Portrait: Darpan

We tried another round of portraits and this time we were much better at managing the technical details, at least for the basic setups we were trying out. This meant we were much more engaged with our model.

In trying out different poses, I learned that there’s a certain amount of exaggeration or unnaturalness in certain poses, but through the lens, that unnaturalness looks more natural and pleasing to the eye.

Portrait: Lalit

A friend asked if I’d be interested in shooting some portraits with him. I gave an enthusiastic yes, but when we actually got around to shooting, I quickly realized that one needs a plan, and I didn’t have one. I learned that the only way to get a consistent look from a photo, especially in a studio, is to really think through the technical details in advance. When I was focused on figuring out the lighting, I wasn’t focused on helping the model relax and find the right pose.

This shot came about on an impulse. I could visualize what I wanted, but it wasn’t until I climbed up on a chair to get above the subject that the look came together.

Dr. Seuss Plants

The only way we could describe these very tall, very strange looking plants was as “Dr. Seuss Plants.”

Above the clouds, the Northern California scenery was equally stunning.

The Little Aviator

I spotted this poster on the wall in an old home in Half Moon Bay and liked it.

Boys had boats, their favorite toy
Not I –
When I was just a boy.
I dreamt of wings for soaring high
And cutting wakes in yonder sky.
And where my father’s footsteps went-
I’d follow.
Into the firmament

The only reference to this poem I can find online is in this book:

Food preparation on Mohammed Ali Road

The crowd grew increasingly dense as Iftar approached. Every form of halal deliciousness was being prepared in massive quantities.


Off a side street, the men operating a small factory bottling a creamy looking bright yellow drink invited me in to see what they were preparing. I have no idea what the neon coloured liquid was, but it must be popular given the volumes they were pouring from various vats.

A few streets away, there was an equally lively trade in non-edible products, especially those with some glitter in them.


I’m not sure what was in the bag.

Reflections of Minara Masjid

The sun was slowly descending as the vendors started preparing for the nightly breaking of the fast during Ramadan in Mumbai’s Mohammed Ali Road. Minara Masjid appears in the reflection of a balloon being blown up by a date vendor.

Indian wrestling

On the ground floor of a nondescript apartment building in Mumbai is one of the few remaining traditional Indian wrestling training centres. Every morning and evening the men gather to train.

Median touch-ups

Given all the other infrastructure needs, I’m frequently surprised by the idea that a coat of paint will make a big improvement.

Dhobi Ghat

Dhobi Ghat is a small corner of Mumbai that is the city’s laundromat. Most of the clothes are washed by beating them against cement blocks…

…scrubbed by hand…

…hung to dry…

…pressed, folded,…

…and returned to the apartments from where they were collected. One thing I’ve noticed over my time in India is the proliferation of smartphones. Data plans are now cheap enough that video calling over WhatsApp is an everyday experience for many workers.

Cooling off in Dhobi Ghat

It was a sweltering hot day. This guy was making the best of it by cooling off in one of the laundry tubs.

Mumbai under construction

Pretty much all of Mumbai is under some form of construction or reconstruction. It feels like every corner of our neighbourhood of Lower Parel is growing vertically. I enjoyed watching this crane grow taller outside my office window. It took nearly two years to  for nearly two years to grow to the point where it was above me.

Mumbai’s Gudi Padwa Parade

Marathi Hindus’ celebration of the new year is Gudi Padwa. In Mumbai, this means a big parade led by women on bikes, a lot of drumming, dancing, and a lot of smiles.