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Monthly Archives: June 2015

Taj Mahal – Royal Gatway

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Agra India

For several years I had visited India off and on as a part of what I did for a living.  Because my job was very demanding I normally worked 7 days a week 12 to 18 hours a day.  That is when I was not running to catch a plane to my next assignment.  I wanted to carry a camera with me to capture some of the sights but did not want to take my Canon 5D with all the lenses because my trips were normally 6 to 8 weeks in duration, and I was already bogged down with bags and computers So after looking at several point-and shoot cameras, I decided to purchase and began to carry a Canon SX 210.  It was a state of the art camera when I purchased it and served me well for about 5 years.  (I now carry a Sony DSC – HK50V for everyday and also have an RX-100 I use as a backup to the backup when I am out on photography shoots.)  So from time to time there would be an in-country holiday when I would have a few hours free and I would wonder off to snap a few photos.

Taj Mahal Royal Gateway

Taj Mahal – Royal Gatway

Fortunately the SX-210 did an excellent job.  Using the SX-210 handheld, I was able to capture most of the distance shots with clarity and a well-defined detail that, before image stabilization, would be attributed to the top rated lenses & cameras being used on a tripod.

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

I love to explore on my own so most of my photographic expeditions are on my own and self- guided. That’s because, every time I do go on some sort of an organized tour or shoot with my camera,  I seem to find many more interesting things that need to be captured for further review.  I am always the last person back and I feel like I am holding the whole group back.  Not that it bothers me that others can’t appreciate the great wonders of God and man that have been laid before us. Everyone has their own vision.  It’s just that I am feeling as if I am being rushed and forced to operate at another’s pace.

Taj Mahal Minaret

Taj Mahal – Minaret II

The photos presented here are from a brief visit I had to the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.  This is only one of the famous sights in Agra, although undoubtedly the most famous.

Taj Mahal Corridor

Taj Mahal – Corridor

The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan as a tomb and monument for his wife  Mumtaz Mahal.  It took 25 years and around 25,000 people to build the Taj Mahal. It is estimated that more than 1,000 elephants were used to transport necessary construction materials. It cost about 32 million of Indian currency to build at the time of construction

Taj Mahal Minaret

Taj Mahal – Minaret

The Taj Mahal is regarded by many as the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architectural styles. The construction began around 1630 and was completed around 1655, employing thousands of artisans and craftsmen.

Taj Mahal Crypt Door

Taj Mahal – Crypt Door

The Taj Mahal consists of four major structures, beautiful landscaping and courtyards.  The buildings are the Great Entrance, a Visiting Dignitary Building, A Mosque, and the Tomb Building or the Taj Mahal itself.  Mumtaz Mahal, was kept in a mummified form until the monument was complete. Four minarets frame her tomb, one at each corner of the plinth facing the chambered corners. The main chamber houses the false sarcophagi of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan; the actual graves are at a lower level.

Taj Mahal Mosque

Taj Mahal – Mosque

Because I am basically a Landscape & Architecture photographer, I prefer not to have people in my photographs.  So I planned to get there early and beat the crowds.  However, the trip took longer than expected (most trips seem to take longer than expected in India so leave very early) and we arrived a little later than expected.  It was a local holiday and the place was absolutely packed when we arrived. This was the only time I was going to have to photograph the Taj so I immediately began shooting.  I did not shoot as many photographs as I wanted because there were people everywhere.  As you view these photos you will note that most of the photographs are looking up (not many people when looking up).  So most of the photos I took were of minarets’ and domes.  However, I did get lucky and was able to get a few photos with just throngs of people in them instead of huge throngs of people in them.

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal II

The calligrapher believed to be responsible for the ornate Persian calligraphy that adrons most of the buildings is  Amanat Khan.  Amanat Khan was resident at the Mughal court. (His signature appears in colophons within the marble inscriptions). It is believed that .Amanat Khan was responsible not only for the design of the script but also for the choice of text. The majority of the text is taken from the Qur’an. There are twenty two passages in all, including fourteen whole chapters, some of which are read out as part of the Islamic funeral ceremony itself.

Taj Mahal Calligraphy

Taj Mahal – Calligraphy

One of the things I have recently learned about digital photography is to shoot the scene even if it is less than perfect.  A lot can be done in the post-processing phase by skillfully using Lightroom and Photoshop (which are very powerful tools) to make a less than perfect scene  better than you thought possible.  I had to work on several of these images for days to get them to the images I pre-visualized when I first snapped the shutter.

Taj Mahal Mosque Dome

Taj Mahal Mosque Dome

So these photos were all taken by me during the brief interludes I had while in India.  There are more photos which I will share in later issues of our blog.  I sincerely hope you enjoy them.

Taj Mahal Guesthouse or Jawab

Taj Mahal – Guesthouse or Jawab