India is a country rich in tradition and culture. There are vibrant cities, amazing architecture, incredible wildlife, and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. It’s a photographer’s paradise!
It’s no wonder that when people think about traveling to India that there are some difficulties determining which sites are those that you just can’t miss - there are just so many possibilities. If you count yourself among one of those confused travelers, consider our top three places to photograph when you’re in India.
The Taj Mahal
One of the most iconic pieces of architecture ever built, the Taj Mahal certainly ranks as one of the destinations in India you certainly should photograph. Built over the course of 22 years in the 17th Century, it took 20,000 workers to complete. The building was commissioned by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal to serve as a tomb for her body.
When there, one of the best vantage points for pictures is actually across the Yamuna River at the Moonlight Garden, where you can look back across the river on the Taj Mahal complex. If possible, visit the area on a Friday when the Taj Mahal is closed so you can get fantastic images of the building with no humans in the shot. If a Friday visit is out of the question, get there as early as possible to take advantage of Golden Hour and to beat the crowds.
Festival of Holi
India is a bright and colorful place, but one time of year marks an even more vibrant cultural experience: The Festival of Holi. Holi is a spring Hindu festival celebrating life and rebirth. The festival begins fairly nondescript with dancing and singing. However, the next morning, festival goers engage in what amounts to a giant water and colored powder fight. Young and old, rich and poor gather together as friends and ambush one another with handfuls of brightly colored powder and colored water. The resulting cornucopia of colors is excellent fodder for some incredible photographs.
Of course, putting oneself amidst the festival with camera gear is a risky proposition. If you plan to document the affair, be sure to take measures to protect your camera and other gear. First and foremost, select a lens beforehand and stick with it - you won’t want to change lenses with colored powder choking the air. Then protect your camera with a rain cover or another waterproof, tight-fitting apparatus to keep your gear safe and dry. If being down amongst the celebrators is too much, find a vantage point up high for a glorious overhead shot of the colorful people and streets.
Ranthambore National Park
Nature and wildlife photographers will salivate at the opportunities presented to them in Ranthambore National Park. The park covers 400 square kilometers and is home to a vast array of native Indian species, including leopards, Indian porcupines, marsh crocodiles, cobras, and striped hyenas. But the real stars of the park are the tigers, and the park is one of the best locations in all of India to see these incredible creatures in their natural habitat. The park is also home to many picturesque ruins of a bygone era, making for some interesting opportunities for architectural photography as well.
The best way to see the park is to take a Jeep safari tour. Doing so will get you up close (yet at a safe distance) from the park’s abundant wildlife. What’s more, photographing wildlife from a Jeep gets you close to eye level of many animals, giving you an excellent perspective to tell a visual story about the animals you’re photographing. Bring multiple lenses, including your wide-angle and telephoto, so you can easily capture images of animals both near and far. Dust can be a problem here, so bring a dust-proof bag to keep all your gear safe.
Take a Photo Tour of These Areas
What better way to experience the beauty of India than by taking part in a 15-day photo tour of this magnificent country? Raymond Gehman and Kipling India Travels have teamed up to create one of the best photo tours imaginable. Start with the Festival of Holi, visit Delhi, see the monuments and mausoleums of Agra, explore markets and small villages, see the Taj Mahal, photograph tigers in Ranthambore National Park, and so much more.
Not only is the tour planned out and organized for you, but you also get to learn photography tips and techniques from award-winning National Geographic photographer Raymond Gehman. Learn how to take better pictures, get feedback from Raymond and your fellow tour participants, and come away from India with incredible memories and amazing photos to commemorate the experience. The tour takes place March 20-April 4, 2016, so time is running out! Get in touch with Raymond for more details at (717) 377-6721 or [email protected].