Use distractions to your advantage

For a travel photographer, it is the expanse of the coastal strip that is one of the key shots to capture in Goa but also often one of the most difficult.

Peter Adams

Peter Adams Travel Photographer

Mention Goa and people think of holidays, relaxation and time spent on long sandy beaches. To capture one of these idyllic locations on film can be harder than you think. Beaches are rarely perfect and, being flat and open, they need scale and depth combined with good light

Fortunately in Goa there are plenty of colorful people wandering the beach selling everything from textiles and jewelry to cold drinks and of course there are the fishermen, who are particularly busy around dawn and dusk.

However, what really fascinates me about this smallest of Indian states is what lies behind the beautiful beaches: the villages surrounded by rice paddies and the small towns with their immaculate, gleaming white churches.

Exploring inland, I came across this elephant handler preparing for a local festival – a wonderful sight (and photographic opportunity) that reinforced my love of India with its surprises around every corner. I asked if he could step back slightly into the dappled light of a nearby tree, which he did.

While making sure he made direct eye contact to connect with the viewer, I was happy that he was distracted by an onlooker – enabling me to capture a more natural editorial shot.

Although Goa has seven wildlife sanctuaries, none have elephants and animals such as this at a temple are most commonly used to entice money from tourists for photos. The state’s reserves cover a range of habitats from tropical forest to mangroves, with Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary having a population of Bengal tigers. Photo by Peter Adams

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