About the Trip
Finally I wanted to share a story and a few more images of the trip, to give you a sense of what it was like "behind the scenes."
While our overall experience in India was wonderful, we did have one unexpected mishap as we arrived in New Delhi: my cameras were stolen.
Coming from a photojournalism background, I generally consider myself to be fairly street smart. Normally when I travel, I look after my gear in ways that minimize risk and attention. However, on this trip I was traveling with my wife and 6 year old son, and my attention was divided just long enough to learn a tough lesson.
I originally packed a Lowepro bag with roughly $13,000 worth of Canon digital gear, including two 20D bodies, five lenses (including the excellent Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC, a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS, and a Canon 400mm DO IS which I brought specifically to photograph tigers at Ranthambhor National Park), flash, and accessories.
We arrived in New Delhi at close to midnight, after having been in airplanes and airports for close to 22 hours. When we entered baggage claim, I placed my backpack with two other bags on a luggage cart, which changed hands between my wife, myself, and our prearranged driver and guide two or three times while at the airport. All our bags were placed (at least I thought) in our waiting van. It was not until we arrived in our room at the Imperial Hotel and our bags were delivered that I noticed that my backpack had (you guessed it) "gone missing."
How, you ask, could I have let such a valuable kit out of my direct possession? Well, chalk it up to jet lag and the distractions of looking after a child. Lesson learned. The good news is that this occurred before I had made any pictures, so only material possessions were lost.
Our friend Abhay Maskara and his family naturally felt awful for us. They went out of their way to help us deal with this loss, including escorting me to the police station to file a police report. Abhay also took me to a camera shop in New Delhi, where I purchased the best model they had on hand as a replacement: the excellent Nikon D70 and DX Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED kit lens. I spent the next 2 weeks working with this single camera and lens (and on a few occasions one or two Nikon prime lenses of Abhay's that I was able to borrow).
In a way, this may have been a blessing: juggling a large kit would likely have proven difficult, and I was able to pass more as a tourist and therefore approach people with less intimidation. Also, one camera and lens forces you to work a bit harder to visualize your shots, which is a good discipline.
As for the Nikon, it performed really well. While at the San Bernardino Sun many years ago I shot for a time with Nikon F3 cameras, and I still own a few Nikon manual focus lenses. Working with the D70 was like going back in time for me. I was also pleasantly surprised at the quality of the Nikon 18-70mm lens. It was sharp at every aperture, even wide open, and had very nice background blur for a slower zoom.
Please enjoy the remaining images from the trip.