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Journey of a Photographer / June 30, 2018

Story of a Failed Project (Part 2)

Taking the First Step is Arduous

In my last post I shared the ground work that went into conceptualising and preparing for the project. Ideally, I should have got into execution the very next day. But, that didn’t happen. What ensued was a phase of heightened anxiety and fearfulness. I had never stepped out of my house with photography gear to take photos all by myself. I felt under-confident. Going out with fellow enthusiasts as part of DPEG photowalks every weekend acted as a security blanket. A shield that protected me from passers-by noticing me (I know it is foolish to think that nobody ever noticed me!). This time, I was on my own.

For the following two weeks, I procrastinated, convincing myself with the silliest of excuses. Procrastination always feels very comforting. After having deferred numerous actions over the years, it feels very familiar.

Introspection gave me a deep insight – procrastination is a window to one’s innate creativity. How the mind builds compelling scenarios to justify anything. Even inaction. This revelation was nothing short of a miracle, a gift from God.

The Night Before ‘The Day’

It was a Friday night, I distinctly remember. Despite having a hard, demanding week at work, I couldn’t help but think about the lingering project. It seemed to be a perfect way to distract from all that craziness at work. But, the anxiety and fear still remained. The revelation, coupled with building frustration and irritation about inaction, helped me muster up the courage to act.

‘The Day’

Determined to commence the project, I woke up that morning with a sense of purpose. I spent the day thinking about the location (I passed from that place everyday, commuting to and from work). Focusing on my learning from all those photowalks, I envisioned my frames, camera settings, so on and so forth.

Monsoon season had arrived in Delhi couple of weeks back, and was at its peak. It rained heavily through the day until around 3 p.m. Battling my nervousness, I hoped that the wind does not drive away the clouds. Clouds in the sky could bring additional elements of interest to the photos.

Around 7 p.m. in the evening, I picked up my gear and walked out. In order to distract myself from the brewing anxiety, I chose to focus on every step I took towards the location. I moved hurriedly before my mind cooked up another ridiculous excuse. Leaping over puddles – big and small, and rough patches, it felt harder to walk with every step. I wanted to turn around. Thankfully, my desire to take at least one good photograph kept me moving.

At the Location

Arriving at the location, the feeling was entirely different. Anxiety had given way to adrenaline rush. It felt as if I had reached the ‘X’ on the treasure map. Sun was setting fast, and blue colour of the sky was saturating more by the minute. Pre-visualisation of frames worked like a charm. Reaching my first spot, I quickly took out my tripod, camera and the shutter release. Although I was sure of the right camera settings – aperture, ISO and shutter speed – I took couple of test shots to be sure. And within a minute, I had my first shot (see below).

It felt like striking gold! All those moments of fear and anxiety felt worth it. To view the envisioned frame in the camera display filled my heart with excitement. I didn’t need anything or anyone else. That moment, my gear and me were enough. The rest of it didn’t matter.

Two hours of shooting and 25+ shots later, I had a deep sense of fulfilment and peace. The world around me seemed so beautiful. The uplifting mix of emotions – being one with the world and feeling of redemption from it at the same time – was priceless. Success and achievement felt like an understatement.

One of the Best Walks in Life

Taking photos for remainder of the evening till about 9 p.m., I decided to return home. The same route back home seemed shorter and easier to walk. The rough patches filled with stones and rocks that I found cumbersome to walk on, felt like a bubble wrap. I felt like jumping into the puddles that I had leapt over earlier.

Completing the project, I walked home with a deep of satisfaction and happiness. Check out the other photos I took that day.


Click here to read Part 1 of the series, in case you haven’t.



Authored by Shivendra Lal

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