How did I learn to click?


Almost about 10 years back, one amongst my many good friends was particularly expert at photography. He had attended the University Photography Club and was considered to be one of the super photographers of our time. He was fluent in the manual SLR cameras, in finding out the right aperture & f stop, selecting the right film with right grain and hold on – he had his own lab setup at his home, where he could expose photographs. That was enough to get a halo behind any person just out of college. So I gathered courage and one day, asked him a simple question – Could you please teach me this photography thing? He never said No, but never said Yes either. So my photography expedition got delayed by few months.



Vivitar with Tamron 70-300
Due to career movement, I decided to move to Hyderabad in late 2004. Before leaving, I went to one of the local studios in Kolkata and asked the owner – See, I am moving out of this city to a nicer place, and I want to use my spare time to capture some photos. Which camera should I buy? This guy was a bit friendlier than the previous friend. In fact, this guy proved to be my best friend if I consider my interest in Photography. He suggested me to buy a fully manual SLR instead of a point-and-shoot which was my primary requirement. He even helped me to get it one (Vivitar) at a discounted price and told me – take as much photographs as you want, as that’s the best way to learn photography. (http://itssubhamoy.blogspot.in/2007/02/my-first-love.html)



Mosquitoes were also captured
But I was not having any funda of photography till that time and hence was a bit (rather quite) confused. Where should I start? I got lucky second time. One of my friends was coming back from USA, and asked me if I needed anything for me. I told that I wanted to learn photography and any help would be welcome. I got a book called National Geographic Field Photography Guide. This is the best training material I have received so far in Photography. And then my learning started. I experimented, and that’s understatement. I experimented like anything. (http://itssubhamoy.blogspot.in/2006/09/vanquished.html)




Hyderabad was a great test bed
I had got few good friends in the new city, who were equally enthusiastic, like going to watch pelicans at a remote location at 330AM in the morning etc. Soon I realized the best way to learn photography (as the studio owner had told me) was through clicking more photographs. I browsed online tutorials, almost anything that was available 9 years back on the web (and they were plenty) and that was the best way to pick up the tricks of photography. During my stay at Hyderabad, I met one cinematographer from Telugu film industry, as part of my organization’s photography club. He was one of those many non-bong guys I have met, who were in awe of Satyajit Ray’s camerawork in his various films. Once he confided in me that he doesn’t understand a single word in Bengali, but has watched multiple Ray films just to learn photography.



Kit lens of Canon Rebel XT
I moved back to Kolkata in 2006 and soon got an opportunity to go to USA for a short business trip. Being in USA, I thought I should make some investments in photography in getting some gears. It was an interesting time. In India, the studios were developing the films, and also scanning them to get you a digital copy in a CD. The transition from film to digital photography was happening slowly in India. When I decided to move from film based SLR to Digital SLR in 2006, there were not many choices at entry level DSLR. So I chose Canon Rebel XT (350D), which was sort of revolutionary in bringing the price of DLSR to the reach of more people.

This was a major leap in my photography experiments. I could click as much as I can, take a look at the photographs, read some online tutorial and improve on it again. I acquired few lens over the year, and kept learning (which is continuing through every picture and every post that I see today). In between, I tried to move to the compact digital cameras, but was not very happy with the pictures and controls, as by that time I had acquired a few long and not-so-long lenses. Almost two years back, I met a very talented friend, who was the Creative Director of an advertising agency. I learnt from him how to convert a photograph to an art. I am nowhere near achieving that myself, but I found the possibilities in mixing art, photography and graphics.


Few months back, I have bought Nexus 4 phone, the flagship phone from Google Android. It has got a decent camera (8MP), has few mind-boggling features (like 360 degree or Panorama) and is quite fast. However I was not still very happy as it was not giving me that edge, that depth of field which I could easily get in a 50mm fixed lens. And then Google updated its Photos application last week. I casually turned the Auto Backup ON in my mobile. 

Whoao – that’s the time, when I started thinking of switching side again. It took few headaches out of me:

1. I don’t need to download pictures and then upload to an album to share as the Auto backup keeps uploading the pictures into Google storage. They are not shared to anyone though till I decide to do so.
2. Google automatically enhances the pictures – and I can decide the degree of auto enhancements album wise
3. In addition, Google creates few additional images, called autoawesome – like,
     a. If it sees a series of more than 5 images having consecutive actions, it creates an animation, automatically.
      b. If it finds some object moving within the frame, it creates a single image having the movements captured
      c. It creates an HDR
      d. Hold – it can erase some unnecessary elements if there are a few shots. For example, you might be trying to capture a monument, and people keep coming in between your camera and the monument. Google would automatically delete those noises and create a clean shot of the monument.
4. Obviously I had already downloaded few image editing apps (Snapseed and Pixlr are my best friends so far) which allows me to edit/create collage in my mobile itself and then share to the friends on the social media.

Thought of adding this autoawesome image (Animation) which was created by Google stitching 15 shots during Diwali, automatically. Awesome, isn't it? 











I think I should thank few people for the photographs that I keep sharing with you almost every day.
1. The friend, who didn’t teach me photography – I learnt to click photos because of his refusal to teach me.
2. The studio owner who got me my first SLR. He could have suggested me to buy a point-and-shoot camera, and I would not have experimented ever.
3. The friend who got me the NGC Field Guide book from USA
4. The creative director, who had shown me the possibilities of mixing art, photography and graphics
5. Google: It is tempting me to move from my 7 year old companion to the more handy Mobile Camera. I am yet to get convinced. But possibly its not going to be long when I move from DSLR to a mobile camera completely.


Looking back, it seems that learning photography is much easier now compared to what was 10 years back. If you are on any Social Media platform (Google+ specifically), follow the relevant groups/communities and you could learn photography in your own time quite fast. What is your story? Share your way of learning photography every day.

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Thank you for checking this article. I contribute regularly on Technology & Management related stuff. Apart from this blog, you can follow me at 
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About me: I have been working in the areas of IT strategy & usage of Digital technology to deliver business growth. My areas of interest include Enterprise Mobility, Cloud Solution Architecture, Enterprise Architecture, Social Media and Big Data. I am an alumni of Indian Statistical Institute (MTech Computer Science) and also attended Harvard Business School Executive Education on Innovation and Driving Growth.

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