Photographer's Note

I will start with the answer to the question I asked in my previous post:

The photo of Taj Mahal "at sunset" was taken using double exposure technique (well done Kari, Will and Piotr). I first took a photo of the building with my wide-angle lens and tried to remember the ideal place in the frame where I would like to place the sun. I then replaced the lens with a telephoto one, turned 45 degrees to the right, zoomed in on the sun and shot another frame. I also used an 81C filter (as Bev thought) to make the sun look a bit more orange than it really was. I took about 20 shots like that before I achieved the result I was happy with. As for the direction, Will was the only one that guessed that I was looking SOUTH, across the Yamuna river. The viewpoint is in Mehtab Bagh.

Ok, only kidding. It was an orange thrown in the air by the cunning men of Agra (Will and Paul – your comments really made me smile!) ;-)

As for today’s image… I left Agra for New Delhi to catch a flight to Varanasi. While I was waiting for my train, these smiling girls happily posed for a few photos. Several more encounters followed, two of which I’d like to describe here. One is a heart-warming story of generosity to strangers. The other one is about taking advantage of a distressed traveller. Both events resulted from one small issue…

…the train to Delhi was terribly delayed. I didn’t mind at first. I enjoyed being on the train, watching people around and the views outside. It was my second ever Indian train and I was making the most of the opportunity to soak in the atmosphere. However, on approach to Delhi, the train stopped and remained immobile for a long time. I started to worry I would not make it to the airport on time to catch my flight. I shared those thoughts with the passenger sitting next to me. We eventually arrived in Delhi about 2 hours before my flight. Plenty of time, but not when you need to walk to another train station to catch your connection to the airport, never been there before and have luggage to check in so can’t arrive at the last minute.

So yes, I would have missed my flight but the man sitting next to me on the train got up and said: “come with me, I am going in the same direction as you”. I followed him and we walked for what felt like ages until we reached the station hall. In front of every ticket office there was a long queue, but my companion pushed me through the crowd until I was in front of a cashier. He ordered a ticket for me, then showed me where to go next and disappeared.

Thank you so much, Mr Stranger. I don’t know what I would have done without you.

It was not the end of my misfortunes though. When I arrived at the airport, it turned out that yes, Indigo (an Indian budget airline) flies from there, but not to Varanasi. I was at the wrong terminal!

As I was standing there, dumbstruck, a smart-dressed man approached me and asked if I wanted a taxi. He had obviously eavesdropped on my conversation with the information desk officer as he knew exactly where I was going. “It’ll be 20 dollars”, he added, looking falsely apologetic. A ride that, under normal circumstances, would cost less than half that price, even in Western Europe. But he knew I was in a hurry. Desperate, and with 15 minutes left until the check-in would close, I was not in the mood to haggle.

At the end of the day, all the matters was that I arrived at the check-in desk 5 minutes before it closed. But being ripped off always leaves a bitter aftertaste. Unless it’s a con that makes you laugh. A few of those happened to me in India, you will read about one of them in WS.

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Additional Photos by Kasia Nowak (kasianowak) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1692 W: 9 N: 3499] (17676)
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