Category Archives: Photography

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A Malaga moment

When I look back at my Europe trip, I have so many moments and sights that stand out. So many things to write about – just looking back is a bit daunting. But I’m trying to organise everything and share useful information in nuggets, along with tips and travel information. Hopefully, over the next few months I’ll get to share some of it.

In the meanwhile, enjoy this lovely view of Malaga with me. It was a cloudy day to start with. My host was quite disappointed by the weather I was getting to witness (it’s never like this, she kept telling me). But I set off anyway on a bit of sightseeing. I borrowed her son’s cycle and decided to explore the city on two wheels. At the end of my gallivanting, the skies cleared quite a bit and I decided to climb to the Castle of Gibralfaro. Even though I wasn’t optimistic about the views that day, I started off. It was a good decision. As the evening set in, suddenly I got a display of some brilliant colours – orange, purple, yellow – the sky was on fire!

The sea-side city of Malaga awash with brilliant colours as the sun sets

The sea-side city of Malaga awash with brilliant colours as the sun sets

Malaga is on the southern tip of Spain, and apparently one of the oldest cities in the world. It also has some of the warmest summers in Europe. I spent quite a few happy days there and can recommend a visit to Malaga to anyone who is heading to that part of the world. It is also the place where I lost my passport, but I’ll reserve that story for another day.

In the meanwhile, enjoy the view!

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Walking around Aarschot, dreaming of noodles

I spent a week in the town of Aarschot. If you’re wondering where that is, it’s very close to Leuven (a university town), around 50 from Brussels. It’s a city and municipality in the province of Flemish Brabant, in Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium.

A walk in town: Aarschot
The town of Aarschot, with a population of 27,864 (in 2006)

My home for a week was a caravan in the home of a farming couple and their two children. My caravan mate was a lovely girl from England and I was glad I had some company. I hadn’t really lived in a caravan before and this was a different experience for me. (But I’m saving that story for later).

Aarschot turned out to be a much larger town than I initially thought so. I had an impression that it will be a smallish town the size of my locality in Bangalore. But it turned out that I was wrong. The town is actually quite large and has a nice big square with different restaurants around it. On weekends, there is some activity as people come out to enjoy the sun and some of the famous Belgian beer.

A walk in town: Aarschot
A small and neat town, great to walk around. Also has cycling tracks

A walk in town: Aarschot
I love this – it’s a bread machine! So you can pick up your dinner on the walk home…

But otherwise, it’s pretty quiet as I discovered while setting out for a walk with my caravan mate, Lou. We decided to explore the natural “reserve” area, a few kilometres down from where we were staying. From there, we’d venture into town and maybe grab a glass of wine.

A walk in town: Aarschot
Off we go, Lou and I

I like seeing places on foot. Or bicycle. You can stop and stare. Do unplanned things. And generally get a feel of the place. Something you wouldn’t get if you were whizzing past in a car. Or a bus.

A walk in town: Aarschot A walk in town: Aarschot
A walk in town: Aarschot A walk in town: Aarschot
Quiet picturesque roads, where we encountered a few cyclists and a nice trail leading to a green forested area

The natural reserve (I am really not sure it was one, but calling it that for reference) turned out to be a rather pretty area. We walked on the edge of it, I think. Met some cyclists on the way, but we were the only walkers.

A walk in town: Aarschot
Means, watch out for cyclists!

A walk in town: Aarschot
Lou running up the slope as we enter the green forested area

We went in for a bit and then decided to turn around towards the main city centre in search of food. Lou was a bit suspicious of my direction skills, but I had the map with me. A distinct advantage.

A walk in town: Aarschot A walk in town: Aarschot
A walk in town: Aarschot A walk in town: Aarschot
The town is quiet, with flower lined roads, signs and routes for cyclists and a large square where most of the restaurants are located

We walked through the pretty streets of Aarschot and got a bit lost. Some of the streets didn’t have any names. Or they had hidden them well enough. So there were periods of time, when we stood at a crossing and didn’t really know where we were. This is where cathedrals play an important role as a GPS. Using the tall tower, you can make your way towards it. So, as soon as I espied the tower, I knew we could head in that general direction. We did, and landed up at the town square.

A walk in town: Aarschot
The main square where most of the action is!

The sun dappled square was quite busy since it was a holiday and people were enjoying their beers and drinks in the warm afternoon sun. We basked in the sun ourselves for a bit; had a glass of well deserved wine.

A walk in town: Aarschot

We stopped to enjoy a glass of wine at a cafe in the city centre

And then set off in search of Asian food. Well, I was dreaming of noodles (I have these cravings sometimes) while Lou said she’d be happy with fries. We didn’t land up getting either. Roamed around a bit looking for an Asian place. Every town, city and village has to have an Asian place. Surely.

A walk in town: Aarschot
The Beginhof in Aarschot, a very beautiful stone building

A walk in town: Aarschot
City roads of Aarschot
A walk in town: Aarschot
Do we want Indian? Not me!

We weren’t about to give up though Lou was getting quite swayed by the thought of “frites”. But that particular day, there were no frites in Belgium. Well, at least not in Aarschot. In our vicinity anyway. We walked around to the station area and finally sighted a Chinese restaurant. By then we were tired and hungry.

Dreaming of noodles, I ordered my “nasi goreng” (not a Chinese dish I know, and I had no idea why it was there) from the menu. Around 15 minutes later two plates of rice arrived on the table. That’s when I realised my mistake. Obviously, even my recent trip to Malaysia hadn’t helped differentiate between “mee” and “nasi”. Ah, well. Nobody’s perfect.

So, of course, my noodle dreams had to be shelved for another day. We enjoyed our food, never the less. And then walked back to our life. And the caravan.

More pictures from Aarschot

More from the Europe wanderings:
Swiss summer
Of missed flights

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A few different ways to enjoy Switzerland

It’s difficult not to enjoy Switzerland. Not only is it picture perfect, it is one of the safest countries in the world. Where you can go off on a trek into the mountains pretty much by yourself. Or travel from one part of the country to another without too many worries about your safety.

Lake view
A view of the lake on my first trip in 2005

Geneva and Zurich happen to ranked among the top cities with the highest quality of life in the world. (And as a result, Switzerland also happens to be the most expensive country in the world to live in).

I’ve been in Switzerland since the first week of August and I must say that I’m enjoying it more than my first time. For one, I have more days in hand. And rather than rushing around, I’ve had the opportunity to soak in some cultural experiences, walk around some amazingly scenic trails in the Swiss mountains, experienced living in a small village and devoured inordinately large amounts of cheese and wine. My quota for the year, is definitely over.

Enjoying a Swiss summer
A traditional dish called raclette. Among other things, it has a lot of cheese.

Enjoying a Swiss summer
Enjoying the beautiful green mountains

But what better way to enjoy a country? Here are a few…

Trekking around the mountains

They’re almost painfully beautiful. Well, the pain is partly because the climbs are tough in parts. But the views more than make up for all the effort and hard work. In my first week, I got whisked away to the mountains and I wasn’t going to complain. Though I was informed this has been a really dismal summer by Swiss standards, we were lucky enough to get a few days of sunshine and clear weather.

Enjoying a Swiss summer
Views from the chalet we stayed in

We stayed in a cosy chalet up in the village of Gryon, a town located around an hour’s drive from the city of Lausanne. From there, it was a matter of planning where to start the trek from, where to end, pack our picnic lunches and then set off. We did 3 treks into the mountains and each one was memorable in it’s own way.

Enjoying a Swiss summer
The village of Gryon is the perfect place to base yourself for treks around the area

To be able to walk out into the mountains without a care in the world is a feeling unmatched. The routes are really well marked and it’s unlikely you’ll get lost unless you’re really bad with directions. Someone commented how it seemed so safe – just both of us traipsing through the countryside. And yes, it is actually. At no point did we feel unsafe. With a walking map in hand, and an excellent guide in Stephanie, who was brought up climbing the mountains around the area, I couldn’t have been in better hands.

Enjoying a Swiss summer
Gushing alpine streams accompany you on many portions of your walks

Enjoying a Swiss summer
Nothing like a dose of fresh mountain air

The three treks we did:
1) Pont-de-Nant

Enjoying a Swiss summer
The approximately 8km trek begins with a gradual climb and then gets slightly steeper, goes up to a view point and then descends through some tall trees on the other side

2) La Croix des Chaux-Bretaye

Enjoying a Swiss summer
Around 15 kms, we hiked to a peak called La Croix des Chaux at 2012 metres. From there, we hiked through some narrow paths and valleys to the village of Taveyanne, climbed to Ensex and ended the trek in a small picturesque village called Bretaye.

Enjoying a Swiss summer
Don’t miss a walk around the lake in the village of Bretaye

3) Javerne-La Tourche

Enjoying a Swiss summer
View from the top of the climb at a point called La Tourche, and we did around 8 kms to and from a high altitude pasture called Javerne.

Enjoying a Swiss summer
A couple enjoying the view from the top

Enjoying a Swiss summer
Stephanie and I enjoying the trek to La Tourche

Switzerland’s walking and trekking routes are really well marked and you can check out these websites for more information.
My Switzerland
Wandersite
Walking Switzerland

Enjoying a Swiss summer Enjoying a Swiss summer

Biking on beautiful scenic roads

It’s almost a sin not to be able to ride on these roads. I look with a certain amount of envy at cyclists enjoying the beautiful countryside roads, with hardly any traffic. Also, most cars give a wide berth here and besides there aren’t too many of them on the back roads. I’ve encountered quite a few cycle friendly trails. One particular one I’d like to do one day is the Vallee de Joux area. With some nice climbs, scenic routes and amazing views, I’ve marked this area for future reference! Otherwise too, summer is a great time for cycling with the weather just right. Not too warm and not too cold. I almost regret not getting my folding cycle along with me.

Enjoying a Swiss summer
Cyclist enjoying a perfect day

Cycling in Switzerland
Mountain bike land

Of bovine pleasures: visiting a dairy farm

I am loving the cows here. Not to take away from our beautiful specimens back home in India. But they’re extra large in size.

Enjoying a Swiss summer
A good looking specimen, if you ask me!

They also are quite curious. And they are adorned with these beautiful bells. When you’re walking in the countryside, it’s not unusual to hear their synchronised ringing from a long distance, the sound echoing through the countryside.

High on alpine pastures, are these charming dairy farms that look inaccessible and remote. And they probably are, by Swiss standards. We passed by quite a few on some of our treks.

Enjoying a Swiss summer
Grazing their hearts out. And enjoying their daily dose of fresh air and grass

On another occasion, we dropped in at one of the farms and got a glimpse of the mechanised “milking”, and a taste of the excellent cheese with a glass of wine. As we settled into the bench outside, sipping on wine and nibbling on cheese, I looked out into the sun dappled valley, with the cows letting out an occasional moo, the bells ringing and just nothing else in sight but the green mountains beyond. What an idyllic place to be.

Enjoying a Swiss summer
The cows looking a bit curious at the human intruder on their blissful chewing

Gruyere is a famous brand in these parts

Life in a Swiss village

With their community centres, their churches, and pretty wooden houses, it was a delight to experience life in a small Swiss village called Le Vaud. I have to go back to the hustle bustle and chaos of Silk Board and Bangalore after this is over, so I’m determined to relish every moment.

Enjoying a Swiss summer
Life in the cosy village of Le Vaud proved to be a far cry from the chaotic Silk Board. And no, not complaining! It was much welcome relief for a weary “honked out” Bangalorean

I discovered some inside roads ideal for running and walking. You hardly bump into a soul. In the centre, there’s a grocery shop, a boulangerie and an auberge communal for those looking to rest for a night or two.

Enjoying a Swiss summer
I welcomed these empty roads like a fish takes to water! And no, I am not missing our honking drivers

A really nice feature in these towns are communal “basins” or water fountains where you can go and refill your water. They seem to be always running and are probably fed by underground streams. The next village, around 2-3 kms down the road is called Bassins and has around 6-7 of these basins or fountains. With pretty flower pots adorning these spaces, they make for a nice sight.

Enjoying a Swiss summer
The communal fountain, served by an underground stream I suspect

I walked, ran, watched the hills and the snow capped peaks on a clear day, across the lake. Said “bonjour” to dozens of people on the road. Ate some really delicious food, thanks to my lovely hosts. And enjoyed walking up the hills in the evening, watching the skies change colour over the lake. Back in chaotic Bangalore crossing Madivala market, I’ll remember these moments.

Enjoying a Swiss summer
A beautiful summer’s day in Le Vaud

Tasting the local wine and cheese

Happy cows seem to make for delicious cheese. And of course, what better drink to wash it down than some local wine. Whether it’s a rosé, a white or a red, make sure you’re not empty handed when eating your cheese and bread. My bread intake has gone up drastically over the last couple of weeks, something I don’t much care for back home. At the dairy farm we visited, there’s a room where the cheese is made and another where it’s stored. I take a glimpse inside this room and it’s like a vaulted chamber with a very precious commodity – cheese.

Enjoying a Swiss summer
The cheese chamber – here is where it all comes from

Wine is more popular than water. I think. And I’m not complaining since it’s my drink of choice.

Enjoying a Swiss summer
My love for wine only got stronger

Enjoying a Swiss summer
The fondue has more cheese than I eat in a year. But I finished it at one go. You have to give me points for assimilating.

So the Swiss summer is turning out nicely. The doses of cheese and wine have done wonders to my now forgotten diet, which I was asked to chuck out the minute I landed in Switzerland. Right now, I’m doing what I would advise all of you to do – give in and enjoy the summer!

The Swiss Summer album

(NOTE: Cover photo courtesy: Stephanie Booth)

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My favourite portraits from Vietnam

I’m a little scared of street photography. Timid actually. In fact, I think a lot about taking pictures of people. (Unless, it’s for a assignment, which is a totally different matter).

I’ve seen street and candid photographers at work and I’m really impressed. I’ve seen those who go up right upto a person and start clicking immediately. I’ve seen others who have no fear and just shoot anyone and anything.

For me, I always try and ensure my “subject” doesn’t mind. Or is not offended. However, the problem in this case is that in the process, the “moment” is often lost. Or the shot is not right anymore since I’ve been doing too much thinking.

On my recent trip to Vietnam, I decided that I was going to do more portraits. At least attempt to.

The lenses I used were: 70-300 mm (courtesy Bookmylens.com) and the 24-70 mm, a great lens from my own collection. These were the only two lenses I relied on. The 24-70 mm is definitely one of my favourites. The 70-300 mm helps when you want to shoot from a distance. The only disadvantage is that it doesn’t do well in low light situations. But otherwise, quite useful for street photography.

Here are some of my favourites.

1. Black Hmong tribal lady with a baby

She walked with us the entire duration of the Sapa trek with her baby on her back. Not once did the baby complain (nor did she). This was during a trek we did from Sapa town, down into the valley to a home stay.

Mother and baby

2. Lady with the fan

When we visited the Ethnology Museum in Hanoi, we were walking around with our guide looking around at the different dwellings of the indigenous tribals of the country when we met a big group of visitors. They were all from a neighbouring village and it seems like their day out in town!

Lady with the fan

3. Cat at the temple

This rather cool cat was lounging around at the Hoan Kiem lake in Hanoi. With my special affinity for the feline species, I get easily distracted when I see a gorgeous specimen like this one. And he (she?) was happy with all the attention. Soon, some kids also noticed the cat and we had a bit of a cat appreciation party right there.

The cat at the temple

4. Lady making rice paper

It’s a fine and delicate art, this one. Imagine making paper thin wisps (so thin, you can barely see it) over a hot griddle and then taking them out carefully and drying them. If it was me, I’d have lumps of rice all over and no paper, that’s for sure. This was taken during our trip to the Mekong Delta, where as a part of the package you get to see a coconut (sweet) production facility, buy some candies and also watch the making of rice paper.

The lady making the rice paper

5. Lady on the motorbike with the hat

Everyone wears it. Especially in the smaller villages and towns. It’s made out of bamboo or palm and is incredibly light. Which was surprising since I actually perceived it to be much heavier. It’s not only a style statement, it also keep out the sun, which the Vietnamese are extremely sensitive to (as I discovered; they wear face masks all the time).

The lady on the motorbike

6. Friends on the river

During our trip on the Mekong Delta, at some point of time our boat stopped. Stalled. In the middle of the water. So while our captain (or driver?) made arrangements for another boat to bring in a replacement engine, everyone relaxed and sat around waiting. I noticed this bunch of 3 friends, obviously enjoying themselves at one end of the boat.

Hanging out: Friends enjoying themselves

7. The lady who rowed our boat

While on the Mekong, after lunch we were transferred to those smaller row boats with around 2-3 passengers each, so we could negotiate the narrower streams that flow into the delta. This was an enjoyable part of the trip and we were in the capable hands of this quite frail looking lady. However, she managed the 3 of us large (compared to Vietnamese standards) Indian women rather well!

The lady who rowed our boat

8. The lady who didn’t

This was a lady who rowed another group. She was extremely thrilled since she seemed to have been tipped in dollars. So afterwards, she sat on the shore, smiling broadly at her tips for the day and showing it off.

The lady who didn't!

9. The girl on the unusual ride

Well, definitely not your usual ride to school. Or to the supermarket. But this little girl seemed really comfortable on the back of this rather large bullock. Probably something she does everyday.

A nice ride, wouldn't you agree?

10. The girl playing with water

After a rather tough and long trek through some mushy parts and ups and down, in Sapa, we stopped at this rather gorgeous waterfalls. Where everyone relaxed, enjoyed the view and took a long break. One of the girls accompanying us was happily playing in the water with her friend.

The girl playing with water

11. The lady who embroiders

At the same point, higher up on one of the rocks was this lady who was seemingly quite focused on her work for the day. Embroidery. It’s something tribal women do even while walking, sitting and possibly even in their sleep – they are so good at it!

The lady who embroidered

12. The baby with the cute hat

Now isn’t that the loveliest cap? Spotted these few kids playing around at our lunch stop while on our Sapa trek. This little kid was one amongst them. He was happily playing and looked up for a while. And then his hand went into a sign. Was he sending his blessings? :-)

The boy with the lovely cap

13. The lady who sews

Yes, did I mention it already? The women love to sew and do it all the time. It’s rarely that they sit idle. Most of their attire is all sewn by themselves and the work is gorgeous. I mean, I can’t sew to save my life so I think it’s really beautiful. This lady is wearing a really nice shirt (overcoat?) and even the bag on her side is extremely pretty. And of course, she’s still busy sewing – her next new coat perhaps?

The lady intent on sewing

These portraits are from a June 2014 trip to Vietnam where I covered Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon), Mekong Delta, Hanoi, Sapa Valley and Halong Bay.

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Vietnam: A few first impressions

This was a different kind of trip. I didn’t do much research since my fellow traveller and photographer Hema took control of everything including the planning and organising (which I usually enjoy doing for my trips). For a change, I took a backseat as I was already busy planning an all girl’s trip to Wayanad. So I didn’t really have any notions/impressions except a guide book that I’d borrowed from a friend.

The guidebook indicated there were a few scams in some parts of Vietnam. But we didn’t come across any such unpleasant experiences. However, another group we met did tell us that cab drivers purposely take long routes even if the places are close by, just to make an extra buck. But after dealing with auto drivers in Bangalore, I think one is armed to take on a few greedy errant taxi drivers.

At no point during our trip did we actually feel threatened or unsafe in Vietnam. (In fact, I have at time felt more unsafe in some parts of India). The people are quite stoic but once you converse with them (or try as their English is very limited), they are quite friendly. Except for one very surly cab driver (he was definitely unhappy with his life) people were generally quite nice. English is not their strong point, but with a lot of effort (and gestures) usually we got our message across. Sometimes not successfully. But no matter. We managed to navigate despite all of these issues.

Streets of Hanoi

We walked out of our hotel located in District 1, Saigon on our last night and there were people everywhere. This was at 1130 pm at night. There were people singing, eating, drinking, chatting and generally lounging around till 3 am in the morning. Unlike Bangalore, where you feel like a criminal at 11 pm, this was place was just the opposite. Many street side pubs were also cashing in on football fever.

Night life in Hanoi

There are millions of motorbikes in the cities, especially Hanoi and HCM which we visited. Interesting though the fact that even despite heavy traffic, there is lesser (noticeable) aggression. In India, we’d be punching one another and bringing our dear departed generations into our brawls. However, the Vietnamese all congregate in the center of the road, at the same time, and then make their way around each other. Magically, everyone finds a way. In the few times we went out, we didn’t see too many folks lose their temper. The honking is relatively lesser too.

Two wheelers rule the streets

And then there are cyclists. Even in the middle of this chaos, cyclists of all ages made their way on two wheels. And they didn’t seem to be bullied into corners or edges of the street, unlike what happens in India. They were very much a part of the ecosystem, demanding an equal share of the road. No one was treated as a lesser mortal on the road because they happened to be on a cycle. And there were so many women, girls, older folks cycling even in peak hour that I was quite amazed. I even saw a dad with two of his young sons cycling on a busy road (a sight that you’ll be hard pressed to see here).

Everyone cycles - old and young

Everyone is a moving market!

Masks are a fashion statement. And supposedly keep pollution at bay. I’m not sure about the efficacy of these masks, which mostly women wear. They adorn every second face. A young university student called Ly I met on a bus said women are very beauty conscious and basically do it to protect their skin from the sun and pollution. I was tempted to buy one for myself, but couldn’t find a mask with cats on it.

Street corners and roads are relatively clean. I saw a lot of sweeping going on in the mornings. This might also be due to the fact that the Vietnamese eat on the streets all the time so they probably want to keep it clean. Except some parts where there was littering (like the China town area in HCM), largely the garbage disposal system seems to be working. And people seem to be a bit more conscious of littering than us Indians.

Street food is a way of life

There is excessive use of thin plastic bags everywhere. They possibly don’t know how much harm all this will do to their environment (yet), but shopkeepers are only too eager to flash out the bags even for the smallest purchase. Whether it’s water, chips, biscuits or anything you buy, the first thing you get is this flimsy plastic bag. And tourists are equally responsible for accepting these despite the fact that everyone is carrying a rucksack or a bag they can carry the stuff in.

Packing it in

Clean rest rooms (and no smell!). What a boon. Especially coming from a country like India where the level of sanitation can drop to dismal lows, I was really thrilled to find clean loos. And most of them didn’t smell. I’m not sure how or what they did, but they didn’t announce their presence the way Indian loos did. Even in remote villages and towns, we were quite pleasantly surprised with the cleanliness and accessibility of restrooms, a major concern for travellers in India. And hardly anyone pees on the road (if it’s practiced, it wasn’t as noticeable as in our country).

Connected everywhere!. This was surprising as we were gearing up to be off the network for a few days. In fact, my fellow travellers armed themselves with local SIMs, which I decided not to go in for. And there was connectivity everywhere – whether it was the hotels, cafes, restaurants, a rustic home stay in a remote village or even our cruise boat on Halong Bay. Wi-Fi is a given and most places will let you use it for free. We actually weren’t off the network anywhere at all!

There are no overweight/obese people in Vietnam. This is actually true. In all our travels there, we didn’t come across one overweight person. Everyone seems to come out of the same sized mould! Despite the fact that their portions are generous and everyone is eating all the time. They’re doing something very right. I want their secret!

Enjoyed the trip immensely and wouldn’t mind returning to see parts of the country, which we missed out this time around.

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Why buy when you can try? Camera Equipment from Bookmylens.com

I’m super thrilled to announce my photography gear/equipment partner, Bookmylens.com, a camera and lens rental service based in Bangalore. They also offer additional services like photo editing, and monitor calibrating services.

FACEBOOK: BookMyLens | TWITTER: @bookmylens

On my Wayanad trip earlier in the month, I tried out a Canon 500D and a 17-85 mm lens and most of the photos from my earlier post was taken by this camera.

For me, photography is a way in which I can bring my stories alive. And it makes sense therefore to take updated gear and lenses when on a trip. But I discovered that you don’t really need to buy so much equipment, when you can easily just try it out for affordable prices instead. That way, depending on the kind of trip you’re going on and what you’re planning to do – you can decide on the equipment you want to carry. It’s a much better deal according to me, rather than accumulating a lot of equipment, which you might use only sporadically. Not to mention the fact that equipment can get frightfully expensive.

Goutham Shankar, who is the founder of BookMyLens (with a lot of support from his friends, family and customers, he says) answered a few questions I had of their service and I am sure you’ll find them useful too.

Q1. When did you start off and how did it happen?

BookMyLens is a photography equipment rental service company. We provide an easy and quick service for photography enthusiasts to experience all kinds of photography related equipments.

We have wide range of equipment covering entry level DSLRs, Pro-DSLRs, and Lenses ranging from 50mm to 600mm, video equipment (including our newly acquired cinema cameras like Black Magic), support rigs, audio equipment used for video shooting etc. which are used by budding photographers, wildlife photographers, wedding photographers, short filmmakers alike.

I started testing the waters sometime early 2011 and within a period of 5-6 months I was convinced with the business model, which I had in mind. By Sep 2012, I quit my IT job and started full time.

First and foremost reason for me to start this venture was my passion for photography. Having started as an amateur photographer in early 2005, which slowly turned out to be serious hobby over a period of time. That’s when I realized that not everyone could afford to buy photography related equipment owing to the huge cost and hassles involved in procuring them here, also felt the need for have different equipments under one roof.

I could figure out a huge potential in the market with just not hobbyist photographers but also for ad agencies, event companies, short filmmakers, wedding photographers etc., the demand is going to increase in the future.

I realized a rental service providing high quality gear at affordable prices was essential.

Q2. How has the scene changed over the years?

There has been a fantastic response (+ve). Lot of people want to try their hands on photography without the need of spending huge amount on buying these expensive equipments. On the other hand, there are lot of other rental companys which have come up in recent times which has lead to price wars.

Q3. Any bad experience or learnings in the last few years – things you hadn’t accounted for?

Lot of learnings, everyday there is a learning as in when we meet different customers. Lot of things we learnt and implemented it in a jiffy to make the entire business model stronger.

Q4. So who is your typical customer?

It’s a mixture of professional / amateurs. Apart from that we have lot of companys who rent our equipments for their in-house shoots.

Q5. What would you say your USP is? Why should someone come to you?

The market for photography is growing day by day exponentially. People have started to realise the ability to rent any kind of equipment without spending huge amounts.

There is a high demand for the same and so are the services available. One has to take care of all aspects including providing high quality gear, delivery/pick up and guiding people for picking the right equipment.

Our aim is to provide the best in class lenses, DSLRs, video equipments and accessories at affordable rentals and we believe that our service and range speaks for itself.

If you want to try out their services, head across to BookMyLens.com