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What a shot

We asked for photos. You went trigger happy. We couldn’t believe our eyes!

brunch Updated: Oct 13, 2013 10:16 IST

The Brunch Readers’ Photography Special is here. And all we can say is...

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, that a good image is like poetry, and that truly good photography doesn’t just make you stop and think, but changes you too.
Of the hundreds of entries that flew into our inbox for the Brunch Readers’ Photography Special, several shots made us stop, think and reconsider the nature of life itself. Our theme was simple: Sunday. Your interpretations were sometimes idyllic, at others inspiring or just plain fun. So, we saw picture-postcard sunsets, street-side cricket, pretty feet posing for the camera and close-ups of pets.

Picking the top 10 was tough, but our expert judge, Hindustan Times National Photo Editor Gurinder Osan, had his own ground rules: No clichés, no bad compositions, no shots in which the subjects didn’t know they were being captured. “It’s not fair,” he says. And those dangling feet? “Done to death!”.

Photo by Manu Monga

We had an embarrassment of riches. And great stories to accompany them. Here are those we loved. Hope these Sundays brighten your Sunday!

Gurinder Osan

Our judge, HT’s National Photo Editor, chose the top 10 pictures

Osan is a photojournalist with more than 20 years’ experience. Before joining HT in early 2012, he was with the Associated Press for close to a decade. Besides hard news, he has done commercial photography, and trained as a mountaineer to shoot landscapes, particularly in the Himalayas.

On the cover
Behen, Bachchan, Beetle, Manu Monga (37), marketing executive, Mumbai
About the picture: This was shot on a lazy Sunday morning. My sister and I were headed for our weekend brunch at Cafe Coffee Day. Though I’ve lived around Mount Mary Steps for many years, this graffiti went unnoticed until that day. This street art is on the road which goes to Bandstand from the Mt Mary Police Chowki. My sister noticed it first and we decided to have an impromptu photo session.
Camera used: iPhone 3GS
Judge’s notes
The blues are symmetrical. The form of the Beetle aligns with the way Bachchan’s legs are positioned. His hands are relaxed behind his head, and the girl’s hands are behind her back. The posture is on one leg, relaxed – nearly bohemian. She’s not wearing typical sandals. Her smile is bindaas, which goes with the casualness of Bachchan and the Beetle in Bandra!

Photo by Vir Nakai

Across the malwan coast
Vir Nakai (33), entrepreneur and travel writer, Mumbai
About the picture: There’s nothing like getting on a bike and heading out of the city to explore the Malwan coastal villages. Of course, there’s the thrill of partying in Goa, but there is so much more to do before you reach there.
The Mumbai to Goa coastline is a dream ride for those who are in love with riding and of course, the sea. It’s an understated place that has a lot to offer. I took this picture in September last year simply because visually, it offered a completely different side to Goa.
Camera used: GoPro
Judge’s Notes
This picture gives you the feel of Goa, or at least somewhere in the coastal area. The brick walls, the rich greens and red earth. It’s not a stationary bike and the slow shutter speed exaggerates the sense of movement. It’s cloudy. You can almost feel that the ground is wet, it may just be overcast. Overall, the picture gives one the feeling of being on a nice journey.

Life is a Sunday Morning
Aditi Parashar (19), student, Gurgaon
About the picture: After partying until late at her friend’s wedding, my sister passed out in her red velvet gown. When she woke up, she wore those flip-flops, just smiled and said, “This is why I love Sundays. You can pass out in your velvet gown, match it with flip-flops, lazy-fy around and still be so happy about it.” I just smiled back and said, “Well, if that’s the case, my whole life is a Sunday morning.”
Camera used: Nikon D5100 (18-55 lens)
Judge’s Notes
The colour palette in this picture is very fresh, including the wooden flooring at the base. The flip-flops are informal, contrasting with the formality of the dress. Even though we don’t see her, she seems like a girl, maybe 13-14, with soft hands. There is a child-like look to them. The picture also reflects a feminine mood. I like the way it has been cropped. You can feel that she’s stretching, even her toes are off the ground! It shows a young person who probably wore the dress and slept in it. The shadow adds to the overall nice mood.

In my treehouse
Kanika Bharadwaj (21), education adviser with Campus France, Delhi
About the picture: I took my coffee, my copy of Brunch and my breakfast to my balcony and settled there. While I was sluggishly munching my food, I spotted this furry friend who was probably sharing the same feeling as me. One of relaxation! That’s how Sunday is supposed to make you feel, right?
Camera used: Canon 1100D

Photo by Kanika Bharadwaj

Judge’s Notes

I like this one as the splayed squirrel reflects the mood of a lazy Sunday. Squirrels are fidgety, not the easiest to capture. What I also like about this photo is that the eyes are pin-sharp.

Mumbai’s lifeline
Ajit Arujun Kore (19), student, Navi Mumbai
About the picture: I shot this picture because, on a Sunday, the train hangers are seen without Mumbaikars’ hands and on weekdays, they are completely hidden. There is chaos all around. So, to see and capture this sort of emptiness was something new and different for me.
Camera used: Canon PowerShot A4000 Shutter speed: 1/60s, F/3.2
Judge’s Notes
This is interesting for reasons of symmetry. It’s almost programmed to perfection. But on a normal day this would be chaotic and there’d be a lot of activity. You’re usually shoved in and out of a train! There’s never a dull moment. But this is unusual. The person has chosen black and white to simplify the form. Perhaps colour may have been distracting. What is exciting is the heart-like shape of the train handles. If you turn it upside down, you can see the shape.

My sunday nap
Rohan Arora (10), student, Noida
About the picture: I love to photograph birds in their natural habitat and already have a treasure trove of many bird snaps, some of which are very rare. These include, among others, the Sarus crane, the scavenger vulture and the white-tailed iora. I was fortunate to have caught these owls in deep sleep. I shot this last year when I was on holiday with my parents at the Nehru Island in Fateh Sagar Lake, Udaipur.
Camera used: Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Judge’s Notes
This is interesting because owls are rare. To find them sleeping in the day time, especially in this position, is nice. Anytime I see a bird other than a crow or a kite, I feel delighted. It makes me feel that there is more diversity than what city life can provide.

When light takes over darkness
Julius Gomes (23), amateur photographer, Mumbai
About the picture: Sunday is the most awaited day of the week. Unlike those who choose to relax, I prefer to spend my Sundays far from the madding crowd that is Mumbai and watch the colourful lights of the city. The bright blue clouded sky from this untouched location shows you how peaceful it is to get away from all that happens in your daily life. Being here eases your stress within seconds. It shows there’s life in the city and peace not very far from it.
Camera used: Nikon D5100 with an 18-55 lens
Judge’s Notes
Getting the skyline is an easy part, since Mumbai is fairly active at night. Being a coastal place, there is a lot of humidity, too. So, there’s a certain glow present. The sky has more colours since it’s reflecting the city lights. These boats are moving a little, which explains the ghostly look. The colours are interesting. Overall, there can be many other variations of capturing this moment. This particular moment happened. Maybe the photographer didn’t think of utilising the best out of this. Maybe this was a happy coincidence rather than a well-thought-out plan.

Photo by Ratnadeep

Let the love stay
Ratnadeep (30), supply planner, Navi Mumbai
About the picture: The sun is a symbol of heat and warmth. Sunday is when we must take out time in this perceived fabricated world and share the warmth with our loved ones. I went out on a Sunday with my family and shot this early morning in Mumbai’s Sanjay Gandhi National Park. I had to wait hours to get the perfect shot and had to be careful not to distract the duo and capture these fabulous creatures at their best.
Camera used: Canon 60D

Judge’s Notes
This is one of the most unusual pictures of the lot. Perhaps the only moment that is spontaneous and not constructed. The interesting thing is the positioning of the beaks. They could be sparring, with their beaks symmetrically crossing each other. Photographically, it’s an interesting moment. The green is a little overwhelming, though. I would have reduced it in my crop and taken a bit more of the reflection.

The serene walk of life
Aditya A Patkar (20), student, Mumbai
About the picture: What can be more pleasurable than a long walk along the beach with your loved one? Sundays are best spent at some silent getaways. On a visit to Juhu Chowpatty around the time of sunset, I happened to capture this moment shared by a couple. The very sight relaxed my eyes.
Camera used: Canon 550D
Judge’s Notes
Water is so alive by itself – it’s very fluid and dynamic. There’s a certain interaction between the persons walking through the beach. It’s a spontaneous moment shot well by the photographer. He has kept the act more important than the people. There’s a bit of pink in the reflection, so it’s probably a little after sunset. You can almost feel the sea breeze.

Photo Kashish Parpiani

Makeshift Lord’s
Kashish Parpiani (21), student, Navi Mumbai
About the picture: For a city whose gears seem eternally in monotonous motion, Sundays bring out the much-constrained lethargy of Mumbai. On one such hot Sunday afternoon, as I cruised past junctions, my eyes scoured for something that would sum up the feel of Sunday. I came across a group of young men playing cricket. Interestingly, it wasn’t a lush green pitch, but an abandoned subway that was conveniently transformed into a cricket stadium.
Camera used: Nikon D90
Judge’s Notes
I like everything about this photograph, but I wish the ball was captured in the sunlight. For me this picture is nearly there. The other thing I would have preferred is for the batsman to be little more visible. Right now, he’s getting merged with the background. It’s an interesting place to play – almost like the nets. The light cuts right at the place where he’s batting. So that’s interesting.

Expert tips (from Gurinder Osan)
“Shoot what you really want to shoot. Great photographs don’t happen overnight. It’s an evolutionary process. If you are true to what you shoot, every image will have a reflection of you”

“Shoot from your heart. Don’t be one of the herd. Just because you saw a picture on Flickr and liked the way it was shot, doesn’t mean you have to do it too. Expensive equipment is not a prerequisite for good photography. Some of the best pictures have been shot with simple point-and-shoot cameras”

From HT Brunch, October 6

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