Muscat: COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown spelt a doom for this young landscape photographer from Muscat. A usual visitor who covers the Khareef Festival in Salalah each year, this year, though he made initial plans, had to miss due to the pandemic.
Baiju Jose from Muscat says the Sultanate offers a vast diversity for a photographer.
Landscapes, macro photography, astro-photography, architecture, seascapes and cityscapes hold dear to this sales engineer who works for Photo Centre.
“Photography is all about being at the right spot at the right time with the right gears along with use of right techniques. Reaching many places on time is a challenge and one must be lucky enough as well,” he says.
“Being a photographer pursuing my passion was difficult and challenging during COVID-19 due to travel restrictions which is the core part of any kind of outdoor activity. Like many others, I too went through this extremely difficult phase, as it was a challenging period to idle.”
After a few days he decided that he had to do something creative.
“So I thought it was better to learn something new or empower the present post processing skill set, which is an important part of photography and for a photo hobbyist,” he recalls. So Baiju was able to learn a lot of new things in post processing by referring from YouTube videos and relying on Internet facilities. Friday Shoot Out group (FSO) also helped him a lot during the lockdown period with their active Zoom sessions which kept his interest in photography alive. He also spent time in research, searching and planning for new locations.
Baiju prefers to shoot wider frames and therefore his favourite lenses are Nikon wide angle 16mm-35mm F4 and Fujinon XF10mm-24mm F4 wide angle lens.
Basics like light, colour, tone, exposure and composition enhanced his knowledge of photography and aroused much interest.
Nature is his first and foremost inspiration towards photography.
“I started photography as a hobby with the feeling that if I could freeze those special moments, then the next second onwards would be a memory for the next generation. All this gives you joyful moments and peace of mind,” he explains.
He has been closely associated with photography for the last 20 years as part of his work. Not only is photography his job, but it is a passion and an integral part of his life.
Over the last decade, after he plunged into photography seriously, Baiju has improvised on his work which is clearly evident in terms of quality, technicality, and composition or editing.
Baiju recollect about waiting anxiously for months to get a particular shot.
“To get a perspective shot of Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque with a particular flower in the foreground, I waited almost a year as these colourful flowers bloom during winter.”
However, he regrets visiting Dhofar Governorate to cover the Khareef festival due to restrictions from COVID-19.
His contemporaries, all photography enthusiasts, have high praise for the works attained by Baiju.
Nasser Hamed al Harthy, a senior Friday Shoot Out (FSO) member says Baiju is a versatile photographer focusing mainly on landscape and macro photography. “His landscape photos are magical and used to inspire me and other budding photographers in our group.”
Bavish Kizhakoodan Balan, a well-known nature photographer, says Baiju is a good mentor and a close friend at ‘Team Back Bencher’, a small group of like-minded people, mostly engaged with travel and photography.
Libin Prabhakaran, founder, FSO Muscat, and convener, ISC Photography group, says Baiju’s landscape photographs inspires him and other budding photographers in the group.
Another important achievement which Baiju cherishes was his participation at the photo exhibition (Indo-Oman Glimpses) conducted by ISC Photography Group, as a part of the 71st Republic Day celebrations along with four other fellow photographers.
A shutterbug for whom learning photography is a daily process and with lots of ambition, Baiju prefers to start a photography training centre as well as a studio in Aluva, his home town in the southern Indian state of Kerala. – Pictures by Baiju Jose