“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. No idea how instantaneous Neil Armstrong was when he said that epic quote but that was the first quote that instantly hit me when I was informed of being the finalist in “Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award – HIPA”. In my case, it has to be rephrased as “One small step for me as a person but one giant leap for my ‘Viral Passion’ called P.H.O.T.O.G.R.A.P.H.Y”
Just so that you know, HIPA awards is the worlds richest photography award (atleast claimed so by HIPA, and no surprises when the award is hosted by Always-larger-than-life-Dubai). Hipa targets an international audience and received more than 6000 photographs from 99 countries across the globe. That’s quiet stunning considering the fact that this is the inaugural awards from HIPA.
Making a cut amongst those 6000 odd photographs and reaching the finals was one of the most fullfilling expriences in my photographic journey as I still consider myself a newbee in the field of photography. Its just been about 18 months since I started and still use a basic SLR. Yeah i heard that before, “Camera doesn’t matter blah blah blah” :D
So this blog is to showcase those three photographs which I thought were good enough to compete and the story behind each of those photographs. So here we go.
Photograph 1 :
This photograph was shot in Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque. Though I was very excited to shoot in this beautiful one-of-a-kind mosque but was completely drained after an overnight shoot in Dubai. It was almost 48 hours since I had slept, thanks to my insane friends who always join me in shouting out the slogan “Let madness prevail” ;). Just took a couple of pictures of the beautiful architecture of the mosque and decided to rest in the prayer hall for a while. It was then when I came across this man on a wheelchair steering across the prayer hall to offer his prayer. He cornered himself away from the crowd, crawled down his wheelchair, got down on his knees and started to offer his prayer. I consider myself lucky to have been exhausted and completely drained out, or else may be I would never have taken a break and thereby never have come across this beautiful moment. Considering the sensitivity of the moment and respecting his privacy, I just took one single picture from right where I was seated. Like I always say “Human elements in photography are our subjects and not OBJECTS, so treat them with due respect”. It was indeed a heart warming moment to watch this man despite being handicapped and all that pain that follows along with it, was thankful to god for what he is and what he has. How often do we really thank god for what we have. Atleast my record with the almighty is not so clean. Yeah, I do complain about not owning a Leica :D On a serious note, We really need to be thankful for what we got and stop complaining. Now that you are reading this blog, I want you to right away thank god for internet access, 35% of the world population still don’t have access to internet ;) Lucky freaks that we are :)
Photograph 2 :
Based on the concept of natural framing, this was a shot I could never afford to miss. Many of you who know me in person may consider the events behind this photograph to be ‘modest’ because you seen the heights of my craziness when I get my nikon hanging around my neck. It was just another day of the boaring 70km/hr drive on the never ending beach road of jumeirah. Good habits are so hard to change, when I drive I always peep around to search for frames than bother to look ahead at the road in front of me. If you call that a bad habit, I bet you are not a photographer :D So when I came across this frame, I stopped my car right in the middle of the road, pulled my glass down and took a shot. Realized my cam was on automatic mode, yeah I know, that’s a sin :) So had to set it back to manual mode, some brainstorming about the aperture and shutter speed and all of that. It isn’t easy to set these settings when you have a pile up of cars behind you and they seem to be on an orchestra mode with their horns. Got another two quick shots and knew I had what I wanted. All this in less than a minute. This photograph almost seems to convey the message “Now that Burj Khalifa is done, what next Dubai !”
Photograph 3 :
This landscape photograph was shot in the outskirts of Khorfakkan, about 150 kms from Dubai. This place is a regular shooting spot for our group. Beautiful mountains, gorgeous beach and a breathtaking sunrise for all the early birds is a guaranteed offering from this location. We reached this place at 3 am in the morning to get set for the sunrise, shot some beautiful long exposure photographs on the beach and just when we had to return, I decided to frame this picture. When the scene is this perfect, there’s nothing much you need to do to get it right. This picture was just ‘f8 at 1/250th of a second’ away. Bingo.
So these were the three entries for HIPA award. HIPA hasn’t informed any of the finalists about which among the three of these pictures were shortlisted. Its still a mystery and have been informed by the panel about a journal being printed by HIPA which would feature all the photographs that made it to the finals. Until then I can only keep guessing about which one of these three made the cut.
Now if you were to choose one among these three, which would that be. Lets get this poll running. Please leave your view in the commenting section about which photograph you like the most.
It would be incomplete to wind this blog without sharing the photograph which won the grand prize of $100000.
Absolute stunner and a deserving one from French Photographer Pierre Gable Auteur. This image not only inspires but also seems to remind me about the path untraveled. HIPA experience as a whole managed to feed my appetite to just get better with time and experience and create such stunners myself…someday :)