A Thousand Words
My love of photography began when I was barely five years old. We were in Matheran, a hill station near Mumbai, and my father was carrying a black metal camera in a brown leather case slung around his neck. I kept jumping up to try and touch it.
The first time I actually took charge of a camera, though, was when I was eleven, on another family trip. It was a basic "Keystone USA" model - nothing fancy, just a cuboidal body with no detachable lens - but from the first shot, I was hooked.
Photography is an intensely therapeutic experience for me. It adds to my enjoyment of travel - now I rarely see the world with bare eyes. Cameras top my list of cool gadgets (large, hooded zoom lenses remind me of The Guns of Navarone), and the clicking sound these DSLR cameras make is music to my ears.
Dubai's a pretty dusty place, which is problematic for shooting distant objects and landscapes. Also, sodium lights and dim lights make it more difficult to capture natural colours and flesh tones. I avoid using a flash, especially because it gives faces a ghostly, unnatural pallor. But as with all challenges, there are always solutions and workarounds that I keep learning along the way.
I use a Nikon D90. It's a tried and trusted model, and carries most features that later (and considerably more expensive) models like the Nikon D300, D700 and D3X have. In the eternal Nikon vs Canon debate, I finally chose Nikon because most reviews indicated better low-light performance and better sensor quality.
My shooting process is quite straightforward: evaluate the lighting, compose the frame, tune the settings and shoot. I review the picture for its frame and colour contrast, then readjust the settings if necessary.
Once I'm done, I don't retouch. I prefer capturing the moment with my
own skills, which I'm working on improving before I consider getting
into retouching and editing.
My dream is to have National Geographic magazine publish an original Jatin Mehta photograph! Favourite subjects include landscapes and cityscapes, and I've recently been experimenting with portraiture. Our six-month-old daughter gives me plenty of opportunities to practice portrait photography while spending time with my family - and who knows, maybe she'll be as fascinated by her dad's camera as I was by mine.
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