Damon Williams  


Untitled by Damon Williams

September 2020 - Untitled

About the Image(s)

Nikon D5100
10-24mm DX lens
24mm
1/50s
F4.5
ISO 200
I shot this while in Kolkata, India, at the Durga Puja. Durga is sort of the patron god of West Bengal (the state Kolkata is the capitol of ) and they go all out. For two weeks it's like being at Mardi Gras, except you go to the floats (temporary temples called "pandal") instead of the floats coming to you. It goes on 24 hours a day and is really kind of surreal. I just happened to be in a pandal at the right time to see one of the pandits (priests) offering prashad (sacred food offering) amid a pall of incense smoke. It was darkened, like a theater, and I think the smoke did kind of interfere with the image, so dehazed it a bit. I know the priest is kind of dark, but I've messed with that in LrC and thought that it took away from the majesty of the goddess.
Some dehaze and some exposure tweaking.


12 comments posted




Bernie Groome   Bernie Groome
Very interesting. I think the priest in the foreground helps the viewer understand the size. I'm curious why the fast f4.5? Were you not able to use a flash?   Posted: 09/10/2020 09:43:27
Damon Williams   Damon Williams
Good question. This was not a controlled situation in any way. I really just had to take advantage of what was presented to me. Flash wasn't really an option. It'd be like firing one off during a papal mass. So, if anything, this is a PJ shot. I had a wide angle lens and was hand holding everything in a darkened theater setting. Frankly, Thats all I got.   Posted: 09/10/2020 12:04:20



Richard Story   Richard Story
DAMON,
THANK YOU, FOR A VERY INTERESTING PHOTOGRAPHIC"STORY".
THE PRIEST WORSHIPING HIS DEITY, IN ALL ITS COLORFUL PAGEANTRY,
I THINK YOU CAPTURED THE MOMENT JUST RIGHT.
PLENTY OF COLORS AND OTHER OBJECTS TO STUDY,THROUGHOUT THE IMAGE.
THE LION IN THE FOREGROUND REALLY LOOKS LIKE HE'S GOING TO GRAB THE PRIEST, UNFORTUNATELY THE PRIEST IS DARK BUT THAT IS RECOVERABLE WITH A LITTLE HELP PS AND LR THEN IT MAKES HIM MORE OF THE SUBJECT IN HIS WORSHIP.

I DID A LITTLE WORK WITH IT.
BUT ALL IN ALL, I LIKE IT.
THANKS AGAIN
  Posted: 09/13/2020 10:43:35
Comment Image



Damon Williams   Damon Williams
Thanks Richard. I have a version like the too. I know the dark spot of the priest kind of draws the eye, and that's a negative. But when I lightened it up, I found that he competed with the goddess. So, in the end, I just left him dark and only added enough lightening to hint at the details.

All in all, although I like the shot, I don't think this is a winning image. I just have the feeling that I'm requires a bit too much explanation. But, I really appreciate the consideration of my compadres here, because it's REALLY tough to look at your own stuff truly objectively...at least for me.   Posted: 09/13/2020 13:33:51
Richard Story   Richard Story
YOUR RIGHT, AS I LOOK AT THEM AGAIN AND LISTEN TO YOUR EXPLANATION IT DOES FIT WELL,   Posted: 09/13/2020 18:47:00



Dianne Arrigoni   Dianne Arrigoni
Damon this is a very interesting beautiful shot of what is clearly some sort of ceremony so yes explanation is helpful. But that doesn't make it any less interesting just maybe more so. The colors are beautiful and I am really drawn into the photo to check all the action out. Nicely captured in a difficult situation.   Posted: 09/15/2020 20:09:14
Damon Williams   Damon Williams
Thanks Dianne. Your very kind. I have to say, I think that having been there, in the sensory assault that is India during a major festival, my perspectives on the images I captured is probably skewed. But I have to toss stuff out there to see what the reactions are. I mean, I kind of look at this as a safe space where we can test out techniques, and our work, and get good feedback, and no cost really, except the obligation to give feedback too.   Posted: 09/18/2020 03:18:45



Jane Pittenger   Jane Pittenger
I thought I had already commented on this...sorry to be so late. To me it perfectly depicts how I imagine India...bright, chaotic, many things competing for my attention. The priest half in the light, half in the dark seems perfect. I wonder re lightening the side of the blessing dish and contents (incense?) that is on the side the light is coming from and maybe darkening the lion a tad? I think you might also add a tiny bit of haze to the smoke. Thought provoking shot...how would one process a shot to bring out the sacred feeling for us when the culture is so different than ours?   Posted: 09/18/2020 15:05:16
Damon Williams   Damon Williams
These are good suggestions Jane. With the exception of darkening the lion (I may try that), I messed around with all of them. What I found when I lightened anything, is that it started competing for attention (IMHO) with the goddess. And as for increasing haze, because of where it is, I had to take some out or it started interfering with the goddesses face. But, interestingly, I do have an image from the opposite side of the priest, that solves this issue. Of course, to me, it has its own issues. I'll include it. See what you think.   Posted: 09/18/2020 16:38:41
Comment Image
Richard Story   Richard Story
DAMON, I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOUR ISSUES ARE, BUT THIS IMAGE TELLS A GREAT STORY.
I NEVER WOULD HAVE GUESS WHAT THE WARRIOR WAS DOING WITH THE SWORD AND THEN THE SNAKE UP THE ARM, HERE IT LOOKS LIKE THE LION IS PROTECTING THE GODDESS MAYBE...AND THE PRIEST STANDS OUT ON HIS OWN, WITH THAT SOFT BACKGROUND AND THE LIGHTING COMING UP FROM THE BOTTOM LIGHTING THE UNDERSIDE OF THE TRAY AND HIS ROBE...
THIS IS A WOW WOW WOW...THANKS FOR SHARING THIS ONE ALSO   Posted: 09/18/2020 21:01:08
Damon Williams   Damon Williams
Well, thank you. The things you mention are strong, but they were strong about the other one too I think. The story is pretty good. Durga is an avenging goddess that emerged and rode a lion into battle with the demon and vanquished him, I think in the Mahabharata (maybe not). The background is that many of India's epics are actually vestiges of the stories created during the Aryan invasion of the Indus Valley (interestingly, the gods are the Aryans and the demons are the natives, of course, I'm not an expert so I could have major gaps here). My major beefs with this one are a) the goddesses face is partially obscured b) the priest is standing next to the light so is way overexposed and competes for attention c) the blank dark spot in the upper left. I think this, and the first shot, would be OK travelogue shots, where you are given ample discussion to fill out your understanding of what you're looking at, and truth-to-the-subject is the goal and not necessarily artistic acumen.   Posted: 09/18/2020 22:41:21



Jane Pittenger   Jane Pittenger
So fun to see. What an amazing experience you had. This shot is awesome as well. Thanks for sharing it   Posted: 09/18/2020 19:11:12



 

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