This was almost after a year that I went out for a photowalk. Manjit Singh Hoonjan, who conducts his phototours through (Calcutta Photo tours), has been a friend first and then a mentor/ guide for the photowalks. All our earlier outings have been productive to say the least and every time, I have returned with some nice clicks to my satisfaction.
Lately, I am passing through this guilt of not exploring Kolkata enough and if I am really wasting my time in this City by letting these chances go by, which would make me regret later. Regular readers of this blog would know the limitations through which we (Madhushree and I) pass through and then Sunday being the only holiday, it becomes tough to get out of home.
This Sunday (Like many posts this post was also lying in my draft for almost 3 months and) determination got the better of me and inspite of a hectic schedule, which involved a long Saturday and a working Sunday (which at times get very strenuous), I headed for the photo tour. This tour was organised by Times of India under Calcutta times passions club – Photography and we were supposed to explore Mullick Ghat flower market.
Mullick Ghat flower market is just beneath the Howrah bridge and in case one is coming by bus, taxi or any other mode of transport from Kolkata, then the stoppage is Mullick Ghat pumping station. Once there, one has to cross the small foot bridge in front of the Mullick Ghat pumping station and then the market starts.
This is one the largest flower market of India and perhaps, one of the largest in the world. Its riot of colours which acts as the source of flower supply to the entire city. Any market place is a common meeting point between the buyer and the producer and this place is no different. Its a sight to watch so many people earning their livelihood and equal number of people buying flowers. Its not only the buyers and the sellers, there are the carriers who will carry your bulk purchase till your vehicle, the tea vendor and the tea shop owners, the plastic carry bag suppliers, the small snacks shop owner who sells hot Samosas (or gorom Shingara, as we love to call it) and many more, who all have their livelihood centered around this flower market.
While moving around the market, along with a lot of other photographers who were a part of the photowalk, I sensed the liveliness around. The dingy by lanes and dirty roads which had almost turned like a green carpet with leaves chopped/ fallen from the flowers, was no way a dampener for the high pitch buzz around the place.
I spent around 2 hours and I want to go back once again, however as the pictures will speak more than the words, I will share some simple tips for photography in this place –
- The place can be easily located, however if you lose your way out – please ask anyone around and they will be able to guide you to the actual place.
- The ideal time to shoot here is early morning till 9 or 10 AM. Light should not be an issue.
- Covered shoes are mandatory here or wear floaters which can be washed off.
- There are places which are covered by yellow plastics so the pictures will carry yellow shades. Hence, colour correction may be needed later.
- One should not miss out the flower skirt. This is a very common to the extent of cliche shot here. However for the first timers, there is a different thrill in capturing this.
- Some of the best shots and compositions can be done while walking down the market towards its fag end, where inside the tunnel is a loading and unloading bay of the flowers.
- If for the first time, then take a small detour and don’t miss to spend sometime at the ghat. This ghat offers one of the best views of the Howrah Bridge and again, there are a lot of activities around this ghat which is worth capturing.
- If possible, carry a bottle of water during the photowalk and while coming back, if you are hungry, you can always pick up the famous tea and Kachaudi from the shops around the pumping station.