Beyond exploring, one of the greatest things about travel photography is the cultural exchange. Getting to know other people, what they do, and how they live is always a very important part of any travel story.
India is truly a gem—that, I discovered on my first trip there back in 2016. There are so many opportunities that you could spend a lifetime and never be done with it. Amid those experiences, the Pushkar Camel Fair is one that really excels. Yes, many other photographers have documented it, but it remains authentic, so there are always new opportunities, and that’s why the camel fair is one of the stops on my India 2018 photo tour.
The fair is divided into several sections, but for the activities of the main part where the camels and herders are, you need to move a bit outside Pushkar, really early in the morning. The grounds where the camels are being kept and fed before trade are located just on the outskirts of the city. I photographed there all three mornings I spent there, usually getting to the location before dawn and leaving back to my tent just in time for breakfast.
He was one of the many herders getting ready for the daily routine. Most of them come from faraway places, driving their camels for days. When I made this portrait it was about 6:45 a.m. The sun was not totally up yet and there was some mist or smoke in the air, mainly coming from the campfires around. At that time of day, it’s still chilly around there, so they drink chai and most of them smoke their traditional pipe.
This photograph was taken with the Fuji X-T2 and then the Fujinon XF 50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR, handheld. It was just natural light, no flash or fillers added. Processing was done in Lightroom, where I started with the Classic Chrome Profile and just adjusted some contrast, highlights, and shadows, added some clarity, and that was pretty much it. I composed the image in a way that the hands and pipe lead the viewer to the eye of the herder. His eyes are positioned to the upper three-quarters of the frame to the left. The telephoto helped me to get really close to him from a medium distance and to compress the image nicely.
That’s all for now. The 2018 India Photo Tour is sold out now, but you can subscribe to my posts to receive periodic updates about new content, and be the first to learn about upcoming tours and if something opens up.