© Capt Suresh Sharma. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Today, I went to the Cactus Garden, to scout around for some flowers and my usual haunt to find some solace (after having riddled by recession). Its one of my most favorite places, to photograph and to get peace. Above all, when I admire and photograph at the Cactus Garden, I feel, I am paying respect to its creator Dr JS Sarkaria. The Cactus Garden is a priceless gift by Dr Sarkaria, for all of us. About two days ago, when my wife and me visited the garden, I had seen one or two plants, which could give flowers to my camera, soon. Most of the times, I visit the Garden to scout around for flowers, without my camera, to save on logistics. Today, being cloudy in the morning, I went to the garden, in the afternoon with sun peeping out a bit, and found this Lithops succulent was flowering in a way I wanted it, on my previous visit. I rushed home to get my photo-gear, as I had extremely short time at my hands being in the afternoon (flowers in cactus garden start closing very early), was fumbling and scared of handling equipment in such a rush. I had to perform a super fast set-up of my equipment. I worked on the camera, cards, batteries and tripod; my wife had to work like a `light boy’. She is my biggest support – also chief consultant for the quality of the images. Amazing, she has learnt about how to set up Elinchrom studio lights and background etc. all by herself. Now, she is a photographer in the making. We work as a team, now.
Usually, younger photographers think that doing attractive photographs of cactus is as simple as visiting the Cactus Garden in a rush and then the moment you see a flower in the middle of those thorns, just pull out camera and go `click click click…’ Let me tell you, photographs are created and do not happen, quite an effort goes into making the soul cherishing photographs, which could draw anyone’s attention. One needs practice, walk around in search of your subject, try to locate the right subject which could offer good photographs, then carry out visual rehearsal about all angles which could make you good photos. Its practice which will hone your any skills, be it photography, horse riding, flying, painting, etc. As we Indians say in reference to our classical music and dance – its `reeyaaz’ (practice), and nothing else. So its practice, which trains your eyes to see good images even in simple subjects and light. Simply by buying a camera, one doesn't become a photographer.
REMEMBER: Photos are NOT made with cameras in quilts, only love could be made in quilts. So, you decide what you want to do... To seek photos, you have to take your camera out for a walk! Be rest assured, camera sitting in your cupboard makes no photos, may accrue fungus on its optics.
The best way to do photography is – make your progarmme on the previous day (if you are working nine to five, then keep thinking the whole week about where to shoot), get your kit ready (it needs quite a bit of preparation for good outdoor photography) get up early on the weekend, carry your kit, drive to your cherished location an hour before you expect the light for your shoot to get ready. Remember, creative photography is not done in groups, no matter what you say. Only routine basic photography (pull out your camera and shoot), can be done in groups; more than two photographers is a crowd. Its not me who is advocating this, all experienced photographers say that. Most of the seasoned ones will prefer being alone, with their camera.
One can learn the `nitty-gritty' and technicalities of equipment
handling from the internet and books, but how to achieve good photos
is a long and treacherous path, which one has to tread holding an
experienced hand. Its almost like going to the Mt Everest, not all
succeed, in spite of all required equipment and logistics in place.
I think, its A matter of passion and patience...
TECHNIQUE: Elinchrom strobes, main key light with snoot and grid, the second one with grid and bandoor, background set-up.
What is Lithops? Lithops are commonly known as `flowering stones’ or `living stones.
These are true mimicry plants: as their shape, size and color makes
them look like small stones in their natural habitat. Theses plants
blend very well among the stones, as a means of protection. So,
grazing animals, which would otherwise eat them during periods of
drought to obtain moisture, usually overlook them. Even Lithops
experts, sometimes find it difficult to locate these plants in the
field, because of this unusual element of deception.
MY CACTUS PHOTOGRAPHY
If you wish to have this image as `Screen Saver' for your computer, please write to me and I will send it across.