Thursday, March 28, 2019

Everest Reflections on the Solukhumbu

I spend five days at Archana Press Okhla, New Delhi printing our new book Everest - Reflections from the Solukhumbu.

The book will be launched on May 28th 2019 at Kathmandu.

The details of the book are:
Reflections on the Solukhumbu
Photographs by Sujoy Das | Text by Lisa Choegyal
Foreword by Sir Chris Bonington | Preface by Dr Lhakpa Norbu Sherpa

Drawings by Paula Sengupta

Some  photographs from the press while printing the book are below.

To find out more about the book and the release dates etc. do email me at

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Tips and Tricks for Better Photography

After my two posts on tips and tricks for mountain photography in this blog, I am giving below some general tips for everyday photography which I am sure would be useful. 

Tip 1: Add people to a landscape
Add a subject to the foreground of a landscape shot to give depth to the photograph.  An example of this is given below:

Tip 2: Use fill flash in daylight
When shooting people, in strong noon day sun use the pop up flash or even a speedlight to fill dark shadows especially under the eyes and bring out details. This ensures that the background is also exposed correctly and not washed out. An example of this is given below:

Tip 3: Kick the “I’ll fix it in Photoshop habit”!
You need to ensure that the photograph is taken in the camera not fixed in Photoshop – so white balance, exposure, lighting, focus etc all need to be bang-on! If you are not sure of the exposure bracket! Check the histogram on the LCD display to ensure that exposure is correct.

Tip 4: F8 and be there
Basically this famous photography axiom asks you to be ready to shoot. So rather than adjust white balance, aperture,  shutter speed , metering modes, focus modes etc  before taking a photo, you to need to set all this before hand. On a normal sunny day, I will usually set the following before I start out: WB auto, ISO auto set to maximum of 800, aperture priority around f8 or so, and matrix metering, AF-S for single focus. This allows me to shoot in most situations provide the light is reasonable. And, if I have time I would  bracket three to four exposure either by using auto bracketing  or manually -0.3, -0.7, -0.1, +0.3, + 0.7. This usually nails the photograph right in the camera.

Tip 5: To reduce noise at high ISO make sure your exposure is bang on target!  
Modern day cameras allow you to shoot at very high ISO’s like 1600, 3200 and even 6400 on top end models. However, the major drawback at high ISO is noise. So, one way of reducing or minimizing noise is to make sure your exposure in spot on. If you have underexposed even a little bit there will be ample noise in the shadow areas which is always difficult to get rid off. So try to ensure a correct exposure by shooting, maybe, a number of photos at different settings so that at least one is correctly exposed. This is an example of a photo shot an ISO 1600 but due to correct exposure there is hardly any noise:

Tip 6: On a tripod turn VR or IS off
This is a mistake which I have made a number of times. If you have a camera on a tripod you don’t need to switch on VR or IS as the camera is likely to be rock steady and does not need any vibration reduction.  Often in a hurry we forget this and shoot with VR or IS on.

Tip 7: For critical photos use RAW
When you need to use photographs for magazine stories, prints, exhibitions etc raw is the way to go. You can convert raw files using the correct version of Camera Raw with Photoshop and with proprietary converters like Capture NX2, View NX for Nikon.

 Tip 8: If you can, take along a small table top light weight tripod
Ideally most photographers would recommend a full heavy weight tripod but is difficult to carry around and also in some situations difficult to set up. So I have a small Slik table top which can also fit into a jacket pocket which I use when I need support. The Joby Gorilla pod is also an option and has the advantage of flexible legs!

Tip 9: Don’t put the camera away at dusk or at night
On the subject of tripods if you have one with you then photography at night and at dusk becomes a distinct possibility. Long exposures makes the world look a lot different and details in the dark night sky can often produce stunning effects.

Tip 10: Less is often more!
The proliferation of social media and the free photo web sites have made it possible for everyone to post their photos on the net even if they don’t have their own web sites or blogs. However, in their enthusiasm to post photographs of a holiday or journey I often find a facebook album of a hundred photos or more. Similarly, picasa web albums sent to me to review have similar number of photos. Usually with so many images the impact is lost and the good images get masked by the mediocre ones. So it often helps to edit tightly, remove duplicates and similars, weed out all photos that are not in focus, overexposed or underexposed, badly composed and leave the best ones for the viewers! Most of my albums rarely have more than twenty photographs and the majority have between ten and twelve!

Happy shooting!  

For more of my photographs do visit

Monday, March 11, 2019

Mountain Photography Workshop | April 6th 2019 Kolkata

On 6th April 2019 in Kolkata, India I will be conducting a short workshop of mountain photography. It will be a hands on session with my photographs explaining the  approach, the technicalities, different subjects and situations and the reason behind the photographs.

I will share with the participants my thirty odd years of experience photographing in the mountains.

The programme is organised by  ‘THE HIMALAYAN ’s a Trust, non-profit in nature that was formed in May 2017. It was conceived to attract like-minded people in the promotion of Himalayan lore and preservation, through Travel, Expeditions, Explorations and Adventure, and support of its Nature, Ecology, Culture, as well as the well-being of its people. The primary inspiration has been the vision of Mr. Meher H. Mehta FRGS and a handful of likeminded mountain lovers - a vision that encompasses the incorporation of a balanced, incisive as well as interactive dissemination platform for the reporting of Himalayan Activity–of Climbing, Science, Literature and the yonder, in a manner befit to stimulate the intellectual yearning of the erudite mountain lover, as well as to kindle the fertile mind of the incorrigibly romantic young mountaineer.

Admission is free to register for the workshop do send an email to

I hope to see many of my friends, fellow photographers and mountain lovers at the workshop.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Mountain Photography at Night

92 sec f 6.3 ISO  800
On  our  South Col treks , I often try to do some night photography when the weather is clear and the stars are out. Recently in Nepal  I was able to  experiment with a lot of mountain photography at dusk and at night.  I am sharing some tips and useful suggestions in this post:

It goes without saying that the first requirement for night photography of mountains is a strong rock steady tripod. Monopods and table top tripods are not real substitute to a good tripod. I know this means lugging up and down the mountain another 1 to 2 kgs of weight but if you need to shoot long exposures then you need the tripod. This will really help you to get rock steady photos at long exposures. I use an Oban tripod one of the entry level lightweight model weighing around 1.5 kg.

If your camera is on a tripod set VR or IS off - you don't need any vibration reduction as the tripod is supposed to be rock steady!

Please do set autofocus off and focus your lens manually - my experience is that with autofocus on the camera hunts for a correct focus point at night!

The newer generation of DSLRs have pushed high ISO performance to 3200 and 6400 with some amazingly good results but I am conservative in this regard – if I can put my camera on a tripod I still prefer the lower ISO settings 200-1000 with longer exposures.

I would usually select a middle of the range aperture like f5.6 , f6.3 or f8 unless I need depth of field from foreground right up to infinity. In that case I may even stop down to f16!

After setting the ISO and aperture the balancing factor would be the shutter speed. It is hard to select the shutter speed in low light and make a perfect exposure. There is a lot of black and deep shadows in the photograph and usually the metering is fooled by this resulting in some over exposure. As a rule of thumb setting the exposure compensation to -0.7 and bracketing two stops around the meter reading usually gives one good shot! Speeds can be as low as 15 sec, 30 sec and sometimes even one minute using this bracketing technique.  Most DSLRs wont go below 30 sec so you would have to switch to bulb mode  fire the shutter with a remote release and then close it again. 
30 sec, f7.1 ISO 200 
I usually set the white balance to Auto and keep it that way - in case there is any extraordinary colour shift I would correct it in processing. but this is not usual.

Oh and finally do shoot raw - makes a huge difference to the final image!

For more night photos please do visit   


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