Saturday, 12 May 2012

Street photography: Delhi

I am a shy person by nature. I used to think that I am reserved but at times I can be quite extrovert so I guess I am just plain shy. Once my initial inhibitions are gone, I can be quite open. This is same for me when it comes to Street photography. I used to fret a lot earlier and by the time I make my mind up, the subject moves away or the frame is gone... These days I have a renewed confidence on Street Photography. I am still very much a novice but I did try clicking some photos and coming out of my shell. I hope you enjoy the photos or rather chaos of Delhi/ India.These are just random and few but since I have a renewed my confidence in Street Photography...more to come soon. Please watch out!

 Photos taken in Sarojini Nagar Market in Delhi, India. Look at the never-ending crowd! Wish I could be in a more higher ground to show the flow of the crowd.
 Shopkeeper arguing in front of Murals and Statues sold for cheap.
 Cheap Jeans
 Boy selling "Papad" (Rice crackles).
 vegetable vendors in Sarojini Market

Momos! This a Nepali or Tibetan variation of Chinese dimsums sold on the road side in many cities/ towns of India. It is cheap and tastes good.

Taken with GoPro HERO2 Camera in Chandni Chowk, Delhi. Not the sharpest photo and even the colour looks less saturated. I came here looking for old camera and found Zenit 11 camera. Updated here:

Dog eating outside a Hindu temple in Chandni Chowk. Many street dogs strive well in India because most Indians are religious and spiritual and believe in greater kindness towards animals and birds. they often leave food for street dogs and cows on the road side or outside their homes.
Photo taken in Connaught Place. I came here to get my canon 40D serviced. Very bad service I must say. I had some fungus issue on the inside of the camera and dust on the view finder. The technician at the Canon centre said that I need to change my sensor and viewfinder for Rs. 27 thousand something (about 28,000!!!). I got my camera back and had it cleaned in Chandni Chowk for Rs. 1500! Didn't get the dust off the viewfinder but it is workable as of now.

This photo was taken in District Park, opposite Saffdarjung Enclave.

Look at the crowd again! I am not used to seeing such a large crowd as I come from a small town so it actually intrigues me to see flow of human beings at one place: strangers. The photo was taken in Nehru Place, Delhi. I came here for to get my laptop serviced. This is the largest wholesale place for electronics in Delhi.

Photo of my niece Moni and her young maid Sapna with her pug, Mango. She is a student of Tourism in Delhi. Photo taken outside her flat.
Many young students from the North East of India like her stay in Delhi as a Paying Guest, in Hostels or flats for higher studies. Students from good family usually stay in flats with helpers brought along with them from their home. India is a developing country with many poor people. The Rich and the Poor of India has a huge difference in their capital income. It is easy and cheap to find domestic helps in India. Even the middle class people of India keep helpers.

An old man resting in District Park, Delhi.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Zenit 11 : Camera review and test photos

I am not any camera expert but I decided to do a little review on Zenit 11.
I got the camera with 5 lenses and couple of other things in a brown leather box from the old camera market in Chandi Chowk, Delhi for Indian Rupees 5000 (around USD $100)! Quite a deal! The camera and the lenses were in pristine condition without any use marks or dust or fungus. I guess the previous owner hardly used it.

The stuffs that came in the box are: 

Zenit 11 Camera

SOLIGOR AUTO-ZOOM 1:4.5 F=75mm-260mm lens
HELIOS AUTO 1:2.8 f=135mm lens
HELIOS-44-2 2/58 lens
HELIOS-44M-4 58/2 lens
M42 Macro extension 3 rings tube set

67mm lens hood
52mm lens hood
49mm lens hood

Cokin 49mm mm kit with A.061, A 056 and 58 mesh filters.

Above all in pristine condition. Quite deal for Rs.5000!
Getting into the bit of history behind Zenit 11, it was produced from 1981 through 1990 by KMZ and MMZ in Russia. Zenit 11 is the last of E series of Zenit cameras. 

I don’t have much experience in film SLRs having my Canon 40D and Olympus EPL2 and couple of other electronic toy cameras. This is my first film SLR camera and I think that Zenit 11 is a pretty little robust camera. The camera has black glossy finish and on hold feels heavy and metallic. The ergonomics are neat and the camera is quite pretty to look at. The buttons are placed where they should without any obstruction. It is coupled with a selenium meter which works perfectly fine. The shutter speed varied from B, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/1250, 1/500. It has 50, 100, 200, 400 and 500 ASA (ISO) film speeds. The camera makes a loud clunky sound when clicking pictures. I got the camera in April 2012 and it has not been even one month but I see slight paint loss already on the camera. 

I took few photos with the lenses and realized that it needs lens hood/ FDL/ ND filters on the lens because the strong Indian sunlight leaves a white smoke like lens flare on the photos when taken towards bright sky. Also in almost all the photos the sky usually came over exposed. 
I used 2 rolls on the camera- Kodak ISO 200 and Kodak ISO 400 and didn’t know any better while taking photos. Even though it has a selenium meter, in indoors the meter hardly works so taking photos was solely intuitive. I did some search online and learnt about Sunny 16 rules and tried applying it. I felt that the lens focused much better outdoor than indoors. The reasons could be many- such as my first time shooting, my eye sight, not knowing from A to B initially, lens, etc. It will take me couple of more clicks to actually know how the camera and the lens work and understand their strength and drawbacks. 
I got the negatives developed and scanned and was super excited with the result. At first I was actually happy that the photos even showed! I was afraid that the roles were all blank… After my initial excitement waned, I actually saw the photos in a new light. The photos are less saturated and being a digital user I thought it could do better with the colour saturation and contrast but the again it could be various reasons- the film roll or the way it was processed and scanned. Also the photos were exceptionally sharp on few photos and soft on others which again could be because of various reasons. I don't mind the soft pictures, in fact I've learnt to love it in a different way. 
Over all I am in love with Zenit 11 at the moment and the lenses. The 5 lenses are also quite an addition to my Olympus PEN EPL2.
I am a happy owner. 

Last March I went to Delhi for some personal work with my family helper Tulsi. So after getting the camera and the lens we went around shooting in District Park and these are the photos from there...

Pekinese name: Milan. Unsharp and photo which was hard to focus in the dim light

I set my aperture to 8 and focused to infinity/ 30 and shutter speed to 250-500 with ISO 400 Kodak roll to just point and shoot in Chandni Chowk.