“A dog is not a thing. A thing is replaceable. A dog is not. A thing is disposable. A dog is not. A thing doesn’t have a heart. A dog’s heart is bigger than any “thing” you can ever own.”
Elizabeth Parker, Paw Prints in the Sand

You need to understand people, you need them more than they need you.

Pets, dogs in particular, teach you how to love. Love like no other.

And god knows, the world needs it.

There are hundreds out there, especially in India. It’s okay if you cant keep one at home. You can volunteer at a rehabilitation and rescue centre, feed dogs outside your door, in your neighbourhood, Help in any way you can. I promise you, it wont go to waste.

That isn’t a huge price to pay for unconditional love, affection, importance; a smile, a laugh; a stress-buster,  isn’t it?

Learn to love people. 🙂

Chocolate, Almonds and Raisins : Simple ain’t Easy

It’s been a long while since my last post, I know.  Caught up between school, work and my new best friend Toby ( about whom I will be talking in my next post ), time flew!

Today I am writing about my experience shooting tiny food objects like almonds and raisins.

We got an assignment at school, to shoot Fruit and Nut Chocolate in a creative way. After a short discussion with my faculty, I settled on a concept of few almonds and raisins with melted chocolate on them. Simple isn’t it?

Composing such tiny things is a challenge. I stuck almonds and raisins in place with glue tack and after 2 hours of shifting them around, I settled on a composition.

I chose to shoot it on a white acrylic background and with one light source. The light diagram is provided below :

Light Diagram for the shoot. The light from the softbox was cut partially with a blag flag.
Light Diagram for the shoot. The light from the soft-box was cut partially with a blag flag.

I used a thermocol (foam) reflector pretty close to the setup on the right side for a nice smooth fill. To bring out the texture in almonds and raisins, I used small reflective mirrors to fill some hard light from the front left.

After melting chocolate, I poured it on the composition with a dropper. That was the most difficult part of my shoot. It became messy and I couldn’t do any changes after pouring the chocolate and had a limited amount of time window to shoot as the chocolate would spread everywhere. Somehow, I managed. One way I saved my day was by pouring the chocolate in steps and taking a shot after every step. That way, I could choose the best parts of the pour and put it all together.

Chocolate, Almonds and Raisins
Chocolate, Almonds and Raisins

This is just my first try and many more would come soon. 🙂

All in all, it was a tiring shoot, but fun. 😀

To Jaipur , Love Snehi

Jaipur had been my home for 6 years before my family shifted to Dehradun and I came to Pune. In those 6 years, I had never picked up a camera.

Yes, sad and such a waste!

This summer, I made sure to visit Jaipur, where I had practically grown up to spend a short time with my friends and re-walk those lanes and this time, take some of it with me 🙂

So here I present you with some of Jaipur that came back with me :-*

I mainly spent my time roaming around in the fort of Amber; the majestic, marvellous and awe-inspiring huuuuge structure that I absolutely love. Others might talk about the architecture marvel, the design, the lavishness of this place, but what I love most about this fort is that it had so many stories inside these impenetrable walls, just waiting to be heard, imagined or completed 🙂

Standing here, I watch the elephants arrive and depart with tourists with the city of Jaipur spreading far behind.  It is a majestic view; what must have it been during the times of the kings and conquerors, I can only imagine. Oh I wish I could time-travel. :)
Standing here, I watch the elephants arrive and depart with tourists; the city of Jaipur spreading far behind.
It is a majestic view; what must have it been during the times of the kings and conquerors, I can only imagine.
Oh I wish I could time-travel. 🙂

The textile block printing of Rajasthan is a well-known, well-loved art-form around the globe. However, what is less known and appreciated is that this industry requires a huge amount of water!

Yeah, I see; I can fully understand why and how it came to operate in one of the most water-scarce states of India. 😮

A sales boy of a nearby textile shop at the foothill of the Amber Fort tries to sell hand printed traditional Jaipuri style bedsheets to foreign tourists.  Tourism is a major industry in Rajasthan and is the livelihood of many.
A sales boy of a nearby textile shop at the foothill of the Amber Fort tries to sell hand printed traditional Jaipuri style bedsheets to foreign tourists.
Tourism is a major industry in Rajasthan and is the livelihood of many.

Ghoonghat pratha, or the tradition of covering the head with a chunari or veil, is an age-old tradition in religions of Islam and Hinduism. It was (and still is, in most parts of northern rural India) mandatory for women to wear ghoonghat as a sign of respect for elder family members and to maintain distance from non-related or elder male members of the society for protection of modesty.

However, in Rajasthan, it serves a more practical purpose of keeping the sand from blowing onto the face 🙂

A  Rajasthani sweeper cleaning the Diwan- Ai - Aam at Amber Fort, Jaipur. Even when no one's watching (she didn't know I was there and it was high afternoon), she makes sure to carry her Anchal (veil). That pink saree symbolic of the 'Pink City' of Jaipur , takes me back to that place, in that magical, hot (extremely) afternoon light.
A Rajasthani sweeper cleaning the Diwan- Ai – Aam at Amber Fort, Jaipur. Even when no one’s watching (she didn’t know I was there and it was high afternoon), she makes sure to carry her Anchal (veil). That pink saree symbolic of the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur , takes me back to that place, in that magical, morning light.

This frame below, it is so rich of stories.

It makes me think of why the pots were still there?

Were they always kept like this? I don’t know what for.

Did someone lower them down to fill water and then could never return to bring them back up, and the archeology department deemed it fit to leave them be? Maybe.

What could have happened here?

The guy looking up at me from the window below might have been thinking the same thing. ( Or maybe he was just wondering why I find these smelly bats so interesting 😛 )

I look down an old well or water-tank in the fort of Amer and I see unused, ancient earthen pots still tied together on that rope waiting for someone to pull them up. I guess the hundreds of bats that line the walls now must be using them as treasure caves :P
I look down an old well or water-tank in the fort of Amer and I see these ancient earthen pots; unused for more than a century; still tied together on that rope waiting for someone to pull them up. I guess the hundreds of bats that line the walls now must be using them as treasure caves 😛
Police men lazing around in the shade, while the morning sun shines on the white marble floors and pillars of the Sheesh-Mahal at Amer Fort.
Police men lazing around in the shade, while the morning sun shines on the white marble floors and pillars of the Sheesh-Mahal at Amer Fort.
Forts, palaces, history and culture are pride of Jaipur City. restoration and maintenance is given top priority and so, i find this guy painting the fort walls and keeping them in shape.
Forts, palaces, history and culture are pride of Jaipur City. Restoration and maintenance is given top priority and so, I find this guy painting the fort walls and keeping them in shape.

That is my closest friend, Kirti in the picture below, admiring the beautiful Maota lake and the garden at the base of the fort. She’s the only one who would come with me to climb a fort so high in the early morning light so that I could photograph it free of tourists. XD 😛

I won’t thank her though, she’s my best friend after all 😛

My friend, Kirti looks out of one of the 'jharokhas' or intricately designed windows of the Royal palace of Amber (Amer) , Jaipur.
My friend, Kirti looks out of one of the ‘jharokhas’ or intricately designed windows of the Royal palace of Amber (Amer) , Jaipur.

One of the most fascinating things in Jaipur (the Old Pink City especially) is, that you will find a temple, a wall, or something or the other of such sort at almost every block.

You can catch people saying quick prayers or just closing their hands together and touching their forehead as a sign of respect whenever they see any symbol of God at any time of the day.

Although, it is prevalent in most of India, yet the crazy holy atmosphere of Jaipur is hard to miss.

_MG_7927_1
Religion is a major scene in Jaipur. On the left is the shop owner with his kids, worshipping pictures of gods and goddesses on the wall while the customers wait for him to finish.
Chaiwalla serving tea at 'Sahu Restaurant' near badi Chaupad, Jaipur. Even though the picture is presented in black and white; the font and style in which the name of his shop is written is particular to the shops of the Old city of Jaipur.
Chaiwalla serving tea at ‘Sahu Restaurant’ near badi Chaupad, Jaipur.
Even though the picture is presented in black and white; the font and style in which the name of his shop is written is particular to the shops of the Old city of Jaipur.

To Jaipur,

I will be visiting again soon, as I have yet to capture the other subtle joys of living here. Till then, take care, stay clean and continue being what you are : the pride of history, tradition, and culture of India while still growing towards modernisation and development. An ideal city to live in ❤ 🙂

Love, Snehi

Lavale Village : Documentary

My older work, documenting Lavale village, Pune, maharashtra

Snehi Singh Photography

Lavale is a village on the oukskirts of Pune City in Maharashtra, India.

Lavale Village is known for the cultivation of various crops like onion, rice, jamar, potato, and other vegetables. Guava is the most cultivated fruit. The atmosphere of the village and its surroundings is mostly cooler than that of the city. Mula river passes through this region, and flowing through Wakad and Baner areas as it makes its way to Pune.

It is a beautiful village with good, warm people. Simple people reside here in peace and harmony. Main souce of income is agriculture while some families have small business establishments or jobs in the city of Pune.

The children study in the village school til 8th standard after which they move to a city school.

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Chocolate Rum Balls : Trial Shoot

For many days now, I have been planning to make and shoot chocolate rum balls but because of shortage of time, I wasn’t able to do so. But just to try out compositions and make sure that I don’t goof up the actual shoot, I decided to buy some rum balls and practice with them. Here is my behind the scenes of setup and styling:

I put some chocolate syrup over the rum balls and decorated them with multi color sprinklers that I got from a beautiful site selling bakery products called That Secret Ingredient.

I tried various angles, changed the rum balls in a couple of shots, the setup was basic and simple and so were the props.

Camera angle, just a little above the setup. A more personal touch.
Camera angle, just a little above the setup. A more personal touch.
A little closer, with a different rum ball
A little closer, with a different rum ball

The wooden background and the khadi textile complemented the color palette and gave that chocolaty mood (I guess that’s what I’d call it) to the picture. I plated the rum balls in white Japanese porcelain dessert plates with black and gold design work on the border. The sprinklers were necessary to break the color pattern and make the chocolate ball pop out.

Top Shot - Playing with Graphics
Top Shot – Playing with Graphics

A major challenge was shooting before the chocolate sauce , being heavy and thick in consistency, covers the whole plate; the sprinklers drown in the chocolate sauce; the HIGHLIGHTS catchching everywhere!!!

Be sure to learn how to light a sphere, a chrome ball; better, before you light these. Next time I shoot, I’ll be doing some things differently!

Top Shot - with sprinkler on the chocolate sauce for balance
Top Shot – Sprinkler on the chocolate sauce for balance
Added a few sprinklers to the side to cover up some negative space.
Top Shot – Added a few sprinklers to the side to cover up some negative space.

So how did you like this shoot? If you are a food photographer or a stylist yourself, I would welcome your critique and comments 🙂

What Went Wrong : Cheesecakes and Tragedy

Have you ever had a frame in mind, or felt like shooting something, felt inspired and excited and then mess it up in the end? I find it happens to me a lot. So this time, I want to figure out and write about ‘What Went Wrong’ publicly, so that I remember these things in the future and help other people prevent a messed up shoot plan.


I had decided to shoot rum balls this week. I had it planned, thought of a frame, and every other thing. Except that it didn’t happen as I planned at all. Here are my WWW or What Went Wrong points for you all.

I went out to buy them and well, I don’t know why, but I ended up buying a couple of pieces of Philadelphia Cheesecakes. 😮 😐

I’m not saying that doing shoots on the fly or just setting up a spontaneous shoot is bad, my first two shoots themselves were so. But sometimes it helps to have a plan as well. Anyways, I didn’t feel all the way negative about it and decided to shoot. I was too excited to shoot and did not look at many reference pictures or research more closely.

WWW : No planning and getting tempted by beautiful looking foods before researching about them. RESEARCH is VERY important.

I had given my camera to a friend for a shoot and was left with a 50D at home. Now I had a frame in my mind; a top shot that would play on the graphics and shapes of circular plates, triangle pastry and straight spoons. I set up my utensils and lights and was setting up my tripod when I realised that the camera didn’t have a flippy screen and I couldn’t see the frame! I tethered the camera to my laptop and was working on it, but by that time the frame had left my space and my mind wasn’t on it.

WWW : Not knowing your equipment before the shoot. Look at what you have and set up accordingly.

I set up a new composition, I thought of experimenting with wide angle lenses and was pretty ok with the effect. I brought in the food, set it and was on the job , but my energy and mood had drained off by then because of little problems here and there. I got frustrated and didn’t pay as much attention as I should have. Still, I kept on shooting.

When I viewed the photos properly at last, I found out that the end of the font pie was out of focus, the composition not so strong and the shot was a waste! 😦

WWW : Getting frustrated by small errors and problems. You should be flexible with your approach and try to find out a solution.

The point above is easy to say, but sometimes, especially when you’re really excited about shooting something, you do get a little frustrated if things don’t work out. Well, that is the time you should stop shooting and relax. Go, have water, take a stroll, talk about something else and come back with a fresh mind. It might help. If it does not, then pack up and plan a reshoot for another day.

Even though the shoot went the way down, I’m sharing the final photograph just so you know what was going on in my mind. It even might give someone an idea/inspiration 😛

The wide angle gave me a nice perspective, but the composition and focus were a bummer :|
The wide angle gave me a nice perspective, but the composition and focus were a bummer 😐
A little closer, a little better.
A little closer, a little better.

I hope you guys found this informative and helpful. If you have ever had a big mess-up before/ during or after a shoot, share your experiences with me in the comments below. Someone might benefit from it 🙂