Photography can be inspired by so many things … people, experiences, sights and sounds – and what better way to showcase this, than with a special travel experience? Talented local photographer Wanda Amos recently journeyed to India, and her amazing photos share the story of her visit in a way words would fail to achieve …
Hi Wanda. Where did your interest in photography begin?
I can remember Mum and my aunts having Kodak Box Brownies, and it was always fun hamming it up for the camera. Dad gave me his Agfa camera with a 120 film, and I was amazed at the quality of the photos compared to the popular Instamatics of the 1960s.
What have been some of the best lessons you’ve ever learned “behind the lens” about capturing great images?
The camera/lens is only a small part of getting an eye catching image – it is mainly the eyes and mind behind the lens, and sometimes good timing.
Friendly interaction between you and your subjects nearly always produces better photos.
Landscape photography takes planning, patience and often getting out of bed early in the morning – all skills I have had to work on!
What photography clubs/groups are you a member of, and how have these groups helped hone your skill?
I had used point and shoot cameras for many years of travel. I came home from Ireland in 2008, looked at my photos and just had this idea I could do better – I picked up the local newspaper, and there was advert for club night at Forster Digital Photo Club … it was serendipity, really.
Club photography fosters information and interaction between members; the competitions system inspires you to develop skills in seeing and capturing that image, and the critique of judges and fellow members provides another outlet for learning.
I also belong to Mosman Camera Club and several photography groups on the ‘net.
You recently travelled to India. Tell us a bit about the trip … How long were you away, and what areas did you travel to?
I did a three week road trip in March across northern India from Varanasi, Agra – home of the Taj Mahal, the colourful deserts and cities of Rajasthan, to Gujarat state in the west.
The group of 12 was led by two professional photographers – Malcolm Fackender was one with whom I have travelled before. He gets you to places and gives you the best opportunities of getting the photo.
It was a great opportunity for people and architectural photography and meeting locals.
What are some of your favourite memories from the trip?
The sights, sounds and smells of Varanasi – the masses of colourful people, their customs and daily life lived out on the steps and backstreets beside the river Ganges.
The country life in Gujarat, staying in a mud hut eco-village – we spent time with nomadic herders of camels, goats and sheep … Also the gypsy-like workers who form camps on the outskirts of the cotton fields, where they work as pickers, plus in the local towns selling trinkets, snake remedies and as fortune tellers.
Nearby, the Rann of Kutch is a wildlife reserve for migrating birds including flamingos and cranes; plus, the Salt Farms – the monsoon floods are drained from the desert, leaving saltpans. Really hard work is required to harvest the salt.
Seeing the Taj Mahal at sunrise and trying to capture the different angles and light on this amazing piece of architecture.
The smiles and friendliness of the people – often so happy to have their photo taken and then see the results on the back of your camera.
The food from farms, to markets, to the table! And that Rose Petal Lassi in Udaipar was to die for!
The scary traffic! It was like being on a two way roller coaster that was often on the same track not only with other vehicles and bikes, but people, cows, goats, camels and elephants all contributed to the traffic hazards. Our driver said to drive in India you need good eyesight, good brakes, good horn, and good luck.
What do you feel were some of the greatest contrasts between the daily life you experienced in India, and your own life in the Manning-Great Lakes?
A total contrast – we have so much in material possessions; they have so little. The lack of obvious conflict in a society that lives so close to each other, even on the roads. The customs and religion (Hindu, Moslem, Buddhist) that seem to be a part of everyday life.
Why would you encourage others to visit this country … and what are some tips you can give about the best camera gear to take with them?
It is country that will overwhelm you with the friendliness, colour and culture and of course, the delicious food.
The best camera to take is the one you are familiar with, so you don’t miss those opportunities that are gone in an instant. If you are into architecture, make the most of it with a wide angle lens.
I use the mirrorless system Fujifilm X T1 and E1 with various lenses. My favourite lens is a 35 mm f1.2 prime lens, which is perfect for street and candid people shoots.
Where can we see more samples of your photography or find out more about you?
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amosMwanda
Or my Haiku poetry (my other passion) on https://www.facebook.com/haiku.wandarings