Great new travel photography book – Rabari – Encounters With the Nomadic Tribe
It would not surprise anyone who knows me well at all that I am a complete geography nerd. Many long years ago, when I was but a young thing, I was quite sure of what I wanted to be.
I envisioned myself, camera in hand, heading off into the wilds of….anywhere.
I could see myself traveling the globe, exploring little known places, meeting some of the world’s most exotic and obscure people and sending all that footage back to The National Geographic Magazine.
That’s not quite how things fell out, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still feel a certain leap in my chest when a copy of that august and venerable magazine lands in my hands.
Considering my serious, decades long, National Geographic addiction, imagine my delight upon receiving an advance copy of Rabari – Encounters With the Nomadic Tribe.
Seriously beautiful imagery combined with detailed technical info.
Rabari – Encounters With the Nomadic Tribe, by Mitchell Kanashkevich, combines arrestingly beautiful ‘portraits’ with detailed technical information. Like his book Seeing the Light (see my review here) this new book provides ample information about his thought process, shooting challenges and various technicalities.
Of the objectives and challenges of the project, Mr. Kanashkevich says:
“The aim was to photograph those Rabari who were still traditional, not only in their rituals, but visually, in how they dressed and decorated themselves. I also wanted the whole body of work to go to beyond a documentary record, to be beautiful, perhaps even a little romanticized, with a sense of timelessness to it.”
Surprisingly, he even includes his ‘outtakes’. Not many professional photographers are willing to let others see anything less than perfection. I found it wonderfully refreshing, as well as enjoying his well written thought process on how he arrived at each complete image.
Phenomenal photography with minimal equipment.
Did I mention that each of the ten examples in Rabari – Encounters With the Nomadic Tribe has gone on to either win awards or be seen in magazines – including the cover of the prestigious Geographical magazine from the Royal Geographical Society?
Lest you think you must possess thousands of dollars worth of expensive photography equipment to produce top caliber work worthy of being published in some of the world’s most note-worthy publications, you would be wrong. Here is a list of the equipment Mitchell Kanashkevich carried on his adventure among the Rabari:
- Canon 400D camera (Entry level DSLR capable of producing great results. The same goes for its later reincarnations)
- Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens (The cheap, plastic one)
- Canon 28mm f/2.8 lens
- Sigma 20mm f/1.8 wide angle lens
- Photoflex 5-in-1 collapsible reflector. It fits into a large backpack and has a silver, gold, silver/gold, white sides and a diffuser. I chose the reflector when I shot this project over a flash because it was easier to use and cheaper. As you will see though, a reflector can be a very powerful tool.
Read what he has to say about simplicity:
“My philosophy on the limitations we have as far as getting gear is simple – get something good enough and go out and shoot. Don’t waste time on “ifs” and “buts”. The only way to grow photographically is to take photos. Most cameras these days are much more capable than the average photographer and if there are limitations, look at them as creative challenges.”
Post processing information so detailed I LEARNED SOMETHING.
Perhaps my favorite part of the book is looking at Mr. Kanashkevich’s post processing. Every photographer has unique ways of doing various things. For example, if they shoot in the studio a lot, many carefully craft their lighting, even down to the shape and position of catch lights in the eyes. I have discussed this topic in more detail in my tutorial Studio Lighting With One Light.
Most professional photographers have a certain ‘look’ and ‘feel’ they’re going for in their final images. I REALLY like Mitchell Kanashkevich’s post processing look, but perhaps most importantly, he gave rather detailed descriptions of “The ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of post processing”. In fact, his information was so complete I learned a thing or two about Lightroom that I immediately implemented on an image of my own.
Mr. Kanashkevich’s images have tremendous depth and clarity, as well as a certain luminous quality. I now have a better understanding of the ‘Luminance’ sliders in Lightroom.
Here is an image I took from my own deck on a recent foggy afternoon straight out of the camera:
I knew in my mind’s eye the feeling I wanted to evoke with this image. I have created an entire set of my own Lightroom presets and used one on this image. I was pleased, but still felt there was something missing. I really wanted to further tickle out the detail in the tall, golden grasses in the foreground. I learned from reading Rabari – Encounters With the Nomadic Tribe, how to utilize the ‘luminance’ slider to tickle those colors out. I was also able to make the sky shimmer a bit more. Here’s the final result, which has a much more mysterious and ‘mystical’ feeling to it:
Not everyone wants to be a fashion photographer.
There is so much information out there about how to photograph people in the studio or how to take ‘glamour’ shots and even fashion photography. But what if you don’t really want to be a fashion photographer or even a
creepy curious guy trying to take photos of half-naked scantily clad dumb innocent young girls? Maybe you just want to take better shots as you travel through your everyday life. You could do worse than to learn a few things from Mitchell Kanashkevich.
He admits that this type of photography is not without its challenges and ‘uncomfortable’ making moments. But he even offers advice on how to breach the gap between you and your subject/s.
Check it out. Rabari – Encounters With the Nomadic Tribe is a great read. And while you’re at it, check out this great video featuring loads of Mr. Kanashkevich’s images: