Dr Shivam Maini is a photographer and photography coach based in the beautiful village of Natadol, India, overlooking the Himalayan peaks.
After starting his career in the medical profession, Shivam took a leap that so many of us have dreamed of—he quit his day job to follow his true passion—photography. Since then, he has never looked back.
Following his recent submission to 100 Days. 100 Commissions, we caught up with to Shivam to find out more about his work and how he got to where he is today.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you first get into photography?
When I was around nine or ten years old, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. My grandfather maintained a small library in his living room. The lowest shelf, the one that I could reach comfortably at that age, had some beautiful books on it. One of them being an encyclopaedia of photography, which for me was the most captivating book on the shelf that I would spend hours trawling through. It had some full-page prints of some of the best photographs from around the world. There were reprints of works by Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Irving Penn, Robert Capa and many others.
For years I dreamt of capturing similar images. Eventually, I was given a simple camera that used medium format film. I was supposed to capture family moments but I’d find myself capturing things that interested me instead.
It soon became an expensive hobby, so one day I simply stopped loading the camera with film and instead I would just take the camera out, compose my shots and dial in all the settings then shoot with no film roll inside.
Later on, I got to use a TLR, a rangefinder, and then I finally settled on a 35mm film SLR.
During my college days, I did some professional assignments, mostly for my own university but some for other organisations too. This funded me with enough money to buy filters, film rolls and other accessories, and once in a while, I could splurge on a lavish dinner in a fancy restaurant too.
I converted to digital photography quite late on when it became hard for me to get hold of supplies for film. Learning digital was not too difficult since my darkroom was no longer dark, and since the photo-processing software that I came across had most of the usual terminologies. The dodging and burning still did what they used to do in the darkroom.
Talk us through the panoramic shot that was selected for 100 days. 100 commissions. How did it come about?
It is the view from our home in the village of Natadol, in the state of Uttarakhand, India. These days we run a homestay there. The snow-capped peaks are visible whenever the weather is clear.
For the panoramic shot, I used a Nikon Df camera with a Zeiss 135mm f/2 lens. It was evening time and the sun was setting which helps light up the snow-peaks from warm yellows, to deep reds, depending on the time of the evening and one’s luck! The camera was mounted on a tripod and set to manual mode. Aperture f/5.6, shutter speed 1/25 sec, ISO 100. Based on some previous shots and the camera’s meter reading,Continue reading