Kasimedu Fishing Harbor – Diptych Instax Street Portraits Plus

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography (Dashan Sheying –大山摄影).

It’s my pleasure to submit to you, the viewer another photo blog post of the life and times here in India.  If you choose to keep updated (and we wish you would), please “FOLLOW” along.

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The twice a month Chennai Photowalk group held its 105th photowalk at of all place, Kasimedu Fishing Harbor / Fish Market.  I’m in this crowd somewhere holding up my Fuji GF670 Medium Format camera.

On this photowalk, I once again used my Fuji X-Pro2 to wirelessly transmit JPEG images to Fuji’s SP-2 Instax Printer as gifts to those deserving street portrait subjects.  Isn’t a print what we as photographers strive for and what a great way to say thanks.


X-Pro2 Manual showing how to transmit an image to the SP-2 Instax Printer


Instax SP-2 Printer: Film cartridge holds ten prints at ~50 cents each.

I choose to use Diptychs (Greek for “Two Fold”) to display the printed Instax image alongside the subject holding the Instax print.  Cool.

Diptych Instax Street Portraits


1) He was pleasantly surprised that as the 3rd person to photography him reading his morning paper in the warm morning sun that in return I gave him a print.  I need to stop by again to see where he hangs it.


2) Enjoying a morning smoke in the warming rays, he enjoyed being photographed and even better when I gave him his Instax print. Sweet.


3) Another morning scene with this gentleman enjoying his South Indian filter coffee under the morning sun. Look at that smile as he holds his Instax print.

Fish Market Plus Gallery


4) One of my favorites for the soft colors and glowing reflection.  Used for all these image the Zone System Express Panel for Photoshop by Blake Rudis f.64 Academy


5) Up high on a pile of 2m by 2m concrete blocks (4 layers high) was an excellent observation platform to witness the crowds of buyers, sellers and fishermen during a hectic Sunday morning frenzy.


6)  An odd numbers of things work well to capture the viewer’s attention with an image.


7) Just look at all the stories being told in a single slice of time.


8) Melissa up high capturing her next winning image.


9) There is an sense of order in this visual chaos that in the end prevails.

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India: Part IV – Ghats on the River Ganga

Thank-you for visiting Big Mountain Photography where the Varanasi, India adventure concludes with a visit to 5-6 Ghats and the River Ganga. The Ghats’ uniqueness is the foundation of Varanasi’s strong character.  If you plan on visiting India, please place this city on the top of your list planning a 2-3 day minimum stay.  You will not be disappointed.  Good Luck

PS Bring your camera.  Film cameras preferred.


High pressure washing away the hardened silt back into the Ganga River only to return next year.

Side Note: In July – August each year, the Monsoon floods rise the water level on the Ganga River 12-14 m higher than what I experienced. There is another ~10m drop to go until the steps rising out of the water revealing the true shoreline.

So every year after the monsoon flood resides, the work of high pressure washing the hardened silt from the Ghat’s steps begins with the cycle repeating year after year as it has for years gone by.

Link to Part I, Intro

Link to Part II, Faces

Link to Part III, Alleyways

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Image Gallery: Ghats on River Ganga

1) Fuji GF670 Medium Format Camera, Yes Film: These stairs rising from the Ganga River were the most colorful of all.  A fresh paint job in time for the full moon festival the day after I left where 100,000s of people converge.


2) Fuji GF670 Medium Format Camera, Yes Film:  Wall mural art along the Ghats.


3) Fuji GF670 Medium Format Camera, Yes Film: The same set of descending stairs now immersed with enthusiastic schoolboys out to make their mark.


4) Here the family of deceased purchase their wood for the cremation with prices varying on quality and weighed with simple a counterbalance scheme.  Appears the previous buyer had ~80kg of wood purchased visually the weights’ size.


5) This wall mural struck me immediately as a symbol of death and rebirth at the Cremation Ghat, 1 of several.  A good candidate for a Tatoo Artist.


6)  Not sure what these Mexican Standoff between two diagonal men, but it did create the leading line I was looking for.


7) A view from afar of this Cremation Ghat as it’s not appropriate to take photos up close.  Some people did after paying the local operator yet not for me.  I did see a YouTube video where there are photographers (with a small p) whose job it is to take close up photos of the deceased for the family.


8)  Another view of Cremation Ghat from the Ganga River with a telescopic lens showing one fire ends, one fire underway and another fire starting.  So is death along the Ganga.


9) A view upstream along the Ghats in the early morning mist.


10) A Ganga Riverboat waiting for its next voyage.


11)  The Laundry Ghat with freshly washed clothes from the Ganga River (hand scrubbed and rock-pounded) set to dry on the open steps.


12) The evening Ganga Aarti in sepias.  A must see event.  There are two simultaneously Aartis underway and adjacent to one another.   I viewed it from off shore on a rowboat yet will try it on shore next time.


13)  Another close up of the Ganga Aarti.


14) Early morning cleansing of the soul and body on the Rive Ganga.


15)  Another view of the Laundry Ghat from off-shore.


16) Chinese tourists / photographers shooting their big gun Canons and Nikons.  I just had a little Fuji X-Pro2 to compete. 🙂


17)  Cremations continue 24×7 at this Ghat.  PS I did take a photo of a dead, bloaed cow left to float off-shore on the Ganga.  So is life, so is death here.


18) A Fish-Eye view fo the boats along the Ghats of River Ganga.


19) A morning River Ganga ritual repeated over the 1000s of years past and years to come.


21) Fuji GF670 Medium Format Camera, Yes Film: A fresh coat of paint and he’s ready for the 1000s of tourists descending the steps of the Ghats looking for the special boat ride on the Ganga.

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India: Part III – Alleyways

Thank-you for visiting Big Mountain Photography where the Varanasi, India adventure continues with a visualization of the network of narrow back alleyways which parallel the 87 Ghats and River Ganga. Varanasi alleyways are but a dichotomy stuck in time while all else in Varanasi works hard to modernize. I enjoyed the feeling of times gone by.

It’s easy to get lost and even Google Maps may not set you in the correct direction – be careful. 🙂

Link to Part I, Intro.        Link to Part II, Faces.

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Image Gallery: Alleyways of Varanasi


1) What do you suppose he’s carrying, milk, water, …?


2) Pooja-ware for sale with eyes peering above the table in the morning sunlight.


3) Morning prayer finished.


4) Up and to the right.  Watch out for cow pies.


5) Turn right and loss 200 years.


6) Morning pooja starts.


7) A great read in solitude.

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India: Part II – Faces

Welcome back to Big Mountain Photography where my photographic journey continues with Part II of IV from a visit to Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.

Link to Part I – Intro.

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By far this is the most photogenic experience I’ve ever witnessed with the character of an ancient city still alive with the smell, noise, visual tension, … from years past.

The City of Varanasi is rich in Hindu history as the birthplace of Lord Shiva and his reincarnation the Lord Hanuman – (Monkey King)… the list goes on.


Lord Shiva


Lord Hanuman

I hope you’ll walk away visualizing the strong and appealing character of Varanasi in this IV Part Series.  As always your comments, likes, shares… are most welcome.


Image Gallery: Faces of Varanasi


1) This elderly lady just finished her early morning dip in the River Ganga which I assume is a daily event.


2) This gentleman his proud and his confident stare tells the story.


3) On the steps of the Ghat, this gentleman gives me the look, i.e. semi-stare.


4) Although he most likely is some level of a holy man, it appears to be more of a tourist photo-op.


5) Same here.  They both do make a great photo-op, i.e. couldn’t walk on by without giving the headshake and the camera held up.


6) Fresh out of his morning dip in the River Ganga, this elder gentleman posed with water droplets falling from his face.


7) This is daughter and grandson of the gentleman in #6.  A lovely image of motherhood.


8) This rubbery-faced elder woman reminds me of Walter Matthau

who’s facial expressions were vast.


9) What lovely colors.


10) The twist of a stache means what?


11) School children’s smiles.


12) Temple bouncer hanging out at the front entrance.


13) Lovely pose.


14) I helped this gentleman as he appeared down and out.

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India: Part I – Intro

Welcome back to Big Mountain Photography where my photographic journey continues with Part I of IV from a visit to Varanasi in the state of  Uttar Pradesh.

This is a photographer’s dream come true as the “Character of Varanasi” is unchanged from years gone by given its 87 Ghats alongside the Ganga (Ganges) River.

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I’ve decided to make four (4) unique posts on Varanasi to enable the full coverage it deserves, from an “Intro to Varanasi”, “Faces”, “Alleyways”, and the “Ghats”.  But  first, let me level set us with some visualization on the back alleyways, Ghats and River Ganga.

PS With the number of images to process, I’ll be sending out parts II, III and IV very soon.

Walking / Rowboat Routes


Afternoon of the Day 1: Walked the back alleyways of the old city of Varanasi then up along the Ghats.


Evening of Day 1: Again through the alleyways then via rowboat for the evening Aarthi performance (2 adjacent to each other).  Next time I’ll be on the shore, close up.


Very Early Morning Day 2: Up for sunrise from the RH side shining on the Ghats.


Early Morning Day 3: Moving further down for the southern Ghats. It was a very pleasant stroll with a minimum of people.

Image Gallery: Intro to Varanasi


1) Back Alleyway of the old City of Varanasi: The lanes are narrow and well travel by man and beast.  Always watch your step and keep your camera ready.


2) Faces: From children to young / old adults there is a wide diversity of looks one can capture.  Is your cameras ready?


3) Steps of the Ghats: With 87 Ghats to walk up or down, you can image the variation of scenes you walk into from Cremation Ghats, Laundry Ghats, Bathing Ghats, Pooja Ghats…


4) Rowboats: The best way to view the Ghats of the Ganga River as you have time to watch and watch again the rush of images you encounter.  Again, have your camera ready with a telescopic lens.


5) People:  From young to old, they bath every sunrise to wash away one’s sins.


6) Rebirth: Well organized outdoor (or indoor electric) crematoriums are busy 24×7.  At times bodies are just pushed out and sunk in the Ganga River.  I saw two dead cows floating just offshore.  Yes, there’s pollution yet people live with it from bathing to drinking water.