How can you shoot something outstanding of a place that has been photographed by hundreds of thousands of great photographers and by millions of others?
I’m still wondering.
We had a great day at the Taj Mahal—blue skies and gorgeous. But there were thousands of people there, all of whom were trying to get the quintessential Taj Mahal photo along with us. And those who weren’t particularly interested in shooting just the Marble Wonder itself were looking to get a picture of their family in front of it.
A tripod and a neutral-denisity filter are my secret weapons in a situation like this. The idea is to take a really long exposure, one long enough to blur the people for an interesting effect, or if you go even longer, they disappear altogether.
The problem, of course, is that tripods are not permitted at the Taj Mahal. No doubt this is for good reason as there were probably at least a quarter-million people there by 9AM.
The other thing that challenged was that the famous pools in front of the monument were empty, so there was no reflection to be had, except off to the side where there was a single hose filling one of the pools and about 100 people crowding around with cameras trying to take advantage.
So how did I do?
Because of the great weather we enjoyed that day, I got some good, solid shots of the Taj Mahal. I used my camera bag in lieu of a tripod and was able to do some long exposures and blur a lot of the people out of the shot. I managed to get down low enough in front of the one pool that did have some water to be able to get a pretty good reflection image.
After resting most of the day in an effort to overcome the sleep-depravation of our overnight bus ride, we went across the river from the Taj Mahal for sunset. We followed some boys who were playing cricket out onto the riverbank, but apparently that was a security breech and we were chased out by some ‘guards’ before I could get out my tripod and shoot any long-exposure stuff.