Meet Arun Hegden, a free-spirited soul and hobbyist photographer who is taking the world by storm with his amazing travel photographs. Read on, as we at Cambyte got to hear from the man behind the lens.
1) Your pictures speak for themselves. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m an Aerospace Engineer, currently based out of Mysore. I work in a leading IT firm and grew up in a small town called Ettumanoor in Kerala and completed my graduation from Coimbatore.
I got introduced to photography in March 2011 with a mobile camera Nokia X6. Photography has been a hobby since September 2012, when I bought my first DSLR Canon 550D kit and 50mm lens with which my best travel photos are taken.
I am really thankful to the forum SLRBB and its pioneer members in my company, who have helped me grow as a photographer ever since I joined the same.
Currently, I use a Canon 5D mark iii and Canon 85mm F1.8 for my travel portraits and a Canon 16-35 F4 for shooting landscapes. I use my phone Nexus 5X in the absence of main gear.
After I started photography and travelling, I started to see the other dimensions of the world, which otherwise I wouldn’t have noticed and this has made my life more beautiful and interesting.
2) Being a seasoned traveler, can you give us an insight into how you plan your trips?
I do travel a lot but I doubt I can be called as a seasoned traveler.
Often, I travel with a few close friends who make the basic trip plan (sometimes bike trips) and the number of trip-days depend upon the leaves/holidays we can avail.
I do research on photos of the locations from various social networking sites and try to contact people who have already travelled those places so that I would have an idea of: what I can shoot? What are the possible angles I can get? What time is suitable to shoot? Etc.
I prefer to plan less in a trip, as many a time the actual trip varies from the plan we make, but I plan on the destinations and the halt points.
3) What are the biggest challenges in travel photography?
Like Travel- the unpredictability factor (what makes it thrilling) of what we expect and what we are going to get in the scene, is a big challenge.
Since most of my travel photos are taken with Natural light, the weather (read as light) plays an important factor for the final output. As someone said: “It’s all about being at the right place at the right time”.
The best of my travel photos come from the most unexpected moments. So I try not to plan much on what photos I have to have at the end of the trip, rather I enjoy being in the mood for travel and shoot when I find the interesting moment.
4) What is your opinion on post – processing?
I believe in this digital age, there has to be post processing in photography as it plays an important role in the final output and my usage depends on what genre I am shooting.
Having said that, I prefer doing basic corrections such as exposure-contrast, color and sharpness on my travel photographs, so that it would look natural and real. I am not against cloning, if it helps to remove small distractions.
I lean on more importance to composition, lighting, subject and background while shooting and consider post processing as a tool to enhance the final image.
5) Which is your favorite among your photographs and the story behind the picture?
Difficult to choose which is my best, but to narrow down to one I would choose the shot “Border Discussions at Pangong Tso”, Ladakh which was shot with 550d 18-55 kit lens, during our Ladakh expedition in September 2013.
We were on the 5th day of biking in the Himalayas, and we had started from Pangong Tso to Leh around 9 am, we halted a while near the lake to enjoy the scenery and click some shots. The sunlight was very soft, the skies were blue and the clouds were fast moving.
The lake view was amazing, and I have been shooting the snowing Himalayas and the Pangong Lake reflections on the other side. My friends had move already gone ahead of me and they were talking about how only a small part of the beautiful Pangong Lake belonged to India.
Two of them were near the lake, the foreground layer of grass was green, then the layers of water between 2 souls on small sand strip, and the mountain ranges and the vibrant cloudy skies.
This was the right moment, I had everything I wanted in my frame- subject, foreground, background, story, colors and beautiful light, then I press the shutter and the image was made
Some more reasons to consider this as my best as this was my first showcased image in an exhibition- the prestigious CWC Exhibition 2014, selected among best of 2013 in my company.
6) What is the best advice you can give someone who wants to click amazing travel photographs?
Take out your camera + a wide lens + portrait lens and travel to a new place every possible weekend/ holidays and try to shoot during the golden hours for better light, look for a good background and subject combination.
Eventually keeping it simple would yield us better images. I believe in the idea of: shoot, shoot and shoot, ruthlessly delete images, until we get the good ones. Practice is the key.
How well it can connect with the audience or how well it can make an impact in the vision of a viewer, the simpler the photograph better the connection.
Sometimes it would bring smile , other times happiness, tears, nostalgia, thoughts, sometimes it can be motivating and inspirational. A good photograph is something that would be in our memory for a long time, something like a memento.
8) What is “Travelling” in your opinion?
Well that is very broad question. I would to like to call “travelling” as an experience – more of a learning for me and not just commuting from place to place. Experiencing new culture, trying out new cuisine/ street food, making interesting conversations out of nowhere, trying out an adventure ride, facing a challenge, receiving/ giving a random act of kindness …the possibilities are endless. The more we experience the better we learn to solve challenges and make better decisions in our life.
I feel eventually travelling makes us a better person.
9) Being a hobbyist photographer how do you balance work with passion?
After office hours, I work out at gym/ make time to watch movies. On weekends, I either play football or work as a part time photographer who shoot weddings-portraits-fashion and sometimes go on small bike trips.
Sometimes our small groups manage for a photo walk in streets of Mysore or birding nearby.
When I am not doing anything of the above I either process photos/ learn something new in processing/ try out something that I haven’t shoot so that there is a learning for me.
I would plan well in advance keeping in mind the holidays and try to work on weekends whenever possible so that I can manage my leaves well for a trip. I am really thankful to my managers and colleagues in my office for being so helpful to balance my work and passion. I believe if we are passionate enough, we can always find a way to pursue it.
You can check out Arun’s work on his
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