The One..Hundredth..Post!!!!

Monday, February 06, 2012

One Hundredth Post!

One of those shots that I never imagined I'd take. Taken during the Final Face-Off at Canon - Better Photography Photographer of the Year 2011 Competetion

Wow, it would take me sometime before the feeling sinks in. It would take me some more time to digest the fact that I have been blogging for three years now. I have been meaning to do this post for at least three months now and yet something or the other, worth mentioning has been popping up leading to me delaying the post just so that I could include it.

Let me start by thanking you, incredible readers, for reading my experiences, liking my rants and not to mention the extremely positive response to my photography. I have to tell you, without the initial support here I wouldn't have been the photographer that I am today. Over the innumerable messages and comments I received telling me I have inspired someone to travel more, is often times the reason for the smile on my face. 

But the actual reason there could be even a blog here and a 100 posts is our incredible country with its incredible diversity! Like I said, several times before, I never knew India had such abundant natural scenery. My dream destination was always Switzerland or some place in Europe, until I traveled within our country that is. Since that life changing trip to Ladakh, I haven't been able to get enough of Himalayas or Western Ghats or more such phenomenal scenery of our country. I have shared only 25% of what I have seen and I have seen not more than 10% of what our country has to offer! There is so much more that has to be seen and it will be seen, in the years to come. 

There was a time when 1000 hits seemed to a cause for celebration, today the pageviews border close to a lakh and a half, a reason to celebrate indeed. There has been a gradual increase in the search hits as the blog reached a page rank of 4. And also almost 65% of the traffic is new visitors while the remaining 35% do feel the blog is worthy enough to be revisited again.

So what's been happening?

Well, there are a lot of things to smile about. Few months earlier I was invited by Club Mahindra for their blogger's meet, and that's some recognition as a travel blogger. Few days before that I got an invite from Getty to be a contributing photographer through the Getty-Flickr Contract. Not that I am terribly happy with their pricing, what I am really psyched about is the fact that Getty thinks my photos are good enough to be sold, there must be some truth to it! 

Later that year, my 100 Strangers Project (which has been rather dormant much to my dislike) was featured in Deccan Herald with a small photo of mine. I'll admit it, it was always a dream, to be featured in the newspaper! ;)  Meanwhile Indiahikes approached me if I could guestblog on their site on photography. While I do not consider myself a master, I do have a thing or two to share. You can go through one of my published posts here.

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Article in Deccan Herald on the 100 Strangers Project

Then came the biggest surprise when a professor of mine invited me to speak about my travels at my alma mater, IIT Madras. Going back and seeing my professors show such interest in what I do was really amazing. I think a few more people now know how amazing the scenery is after that talk, well I'd say mission accomplished!

Then came the biggest surprise of all, I was declared the theme winner for Canon-Better Photography Photographer of the Year 2011 Awards. The category I won was Landscapes : Play of Light. With this came an opportunity to travel to Mumbai and force myself to shoot something drastically different. Being the hesitant person that I am when it comes to shooting portraits and people, I had to photograph "Spirit of Mumbai" in three days. While I narrowly missed the "Photographer of the Year 2011" title, what I learned was that I could probably tell a story next time I travel instead of plain landscapes. The thought doesn't seem so daunting now that I did the same for three days, a step closer to being the Travel Photographer that I imagine to be. The experience has been spectacular and it demands an entire post and I shall oblige.

Sky Light in Spiti, one evening!
The Award Winning Shot from Spiti, Himachal Pradesh.

So what next?

As I read through my old posts and the new ones, the sense of wonder seems to be lost now. I used to carefully choose words imagining myself to be a poet and write nonsense which ultimately managed to evoke the emotion but today it all seems plain text with no emotion that I write. Although the photos now seem to be technically correct, the charm is lost. 

I seem to be riding on the laurels of being at extraordinary places at the right time, but soon the world will run out of extraordinary places and I, eventually will have to find my artistic vision to stand out. I am at a point where I feel the creativity, if there was any, is stagnant, the quality of the creations is not changing, for better or for worse. In the coming months I sure do intend to find my vision, my style or the lack of it and go back to those ignorant captures.

And I still haven't made up mind if I want to be a photographer or a travel writer or something else in between. It sure seems like an exciting time but it is also a time where I need to focus, focus on one thing that I want to achieve. So while try to focus, I will try to wander less and be present more. But this wouldn't stop me from writing more often, since I now seem to have all the time in the world till I decide.

Amidst all this, a realization dawned by observing the masters, one doesn't master an art because he is talented. He masters it because he practiced, he stayed at it with perseverance. There are many days when I feel this isn't going anywhere, but the end of the year showed some promise. With much practice I might just reach where I intend to be. This 100th post is a major milestone for me because I never expected to get here when I started but miraculously, one post at a time, today I'm here.

Sometimes I digress for no reason, and if you have managed to come till this line, you are one of my prized readers. Thank you, once again! :)
And while you are here, Congratulate me, won't you?

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44 comments

  1. This is a great post Neelina, and congrats for all accolades coming your way :) I like your pictures and the way you write...

    All the best for everything, and do keep sharing the good work that you are accumulating all around you :)

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    1. Thanks much Siddhartha!
      I haven't been able to visit other blogs in a while. I see that you have got your own domain and a lot of photos on your site! Congratulations, last time I checked there weren't so many! Will check out at leisure soon. :)

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  2. Congrats Neelima..way to go :)

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  3. Hey Congrats!!!..Great post..you are such a BRAVO..not everybody can get out of their comfort zones and venture into unknown territories!..good luck!

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    1. Thanks Shweta, you make me sound like a hero! he he :)
      Keep visiting!

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  4. I am eager to know what that one thing you are focusing on to achieve is.
    I am sure you will achieve that!
    Good luck and CONGRATS!! :)

    - your fan.

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    1. ha ha, if only I had it figured out! I'll let the whole world know the day I decide. :)
      Thanks!

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  5. Awesome, Congratulations Neelima. Hope you get more laurels in 2012!!

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.com

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  6. Let me repeat myself.. Congratulations! You definitely deserve it..
    Btw, don't worry about losing the number of extraordinary places or extraordinary times in the world. There are enough and more to fill your curiosity and interest! ;) But yes, if you lose the interest that will be a different story altogether.. And well as i look at it your interest will develop your creativity and add up to your extraordinary experiences to make them spectacular...

    Cheers!

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    1. Thanks again Arti! :))
      Since I already explained to you very much in detail about that focus and stuff, I wouldn't bore you again here. ;)

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  7. Hearty congratulations Neelima... :)

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  8. Many congratulations and all the best :)
    Keep clicking and keep writing :)

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  9. That photograph in Spiti is truly exceptional! Congrats!

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    1. Thanks, that place and that moment was truly exceptional! :)

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  10. Dear Nileema
    Heartiest congratulations and thank you so much for writing wonderful posts, so informative and beautiful

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    1. Thank you very much Ushnish ji! I am glad you enjoy the posts. :)

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  11. Since you demanded it - many many congratulations! Amazing achievement - I keep trying to write and arrive at zilch!

    Quite brave of you to reveal your innermost fears - and somewhere it strikes a chord in me. Maybe that is why I am writing here.

    But this modern need to focus - throw that away - do what makes you happy and brings out your creativity - writing and photography are not mutually exclusive. So give up either one only when you feel you are not able to give your best to it!

    look forward to your journeys :)

    Gouthami

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    1. ha ha, thank you very much Gouthami!

      I had fun for almost three years now. I am a point now where I feel I am the jack of all arts and master of none. And I know I can do much much more if I focus on one thing. Which is why I am thinking of focusing on one thing, am not saying I will. Just thinking I should! ;)

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  12. Congratulations Neelu! Way to go!!

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  13. Congrats! Great work so far. Didn't know you won POY!

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  14. Congratulations Neelima ! Your posts and photos are great . best wishes

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    1. Thanks Mohan! Welcome to my blog and glad to know you enjoy my posts. :)

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  15. hey,
    congrats.

    Traveler / photographer / wanderer - amateur / Professional .... what ever it is. just keep having fun as always :)

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    1. ha ha, I know, wearing too many hats! Thanks Arul! :)

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  16. congrats neelima ... and trust me - none of the positive responses are undeserving :) keep them coming and have fun all the way!

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    1. Thanks Sandeep, I too hope the opportunities keep coming. :)

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  17. Neelima, you seem to excel in whichever field you decide to pick up.......may life always give you something to work towards and smile for.....

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    1. I wish that were true and you are generous with your compliments! Thanks Jayanti. :)

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  18. Congratulations , you earned it ..you definitely did !!

    To be frank , i have seen people who did better photography than you , but no one worked harder , crossed comfort zones , "stayed at it with perseverance" the way you did!!
    and that is what inspires me about you :)..you also have another talent , you nailed marketing art :) ..initially it might have looked stupid ..to talk " me , my travel , my photos" all the time.But that works and is required to reach people in numbers .
    And today , i see your old pics and your new ones..boy you are slowly mastering your talent and getting accolade.
    I proudly show your pics and blog posts to my friends and say see this girl has it ...She is not just sitting in a 9-5 job..she is slowly building path towards her passion

    Chalo too much hogaya , all the best gal :)

    -Shilpa

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    1. ha ha, quite frank of you Shilpa, thanks much! :)
      I see my old photos and the new ones and I certainly see a lot of change. But I am not too sure yet if it is me or if it is the place that is new. Still a lot more figuring out to do, but thanks again! :)

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  19. Congrats Neelima! You click great pictures.

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  20. Many congratulations for your achievements & I am really happy for you ! Let the good news coming & keep on clicking :)

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    1. Thanks Nilesh, it was great meeting you! :)

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  21. Hearty congratulations Neelima! This is indeed great news! Being one of those few guys where traveling in my family has not been in the blood, I'm telling (again) that you've inspired me a lot more to travel and photograph more and learn from it.

    I keep sending your links to my friends, family and colleagues especially all the ladies and girls to show that the freedom is in their hands. Missed opportunities to travel at a certain age, especially for the ladies can have them regret in their life. India can be quite bad when it comes to safety for women, but arming themselves with the right knowledge and equipment, a lot can be achieved. Thankfully, this little nudge from travel blog of yours have pushed them to take baby steps into traveling.

    It is also gratifying to know that I managed to leave the travel bug with my old colleagues, thanks to frequent travels by me(inspired by people like you) and they continue to travel a lot more than I anticipated and still invite me over for every trip/trek they make.

    Thanks for all the inspiration and keep up the great work!

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Sunil! It made my day to know that my blog has helped many more to get out there and travel. :)

      Here's wishing you many more travels in the coming years!

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