Life · Photography

Natural details – mobile photography


When this challenge was posted by Jen, I thought, this is not something that I photograph (it’s mostly historical or cultural artifacts for me) – so I’d probably pass. However, the mention of olloclip and use of a cellphone reminded me of my own attempts to improve photography through mobile. However, when I looked for these photos, some taken this week, some earlier, I was myself amazed at how accurate the description in the challenge was – everyday objects can turn into something else when seen so close. So, I’d like to share a few photos of ” Details” as M-W defines the word, each with a little commentary.

Meaning 1 – An individual fact or item.

Turmeric
Indian turmeric drying under the sun

In some countries these days, I hear that Golden Milk is quite the rage. The guardian reported that ‘’Turmeric Latte’’ sells for upto $7 per cup! Well, out here in India, it is a hand me down recipe. To be a bit clear on that ‘old’ part, it is at least two and a half millennia old and finds mention in Ayurvedic texts of back then. It is considered better to use whole turmeric – and fresh is best. We use turmeric in general and prefer to dry our own and then grind them rather than rely on store bought. A couple months back, when the merciless Rajasthan sun was beating down on our heads, mother thought it prudent to dry at least a large vat of the miracle root. Several kilos were purchased and dried out. As usual, being the least useful member of the family, I paid lip service to the exercise by say, help moving the vat indoor when the sun went down and on one occasion, fending off the monkeys that showed up.

Another example –

Abandoned colony
Destroyed dwellings

In the central park, where I walk in the mornings, are tall trees. Some provide support to birds’ nests, some shade to the weary traveler, others still house insects. One such – a custard apple tree grew close to a neem (margosa) and harbored bees. Those industrious social insects that produce my morning sweetener – honey. They make wonderful hives that hang like a ungainly udder minus the teats. On one morning, I found an abandoned dwelling, lying on the edge of a grass patch – half covered with fallen flowers. Braving the possibility that there might be sting-bearers inside, I tiptoed closer and with only a cell phone, photographed what I could. A crop of that photo revealed to me that the hive looks more like a colony – each individual unit is a perfect hexagon so as not to waste any space. Here was something that would make a star wars set designer sit up and take notice.

Meaning 2 – a less significant item or fact.

Bee and Coral Vine
Coral Vine in bloom

Example – Earlier this year, trying to photograph a ‘Coral Vine’ creeper here in the driveway, I was fascinated by the flowers. This creeper hails from mexico, but lives quite well here in India’s desert. With only a phone in hand, moving left and right to figure out the best angle for light wasn’t too easy – the Lumia I have is a hit or miss affair when it comes to nailing correct exposure and metering accurately. Sometimes, the color of the leaves are just way off for my liking. After three attempts, I was satisfied. Later, when I looked at what I had got –there was a little bee in the picture and variegation on the leaves! That sent me googling again and learn that the open blooms of coral vine attract bees and that gives the plant its alternative common name ‘’Bee Bush”!

Green Chilly with Salt (and fritters)
Salt and Chillies

Another example – A year and a half ago, on a driving tour to Gujarat, India’s westerly state and home of Mahatma Gandhi, we stopped many times to partake of ‘farsaan’. That is Gujarati for savory ‘snacks’ (the good people there often pronounce it ‘snake’ – and didn’t understand why we giggled). Farsaan is often freshly prepared, fried and involves chickpea batter. An accompaniment are fried chillies! Yes, you heard it – as if there wasn’t enough chilly in the fritters already, they usually have it on the side. This variant of chilli is not too hot though – closer to a jalapeno I’d think. After our whistle-stop 2500 kilometer trip, back home, browsing through my photos I saw that the chillies were coated with salt and in this photo, it came out alright.

[This image above, is the only image in this post taken with a regular camera]

Meaning 3 – A small part of a picture that is reproduced separately for close study.

World through raindrops2
World through raindrops

I photographed the one above this morning. By the side of the road, flowers of yellow oleander, after a fresh shower had many water droplets hanging. At least one reflected much of the bush the flower bloomed on. I thought it was fascinating and got as close as I could and photographed it – then cropped the photograph a bit.

Raindrops on Apples
Apples under raindrops

Last example – The monsoons cover all of India now, and it drizzles when it’s not raining. Everything gets wet – these apples on a pushcart included. This is about a sixth of the whole photograph – also a phone photo. I liked how individual drops stayed on the skin, bringing out the colors even more.

That’s all folks! I’d love to hear from you what you thought of those photos, honest!

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4 thoughts on “Natural details – mobile photography

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