Be Inspired

Story behind the photo – A girl watching the world pass by

By Danny Fernandez

As dusk settled a new side of Agra began to come alive. The thick air was filled with the incessant sounds of rickshaw horns, and the buzzing of electricity from the network of power cables which decorated the streets.

The roads, which had previously been a high contrast haze of burning light had cooled, and become illuminated by florescent shop signs and orange street lamps.

It was the end of an incredible day spent exploring the Taj Mahal and Agra. I was exhausted after spending the day walking around in the sweltering heat, and had 2 hours left before catching my train back to Delhi. So I decided to do what any normal Englishman would do – stop for a cheeky beer.

I began looking for a bar, and before long walked past one with a man standing outside. The man had an incredibly friendly face, and I stopped to ask if I could take his photo. He told me that I could, on the condition that I come inside and buy something from his bar. It was a win-win situation.

The bar had a rooftop with a view of the Taj Mahal in the distant background. There were children on neighbouring rooftops fighting kites. The man and I exchanged conversation for the duration of a few beers. His benevolent disposition which initially drew me to the bar did not disappoint, as he entertained me with stories of his family and his love for India. At one point I asked him if he would like to live in another country, and he simply answered “Why?”. For him, India was the greatest place on earth.

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As the light faded from the sky, our conversation was interrupted by the sounds of blaring music. I walked over to the ledge of the rooftop and saw trucks, which had been elaborately decorated with enormous chrome horns, blasting music at a deafening level. The man told me that today was a special festival in Agra.

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I stood there watching and decided to start taking photos. The mixture of ambient light, combined with the twilight of the sky was beautiful. For my 3 month trip backpacking India, I was travelling light – my main camera being an Fuji X100s. I set it up on the wall of the rooftop on a Manfrotto Pixi mini tripod and started shooting. I wanted to capture the energy of the street so set a slow shutter speed to capture the movement. The auto white balance on the X100s worked amazingly well.

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After a few minutes a young girl appeared on a rooftop below me.

She walked to the wall of her rooftop and stood there, gently observing the life on the streets. She was unaware of my presence as a picture unfolded in my viewfinder.

There was a beautiful contrast between the peacefully still young girl and the noisy and fast life on the street that was passing beneath her. I wanted to capture the contrast, so again choose to use a shutter speed of 1/8 second to get a slight motion blur of the passers by, while freezing her in her graceful stance. I began shooting, and after a few frames she rested both of her arms on the wall at the same time two cyclists passed by. I fired and got my shot.

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About Danny

Danny Fernandez is a creative photographer living and working in Barcelona. He likes cycling, records and vegetarian food.
To see more of his work, visit Danny Fernandez’s official website here or follow him on Flickr

5 replies »

  1. I love this post, and what beautiful photographs. I never made it to Agra as I got sick in Varanassi. I will go, one day. I am thinking of buying a Fuji X100. Would you recommend it? Your pictures attest to the fact that you probably would! Keep up the amazing work.

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    • Glad you like it! Sorry to hear that you got sick in Varanassi! I highly recommend the X100s (I’m sure the T is even better). When packing for India, I also considered bringing my Canon 5dii but I didn’t as I didn’t want to worry about it getting stolen/wearing it out in a very poor country etc. To be honest with you, I didn’t miss the Canon at all, and after returning from India, I realised that some of my favourite photos were taken with the X100s. It allowed me to get shots that the Canon may have ‘killed’ the moment, or intimidated people etc. Also, by being limited to one camera and one lens, it really allowed me to get to know the X100s and become really comfortable with it, which was great! So yes, I highly recommend it.

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      • Thanks for your reply. I will definitely consider buying the X100, especially after seeing your pictures. I lumbered around the Americas with a Nikon SLR, which eventually got stolen in the States, and a Canon G11. I am actually glad I had both, but it was heavy and I definitely felt very aware of myself using the SLR. They are so big that it often destroys any chance of getting a discreet shot. Have a wonderful weekend.

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