Sridhar Vedantham, who works with Microsoft Research India, tells us how macro photography allows him to zoom into a fascinating world of detail.
I saw my father with a camera when I was a kid and have been fascinated ever since
I think I developed an interest in photography right since my childhood. I remember seeing my father with a camera when I was a kid, and have been fascinated with the idea of photography ever since. However, I took up photography seriously only about 13 to14 years ago, and have been hooked ever since.
My favorite is macro photography and the exploration of details
While I am interested in a number of types of photography — landscape, portraits and street photography — my favourite is macro photography. I find the exploration of objects and details you would normally miss with the naked eye to be truly fascinating.
This is a hobby you can indulge in almost anywhere you go
I like travelling on photo shoots. On the other hand, this is a hobby you can indulge in almost anywhere you go. For macro photography, you can just as easily be do to in your backyard or living room as long as you can identify something interesting to shoot, or make a run of the mill object look interesting by being creative.
It is a way to preserve memories
There are different ways in which I find photography rewarding. One is the capture and archiving of things that are really close to me: my children growing up, their emotions and the bond between them. In cases like these, photography is a way to preserve memories that could otherwise fade with time. On the other hand, the exploration of photographic techniques, light and subjects also give me a huge amount of satisfaction, especially when the image I capture is striking.
But remember, it is a fairly expensive hobby
To start with, a decent mid-range camera and the kit lens (such as an 18-105 mm lens) is more than enough. Over time, as you discover what kind of photography really fascinates you, you start investing in equipment, typically lenses. However, always remember that photography is a fairly expensive hobby, and there seems to be no end to the equipment you'll want. Macro photography can tend to get even more expensive given the (much higher) cost of good macro lenses, and the fact that you'll probably need a flash. Another good investment for any kind of photography is a decent tripod.
Websites are excellent resources
There are a large number of resources that people getting into photography can tap into. All major cities have large photography clubs and forums that are easily discovered on the web. It is always a good idea to participate in these, in person or on the web, just to learn more about the craft from other people's experiences. A number of websites such as www.dpreview.com are excellent resources for people who want to learn more about photography. In Bangalore, the Open Show is a great forum where photography enthusiasts get together periodically to discuss photographs or videos, and the thoughts and the processes that went into them.
You need to have strong marketing skills too!
You can turn photography into a sustainable profession. But in my opinion, you need to have strong marketing skills in addition to talent to succeed as a professional photographer today.