Vikas Anand – Photo Talk #1

December 2nd, 2010 |  Published in PhotoTalks, U-Z  |  Subscribe to Comments

MIT Stata Center, Photograph by Vikas Anand

This is the first part of a new series here at my photoblog. I’m hoping to interview fellow photographers about their photography practice in an effort to gain inspiration and learn more from them.
In this first photo talk, my good friend and fellow photographer Vikas Anand graciously agreed to be interviewed. Vikas, also known as Iceburns on Flickr has been photographing around Boston for a while and has had some of his photos featured on “The Bostonist”. Here we talk about his photos of the MIT Stata center at the MIT campus in Boston. The featured photo above is from that set of photos. To look at more of his work, head on to www.flickr.com/photos/vikasanand

Here is the interview.

SU: Tell me a little more about yourself. How did you get into photography?
VA: About myself… software engineer (like almost everyone else nowadays :) ), from Bangalore. In Boston for just over 3 years now and this stay has given me an opportunity to travel and experience a lot of places.
As for Photography, I had a very basic Kodak camera and took an instant liking to photography. Coupled that with the fact that I love to travel, it was just a matter of time before Photography became a very dear hobby. With the boom of Digital Camera’s I got my first digital camera as a gift from friends (you included) and later on I moved to Canon S1 IS and currently have the Canon Rebel.

SU: Tell me a bit more about this set of photos (of the MIT Stata Center)
VA: I love walking around Boston and capturing the different aspects of this city but somehow had missed visiting Stata Center and had been wanting to go there. I had seen a few impressive pics of the place but was not sure about the time of the day to visit for good photographs.As you can see, the buildings are crowded and also have a lot of metallic surface, so had to go there at the right time else I would have got flare reflections or deep shadows. Finally took a chance and headed out early one Sunday and a slightly overcast sky meant that I had good even lighting of the place.
As soon as I got there, I was glad of the early morning trip I made, the place was impressive. Lots of lines, crazy angles, some nice bright colors but there were a few challenges as well.

SU: Can you tell me a bit about your work flow on these images?
VA: I am still not the mode of taking raw pics, so decided to bracket all the shots (was again apprehensive of the shadows and reflections, so to avoid exposure mistakes, decided to bracket). I was bracketing between +2, 0, -2 and at the time I thought I should have gone for single step bracket but in the end it turned out to be OK. I was using the Sigma 18-200mm but shooting at mostly the wide angle range. I did feel like the 10-20mm would have been perfect for this place I started off taking a few of the usual pics that I had seen before of the place, and as I became more comfortable about composing the bizarre angles, I started to see how the different buildings came together, I was able to use foreground and backgrounds more effectively and was also excited by the distorted reflections from the buildings that I exploited in a couple of pics. At the time I was shooting, I don’t think I had it in my mind to do the entire series in HDR, the fact that I was bracketing meant I had that opportunity to later on (and thats what I did eventually, all pics in HDR) but I never started out with HDR on my mind.

I did picture some of the pics in BW when I was composing them, but I am partial to BW processing so ended up converting almost the entire series into BW too but not all of them made it into Flickr. Even with the HDR processing, I tried to keep the HDR effect to a minimum and was afraid if I had gone overboard.

All the shots you see are from inside the MIT campus, I missed taking a few shots from the outside, maybe next time.

SU: What is your next photographic project?
VA: I have been wanting to improve the technical aspects of my picture taking, learn the not-so-common functions that my camera offers that I have not explored yet.
Mirror locking, bulb mode, shooting in Raw are some of the things that I want to try next. Apart from this, with spring and summer upon us, I will be in general carrying my camera around during any trips I make. I have also seen a couple of night shots of Boston that are very interesting that I have been wanting to try, so that will happen soon I guess.

SU: What does photography mean to you?
VA: I get easily excited by small things, a well placed flower, a bend in a back country road, a mossy brook, complimenting colors on a building, the golden light on a valley floor.
Am sure others feel the same, but I like to capture that moment in time that would help me remember how beautiful things are all around us. Photography for me is a constant reminder that the world we live in is a very beautiful place.

SU: Any recommendations? (Photographers, Music, Books..anything?)
VA: hmm.. wouldn’t say recommendations, but will list what I am currently in to. With the new REM album out, I am listening to their songs and going back to their older albums,
also started listening to Richard Clayderman. I have not yet started the habit of reading or following famous photographers, but I trawl through the internet and there is no bigger source of inspiration than that. I keep looking at my contacts on flickr too and since many are local to where I live, I get insightful tips on good location and photo ops as well as share new places I find. Sadly, my reading time has shrunk so much that I hardly get to indulge a good read.

Thanks Vikas. Happy shooting!

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