The road that leads to Leh from Manali is a spectacular route that has been an awe-inspiring adventurous excursion for most of the seekers. A Travel Photography Trip to Leh by Nomadic Expeditions took a group of riders on their bicycles to this amazing journey of uphill and downhill escapades. Faiz Sikandar, from Prayagraj, played a major part in this journey as a cyclist as well as a photographer capturing his dream itinerary.
A freelance wedding, lifestyle photographer & a traveler by choice, Faiz Sikandar is more of an offbeat photographer. His images state the simple stories but never fail to bring out the art within them. Faiz is truly a professional photographer people always look out for. Chiiz talks to Faiz about his photography escapades in the mountains.
How would you define your style of photography? How was this cycling/ travel photography trip to Leh different?
I prefer placing my subjects in a very wide frame which breaks the frame in uneven proportions and that works for me most of the time. This travel photography trip to Leh tested not only my patience but also the patience of the cyclists. It was difficult at times but beautiful all throughout. One of the cyclists felt it was easy while planning the trip; but since I had been to Leh before, but on a motorcycle, I knew mountains are never easy. This time it was engaging, a lot of time we had to wait for the cyclists to cover a certain distance in a day and they surprised us by covering it earlier or disappointed when they couldn’t finish. But the experience was enthralling.
What difficulties did you experience with regard to photography, while you were on your trip?
It wasn’t difficult at all, the beauty of the landscapes keep you amazed and entertained. The changes in the temperature and climatic conditions and the altitude keeps the adrenaline in you rushing.
The only thing that crossed my mind then was where to place my subject at, since its such a wide scape you see through the EVF, and at times you miss a few shots and sometimes you make some good ones. Part of the game.
What are your go-to techniques for shooting in the mountains and what are the things that you refrain from?
Shooting in the mountains excites every photographer. As my go-to technique, not only in the mountains, is to have a wide lens with variable focal length and a wide open aperture. Whenever I’m shooting videos, I keep an ND filter handy, I just plug that thing over my lens and start moving the camera.
I refrain to shoot a lot. In Leh, you don’t know if you’d get electricity to charge your equipment, or to dump your memory card. So planning your day is very important. Speak to your marshal, the driver, the people around, go for small walks to enjoy but shoot only when it’s necessary.
What were the most visually appealing moments of this trip for you?
To start with, the ride began from Himachal Pradesh, it’s anyway very beautiful. On our way to Leh, most visually appealing places were the Ghata loops, More plains, and Tsokar valley & lake.
With the knowledge that Ladakh is becoming an increasingly common site for photographers, how did you plan to be different from the rest?
The thought that many photographers around any place make the place common is very funny. A photographer is known for his style, his type of images, rest a lot of photographers are just influenced by them. So there might a lot who go there, but very few who’d shoot something new.
What are your takeaways as a photographer from this cycling trip to Leh?
Mr. Pullarwar, an eminent painter/artist, and a cyclist in the group suggested that life is like riding to Leh. You take one step at a time to cover the mightiest distance. That’s my take away from Leh, to keep moving in my genre, one step at a time.