Photographers' Blog

Solar power nightlight

By Adnan Abidi

Near my house in Delhi at Deenu bhai’s tea stall, I noticed a very young visitor; 7-year-old Sohail. He was Deenu bhai’s relative visiting him from Aligarh for the summer breaks. Before leaving for work, I enjoyed a cup of tea at Deenu bhai’s, and as usual, I was sipping a steaming hot cup of tea with a snack when I saw Sohail with a drawing book.

Hot summer mornings keep away a lot of lazy lads who otherwise are found gossiping at Deenu bhai’s place. I was finding no such company, so I asked Sohail what he’s been up to. He showed me a few landscape drawings, which were mostly village scenes with huts and animals, with the sun rising at a location painted in yellow.


I am no art critic, and couldn’t actually make out anything in those drawings. But I recalled my childhood days, and compared it with Sohail’s to figure out a similar thought process in both of our generations. Neither of us have ever imagined a typical Indian village scene during or after sundown.

I come from a village named Baharpur in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and I recall we used to get up at 5a.m. and play until 4p.m. As darkness enveloped the entire village, oil lanterns were the only source of light. All major work had to be completed during the day, as there was no electricity once the sun was down.

This realization suddenly filled my heart with respect for innovators like Sun Edison – a company dedicated to the development of solar plants which provide electricity to the remote village Meerwada in Guna district of Madhya Pradesh. This is such a remote village, that a trip of 20 kms (12 miles) once took four hours during the rains.

Keeping vampire’s hours

By Tim Wimborne

Photography is capturing light reflecting off things to make pictures. I shoot a lot after sundown over here. That just seems to be the nature of this war. Soldiers I have been embedded with have technology that gives them an upper hand at night and so they tend to be fairly active in the dark.

Shooting at Combat Outpost Pirtle-King takes this to a record level. Soldiers here describe working on this base as “sitting in a fish bowl”. There are steep slopes above on three sides providing enemy gunmen ample concealed fighting positions from which to fire down. There seemed to be one particularly active sniper in the area at present.

To mitigate the risk from up high, soldiers just stay indoors, behind protective earth-filled Hesco walls. Most soldiers not working on guard duty during the day sleep, read or watch movies. They work after the sun sets and carry out their outdoor tasks within the beam of a head-torch.

Under a lone street light

By Tim Wimborne

Since mid-March I have developed a new habit. Not a bad habit but a pretty regular one, about three nights a week, driving down to a local park near the harbor’s edge and parking by the side of the road, looking for a woman under a street light. Not any woman in particular but it’s always the same street light.

It’s a bit like being a John searching out a good time with a lady of the night. Not that anyone would suspect that – I’m in a ritzy part of town.

After testing a new kit weeks ago, one evening, at the middle of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a potential picture far below caught my eye. A simple frame with a composition that symbolizes the phrase “less is more”; a woman and her personal trainer boxing under a lone street light. Just the two of them, their gloves and their shadows, surrounded by nothing else but by the time I got into position they’d moved on.

Six miles underground with a politician and no light

His main claim to fame to audiences overseas are his beachside antics. Beyond that, Australia’s conservative opposition leader doesn’t demand a whole lot of our work time.

However, I ended up next to him, underground, 10 kilometers (6 miles) into a coal mine.

Reuters just happened to be writing a piece about Tony Abbott and we write about mining many times every day Down Under. So here was a chance to match this piece while shooting lots of subterranean stock images.

Get your snouts out

Business and economy news is one of the most challenging parts of covering the story in Tokyo.Why? Fashion shows have their beauties, red carpets have their stars, and sporting events have their action, but what is going to catch a reader’s eye and make them do more than glance at our picture on a story about GDP?
In Tokyo we’re trying to make our financial coverage as compelling as other subjects and our approach is to try to have fun with these assignments, and working around the tight access restrictions. What we see is tightly controlled, and even in news conferences we are usually corralled into a small section of the room and forbidden to move. The subdued demeanor and limited variation in clothing (black, navy or gray suits) worn by this country’s business leaders is another challenge. There are no Richard Bransons here. Not even a Bill Gates. We had a Carlos Ghosn, but he isn’t around much anymore.


Executive Interviews:

It’s easy to get beaten down and lose hope when we walk in to shoot photos of the CEO of an industry-leading company only to find the room is lit with dim florescent lights and the only decoration is nicotine-stained curtains. But the great thing about an interview is that unlike a crowded news conference you can set up lights, move around and seize control of the light away from the florescent strips in the ceiling and do some fun strobe work. I like snouts because they’re great for getting rid of the phones, plants, decorations, thermostats, light switches and anything else that clutters up a photo. A snout can be anything that fits over the head of your strobe to limit the spread of the light from it, letting you control where light falls and where it does not.


GDP and other Economic Figures

GDP and other economic figures are broad enough that you could almost shoot anything for these, but at the same time it’s a bit bewildering to try to sum up a country’s economic mood with one frame. I think we’re most successful when our pictures are beautiful and convey a strong mood at the same time, as in the photo below.

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