It started early in the morning, a bit too much before sunrise. After a short drive out of the city and a hike up to a perch, we were rewarded with this scene. It was a nice start to the day.

Mehrangarh Fort with Jaswant Thada in the foreground and the blue city off to the left.

David’s photo of us. It looks like there isn’t a soul around. There’s over 1 billion people in India which is 1/3 the size of the U.S.

Mehrangarh Fort is a former palace that’s now a museum, set on a rocky outcrop, the fort overlooks the walled city, where many buildings are painted the city’s iconic shade of blue. Jaswant Thada is a white marble cenotaph (I had to look this up – a tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person or group of persons whose remains are elsewhere) built at the end of the nineteenth century in honor of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II.

We returned to the hotel for a quick breakfast – we have a date with a stepwell. I really wanted to photograph a stepwell. What in the world is a stepwell anyway?

Toorji Ka Jhalra (Toorji’s Step Well)

Stepwells are wells, cisterns or ponds with a long corridor of steps that descend to the water level. They are like traditional wells used today, instead of drawing the water up from the well, people go down the steps to reach the water. Additionally, a stepwell was the perfect location in ancient India to bathe, say prayers, and meditate. Today, boys are often seen diving into the water, especially on a hot summer’s day. The Toorji’s Step Well was built in 1740.

Upon arrival there is one thing I noticed immediately – there are a lot of steps at a stepwell. To take a good photo, I had to take these steps, which were slippery and uneven, down to almost water-level. Slipping is not an option, forcing me to scoot on my butt a couple of times. Dirty butt or good photo? I made my choice.

I sat in a safe location ready for the models to do their thing. First up was for all three models to walk on a different set of steps. This sounds easy except they walked quickly. And before I could take a photo, all three models ended up standing together on a small platform. “Slow down!”  They tried again but one of the models was fast, the other two slow. We did this repeatedly until we realized that two should start on the middle platform and the other at the bottom. At least they didn’t all end up together. But one model was still too fast. “Wait five seconds and then start walking.” Finally, some good results.

After many tries, finally a photos with the three models in good positions. You may ask why not have them stand where we want? The photo is much better with some action.

No walking in this photo. However the women scooping water is a nice touch.

As soon as we finished, the young man (who was waiting patiently), took his leap. There are many little fish that look like piranhas swimming about in the well water. I hope he got out alive.

At the conclusion of our stepwell photo shoot, the models agreed to pose for us. We found a beautiful blue door of a hotel as a backdrop.

It has already been a full day of photography. But we weren’t done yet. It was time to visit the fort (mentioned above) for lunch. Before lunch we visited the furthest point in the fort which offered a nice view of the blue city.

After a leisurely lunch, we toured the blue city where we constructed a street shoot – The Making of a Street Photo in Jodhpur.

It’s mid-afternoon and tiredness is starting to set in. My legs are tired, and my trigger finger is cramping. I’m ready to head back to the hotel for a nap. Then I noticed some locals playing cards, it is perfect photo opportunity. I guess I’m not tired after all. Before we took our first shot, one of them asked if we wanted to take a picture of him all dressed up in traditional garb. “Just five minutes,” he says and he disappears. The other four card players grumbled as their card game is diminished.

I have no idea how to play whatever game they were playing – but they were into it.

Our “model” arrived a few moments later. We were incredibly lucky to have stumbled across him!

He was a good sport walking around the city looking for a good venue.

We celebrated an incredible day of shooting with a drink at a local café that has a great view of the city.

David, Kathryn and I were happy for the respite.

The sun has set on Jodhpur and our photo shoots. What a day we had in Jodhpur!