Published: Sunday 11th of November 2001 10:52:27 PM
Since most of my thoughts have already been expressed in the previous postings, all that I can say is I have never been so much stirred by a picture of India. I notice how the sea of human beings overwhelm the actual river as far as vastness is concerned. Speaks volumes... frankly, words fail me. Congrats.
HELP!!! I'm drowning!! You took me right to India!
One of the best panoramics I've seen. Please post more if you have them.
unbelievable and moving. the most positive photograph i have ever seen.
I cant find him... I'm sure Waldo is in there somewhere... Great stitching.
Light not ideal??? What comment is that? It's the light that was there at the time..! A fantastic photo! And excellent stiching! I would love to see a large print of this one.
One of the most amazing pictures I have ever seen.
I am amazed at how the photographer made an assembly from such a dynamic scene. Unique moment in time, well deserved pow.
W. Kale Whorton
Beautiful and seamless Wow, a beautiful shot. excellent stitching. Looks like quite an event.
Excellent work!....not a nit pic about the photo but i think a frame around it would help separate it a bit from the page.
Time for Epic Congratulations Jean-Pierre ... I hope the man in a red dress photograph would be the next week POW . . . I guess the elves had a hard choice trying to pick just one photograph from your India portofolio ... lately, the elves seem to be very impressed by the use of innovative techniques. For once, they managed to choose a photograph in which aesthetics, form and technique employed are the necessary and only choice.
Overwhelming Count my voice with those who love this photo! The light is great (though no panoramic can have great light across the whole image) and the sheer scope of this scene invites the viewer in deeper and deeper. This is one of those images you wish you could climb right into and look around--a mix of Clyde Butcher and Cecil B. DeMille. I've tried panoramic technique, and my efforts really sucked so you won't find them here. However, your shot was rightly chosen for POW precisely because of technical and artistic merits as a panoramic photo. Congrats!
Perfect! I think this picture captures the scale of India perfectly. India has always been the scene of grandeur. The temples are massive. The citys sprawling. Even the religion of Hinduism works on a huge scale. This picture reflects all of that. Excellent!
The lighting and composition are great. The combining and sewing of the 5 slides has been pulled off with excellent results
George Eastman ("Mr. Kodak") would indeed be sitting up in his grave, mainly asking why Jean-Pierre used Fuji film.
To India! It seems that all I have to do for a POW is go to India to shoot. But an excellent photo for sure. If India has so much magic that inspiration flows like water after the rain, then perhaps I should go there.
The shadows seem to change direction because, when stitched, this is essentially a "rotational" panorama (i.e. as if taken with a Noblex or a Cirkut camera) and there is a different perspective between the left and rightmost images. This is the same illusion that has led the Apollo 11 naysayers to declare the Moon was never visited as the shadows in Aldrin's pictures were obviously "faked" in a studio. It's just a matter of understanding the tricks that perspective plays on you (especially if a wide angle lens is used). I think that some of the "darkness" here is simply PN's well-known (and frequently commented upon) non-ICC profiled presentation of images. They can't be expected to guess everyone's preferences and monitor settings. We need to make allowances for that. Much of this image's appeal comes from its exotic (to Western eyes) subject matter. I sometimes get the feeling (not having actually been there) that it's possible to point a camera almost anywhere in India and capture something interesting. On the other hand, many of the high-rating "glamor" shots we see on this site, made in studios with controlled lighting also rely on gorgeous models with great bodies for their principal effect. No matter how perfect the setup, you can only do so much with an average-looking model. Ditto with landscapes: shoot Bryce Canyon at dawn or expensively sculpted golf courses, designed to be beautiful and you'll do well. Take a picture of your backyard and it goes down like a lead balloon. Getting an interesting or exotic subject is half the battle. The other half is to do the subject justice, once you have it in your viewfinder. Jean-Pierre spent a tense day making it to the scene (and had some luck in being directed onto the photographers' podium), so what did he make of his opportunity? He has photographed a great swathe of people with a boiling centre erupting and disgorging people to the left and the right. I guess this was near the back of the crowd, the traditional spot for foot traffic at such events. He has used this position to advantage, by matching the flow of people with the almost mathematical curve of the river bank in the background. Interestingly, the river is not too far in the background as we can still clearly make out the wave motion on the water's surface. This gives a "near and far" feeling to the shot. The wide angle lens distorts perspective to make the river appear to be far away, and the detail in the waves brings it closer. The low horizon, necessary to capture the detailed foreground, generates an effect of almost claustrophobia within the enclosed space.... quite paradoxical as this is such a grand scene. The polarizer adds a clarity that brings everything to life. Everything is well placed here: the curve of the hill and river bank, the boats in mid-stream, the buildings on the horizon, the balancing standards and flags at the left. This is a very good job, performed under what must have been trying conditions. To the "it's just faces in a crowd" critics, a dowload and zoom around the image reveals plenty of variety and interest. It's a pity that shots in the panoramic format are unsuited to square-shaped screens and slow modems and must, sadly, lose some of their impact because of this. The best way to view a picture of this aspect ratio is to enlarge it up to two metres wide, curve it into a cylindrical shape and then stand in the centre to view it, employing backlighting. That way, many of the illusions suddenly look "correct" as you turn your head from one side to the other, and the enormous detail will magically come alive. Equally, as well as presenting individuals' details, this picture works on the grand scale: it is as much a portrait of the upwelling crowd as it is of the individuals contained in it. The end result, to me, is that of being immersed in a huge alien wave of emotion and power, as seen by an imaginative and sympathetic photographer who placed himself right in the middle of the action. It is full of illusions and counterpoint, conflicting elements and raw power. For the majority of us who weren't there it gives a graphic account of what it must be like to swim in a sea of humanity.
Congrats on a well-deserved POW... I saw this image long ago and found it truly impressive. The subject isn't ordinary for sure, but... I disagree with comments blaming the aesthetics of this image so far... Lack of details in the faces ?? Come on, people, how would you get details on the faces in such a case...? Please enlighten me. Besides that, the photographer hasn't simply recorded what was in front of him. He has ORGANIZED it, and organized it extremely well. This "sea" of people actually draws a wave, This wave is the main line in the image, and the shore draws a similar line in the background. What more can you expect from such a huge crowd shot ? Only 1 thing imo, but it takes a bit of additional luck and possibly patience + luck...: I agree with Rienk J. that a face as a very near foreground would have added a dimension to the whole scene. But well, how much better can it get besides that ? If this is a 6 in Aesthetics, then we aren't going to give out many 8s on the site...:-)
By the way, I'm still searching for imperfections in the steaching, but in vain. Congrats. Well done.
Epic. If photonet gave Oscars this would get best picture.
Apart from being a wonderful photo, thanks for giving me a challenge - I am struggling to find the joins :) If you are new to stitching, you are a quick learner. Well-deserved POW!
Unbelievable This image has to rank as one of the finest POWs ever. "Awesome" is a word that is much overused these days, but it certainly fits in this case.
I agree with you, Rienk, but simply the mass of people is overwhelming so the picture has something, I think. Of course, there are many details in which the picture could be improved, but given the circumstances I think this picture is good! I'm not sure if it's a POW but it is good.
10/10 ..reminiscent of Cecil B. DeMille ! This picture is a Masterpiece. Thanks for sharing ...Congratulations for an absolutely stunning piece of work.
Moderator has deleted a negative comment of a personal nature towards another member
This is a really stunning photograph. One question - Are the shadows in the center, and right edge going in different directions, or am I seing this wrong?
AMAZING !!!! Its a great shot. I have been to kumbh once and I am wondering how did you find the place to put up accessories to take this amazing shot. I will rate it as (10, 10)
The photo is very good! It's amazing how you were able to capture so many people in one (okay, five) photo(s). Nice details in the pic!
To answer a question: The shadows are going into different directions because the camera was turned and this pictures consists of five different images.
I guess a frame would be very nice and make this strong picture even stronger.
The magic goes on... Just another day. Woke up this morning and after some breakfast and strolling around boot up my pc to look for my email. Great was my surprise when I read the mail from photo.net telling me the panorama on the khumbh was quoted pow. My heart went boem boem boem, you know... I read the comments of all you photo lovers and I guess politeness obliges me to respond. I'm not the kind of great talker, just try to put my experiences and feelings into my pictures. The Maha Kumbh Mela is something really fabulous and the huge amount of people gathering there in 6 weeks time concentrates the cosmic powers (shakti) into your own being. It doesn't leave you anymore for the rest of your present livetime. The story of getting there is already a small miracle amongst the many that happened there. The main day with the many processions of sadhus, nagas, gurus..., was on 24st jan2001. Millions of people were expected and my wife and I weren't quiet sure what to expect when arriving there. So we stayed in the center of Allahabad 5km away from the Kumbh and went on several explorations of the sites during daytime some days before . There was already a lot of people but we could easily manage to find our way and to fix many landmarks into our minds. We strolled around and made many pictures of ordinary people. Then the 24st Jan arrived and we had to leave the guesthouse in town very early at 3am to try to get at the Sangam (the confluence you see in the panorama)in time at sunset when the nagas are running into the water. The picture of Lance Lee shows this very well. But there was a very big problem. All streets were close for traffic even for the rickshaw's and so we had to walk the 5km in nearly absolutely darkness and then we were very sceptical to get at the Sangam that day cause all the pelgrims were moving by thousends with us and at some point we didn't have a clue where we really were. We just let us float by the masses. At some crossroad some policeman stood there and in some illuminated move I asked them if we could move straight instead of turning left with the big crowd. After some discussing, like always in India, the officer let us through and we moved further on but still without knowing where we were in that semi darkness. We walked some kms further and my wife asked me if I was sure what I was doing and told here I really didn't know but at that very same moment I saw a very tiny red light in the sky on my right and was thinking: if this is what I think it is then we will be right on the spot. Some distance further I recongnized the hindu tempel on the shore of the Ganga near the Sangam. And yes we only had to walk a couple of hundred meter further and the magic grew to unexpected hight... It was still very dark and cold, but neonlights lighted up the huge crowd. We've already been many time in India and are used to expect the unexpected but gosh was this some kind of experience...we couldn't believe our own senses! But we were still a while away from the place where the procession would pass. So we had to move into the very dense masses. At first I was reluctant to do that. I knew from previous Khumbs that many people died crushed on eachother. So I hold my wife's hand very sturdely and could move near the fence where some policemen and officials stood. Seeing my camera's and lenses they signed me to some platform where other photographers and tourist were. So we climbed on it and there we were looking over the crowd and realizing the vast scene. But the magic didn't end there. Already many clusters of guru's with there disciples passed by and the sound of big drumms resonated in the distance anouncing the first naga's arriving. Some kind of dressed guards waving around a large sword cleared the way and shouting NO PHOTO! NO PHOTO! So I had to be carefull and there they were right before our eyes and not without danger I could grasp some pictures of them. Pure, pure magic! Then we jumped from the platform and moved at the other side of the path, that's where I made the pictures of the nagas you can see on this same folder. Well to much to tell to whole story...But when the first light of dawn came up the magic growed even greater. Hundreds, thousends of convois went to the Ganga waters to bath. We stood in the middle of all this and looking up to the stars I realized that this was permanent, the whole cosmos was concentrating to one point: the Sangam. And we really could feel it into our beings. Then te sun came up and that's when the other sides of the Ganga and Yamuna came into sight. As far as we could see with our eyes (and binoculars) the horizon was black lined from the crowds and we stood there. We didn't want to move away, just looking around amaized by the sight and the sound and the smell. A hard wind was blowing very could but cleared the sky. I took many many pictures but couldn't grasp the huge overwhelming feeling I had on that spot. Then I had some idea, why not make several different pictures spread over 180° and then see at home if I could stitch them somehow together in Photoshop. I had no tripod with me, only two bodies with a 70-210mm and 20-35mm and working on slides Fuji Sensia 100iso. I mesured the light with my incident lightmeter for the picture to the right of the panorama and made the other ones with the same aperture and time, carefully trying to get the horizon aligned, with the help of the grid in my viewer, and allowing some large overlap on the left and right of each picture. Back home I followed carefully some tutorial about stitching in PS and after some time I managed to get the result above. The magic went on... Obviously you liked it very much and I'm very pleased that magic came through to you. After making a printed enlargment on my Epson1290 it's even more impressive. I could tell you many more about that day but I will leave it here since this is not a travel forum. To reply to Derek D. mail concerning the shadow. Your remark is right somehow. You have to imagine the right of the picture is 90° on the midlle since it is shot that way. And I don't quiet understand Mason Israel stating this is a poor subject...could you explain this somehow? Many thanks to all, you really made my day!!! Namaste (the Spirit in me greets the Spirit in you) from Belgium...
magnificent Hi, great photo. The lighting is fantastic and it really shows the sheer greatness of this largest pilgrimage ever. one of this scale won't happen again for another 144 years.
I was there too.
My works on the same topic can be found at http://www.offstone.com/kumbh
drop me an email at email@example.com? we can talk about this common experience. Maybe we have met each other there.
11, 11 Too bad the scale doesn't go to 11 (like in "Spinal Tap")
Impressive! Must already be a kind of spiritual experience to be amongst so many people.
Amazing Fantastic work....one in a million
Excellent POW choice This one is definitely most deserved of status of POW. It's a terrific image.
great panorama This format is very effective for the right subject matter and boy have you found it here ! Did you set up a tripod ?
It's the event that's impressive, not the picture/composite Of course the light of this mega-event is as it is, and I'm willing to accept the explanation that these 5 pictures could only have been taken at this moment of the day. Nothing to do about that. But what's bothering me is the total lack of any facial expression, although the people in the front row are rather close to the photographer/camera. Almost everybody's face is in partly or total darkness. This picture doesn't tell me anything at all apart from the fact that the event was visited by an awful lot of people. It stirs no emotions, nothing (with me). I'm sorry, for me it's just an unimpressive bad lighted composite of an impressive gathering of people.
really an experience of a lifetime It's really an experience of a lifetime isn't it? I'v never seen any event as breath-taking as this. :>
You dont need to freeze a scene. A zig-zag stich would do it I guess. I would like to know whether the stich is visible on a print.
A sea of people by the sea... Wow grab your beach ball for this one! Thats alot of people! Nice capture. This one goes in the book for sure! No one looking at the camera to make it personal but a great observeration type documentary image.
Poor subject...? Poor subject??? Nuh...! The subject is really stunning. But I agree with Rienk about some details that makes it not beeing what I would consider a masterpiece, from the "aesthetical" point of view. The lack of details specially on the foreground, the strong shadows (accentuated due to the film used...?) that hide almost every strong color on the clothes, confabulate against what could have been a better shot. It's an excellent subject, the eye of the photographer was there to preview this image and catch that amazing moment; a better (and hard) stitching work was done as well. I remember to have rated this many monthes ago (Dec 2001) with A.6/O.10. Now that I see it again, I consider that's fair, and I'll sustain it. Personally I prefer this other two shots (from the same folder): http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=431973 http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=437426 Both of them confirm that we have in Jean-Pierre an excellent "image-catcher". Congrats!!
Most excellent panorama. I do have two questions however... What is a "milj" and where are the porta-potties?
good job, I would have never guessed this was stitched from 5 slides.
I think that this would be an appropriate image to include in a space capsule sent into the cosmos and containing a summary of humanity.
I'll second what Tony said: one can only ever get a perfunctory impression of a picture like this on a flat screen at such low resolution.
I am just stunned by the individuality of detail in this shot. It's not like everyone is facing the same direction, or its just a sea of faces. Many are preoccuppied in their own personal dramas, so that there are many individual dramas, within what would already be a visual stunning viewpoint. How you were able to maintain such dynamics over 5 shots and then be able to piece them together in a wholely coherent panorama is amazing!
Sergio Hernández Elvira
Great great photo. Request Beautiful, emotive photo. Congratulations. Can you show us the 5 photos without assembling? It would be very interesting. Thank you very much.
Ellery Chua - Singapore
As I see this I feel like going "Ommmmmmmmm" The shot has a magic of its own, there is a sense of one piontedness and the temporary forgoing of self - just like a dip into Nivarna or steping up to see the Face before you were born. It is lovely to see some thing that allows us to point and say yes humanity can over come the weakness of its individuals to stand tall and proper in full glory. Especially when there are dark clouds in our sky. A true celebration of the zest that one can find in life. If anything the lack of discernable faces in the crowd allows us to see the mass of people featured as one - a visual representation of the divine spark that links all of us together; for at the point there is no you there is no I as everything exists in you and you are in everything. Well done - you are blessed indeed to have been there and I see that the spirt has moved you to create an appropiate image. Thank you for sharing.
The first POF? It seems that the changes in the rating system is taking all the available time of elves. They don't have time even to select another POW. So this one is becoming the first POF (picture of the fortnight) in the history of p.net. :-)))
One of the most powerful images I' ve ever seen ... Congrats !
hong sien kwee
MAGNIFICENT!!! WISHED I WAS THERE TOO!!!!!! I especially like the colours and the lightfall. Do you have more taken like this? Hong Sien
FOR YOU NIT PICKERS... I only point this out to soothe the naysayers, who keep balking at how the stitching could be done without people moving all over the place...the answer is they did move...if you look just to the right of the center of the photo, you will find a seam of people that repeat themselves...(see attached pic)I only point this out to answer their question. I beleive that this is truly a magnificent photo, and truly worthy of POW.
An Ocean of People at an Ocean of Water The sheer magnatude of this photo is wonderful.I can't imagine being in a crowd like that.The focus,composition and color are fantastic. Five shots then stitching them together is a job in it's self. This is a job well done. ~ Bravo ~
My heart goes Boem Boem Boem.... My heart goes Boem,Boem,Boem... Well folks, how am I suppose to respond to all those comments? I'm really overwhelmed by all this. I feel like flying since the magic still goes on... I will look at them more closely and try to come back to them since for the moment I don't have much time. In the meanwhile I would like to include here the definitive version I made a couple of weeks ago of that same picture. I also put it in this same folder. Maybe you will like it even more, maybe not.... Namaste...
Interesting photo, that's about it. I don't like the colors much. It's just a crowd of people, what's the big deal? But please tell me how you can take 5 consecutive slides, and then have them line up. Surely people would have moved a bit, making it difficult to get seamless "seams".
Jerry's Alive? I didn't realize the Greatful Dead had such a following in India. An excellent photo none the less. I dont think the grandeur of the scene could have been caught any better. A shot from the air might have done it justice but we would have lost the personal touch of individual people undressing. By the way, how does one find their clothes afterward? "I could have sworn I put it here somewhere......"
I'm just pleased I didn't want to get to the beach that day. Love the undulating mountain (rather than ocean) of people producing a once-in-a-144 year (is it?) panorama. The stitch does seem seamless, and in some respects the lighting has lent the image a "painterly" effect. It's heartening to find a member who appreciates the POW award - and this is certainly deserved : though as already mentioned, any number of your images on this theme would have suited the page. So, please tell, did they manage to part the sea?
VERSION 2 MESSAGE TO ALL!!! Just uploaded FINAL VERSION. Hope you like even more, or maybe not.... Namaste...
Photo of the WEEK?! Hell! Photo of the YEAR! Photo.net should have a highly exclusive "Hall of Greatness" or something. This isn't a photograph. This is a frozen moment in time that permits us a window to briefly enter into the experience. A master recreation from a montage of different perspectives. It makes me want to travel into my screen to hear, see, smell, and feel what being there was all about. It's a shame that 51 others will share the "same" POW honors. I question whether any of them will be worthy.
Maarten van Hoven
Hoogste tijd Het werd eens tijd dat deze POW zou worden... Maar hij is het dan eindelijk toch. Geweldige foto, met een briljante lichtval en in indrukwekkende scene! Daar is niks aan af te doen... MVG Maarten
As an "old India hand", yr panorama took me right back there. Can't really add anything to Marc Guggenheim's or Tony Drummet's perceptive remarks. I think any criticicisms are nit-picking. Many, many thanks!
>It was the largest religious gathering in the
>world ever held.
I don't know about all that, take a look at the muslims pilgrimate called Haj.
A few years ago it was a 3 million people, probably up to 5 now.
nestor, thanks for posting. I thought I was the only one that had noticed, as if my computer was in a time warp, or something.
Stunning Very impressive. How did you shot a multi frame panaroma of a crowd of moving people and piece it together in photoshop? I'd think you'd have to shoot five frames at the same time...
I can't imagine better light - it brings out the color saturation. If ever there was an image where you should NOT look at the thumbnail, this is it. Your eye will be drawn to the man lower left and the dirt in the center - interruptions in the texture. Instead, open it large, say ten feet wide :-) , and enjoy all the detail. The composition 'highlights' will be of little importance. How did you manage to eliminate flare in the second image?
Pernel S. Thyseldew
Nat. Geo Quality! 9/10 with me Well maybe 9.5/10, are you looking for a job with the National Geographic?? Maybe you SHOULD! Cheers Pernel www.digthatcrazyfarout.com
Rienk Jiskoot wrote above: "what's bothering me is the total lack of any facial expression, Almost everybody's face is in partly or total darkness " He makes just a good point. In such a gathering one can't expect anything personal expressed, vise versa it a essentially image of GREAT IMPERSONALITY. Religiously, philosophically this event (as Jean-Pierre says) is time of concentration of the cosmic powers (shakti) into your own being. Then it is sort of a feast of the nihilum where an ocean of these people flows. Our present artwork precisely conveys very idea of an event. Don't leave it behind, being a "uniquely huge", "awful" "amazing", "beautiful" and all such, it is first of all panoramic view of religious feast. And it is good explanatory picture of such a thing.
By the way, I would also consider other shots in http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=161965 as slices of that big ham http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=430473 :-).
Fantastic! Took me back to Kumbh!! This is a fantastic panorama. I love it! Thank you for taking me back to Kumbh for a moment. Some of my own photographs from Kumbh are at: http://www.naharas.com/html/india/kumbh01/kumbh2001-1.htm Regards, Nitish
Wonderful This photo is fabulous as it is, in regards to light and the lack of expressions. The lack of expression allows you to become lost in this sea of people, and lets your eye traverse across the masses. If too many expressions were captured, it would be a totally different photo. What is the comment about the Muslim pilgrimage being larger than this? How is 40mill less than 3 or even 5 million?
You showed great presence of mind in remembering to take five pictures to later form a panorama. I am sure the sense of moment and crush of people , so early in the morning, must have been overwhelmingly distracting. It is a pleasant surprise to see that the stitching of non-simultaneous pictures of a moving mass of people, with one or two exceptions, has not resulted in any seemingly severed bodies! . I agree with the above posters about these pictures coming up a bit dark in the browser. I downloaded the jpeg and viewed it in photoshop, and with a little tweaking the faces are much clearer. How was the actual light, compared to what we see? From the picture, it appears to be about 7:00 a.m. or so of a midwinter morning in Northern India. Or was it later? All that aside, this is a terrific picture!
The Mood Was Set - You Captured It "AS IS" After reviewing many comments on this work of art, I must add that I believe there is no need to see the faces of the individuals in a "better light." If one thinks they can add light to the Earth better than the Almighty, please send Him your photo portfolio. The light is captured well, in my opinion, and the mood is represented with accuracy. I offer my humble thanks for having the opportunity to see this representation of time.
40milj = 40 million... Just a small typing error but it is indeed 40 million, well at least, some statistics even go up to 70 million pilgrims so 40 is a save bet... Namaste
milj??? Another comment requesting a definition of a milj. I can tell it's not a million, but I have no idea what it means.
I am amazed. I have never seen, even in a photograph, so many people in one location. I cannot begin to imagine. Thanks to you, Jean-Pierre, and thanks to PN, I am able to experience other worlds, other places that I have never even dreamed of. It boggles my mind.
Maha Kumbh Mela in India Allahabad Jan 2001 "An Ocean of People at an Ocean odf Water" Nearly 40 milj people gathered at the confluence of the Ganga and the Yamuna in India for ritual bathing every 12 years. Thios panorama has been assembled in Photoshop with 5 slides taken consicutively.