Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Pot Sellers – A story in pictures

On my way to office every day, I see everyday these pot sellers selling pots on the roadside. I am as fascinated by the the colorful pots as wither arrangements. Every evening I would vow that I will comeback during the weekend to shoot them and promptly forget or was so lazy that I didn't move out of my house.

Last weekend I decided, that come what may, I will go and shoot them. The sight is too beautiful to miss even for a lazy person like me.

I loath getting out of the house early in the mornings (although I know its the best time for photography). So by the time I was at the Pot Sellers, it was 1PM in the afternoon. And the afternoon sun in India means directly above head casting darkest shadows. Yes, I knew, if I didn't go that day then I would not go ever, I am that lazy!

I packed my gear – a simple one – E-30 with 14-54. Why 14-54? and not 12-60 for instance? No reason what-so-ever. I just felt like taking 14-54 although 12-60 is my favored! :-)

I had the circular polarizer on as well, in order to mellow the harsh sun. I thought of taking Cokin ND GRAD filters. But I didn't want myself to be bogged with trying to change filters at Pot Seller’s place when there may be customers around. Also I knew that I wont be shooting too many bright sky shots.

So I was all set with the gear.

We first went to this place.  I loved the beautiful patterns and the colors depicted.

Nice Patterns

I loved this one!

This was owned by one Dilip Kumar (below). A native from a small village in Bihar, he and his brother are work fulltime as wandering pot sellers. They go from city to city to sell pots. Sometimes they settle down in one place, like he has done.

He came across as all-savvy personality but with a sense of humility. He did not have the arrogance or the boneheaded-ness  about him! He told me he worked in a MNC software company where he worked on computer. His was counting vehicles and creating a report in and out of the company. He was very proud of his new job!

And when he is away on his real-world job, his brother looks after the pot-selling business.

The Pot Seller - Dilip Kumar

He was also quite knowledgeable in photography terms. When I was shooting in the sun, he asked me to shoot in the shade. He said the photos will come out good! He also told me to come back again in the evening when the light is better! I was amazed by his knowledge. So I asked him how come he know so many things about photography. He said another person from a local news paper had come a month earlier and he visited him in the evenings couple of times and this photographer told him about light conditions.

I told him I am too lazy :-)  so I if I don't do it now then I will never do it!

He was also very proud to face the camera and wanted his pictures takes with different backgrounds

Proud business man!

In negotiation with the customer

Just beside Dilip’s store, there was one more pot seller. His name was Deepak (below) and he was from Rajasthan. He gets all his pots from Rajasthan and he also makes statues such as parrots or cows.

Father & Son...

He had a lovely 6 year old who was intrigued by my E-30! And very photogenic too!

And this is Pot Sellers proud son!

These guys sell pots in the range of 100 to 1500 Indian rupees. That is about USD $2 to $35. But the bargaining is heavy. Generally they markup their prices by about 10% to 30% because they know people bargain anyway! and you can reduce the same if you are willing to spend time and negotiate.

Here are some of the most beautiful pots I have seen

Lovely Pots again!


The perspective...

Pots on the rack...

Fantastic colors and patterns

Although I keep referring to them as pot sellers, they have wide range of home decor goods made of clay.

Here are the lovely Chimes

Colorful Chimes!

Chimes made of clay

Here are the statues of Gods, god man, parrots cows…you name it!

Clay Statues - SHIVA

He alos sold Statues...

Very Cool Parrots!

This is second shop, he sold colorful statues

They also sold some of the most beautiful lotus flowers….in a clay pot of course!

And the pot seller also sold pots of Lotus!

Beautiful Purple Lotus....


Some technical Info: As I mentioned, it was harsh over head sun.  So I had to take care about the shadows and extreme over and under exposures. How I did it? Its simple

  1. Had Polarizer on – This ensured that the harsh sun is mellowed a bit.
  2. I took care not to have to dark and too bright areas in the same frame. I either shot in shade or in the sun, never mixed the two. This ensured I got perfect exposure across the whole frame.
  3. I used spot metering and did not use EV compensation, because I feel sometime I over do the EV comp. I checked and re-checked my LCD for the exposure. If I felt that exposure is not good enough, I re-shot same picture. I must have shot every picture at least 2 times, some of them 4 or 5 times, before I was happy with the exposure.
  4. I used large aperture, this ensure that even if the shots had over or underexposed areas, it was well out-of-focus.

Simple isn’t it? No Rocket science! :-)

Hope you enjoyed the shoot as much as I did

PS: Kudos to E-30. It was sweltering 43 deg out side and it performed like a breeze!