Nailing the Perfect Photograph



Photograph/ Natasha Desai

Photograph/ Natasha Desai

Mithila Mehta finds herself asking a crucial question. What does it really take to nail that perfect photograph?

This was a question that was on the mind for all three Frame The Star finalists on the second day of the challenge. Raju, Altaf and Kevin were all up at the crack of dawn (despite the amazingly cosy hotel beds at The Chalets), fully charged up and ‘in the zone’ to make the most of the day ahead.

I decided to spend the day with Altaf, and tag along as he photographed. Now, if you’ve read my previous post you will know that Altaf lit a massive bonfire as a background for the Mercedes in the regional round. Needless to say, I was excited to see what ace he had up his sleeve for the finals.

We drove along the most gorgeous  roads of Himachal – driving at the edge of mighty mountains as the valley opened up below with a river gushing through. There was no plan or map – we looked for off roads, less traveled paths and interesting diversions. At one point, we were on such an obscure and lonely road that Altaf remarked, “I don’t think anyone comes here at all!”

At one point, we came across a huge pile of rocks which had fallen from the mountains and were blocking the road (a mini landslide, if you will). All of us got to work, clearing the rocks and stones manually so we could continue on our quest. With old English ballads playing in the background and an open sunroof, the mood was set. Even better, Altaf has a terrific sense of humour – which only made the trip more fun.

From trudging through muddy fields to climbing the side of the mountains for a different view, Altaf did it all. And between shots, he would lovingly wipe the car up, carefully cleaning up every single speck. A true photographer at work on his muse!

The weather played along, whimsically changing from bright sunshine to cold rain in moments. And we were there to capture it all, slugging it out for ten intense hours. Altaf’s poetic compositions did perfect justice to the beauty of the locales – the ethereal, magical quality of his photographs makes me swoon.

There is a certain satisfaction that follows when you know you’ve nailed a photograph. And then the camera is put away, and the photographer lingers on just soaking in the spot. We spent a few wonderful moments like that today – by the river, the cliff, the road – just loving and living the moment. Making pictures and memories – it couldn’t get any better!


Mithila Mehta is a journalist, author and intrepid traveler. Follow her adventures on 

Tags: chandigarh, face-off, mercedes benz, July 2015, frame the star, Mercedes-Benz CLA, Mithila Mehta, Altaf Khan, Naldehra