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Gear Inspiration

Holi Festival in India with the Fujifilm X100V

· 12.May.2020

I had the huge opportunity to have the new Fujifilm X100V a few days before my trip and was really excited to see how it will handle heavy shooting days, this article it’s to share with you some images of my quick trip but also to talk about this new camera and also give you some tips if you would like to plan a photo journey in India for the magical Holi Festival.

I decided to bring the following equipment on my trip:

  • X100V Camera
  • X-T3 Camera with XF56mm f1.2
  • memory cards SanDisk Extreme Pro 300mb/s 64gb
  • couple of extra batteries
  • 2 Underwater cases Dicapac wp-s3 and wp-s5

One of my major concerns about this adventure was how to protect my expensive equipment during the festivities. Not only will the color powders be terrible for the camera, but children often throw buckets of water from the rooftops! So, instead of trying to find a DIY plastic bag to protect my camera, I decided to look into underwater cases.

The most affordable model that I found was from the company called DiCAPac and I purchased the WP-S3 and WP-S5.

I highly recommend these products. Although it is difficult to change the settings on the camera while in the cases, the cameras were fully protected and safe, so just remember to decide 80% of your camera settings before putting in the case.

TIP: It’s not safe to switch equipment around in the temple so start with fully charge battery. Later you can search for a parallel calm street to change battery when possible.

March 9th: Vrindavan

After preparing my necessary equipment, I jumped into a tuk tuk and headed to Banke Bihari Temple. The tuk tuk driver will drop you off a few streets before the temple because most of the area is closed, so I just walked with all the people going in the same direction.

As soon as you arrive closer to the temple, streets start to narrow and the chaos begins! I felt like I was in a river and my body was floating along with the current, as if I couldn’t control anything.

Soon enough, I made it inside the temple. It was truly insane, packed with people. You have no space and everyone is shoulder to shoulder. It was a bit difficult to take photos, so I stayed around 20-30 minutes inside the temple. The color and water were everywhere and it was at some points scary but still so amazing to see. The sound was indescribable, so special and distinct and I really felt part of a celebration!

Leaving the temple, I continued to walk and get lost in the beautiful streets. By chance, I arrived at a temple that was more calm but also very interesting. I later learned that this was Shri Radhavallabh Lal Temple.

TIP: Take cheap flip-flops because you have to leave them in the entrance of the temple with the other hundreds of them.

 

March 10th: Mathura

Today is the official big day: ‘Happy Holi’ everybody! After chatting a local photographer, he recommended to go to a temple in Mathura: Shri Dwarkadhish Temple.

I arrived there early, around 8am, the atmosphere was calm and people were starting to wait in the front the temple, so I chose to take a little walk around the temple. I discovered a completely different aspect of Holi Festival, one that is more about prayer and self-reflection. I stayed close to the river Yamuna and it was magical, the sun was rising and people were doing spiritual baths in the river and some of them were even doing a face make-up to prepare for the celebration!

I spent a lot of time talking with the locals about everything. I felt good zen and my energy was refueled by their hospitality.

I head back to the temple where people were already celebrating! Less crowded than Banke Bihari Temple, it was finally easier to move around and take photos. People were dancing and singing traditional songs and, of course, playing with color but this time no water.

It was paradise for a photographer and you could move around friendly people and take advantage of super interesting natural light and sun rays.

 

Conclusion and recommendation

This trip to India was a blast but not easy, especially alone. I would recommend to go perhaps with 2 friends or more. Talk to local photographers as they come every year. They are the right people to ask questions to once you are there.

If you are scared to travel alone, book a spot with a photography travel guide tour! It will make things easier for sure.

The most important thing for me when I travel is the exchange with people from a complete different perspectives. This is the beauty of visiting new countries, new cultures, and keeping an open mind.

You can read as many articles and tips that you want but you will for sure at one point get lost in you journey. Remember, getting lost is also a great way of discovering a city and culture. So stay calm, safe, and embrace it! 🙂

SCAM ALERT: In Delhi station never show your ticket to anyone. There are guys that stand just beyond the scan detector and will ask you to see your ticket and then will tell you than your train is canceled and they will propose you different options for $$. (The only time that they check my ticket it was in the train 20min after departure).

TIP: To help you during your trip, buy a Sim card at New Delhi airport Airtel company. I payed around 600 rupees plus a charge of 300 rupees (You have to wait a couple of hours for activation), but, its works great I used a few times and it was very helpful!

TIP: If you want to save some rupees do not take the first lines of tuk tuk. Instead, walk ahead about 100 meters and the price will drop. But don’t forget always to bargain ! Is the part of the game with those guy I guess they like playing with it!

 

Fujifilm X100V Product Review

Like I said earlier, I had the huge opportunity to have the new Fujifilm X100V a few days before my trip to test things out!

This bad boy did an amazing job. I also brought my X-T3 but I used the X100V 95% of the time. Why? Simple, it’s small, handy, and delivers outstanding images!

First, the lens is incredibly sharp. When I checked my images after the first day of shooting I was blown away by the sharpness of the photos! Also, at a high ISO the X100V handles really great! I didn’t get the X100F because of the softest wild open at f/2.

Compact! I agree now with all of the great reviews for it’s weight! The X100V is so compact and lightweight that you really don’t feel it. Which mean that you can walk and shoot longer and get so many more interesting images. No neck strap pain anymore! If I will go to Holi Festival again I will go ONLY with the X100V, nothing more!

So quiet. When I was taking some street photos in Old Delhi I put the shutter sound to 0 and the camera was so dead silent that I was wondering if had actually taken the photo! 🙂 Really great for discrete shots!

Quick! In a single word: Responsive! I never missed a shot that I wanted to take.

I shot RAW and did very small editing on Lightroom! Wanted to let the well known Fujifilm Color Science do the work.

If you have any questions regarding my trip to India or the camera itself, please feel free to contact me. I am more than happy to help!

Martin Charrat

Martin Charrat

Martin started his professional career as an artist/performer in several famous companies such as Cirque du Soleil. As he traveled all over the world, Martin fell in love with photography, immortalizing the beauty of different countries and cultures. He is today a professional Wedding Destination Photographer. 

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