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Couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity of attending a photography workshop by Kalyan Varma-a wild life photographer. It was a weekend workshop conducted at Shilton Royale Hotel (opposite Oasis mall), Koramangala.

On Day 1 we primarily had theory classes where Kalyan explained the working of a camera using well-crafted slides. I felt like I’ve dived back to my school days and am attending a class of physics in light. The session was interesting and interactive, all efforts were made to simplify the concept for beginners. We learnt about settings used in a camera – the aperture, shutter speed, white balance, ISO and so on. Settings that were always present in a camera but were never used by me, since I always used the ‘auto’ mode. Now I was in the company of photographers, so I started thinking differently. I guess, thats the most important part of attending a workshop.

We breaked for lunch and the hotel had made a delicious spread for the buffet. I met a lady from Canada called Isabel who happens to be  a freelance writer. I remember her so distinctly as I loved the way she had adjusted to life in Bangalore for the past 2 years. She attends Kannada learning classes and can follow the language fairly well. Very impressive indeed! Our class was a good mix of people from different walks of life. I really liked the group as I got to learn something from them too. Poor teacher of ours was constantly being bombarded with questions, he was not left alone to eat or even his drink tea in peace 🙂 Thats where we learn patience. So who says you come here to learn only photography?

Post lunch we resumed our classes where Kalyan showed us how important composition of a photograph is. Knowing the use of a camera is one thing and capturing images that last in the mind is another. Keeping frames within frames, capturing the architecture of a place, highlighting interesting expressions of subjects, etc;

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On Day 2, we met in Lal bagh at 6.30 am. We were asked to photograph the Stumb which is almost 300,000 years old. This stumb was constructed to mark the Northern Point of Bangalore. At that point you can actually see a whole lot of the city. Our assignment was to take pictures that represent the place as a heritage site. Soon after that we started trying to implement all that we had learnt in the theory class on the day before. It was interesting as I had never used so many settings in clicking any snap till date.

stumb

After that we went to a road in Lalbagh where there was lot of shade from the huge, 100 year old trees. Thats where we got a demo of how to take good portrait snaps. The model (who was one among us) was asked to jump 10 times so his face expression could relax. As soon as the jump was over we clicked his snaps and could appreciate the difference that little exercise had made to his expression. While taking portrait snaps we were asked to :

shoot at an angle, have the model look slightly upwards, have light falling on his face / eyes, have the model in focus and the rest of the background hazy, give some breathing space around the model (dont keep him right in the middle of the snap) and to shoot at eye level.

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I was impressed by the whole demo, I really learnt a lot there. After that we moved onto the usage of flash. Kalyan used a remote flash with his camera and demonstrated its use in wild life photography. Most of the time his subject is somewhere far away on top of a branch or crawling away in the bushes. Here a remote flash is handy. However, people into close range photography can use the flash in the camera itself. Cannon guys cant use a remote flash. They can use only the corded flash that can be extended from the camera. This is were Nikon guys are lucky.

We then went on for a filling breakfast at a nearby joint and then back to the hotel for a post processing class. We were taught how to edit snaps using Gimp and photoshop. Basics were cropping, modifying contrast & brightness, converting raw files to Jpeg and some other editing techniques to increase the quality of the snaps. We were also taught how to make good black and white photos. How to select which picture will be good B&W and the right techniques to use while making the conversion. Finally, we reviewed 10 best snaps of each student and we were given feedback on the strong/weak points of those pictures.

At the end of 2 days, I felt enlightened and happy to have come to the workshop. Kalyan was aware of my interests as a food blogger. Although it was a workshop on wild life photography he had taken care to educate me on food photography all through. I also felt like we needed at least one more day on the field. We do have plans of meeting up someday in a busy city market for some photography. Looking forward to that.

Guys, if you want to join to attend a workshop please register your mail ID on Kalyan’s site :

  • Camera is not mandatory although its better you have one.
  • On day 2 its better if you take your laptop along for post processing of snaps (again thats not mandatory)
  • Its a non-residential workshop, although there are some residential workshops too which are held for 3 days in Bannerghatta national park. Keep in touch with Kalyan for more…
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