Tag Archives: Photography

Ladakh – A Romantic Saga ||Episode 1 || Delhi – Sonmarg (Kashmir)

Day-1 (Delhi – Sonmarg) route details: Delhi – Sonipat-Panipat-Karnal-Ambala-Ludhiana-Phagwara-Jalandhar-Mukerian-Pathankot-Sujanpur-Kathua-Ghagwal-Samba-Jammu-Pulwara-Sringar-Ganderbal-Kullan-Sonmarg.
Total distance: 990kms.

The plan was pretty simple, really, or atleast so it seemed. Start driving late night and drive as far as we possibly could so that the 2nd day could be a relatively easy drive to Leh from wherever we would be at the end of 1st day’s drive. And since we were four guys and we all know how to drive, it pretty much should turn out to be an easy affair or atleast that’s how we thought it should be.

Now, the vehicle of choice was a SUV since we pretty much knew the terrains we would encounter woudn’t really be what you call ‘smooth’ in real sense. Yes, there would ofcourse be stretches where we would find some awesome tarmac to go “crazy” on, but then there would also be roads (or the lack thereof!), where we would pretty much crawl, to put it mildly. The stuff that we had packed for this 6-day long expedition to #Ladakh were:

  1. Camera gear (first & foremost, and for ME, most important)
  2. Warm clothes, although it turned out to be pretty much not needed (more on that later)
  3. Engine oil & a 5 litre extra jerry-can filled with diesel for the vehicle since finding diesel might just be an issue enroute
  4. Cash and bank ATM cards
  5. Snacks & chocolate bars for instant energy
  6. Miscellaneous knick-knacks.

We met at the now famous Taj CCD around 1am from where we were supposed to begin this journey. Now, driving on the straight stretches of highway is pretty much something which anyone with a sense of judgement and a patient and cool mind can easily do all night. Getting out of the Capital at that time of the night was a no-brainer and we were cruising happily on the National Highway-1 (or rather AH-1, as it is now officially known) in about 30 minutes time after leaving Delhi. Now, I am what everyone calls, a very patient driver and somebody who would NEVER take a risk while on the road, and since it was well past midnight, I decided to take it real easy and we took a couple of breaks here and there to pick up some energy drinks and just generally relieve ourselves and stuff.

The night was pretty much uneventful and with a driver change in between somewhere passed Chandigarh, we were in the hills by dawn. Now, once you cross into Jammu & Kashmir (at the Lakhanpur border), the prepaid mobile connections seize to work and that is because of the security concerns. Out of the four guys, two (me & another friend) had prepaid connections while the other two had postpaid ones. So, essentially, once we entered J&K after paying the toll-tax at the Lakhanpur border, the prepaid mobile networks were gone, and I pretty much switched off my mobile phone and kept it inside my camera bag, both, to conserve the battery (as if I’d need it in the next 6 days, except, perhaps, to surf the internet & check for emails/ whatsapp/ Facebook/ Instagram/ Twitter over hotel wifi at different locations) and also, I just wanted to feel light. I wanted to feel free.

You see, mobile phones are good; I am not against them. But, there are days when you wish you wouldn’t have them but you cannot help it. So, Ladakh presented me an opportunity to be without my cell-phone for a period of 6 days at a stretch and somewhere deep down, I was pretty satisfied with this.

Nonetheless, this – the first day’s drive was pretty much uneventful, and although we had to drive constantly for more than 18 hours, we finally reached Sonmarg (which is about 990kms from Delhi) by night; if I remember, it was around 9:30pm or so that we checked into a nice, small, cozy hotel and relaxed for the night.

Kashmir Valley

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As tired as we were, while eating our dinner and even after going to bed, I constantly kept thinking and visualizing about the kind of high-passes & the terrains that we would encounter the next day. I had been to Ladakh on earlier occasions but the sheer excitement just doesn’t abate, no matter how many times you visit that magical place. I had also pretty much visualized the kind of shots that I wanted – both for my still album and for the film that I was there to shoot.

With all that excitement and adrenaline flowing through my veins, even at 2 in the night, I couldn’t really fall asleep while everyone else was fast asleep. Finally, after calming my nerves down, I went to sleep, for the next day had some amazing stories which were to unfold…

 

…to be continued.

From the Land of Lama

I’ve been to Ladakh on a few occasions earlier, but somehow every-time I go there, I discover something new, something exciting, something which I’ve never discovered on my earlier trips. And generally, I prefer driving to Ladakh instead of just comfortably taking a flight and landing in Leh. Driving/ ridng to the place makes you see a myriad of things and makes you experience a lot. You get to see different places, you get to meet new people on your way (and hopefully make friends), and ofcourse, you get to do it all at your own leisure.

Well, this post isn’t really the travelogue so to speak, but more of a prologue to what is to come – a proper full-blown travelogue and photographs about Ladakh and ofcourse the short travel film about #Ladakh which I’m editing as I type this. That would take about 2 more weeks to complete; till then, I would like you all to look through these few pictures and a small video which I managed to film, and is dedicated to the friends that I’ve lost.

The following are just a few pictures which I wanted to share. The rest shall be shared with the travel-story, and also IN the film that I’m editing right now. 🙂 Till then, please enjoy these.

View of Leh City from Leh Palace

The roads that have been cut through the barren landscapes

The gorgeous landscapes that adorn the entire region

The tributary of Zanskar river flows through...

I met a lot of motorcyclists traversing through the region during this trip. And I managed to photograph one such amazing group on their Triumph Tigers and BMW R1200s

The sun setting behind the beautiful Himalayas

We are just a speck in this huge Universe...

The Happy Monk - at Lamayuru Monastery, Ladakh

Leh City from Shanti Stupa

A Houseboat in Kashmir

I was in Kashmir a week or so back for a travel assignment. And I got to stay at an amazing house-boat there. Here is a short walk-through of that houseboat where I show the houseboat from the outside, and also show you the different rooms as well as the gorgeous Nagin lake just outside the boat. Do like, share & subscribe to my channel if you’d like to see regular weekly updates.

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Kolkata – the City of Joy

Kolkata is a city which brings varied emotions out of you, and as a photographer, it was an honor to walk through the amazing streets of the beautiful city and capture a few frames which I’d, perhaps, remember till the next time I go visit that wonderful city yet again! Here are a few photographs straight from the City of Joy…

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Kolkata - the City of Joy

Kolkata – the City of Joy

Kolkata - the City of Joy

Kolkata – the City of Joy

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24 hours in Kolkata…

Kolkata is an amazing city. It is a city filled with a rich culture, and such rich history that it is almost impossible to experience the city in its entirety in just 24 odd hours.

Well, I was in Kolkata recently for a photo-assignment, and took some time out to film this. I hope you all enjoy looking at this 2-minute tribute to this ‘City of Joy’.

 

Sattal – A Perfect Nature’s Retreat

Since the time I can remember, I have always been fond of travelling. And if I do not go out travelling even for a few days, or few weeks, I get that proverbial itch. I become restless, and I just know, it is time I left. Recently, I had just returned from my South India travel, which included places like Munnar (Kerala) & Valparai (Tamil Nadu). I enjoyed that trip thoroughly and I had no idea that once I am back, within 48 hours, I’d be travelling again and this, to the Himalayas!

So, when it was presented to me, I could not say no. Sattal it was, and since it had been years I last visited this beautiful quaint place, I jumped in.

Sattal is situated at a distance of 306 km from Delhi. Also known as ‘Sat-Tal’ because of seven interconnected fresh water lakes present in the region, Sattal is well connected to Delhi by road and train. However, the best way to reach Sattal from Delhi is by road, a journey of about 6 hours by car. The places covered during the journey from Delhi to Sattal are Delhi – Ghaziabad – Babugarh –  Gajraula – Moradabad  – Rampur –  Haldwani – Bhimtal – Sattal.

Most of the road is in really good condition except a 5-6 kms stretch just past Rampur which is filled with pot-holes, off-road, dust and what not. Else, everything else is just perfectly enjoyable. Now, once at Sattal, I drove straight to the KMVN Tourist Rest House as I knew that’d be the perfect place to stay. As luck would have it, I was their only guest as this was the off-season. For Rs.1650/- I got a decently big room with a view, and dinner & next day’s breakfast was complimentary to boot! What else could I had asked for?

I fell asleep in the room for a couple of hours as the entire night was on the road, and was a little tired since I hadn’t slept for the last 48 hours almost. Refreshed, I got out of the KMVN rest-house and explored the entire aSattal_4 Sattal_3 Sattal_2 Sattal_1 wpid-img_20150726_194926.jpg wpid-img_20150726_143640.jpg wpid-img_20150726_131628.jpg wpid-img_20150726_053314.jpg wpid-img_20150727_193500.jpg wpid-img_20150727_194051.jpg wpid-img_20150729_183820.jpg wpid-img_20150727_202153.jpg wpid-img_20150726_195346.jpgrea, had lunch by the lake-side at one of the numerous food-joints/ dhabas and went back to my room by the sunset. Since I had company of two more people who rested for a while more before they could get out themselves, the night was really filled with talks, fun and what not.

Overall, the trip was really enjoyable. Here are some pictures that I’m sharing. These are clicked with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. So, please pardon the quality but it should give you all a fair share of idea about the place. If you’re looking for a quiet place to just relax, then Sattal should satisfy that need. Just remember to book a room in advance as during season, it would otherwise be impossible to find accommodation there. Also, it is worth mentioning that phone-network doesn’t work at Sattal. So, there.

 

Passion Won’t Make You Successful in Photography

If you’re relying only on being passionate for being successful in photography, then, I’m sorry to break that bubble but passion alone won’t keep you in business. It is the harsh truth, but there you have it.

I understand the fact that this will perhaps come as a big surprise to some because we are conditioned to hear the word ‘passion’ everywhere. It is highly spoken of at speeches and on television shows and what not, basically it is everywhere. It promptly shows up at the beginning when an idea is generally discussed; it is extremely exciting and very shiny as all new things are but passion is the first one to get out of the door and run away when it comes to tough times.

Yes, we need passion for it makes you feel alive, brimming with some sort of purpose in life. We love passion and more than that, we really do need it. You would agree that just hearing the word makes you feel happy & motivated.

But, like I’ve said a while back, it’s a very strange thing. It is extremely powerful to start with but at the first sight of problems, it is the first one to vanish. Essentially, that sparkle that I talked about in the beginning, that wears off pretty quickly. It just wants to show up, makes you really happy and then go away.

Passion is a temporary thing but that is perfectly fine, as that is how it is really supposed to be. It is more or a precursor to something better that’s to come. If I can put it bluntly, passion is the seed from which something known as “dedication” grows. And trust me when I say, dedication, that is the real deal.

Dedication makes you continue trudging on when times are hard. Or stay up late till night when your body is breaking down and crying for sleep. Dedication is exactly what pushes you towards making yourself a better photographer, a better business-person and perhaps a better person, overall.

So, to all my photographer friends, there’s just one thing I’d say – Embrace passion with both hands but please don’t expect it to stay forever. For, you must always remember, “Passion is what makes you pick up the camera, but dedication is what keeps it in your hands.”

Travel As Much As You Can

I have been travelling since I could basically remember. My first ever trip started when my father moved his base from the place I was born. Since he had a transferrable service (defense forces), we all had to keep moving from one city to another every 2 to 3 years. My parents never were avid travellers so to speak, but I feel privileged that it is because of them that I got the opportunity to travel so much, and it is only because of them that this bug bit me. And bit me so hard!

I totally believe that there are so many important aspects to travelling. I can understand that you might not be able to travel so far and so frequently as I do, given the regular jobs that most people have. But, whenever you get this chance, please embrace it with both arms. I’ve, over the last many years, felt that travelling impacts how a person’s entire character is developed. You are basically not enclosed inside that bubble of yours; rather, you get outside your comfort zone. Travelling is something you cannot learn about reading in a book.

When you travel, you discover. You discover new, beautiful, interesting places that make you want to come back and experience different cultures that you weren’t even aware of. I think it has always been a part of me, and I am absolutely determined to keep on travelling for the rest of my life. There is just so much to see. So much to explore; but so little time.

Travel as much as you can throughout your entire life, for travelling will broaden your horizon, it will make you realize a lot of things in life. And remember, it does not need to be an expensive out of the country trip. A simple road-trip will be just as liberating, trust me. After all, you only live once.

P.S: I am off to another travel adventure day-after, and this time I’m exploring the South India. Starting from Bangalore, I’ll be renting a self-driven car, and exploring some wonderful places like Ooty, Munnar, Valparai and the likes and shall bring back a lot of memories in the shape of photographs and ofcourse these travel blog entries. 🙂 So excited! Cannot wait for the trip to start.

Inside Hauz Khas Fort, New Delhi

Source: Wikipedia

Hauz Khas Complex (Hindi: हौज़ ख़ास, Punjabi: ਹੌਜ਼ ਖ਼ਾਸ, Urdu: حوض خاص‎) in Hauz Khas, South Delhi houses a water tank, an Islamic seminary, a mosque, a tomb and pavilions built around an urbanized village with medieval history traced to the 13th century of Delhi Sultanate reign. It was part of Siri, the second medieval city of India of the Delhi Sultanate of Allauddin Khilji Dynasty (1296–1316). The etymology of the name Hauz Khas in Farsi is derived from the words ‘Hauz’: “water tank” (or lake) and ‘Khas’:“royal”- the “Royal tank”. The large water tank or reservoir was first built by Khilji {the plaque displayed (pictured in the gallery) at the site records this fact} to supply water to the inhabitants of Siri.The tank was de–silted during the reign of Firuz Shah Tughlaq (1351–88). Several buildings (Mosque and madrasa) and tombs were built overlooking the water tank or lake. Firuz Shah’s tomb pivots the L–shaped building complex which overlooks the tank.

In the 1980s, Hauz Khas Village, studded with domed tombs of Muslim royalty from the 14th to 16th centuries, was developed as an upper class residential cum commercial area in the metropolis of South Delhi, India. It is now a relatively expensive tourist cum commercial area with numerous art galleries, upscale boutiques and restaurant. Swans and ducks are among the attractions at Hauz Khas Lake – which is part of the attraction to visitors.

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A day with Ferrari 458 Italia

Being a photographer, and a specialist in automotive photography at that has its perks. Like days when you get to spend the better part of the day with supercars. And when it comes to these uber-sexy machines, what better than the beautiful prancing horse – Ferrari!

Got to spend a day with the beautiful Ferrari 458 Italia, courtesy a corporate client and enjoyed it to the core. Sharing a few pictures clicked with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. The proper shoot pictures will follow suit, hopefully soon. 🙂

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Ferrari 458 Italia by Bobby Roy

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Ferrari 458 Italia by Bobby Roy

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Ferrari 458 Italia by Bobby Roy

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