A four week trip on the trains in northern India is nearing completion. We, my daughter Morag and me, have flitted around the country on and off trains on a 3 or 4 daily basis visiting some of the seminal sights of northern India and seeing the country in the raw in between. And there is much to see and more than a few surprises. But it has always been an enjoyable and exciting experience. A long held desire to visit India combined with Morag’s wish to get in touch with India came together in August and September (2016).
It has been focused on photography and a search for the real India. Sounds heroic but the camera opens up so many avenues of engagement. Particularly on trains as the world passes by and people engage. 2 AC is what foreigners are expected to do and we need to book ahead. So it has been highly structured. Varanasi, Agra, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, and finally Amritsar with a base in New Delhi. All at the tail end of the monsoon and summer heat. It has been hot and Varansi was particularly challenging because of floods. But we quickly got into the routine of going out at sunrise and returning to our hotel for 12-4 pm and then out again for sunset. And it works well to avoid the heat of the day. Hotels have been good and not always budget. They have also been almost empty because this is not the tourist season.
The trains have always been busy and it is a culture shock but it is the real India you see. Uncensored and trundling past your window as you wake up in the morning to the sound of Chai or panne or much else.
For photography well I continue to shoot with the D800and continue after 3 years to expand and improve how I use it. Perhaps it reflects the amount of time I have recently been able to spend shooting with it. But it is a fine tool. It has become a reflex and the only limitation it has is its iso sensitivity beyond 3200. Which is a draw back yet given the recent improvement in this area is hardly a criticism.
The Indian multitude wants its photograph taken. The difference between here and the UK is astounding.