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Shoot at sight

Four city photographers decode what it takes to get a perfect shot in Mumbai; offer tips to amateurs looking to capture the city through their lens.

art and culture Updated: Feb 20, 2013 14:36 IST
Arundhati Chatterjee

This city has several layers to it. Now three photographers — Jehangir Sorabjee, Vishal Bhende, Vish Mishra — and and a painter — Arun Kumar — are trying to showcase
the many layers through their exhibition titled, Bombahia, Bombay and Mumbai, that ends today.

The works on display are 50-odd frames rigorously shot over six months at places like Crawford Market, Kala Ghoda, Hutatma Chowk, CST, Town Hall, Kamla Nehru Park, the Gateway of India and Banganga. The idea was to showcase major locations of our city through different time frames and perspectives. So each location has four frames — an aerial shot taken from a helicopter, a panoramic shot, a painting that offers an artist’s perspective and a photograph from the Portuguese or British era to document changes the venue has undergone.

“We used wide-angle lenses to capture the magnificence of the buildings and fish-eye lenses to present the city through a bird’s eye view. We have bought old photographs from various collectors. Some are 200-years-old,” says Bhende, one of the photographers.

The photographs have been clicked using digital and film format cameras. For post-processing, the photographers adopted a minimalist approach and depended on Adobe Photoshop for only minor colour corrections to retain the still’s originality.

“They have tried to juxtapose two time periods — Bombay during 1800s and today’s Mumbai. My favourite section is the Gateway of India set, where they have managed to find a frame that goes back to the Portuguese period, which was shot before the monument was erected,” says Jagdish Agarwal, curator, Jehangir Art Gallery.

For beginners
Budget: R10,000 to R15,000
The best camera is one you can carry with you all the time. Choose a camera that is not too bulky. You can further invest in a small tripod or a gorilla-pod too. For editing solutions, consider Picasa and Photoscape as free alternatives.
Best buy: The Lumix DMC-LZ20 at R12,500 and Slik F 630 tripod at R2,200.

For photography enthusiasts
Budget: R40,000 to R60,000
Invest in a flashgun and master the art of using flash to create stunning pictures. Wildlife and underwater require considerably high-cost equipment, including an advanced super telephoto zoom camera or an underwater camera. Also consider investing in an underwater housing case to protect your camera and lens.
Best buy: Canon 60D with kit lens at R55,000 (camera) and DICAPac Waterproof Underwater Housing for Canon EOS 5D costs R8000.

For amateurs
Budget: R25,000 to R30,000
With an entry level DSLR, one tends to go in for the kit lens — 18-55 mm. However, it can become monotonous after a year or two. So pick up a cheap prime lens — 50 mm. Use your feet to zoom in and zoom out and make the most of a prime. A tripod is essential, so go in for sturdier, bigger models that fit in your budget.
Best buy: Canon 1100D with 50 mm lens at R25,000 and the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 tripod at R10,000.

Also keep in mind

n Instead of filters, invest in software like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, which help in quick fixes and manage your data.
n Photo editing is good as long as the viewer does not realise that editing has been done.
n Software will cost you around R5,000 to R6,000, but are essential.

Inputs by Ketan Kundargi, features writer, and Raj Lalwani, senior photographer; both at Better Photography.

You can visit to compare features and prices. For best deals on cameras, visit You could also visit the Camera Gully in Fort to get hands-on experience of gadgets.