Holi is an ancient Hindu Spring festival celebrated in central and north India, to celebrate the victory of good over evil. It derives its name from Holika, a mythological character who lured her nephew Prahlad into a pyre in a bid to kill him. Lord Vishnu saved him, and Holika ended up getting killed in the pyre instead. It consists of 2 days of celebrations - a bonfire on the full moon night (Purnima) and play of colors on the following day, when people of all ages dab each other with coloured powder (Gulal) and water.
I photographed this bonfire in my housing colony Mahindra Splendour in Mumbai. The bonfire is typically lit after dark, and the fire itself is the primary source of light. Photography of the bonfire is challenging, as the light intensity varies drastically - from extremely bright at the flames to a low light around it. Exposing for either light condition would not do justice to the other lighting situation. If I photographed for the ambient light and people around, the bonfire flames would be over exposed, and vice versa. To counter this, I decided to do 2 things. I picked an angle on the opposite side of where the bonfire lighting started, and took the shot before the bonfire was lit from all sides and the flames caught on all around. This allowed me the freedom to expose for the ambient light, without over exposing the flames, yet capturing them at the edges of the haystack. It resulted in a picture that in my view depicts the ambiance and mood of the Holi bonfire.
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