Waiting for sunrise, Varanasi

It takes some effort to be up with the birds in the very early morning, but the effort can be worthwhile. The photographs displayed here were taken whilst waiting for sunrise at Varanasi, around 5.00 a.m. Almost an hour before the sun would be up and the atmosphere is completely different. There is a stillness to the air, there is a quietness, even a sense of mystery.

Waiting for sunrise, Varanasi, India.

Photographically there were some interesting opportunities but also some challenges. With fewer people about, it was possible to more easily isolate the individual within the frame but the low light levels meant that high ISOs were required and slow shutter speeds as well. The main source of light present was from floodlighting casting its characteristic yellow light across the riverbank. Of the 3 images, I’m not sure which I prefer. I like the isolation of the man in the first 2 shots but also like the 3rd with the other people moving out of frame preparing for the day ahead, whilst the main figure sits serenely, at one with his thoughts.

Waiting for sunrise, Varanasi, India. (2)

These shots were taken with the Canon 5D Mark 2 with the 16-35mm zoom lens at 35mm and f2.8. Shutter speeds were 1/30 second and ISO 5000. I took other shots nearby this scene with shutter speeds as low as 1/8 second, all handheld, thank goodness for image stabilization!

Waiting for sunrise, Varanasi, India. (3)