Look For Unusual Perspectives

The annual Holi festival in India is a riot of colored powder and paint that is brimming with photographic possibilities. Even in this subject-rich environment, you can up your game by finding an unusual perspective to capture the action.

To gain the perspective of my image taken in the Vrindavan temple (above), we climbed to a balcony and shot down toward the temple floor. Tripods are out of the question in the hubbub of Holi, so we steadied our cameras against a balcony railing to keep the pedestal sharp, despite the one-second exposure. I sought to capture the worshipful (but frenetic) motion I saw below me.

Holi presents special challenges in protecting your camera equipment—and you. We enclosed our cameras entirely in low-cost clear plastic OP/TECH Rainsleeves. The sleeves were taped to the lens at the filter ring, where the front element was protected by an inexpensive UV filter. We operated the cameras entirely through the rain sleeves and discarded them at the end of each day.

If you plan to shoot Holi, take care of your body as well. I wore contractor safety glasses to protect my eyes from flying liquids and powders. I saw western visitors wearing snorkeling goggles. You may find such protections unnecessary. With the help of our local guide, I acquired a local Indian white outfit, wore it every day during the festival and left it behind, no longer white. Beware the risks of jostling crowds; consider leaving your cell phone and valuables in the hotel safe.

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