DPP Home Profiles Bob Krist - The Kerala Project

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bob Krist - The Kerala Project

Exotic travel on spec takes planning and ingenuity. Bob Krist’s recent journey through Kerala, India, yielded a bounty of images that will sell as stock and help him build multimedia projects.

The four main zooms I used are all compact, lightweight and sharp, and all have 67mm mounts. They overlap coverage, which means that I have a backup for each of my main lenses—important should you drop or somehow lose a lens. The fast primes are 62mm, and my wide lens, the 12-24mm, is a 77mm mount. So I carry 77mm filters and step-down rings for the smaller lenses to avoid carrying too many filters. In addition, I packed a second SB-800 with a small stand and umbrella and a third D80 body in my suitcase, to be broken out if and when needed.

After battling to the edge of the huge Puram crowd in Trissur, one thing is blindingly clear: If I want to get a shot that takes in the magnitude of this celebration, I’m going to have to get up high.

Krist’s India Travel Gear
Nikon D80 bodies (three)
12-24mm AF-S DX Nikkor
16-85mm AF-S DX VR Nikkor
70-300mm AF-S VR Nikkor
Sigma 30mm ƒ/1.4 EX DC HSM
Two SB-800 Speedlights with an SD8A battery pack
Filter wallet of assorted 77mm Singh-Ray
polarizers, Vari ND with 77-67mm step-down rings,
2- and 3-stop Singh-Ray Galen Rowell Grad NDs
Nikon EN EL3e batteries (three)
Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket with 10 4 GB SDs
Compact rain umbrella
Small headlamp
Bubble level
Olympus LS-10 digital sound recorder
I scan the street and look for high buildings lining the huge park in which the celebration is taking place. There, on a rooftop of a perfectly situated building, I can see a group of people, some of whom have cameras.

We find the entrance to the building, but it’s a no-go! A cordon of police surround the building entrance, and only the credentialed press and government dignitaries are allowed up, and we are neither.

But we are resourceful. It’s about 100 degrees F, with high humidity, so everyone is suffering. I pop into a nearby market and buy two cases of cold soda for about $10, which we bring back to the police lines and start passing them out to the hot, thirsty and grateful officers.

When we reach the commanding officer, he’s in deep conversation with another man, who, it turns out, was his partner at the police academy many years ago. Once I get them the cold drinks, I set up a portrait of the two old friends and get their e-mail addresses to send the picture.

The commander notices my serious photo gear and then asks me, “How would you like to get a really good shot of the festival?” Of course, I would! Suddenly, we find ourselves with a police escort up to the roof, where we are ushered right to the front rail with the dignitaries and their families, and I’m able to get a perfect overall view of the tens of thousands of celebrants and 30 elephants in the park below! Another visual gift from Kerala, thanks to the kindness of a stranger and the magic of India.

To see more of Bob Krist’s photography, visit www.bobkrist.com.


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