I am from the vale of Kashmir, India. My journey from Kashmir to Australia was a result of my destiny to travel to the lucky country about 27 years ago, when I migrated to Australia and landed in Canberra.
Here I began working with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Truly speaking, I found Canberra just like my Kashmir in many ways: quiet, peaceful, tranquil, beautiful and full of pleasant people. I was still missing spring when the whole valley was laid with beautiful flowers such as daffodils, jonquils, hyacinth and of course my favourite tulips.
It was just by luck that I visited Floriade Canberra for the first time in September 1993. A spread of stunning coloured flowers beautifully landscaped in different shapes and themes all around took my breath away.
It was a truly magical feeling. For a moment it felt like as if I was back in the valley as a little child holding my parents hand in the Mogul gardens of Shalimar and Nishat enjoying the white cherry trees and the tulips in spring. Exact nostalgic fondness. Tulips take me down that fond memory lane of childhood.
Even in Kashmir today, they have a tulip festival every year in March. Since I was living close to Commonwealth Park where Floriade is celebrated every year, I used to visit on the weekends and take photographs. This is also where my interest in photography began, and where this love for it took root.
I also used to capture family and community events as a hobby. In 2012 I captured wedding function of my friend’s daughter. Afterwards I noticed one of my photographs hanging in their lounge room. I was told that my clicks were better than the professional who also captured the function. That compliment gave me the confidence and motivation to upgrade my camera and continue with this hobby.
Photography has always been my passion, but this interest took flight again when I won the first prize in the Canberra Times Autumn Photography Competition, 2014.
My ardour for capturing tulips started multiplying with every event of Floriade in Canberra and each click of Tulip. The passion did not stop here. I visited Keukenhof (Netherlands) in April 2015 with my wife.
Keukenhof is a mecca for tulip-lovers, also photographers and a travellers paradise. One of the most photographed place of the world. I spent about a week there to capture some stunning tulip photographs. I’ve also made videos of the experience
People always ask what is the best way of taking photographs of tulips? The answer is simple – you do not need expensive cameras, lens or filters unless you want to take it to the next professional level.
Top tips to tulip photography
As winds and rains are very frequent in spring, it becomes hard to capture the Tulips. Strong wind can also make photographing tulips too difficult. If you don’t lose your patience there are times where you have light winds about 0-5 metres/sec. That is the perfect time to click tulips. You can always check meteorology websites of your area to understand the weather conditions for rain and wind speed for the next seven days and can plan accordingly.
Remember also the best time for capturing good tulip photographs is during the magic or golden hour, which is one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset. Photograph tulips in the early morning when the wind tends to be calmer compared to later in the day. Many tulip admirers and photographers love to click in soft, diffused light but often festivals do not open this early. I have been growing tulips in my backyard so I can click them in the early morning hours to get soft and diffused light.
It is always best to use auto-mode until one is confident, then transfer to manual focus. My advice for photography enthusiasts and aspiring professionals is that it is important to have an in-depth understanding of shutter speed, aperture and light sensitivity when using manual mode. You will know all these tricks if you read the manual of your camera thoroughly.
I take photos for the love of it, not for the money.
For anyone wanting to buy a photo from my website, instead of paying me, decide the price of it and donate the money to a charity of your choice and I’ll be happy to send the photo in full resolution.