Jodhpur is a city in India somewhat near the Pakistan border.  The portion called the old city is dotted with houses painted in various shades of blue, believed initially to denote the homes of Brahmins (highest Hindu caste, priests), but now adds a unique charm to the cityscape. The blue city is my fascination with this city. Unfortunately, the government is no longer requiring homes to remain blue. Slowly, the blue is fading away. How are we going to photograph a uniquely-Jodhpur cityscape with diminished blue?

We walked and walked, searching for a street or alleyway that would allow for an interesting photo and be blue. Where has all the blue gone? Finally, we spot a candidate. The walls are blue but there are motorcycles everywhere, hardly looking traditional at all. I am pretty sure the Brahmins of hundreds of years ago did not use motorcycles for transportation.

Then, David (our leader) had an epiphany. Let’s construct our own scene with modern and ancient aspects to the photo. David, making his directorial debut, takes action. A motorcycle is moved, then we wait for something interesting to happen. After a bit of time with nothing occurring of substance, we went down a different path.  We had the good fortune of having two India-speaking guides with us, Vikas and Kailish. We decided to build a story around Kailish who has movie star looks.

Storyline: Kailish arrives at the home of his elderly Aunt.

The photo doesn’t quite work. Kailish looks great, a natural on a motorcycle and very photogenic, but the balance is off – something is needed on the right side of the frame. An aside: we do not know who owns the motorcycle, hopefully using it is a prop does not get them angry. We now try something different.

Enhanced storyline: Kailish gets off his motorcycle and starts to walk up the alleyway in search of his aunt.

This image is better as the balance is improved, motorcycle versus Kailish. And there is now action in the photo, Kailish is walking toward us. But again, there is something missing. We need another element.

This time we put Vikas into the fray, leaning against the right wall.  But he needs to do something other than lean. Kailish starts knocking on doors in search of a newspaper. One homeowner gives us the comic section. Seems about right.

And perchance a lady in a nice sari walks by. This is unplanned but desirable.  The photo is taking shape except I believe it is too blue.  We need a complementary color. Luck is now on our side, two ladies in saris appear. Kilish asks them to walk back and forth for us. They reluctantly agree, but only once.

We must be up to take 30 by now. Although an improvement with added color, it is now too much, and the scene is starting to feel crowded.

A few minutes later a man and woman walk by. The woman in a colorful sari. Vikas asks the man whether the woman would like to be in our scene.  He enthusiastically agrees, only if he could also be in the picture. Prima Donnas are everywhere, even in the back alley of the Old City. We give him a bit part and the woman begins to walk through.

We are getting close, though I do not like the additional man in the photo – I’d rather the focus be more squarely on the colorful sari.

We all stand around trying to decide what is needed to finalize the scene. Then lady luck shines once again.  There are three women is saris coming our way.  We all run to get into position, Kailish on his motorcycle, Vikas reading his paper. We wait as the women approach.

Voila! The finished product. It has good color balance, good positional balance, and interesting subjects. Kailish is looking at the women, as men will do.

The five of us spent an hour trying to construct an ever-changing scene into an interesting photo. I like what we came up with, but I enjoyed the process much more. Thanks to David for being a great director, to Kailish and Vikas for being good actors.