Scott Kelby Photowalk 2013, Calcutta (Kolkata)
Scott Kelby’s Photowalk 2013, Calcutta (Kolkata)
Along the Hooghly (Nimtala Ghat – Bagbazar Ghat)
Also see: My blog post on Scott Kelby’s Photowalk 2012, Calcutta (Kolkata)
Its the first Saturday of October and its time for the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk. Scott Kelby, photographer and photo editor, have been organizing photowalks worldwide since 2008. Held on the the first Saturday of October Scott Kelby’s photowalk is organized in all the major cities of the world and attracts thousands of photo enthusiast. The 2013 version of Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk consisted of 1238 walk with 28648 participants.
Since the last year Calcutta (Kolkata) has been on the Scott Kelby’ Worlwide Photowalk map and 2013 saw two separate walks in Calcutta (Kolkata). I decided to join the walk in North Calcutta (Kolkata) lead by Manjit Singh Hoonjan.
Manjit, a Sikh and a third generation Calcuttan, speaks fluent Bengali and calls Calcutta his home. He has been a long time friend and fellow photographer who have accompanied me in several of my trips in and around Calcutta (Kolkata).
I still remember our trip to Komagata Maru Memorial and Bawali Rajbari in Budge Budge. and not to mention the 2012 edition of Scott Kelby Photowalk of Central Calcutta (Kolkata), which was also lead by Manjit.
In 2013 Manjit shifted his attention to the Northern part of the city and the walk was designed along the Hooghly River past the potters’ quarters of Kumartuli and finally terminating with the grand climax of Benaras (Varanasi) styled sandhya arati at the Bagbazar Ghat.
It was well planned, with with list of participants extending into the waiting list. We expected a great day of photography, but the weather God had different ides. On the afternoon of the D day (5th Oct.) it started to pour. Thankfully it was not a downpour but brief spells of showers broken by even from brief intervals of sunshine. Nothing unusual in early October Calcutta (Kolkata).
The starting point was Nimtala Ghat and time was 4:00 pm. I reached about 15 minutes early to find about half a dozen fellow photographers, who have already made it braving the rains. We took shelter is a make shift shed next to the Nimtala Burning Ghats. The rain continued with the the participants dropping in one by one.
Manjit reached just in time and soon the official registration started. A total of 54 (including 4 in waiting list) participants have signed and more than half was already there, most of them with indigenous home made plastic covers for their cameras.
At about 4:20 pm it stopped pouring and we immediately hit the road with more and more participants pouring in. There was lot of activities on the road and it was ideal for street photography, but street photography has never been my cup of tea.
Suddenly I spotted a man with a “Jeremy Scott” written on his tee shirt, there was something more written on the shirt but I had no interest to read it neither was I interested to know who Jeremy Scott was. I simply clicked it and captioned it “Jeremy Scott at Scott Kelby’s Photowalk.”
But it soon started to pour again and we took shelter in Aihiritola Ghat, barely 20 meters from our starting point. It is here Manjit shot the official group photo of the Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk. It was a good place to shoot the ferries leaving and coming from Howrah, on the other side of Hooghly River.
The weather worsened but more and more participants kept dropping by keeping our spirits high. Soon we were out again, walking past the circular railway track and trying our hands on motion blurs of moving trains.
Soon it was dark and not suitable for photography, especially for my backdated D60, which has a terrible high ISO performance. But this was not to dampen my spirit and I continued my shooting keeping my camera on pillars and walls, which served as my impromptu tripod.
I decided to skip Kumartuli and walk along the Hooghly past some makeshift workshops making Durga idols. We went past the Dol’s House and many majestic mansion, but it was dark and not sutible for architecture photography, which has always been my cup of tea.
As we walked along there were long discussion on different aspects ranging from basic topics like aperture, shutter speed and ISO to high end topics like HDR, D lightning and panorama shooting.
Soon we were at the Bag Bazar Ghat for the grand climax, the Benaras (Varanasi) styled sandhya arati. When we reached the preparation was already on and we soon got into the act of documenting it. Its documentation photography, one of my most favorite areas of photography.
Soon the arati started and as the two priests performed the grand spectacle we tried our best to capture every intricate movements, moving along the slippery steps of the ghats. It was something not to be missed as the two priest danced with huge flickring lamps in the backdrop of Hooghly River (also called Ganga or Ganges) with holy chants being played in the background.
Finally it was time for goodbye, the 36 participants exchanged mobile Nos and emails, and congratulated each other for keeping up the “Spirit of Photography.”