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Sunday, January 1, 2006

India Live And In Color

The vibrant world of this cultural jewel is revealed through an amateur's lens

The Photographic Approach

When Dakowicz started shooting with a digital SLR rather than a compact digital camera, he became bolder about approaching his subjects. Never comfortable with "sneaking" images of people, he has found that the presence of his Canon EOS 20D makes it obvious to those around him that he's there to take photographs. So while he may still feel self-conscious, he now takes advantage of the reason for his presence.

"I had so much difficulty approaching people in the beginning," he explains. "I didn't feel comfortable pointing my camera at them. Now, I just walk with my camera in my hand. I don't hide it. I want people to know that I take photos.

"I think the best way to photograph someone you don't know is to just make contact with them, talk with them, make them feel comfortable. It doesn't work all the time because sometimes you don't speak the same language. For those people, I'll just smile and show them the camera. Most people smile back, and I'll take my pictures."

Dakowicz prefers to keep his gear simple. Along with a Canon EOS 20D, he carries a 17-40mm f/4, 70-200mm f/4, 50mm f/1.8, 24mm f/2.8 and a Canon EOS 300D (Digital Rebel), which he carries in a Lowepro Orion Trekker camera bag. He carries four CompactFlash cards (totaling 3 GB of memory), which he downloads to an ImageTank G2 portable hard drive.

"When I travel, I use the EOS 20D with my 17-40mm lens and have the 70-200mm on the 300D. I try not to change lenses on the cameras too often because the sensor can get dirty really fast, and many times it can gather dust."

Dakowicz is planning another trip to India in the near future and he looks forward to the new things he'll discover. Though he has traveled to numerous other South Asian countries, including Cambodia, China and Vietnam, he finds himself continually drawn to India.

"The main challenge for a photographer may be to restrict yourself and not shoot so many pictures," he says. "In India, there's a photo opportunity with almost every step you make."

To see more of Maciej Dakowicz's work, visit www.pbase.com/maciekda.

Essential Gear...
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