16 Hour Photography Project – How it helps

We all love to photograph. Most of the amateur photographers start with grabbing the camera and clicking random subjects. Which is fine, but then there is the next level to it. Photographing randomly without any direction doesn’t help you become a better photographer because you remain in your comfort zone and click what comes to you. To take photography to the next level, one must start with photography projects. That gives a proper direction to photography.

A project can be anything, shooting one subject from different angles, shooting a specific color, only portraits etc. Basically, a theme to stick to. That helps in brainstorming and eventually, your photography will improve.
So I assigned myself a project: 16 Hour Photography Project. The aim was simple, to go out and click continuously for 16 hours, a whole day, early morning till late night.

The 16 Hour Photography Project

The plan was simple, to get up and leave home at 6 AM and come back at night, decided my itinerary for photography in Delhi. I was already ready with my plan for the next day which included:

  1. Chandni Chowk for street photography in early morning
  2. Red Fort
  3. Back to Chandni chowk for street photography & breakfast
  4. Humayun Tomb
  5. Hauz Khas Village
  6. Delhi hat in evening

Gear I carried was a Nikon D750 with lens Nikon 24-120mm f4 and Honor 8 Mobile Phone.
It is better if you make a list of few ideas you want to photograph and constantly keep looking for them. That will give you better results from the project. For instance, I was constantly looking for Patterns, Contrasts, Shadows, Colors etc.

The Execution

I woke up early and left home by 6 AM and reached Chandni Chowk in an hour. It is the best place for street photography in Delhi (Have a look at my street photographs). The best time to photograph the streets of Chandni Chowk is early morning as it gets crowded during the day.

16 hour photography project

Street food of Chandni Chowk, Delhi

Portrait, Red Fort, Delhi

Portrait, Red Fort, Delhi

Red Fort, Delhi

Red Fort, Delhi


After spending a couple of hours at Chandni Chowk, I had some delicious street food. Then I headed towards the Red Fort, which is just next to Chandni Chowk. You can either walk to it or take a rickshaw. I spent qualitative time at the Red Fort photographing its architecture, gardens, squirrels and took some rest in the shade of trees.
After that, I took a cab to Humayun Tomb, which is one of the most beautiful places of its kind in India. If you are in Delhi, You would certainly not want to miss this place even if you are not a photographer. I stayed there for 4 hours.

Namaz, Humayun Tomb

Namaz, Humayun Tomb

Chandni Chowk

Chandni Chowk

Humayun Tomb

Humayun Tomb

Colors at delhi haat

Colors at delhi haat


In the evening around 4, I left for Hauz Khas Village. Humayun tomb and Hauz Khas, both are located in south Delhi. So it didn’t take much time to reach there. Hauz Khas is famous for its lake, the fort and the delicious food & drinks which the nearby restaurants offer.
From Hauz Khas, I visited the Delhi Hat. I just used my mobile phone for shooting Delhi Hat as I wanted to test the low light capabilities of Honor 8. After having dinner in Delhi hat, I took a cab and came back home.

How it Helps

In 16 Hour Photography Project, You dedicate one whole day to photography, nothing else to do other than this. Just take some good sleep a night before and you’ll be fine. The way it helps is you are concentrating only on photography. You are not in a hurry to go back or do anything else. If you are a hobbyist, it helps you to continue the photography at a good pace. So if you haven’t picked up the camera in the recent times, this project will help you get started again with a good headstart. One important aspect you’ll notice is, getting up before sunrise and ending after sunset will let you see all different shades of light in one single day. You will get to observe all kind of possibilities for photography, Softlight, Hardlight, Shadows, Sunrise & Sunset all in one shot. Exciting, isn’t it?

If you feel tired, take some rest, grab some snack and get started again. Some things you won’t notice during the session. But, when you’ll start reviewing the images, you’ll realize how good you were with the frames, light, composition etc. You can also try the same itinerary again after few days. Then compare the photographs between both sessions, you’ll see an improved photographer in You!

Tips for this project

  1. Try to do this project over a weekend, preferably Saturday. In that case, you’ll have a whole next day to relax and to review your photographs.
  2. Don’t carry heavy gear, that will be a burden more than fun. Travel light, wear comfortable shoes, keep a water bottle and a pair of shades.
  3. It will be also good if you have someone to accompany you during the session. My wife accompanied me and we spent some good time together and I got my personal subject to photograph at different places 😉

Please share your experiences of such projects in the comment box.

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5 Things you probably didn’t know about your DSLR

IMG_1338-2When you start photography, you learn a lot of features in the initial phase of learning. About shutter speed, aperture, ISO, White balance etc. Then all of a sudden, the learning stops or slows down. Why so? The reason is, after a certain level of understanding, most of the amateurs tend more towards just framing. But there are some features which remain unlearned by many amateurs. This post discusses the powerful but less used features of a DSLR.

5 Things you probably didn’t know about your DSLR

I will be discussing the importance and usability of the features in this post, not how to enable and use these in your camera. Because there are different ways of using them in different camera brands. Please refer to your camera manual for detailed steps of using them.

1. Back Button Focusing

Back button focusing is one of the most wonderful features. As we all know, the camera focuses on the subject when the shutter is pressed half way down. And when the shutter is pressed in full, it takes the shot. Enabling back button focusing makes it so that shutter button doesn’t control the focusing at all. Instead it assigns a dedicated button for focusing. And then, the shutter button is just for clicking. This is really useful when you have to take a lot of shots, but you know the focus is not going to change for every shot. With Back Button Focusing, you can set the focus once and take many shots as you want without refocusing again and again. An another useful example is when you focused anything and you are about to take the shot. Something suddenly comes between the camera and the subject. At that moment, the camera changes the focus. But if you are using the Back button focusing, no matter what happens, the focus remains fixed until or unless you want it to change.

2. Exposure Lock

Exposure lock, if used properly, it can save a lot of time and give good results. It does exactly what it says. It reads the exposure from one frame and locks the exposure. And you use that locked exposure reading to click the picture of any other frame. This feature is useful when the area you are trying to capture has a dynamic range, and the light meter is easily confused. Consider the following example.


The image on the left is without exposure lock. It overexposed the highlights and showed some shadow details. But I didn’t want the shadow details. I wanted the details in highlights. So I took the camera outside, locked the exposure and then moved back inside. Then I took the shot. In that process, the camera used the exposure reading of the highlight area. ( the similar result is quite possible by using spot metering in this example. But this is just an example. Exposure lock and spot metering are different things. You can achieve many different results which you can’t by spot metering)

3. Custom White Balance

Setting up White balance is one of the important decisions we have to make while taking a photograph. The entire look and feel of the photo depend upon that. Many of us still use the AWB (Auto white balance). Before moving to custom white balance, let me tell you, stop using AWB. It is just crap. You should try other white balance options like Shade or tungsten with some test shots and see how that affects the picture. You’ll get far better results than AWB .
Custom white balance is one of the custom options in your camera. With a little practice, if used correctly, custom white balance can give you brilliant results. Simple words of defining Custom White Balance is, It lets you capture the colors the way they look to you in reality. You know the camera is not intelligent enough, it neutralises the colors. The colors you look in reality, AWB gets you something different in the picture. For setting up a custom white balance, you will be needing a calibrator for this, a gray card (or a white paper will do, but a gray card will get you more precise results). Now, most of you will say that we can adjust white balance and color correct the picture while post processing. But the question is, how will you remember the colors of the subject later.
Following example shows the difference between an auto white balance and custom white balance


4. DOF (Depth of field) Preview

Depth of field is a common term to a photographer. It is the amount of distance between the nearest and farthest objects that appear in acceptably sharp focus in a photograph. Unfortunately, we cannot directly see the depth of field before taking the shot. That is where the DOF Preview comes into action. In almost every modern DSLR, we have a DOF Preview button. For many amateur photographers, this button does nothing but making viewfinder dark. But there is more on that. When you press the button, you will see a preview of areas in focus and areas out of focus. It saves time, because when you care about DOF in a picture. You can see the preview instantly in just one button press, rather than taking a lot of shots and deciding which is the one you need.

5. Flash Compensation

A lot of amateurs think that on board flash is just a piece of crap. Well, this is not true. Something is always better than nothing. You just have to know how to use it properly. Flash compensation is similar to exposure compensation. Like exposure compensation compensate the exposure. Flash compensation is a way to compensate the power of flash. It is fairly easy to use. You can increase or decrease the power of flash so that you will get the exact amount of flash light you need. Once you understand this. You’ll know how to use flash effectively.

These were few important features which are less used by most of the amateurs. But once understood, you’ll be one step closer to being a pro. I will be coming up with detailed articles on individual features soon.