Travel Talk with Reuben Singh


Photographer Reuben Singh shares with us his everlasting love for travel and how it defines his images...


"Travel is essential for a photographer in more ways than one can imagine," says Reuben Singh

Travel for me is intertwined with journeys across the Indian Himalayas. It is my first preference for travel anywhere, anytime. Each instance is different from the other no matter how many times you visit or cross the same places. A trip to the Nanda Devi Outer Sanctuary in October 2015 was memorable in every way. I caught an overnight Volvo bus to Haridwar from Delhi, took a local cab to Rishikesh from where I hailed a long distance jeep to Joshimath in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. This is on one of the most crowded pilgrimage routes in the country so you are assured of guest houses to stay wherever you wish to stop.
It took a total of two days to get there from Delhi. From Joshimath after an acclimatisation hike to Gorson meadows above Auli and another day hike to Nilkantha base camp from Badrinath, I travelled to Lata village from where I began a hike to the sanctuary. It is a bit hard and unbelievably beautiful to say the least. You've got silver birch forests rising high above the Rishi Ganga, and once past the treeline at about 4000 metres, you come across some of the highest mountains in India that form a ring around the mystical Mt.Nanda Devi with unparalleled views all around. 

Chandrashila summit in Uttarakhand

"The rawness and the elements get to you. At some point I put down the camera and decided to record it with just my eyes as it is easy to get carried away and just see these things from the perspective of a camera viewfinder or a cellphone screen which is nowhere close to the real experience."

The entry into the outer sanctuary is restricted so you're spared from the hordes of budget-package hikers that now crowd most of these trails in the mountains.

Thikse Monastery, Ladakh

Fondest Food Destination: Bengaluru

"My fondest food memories have been this really indigenous tribal feast in Himachal, Chettinad fare at Karaikudi in Chennai and seafood at a restaurant called Moonraker in Mahabalipuram."

I love Bangalore as a food destination. It's one hell of a vibrant city and the sheer variety is astounding! You can't go there and not visit the beer joints or biryani places. I absolutely love the food at Junior Kuppanna there. 

Places and People

"India has abundant locations that are great for shooting varied portraits or studying faces."

There is no one place that I prefer over the others when it comes to shooting people. There are definitely some that stand out over the others and I travel a lot for shoots across the country. Rajasthan (in particular), Ladakh, the hill states and the North East in general are great for shooting varied portraits or studying faces.

Mesmerising Monsoons in Kerala

Capturing a perfect storm in Kerala

India as a travel destination is changing fast and I feel that a lot of the old world experiences are disappearing and becoming increasingly commercial. A vacation to Kerala in the monsoons a few years ago was inspiring and memorable. There was a driving trip from Kochi to Munnar where I stayed within private tea estates which was a spectacular sight in the rains. Everything to view was literally a combination of green and blue. The second part of my trip was spent on the banks of the Vembanad Lake near Alleppey. 

"Sitting in an infinity pool at the level of the lake at midday felt like nighttime as billows of black monsoon clouds crowded out the blue sky creating a perfect storm." 

I've been to Kerala a few times but a must do season to experience it is definitely in the monsoons.

Travelling With A Camera

A photographer is never completely on vacation. All attempts to switch off from work go for a toss as soon as you come across a compelling situation/composition that merits making a photograph. A lot of times, you see an image forming just because your eye is trained to look for visuals in every possibility. Then there is the light. As a rule, I make sure I'm up and about a lot while traveling and try and catch the early morning light while shooting people and places around me. Ditto for evening light. 

Sunset at Dunagiri, Uttarakhand

Reuben Singh

"Travel is essential for a photographer in more ways than you can imagine. There is constant ebb and flow of thought processes that make you a photographer." 

Experience through travel teaches you not to make a lot of rookie mistakes in a lot of photographic situations or even while setting up a planned shot.

Reuben Singh works with Hindustan Times as Photo Editor, Special Projects. 
He shared his travel tale with Nausheen Tareen

The pics used in the story are clicked by Reuben Singh and taken from his website. Check his amazing gallery of clicks at http://www.reubensingh.in/ 

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