Old Delhi

Old Delhi was an overwhelming experience, for me. I know, it would be crazy to go to India and not visit Old Delhi, but…the pollution, the crowds, the noise, the traffic and the sense of being in danger every time we crossed the streets, it was too much for me.

I am glad we went there, but I have no intention to go back and re-do the experience.

The guide we got just for Delhi was unfortunately a #^*}¥~!, thank God we had Shiv for the rest of the trip. I am glad I don’t even remember his name anymore. He was the opposite of Shiv. He didn’t care.

I love the open spaces, the silence, the country side, the tiny villages, the calm.  Old Delhi was like a shock to me, as I had just arrived in the country. I was just lost, I felt my brain overwhelmed by strong harsh peeks of my senses, adrenaline stinging my finger tips every time we risked to be in collision with another vehicle. And the noise. The noise was unbelievable. Loud. Ugly. Unnecessary.

That same night Beate and myself we had the very best meal in India, with Bashir Butt.

And what about the Pashminas, he showed us some precious pashminas, hand made, from Kashmir, wow!  It was such a great evening.

Time lapse

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India and how important it is to be well organized

I had been thinking about going to India for years, but always something had happened that pulled me away from that dream.

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Photo shot with Shiv’s phone, during the preparation of a photo shoot. We traveled with a 12 seat van, which seat capacity was sometimes quite useful ;-).

For all my photo-trips it takes me more or less one year ( yes!) to plan the whole thing, specially if I didn’t have the chance to do the scouting before the trip. I need to be sure that we would be going at the right time of the day to the certain place, and that the tack and the horses would be perfect, and much more. Some locations are morning places, others are better in the afternoon. It has to do with the light and with the background options.

I found in Christine and Arun the perfect team. They became our logistic organizers and problem solvers.  We started building an itinerary which was changed many times, for many reasons, along the months,  until I was happy with everything and until a certain number of photo shoots had been planned and included in the itinerary.

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Organizing a photo shoot is not easy and it has to be done well in advance and with proper know-how about the logistics, or the risk of missing the good light is high.

In the meantime I started a FB group with the small group of people who were interested in going to India with me. Three people, maximum four, can fit in this kind of trips. My photo trips are quite intense, there was not a single day where we didn’t have to get up very early, and a delay would mean missing the best light. We needed a shoot at sunrise and one at sunset, sometimes at places which were at 4 hours of distance. We planned to travel mainly by van , but also twice we would take the train  and once we would need to fly an internal flight to optimize the time. It all worked flawlessly.

We then in the group started discussing the practical side of many factors, from the equipment, to the luggage weight for the internal flight, to small important details like security at the Taj Mahal, which would hold us for too long if we didn’t follow their instructions, etc. We watched the newspapers, we talked about the culture, etc etc, for many months, in that FB group.

People often don’t realize that a shoot with horses during a trip means lots of organization. Variety of backgrounds, variety of horses, tack, transportation, time tables of all sorts, even some props, etc.

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Shiv, our guide, who would make any of our creative ideas happen

We had a wonderful guide, Shiv, who took care of everything, from our comfort to the organization of every little detail during the shoots. Without him, our trip to India would’ve never been the same.

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Our hosts played a great rold in the success of the shoots, here Hemant Deval and his son