While working as a freelance shooter for a local newspaper, I’ve had to shoot a lot of different subjects that I normally wouldn’t ever thought of capturing with my camera. Tanning beds at a spa? Nope, it’s not my first choice for my latest HDR effort. How about a dog walk-a-thon at the new facility for the SPCA? While I love dogs and taking pics of them, heading to the SPCA a half hour away isn’t the first thing on my list on a Saturday morning. But guess what? One of those shots got me my first cover.
Covering the Diwali festival at the Milpitas Sikh Gurdawara wouldn’t have been something that I normally would have been exposed to, either, and I jumped at the chance to step out of the comfort zone of my everyday life so that I could experience the Sikh Festival of Lights not just as an outsider reading about it in a book or magazine, but firsthand. Not only did I get the privilege of participating in the festival like I belonged there, but my host, Raj Singal and others, seemed as excited to have me there as I was. I felt very welcome to be in attendance and was told that I could feel free to shoot from anywhere I liked in order to capture the spirit of the event.
Most of the time when I’m shooting for an assignment, I’ll get the images that I need and hit the bricks. This time was different: I took a real interest in the subjects and I shot not only for the paper, but for my own experience and vision as well. I was amazed by the richness of color in the women’s clothing, the blending of different generations, and the feeling of community as those in attendance shared meals and prayed together. While I’m not rocking their music in the CD player in my car, as a musician I totally appreciated the sounds coming from the band and was getting into the rhythm as I moved around the room and captured images.
While here in America we celebrated Thanksgiving last week, I reflected on moments of my life over the last year. The opportunities I’ve had to experience new things and capture them with my camera are some of the things that I’m most thankful for. I actually really don’t mind shooting tanning beds and dog kennels since I welcome the challenge to tell the story that needs to be told. Luckily, I sometimes get to shoot something that is way more interesting and there are many, many stories that could be told by the pictures here. Enjoy and more to come…