Photographer's Blog

The Holi Festival: A Photo Essay by Joseph Mak

Also known as the “festival of love” and “festival of colours”, we all know the Holi festival for its vibrant colours and exuberant spirit. Apt, as the festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, and the arrival of spring. Dance in the streets of India with us, and celebrate light and love through stunning imagery.   

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, 35mm, ISO 3200, 1/500sec, f/5.6 

I travelled 4 hours to Mathura and Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh by road. Mathura is the believed birthplace of Lord Krishna, from whom the rainbow of colours the festival is so well known for stems from, as it was said he liked to play pranks on village girls by drenching them in water and colours.  

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, 26mm, ISO 100, 1/640sec, f/6.3

The festival starts with the Holika bonfire, an event by night where locals pray to the gods by burning cow dung. They take a piece home, believing that by taking the holy fire from god, they will be blessed.

The next day, the streets explode with colours. 

They celebrate Holi by bathing each other in coloured powdered, dancing under water sprinkles, tossing water balloons and water guns. 

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, 28mm, ISO 125, 1/500sec, f/7.1

While the powder is still the main element of play, some have added water just to make things more interesting. Small alleys are crammed with people waiting to spring on you with heaps of powder and pails of water, and I want to celebrate and capture stunning images without having to worry about my camera!

I wrapped it up in a rain cover, but it means I end up with a warped view, can’t review my photos, change battery and memory cards or lens the entire time I’m out shooting. It is definitely a challenge, but I think it’s worth it. 

Canon EOS 5DS-R, EF24-70mm f-f/8L II USM lens, 55mm, ISO 1000, 1/400sec, f/3.5

I’ve traveled to Mathura 4 times just for the Holi festival. My purpose isn’t to capture as many photos as possible, but to join in on the fun and mingle with the locals. 

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, 27mm, ISO 2000, 1/500sec, f/3.5

Tip: high ISO and a fast shutter speed ensures you’ll capture the drama in a sharp image. 

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, 28mm, ISO 1000, 1/250sec, f/7.1

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, 28mm, ISO 1000, 1/640 sec, f/7.1
An arc of blue dye dances towards a canvas of purple and pinks.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, 30 mm, ISO 2500, 500sec, f/3.5
In the temple, worshippers revel and bathe in the beauty of the Holi festival. 

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, 50 mm, ISO 1000, 1/500sec, f/5.6
A couple twirls in celebration, as though they are the only ones in the room.

Canon EOS 5DS-R, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, 30mm, ISO 250, 1/400sec at f/8.0
Yellow powder paints the streets gold.

Canon EOS 5DS-R, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, 31mm, ISO 250, 1/400sec, f/8.0
No escape! Wide roads and narrow alleys alike are lined with children and adults partaking in the festivities. 

Canon EOS 5DS-R, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, 44mm, ISO 1000, 1/500sec, f/8.0


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EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM


Joseph Mak

Photography is not just about having the best equipment or the latest gadget. It’s about seeing things around us. Everyone has a different perspective of things, and each views the same subject matter differently. It is always very interesting to see the different perspectives recorded in photographs, and I will always try to understand what story each photographer is trying to tell from their photographs. My style of photography is to keep it simple and clean. The key element in the photo is to be able to tell a story of the scene. Photography is an art of visual storytelling, rather than snapping a photo by itself.

Every photographer ought to be respected for the work they produce, because each photograph taken by them reflects his own unique personality.


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ảnh đẹp quá cảm ơn tác giả nhũng bức ảnh đầy mầu sắc này alophoto media

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