This happened well before the pandemic – when gathering at a spot to witness a visual spectacle with a hundred others was business as usual!
It was just another Hampi day with the sun setting brilliantly dramatically over the rocky landscape. Like about a hundred others, we were gathered at one of the sunset points in Hampi, and like about fifty others, I had got there earlier, picked out a spot and settled to wait for the colours to come out. I had planned on having a couple of rocky outcrops in the foreground, and had chosen my spot in such a way that by turning a little I could have one or the other in my picture.
And so we all waited. A few enterprising little boys selling tea came up to us and sold us tea in ridiculously tiny paper cups. More and more people turned up to watch the sunset. At some point, the colours appeared and the shooting started. While the sky and the sunset were brilliant, the images were just blazes of colour, without any points to hold the interest.
At this point, a troupe of monkeys, on their way from somewhere to somewhere, swarmed through the place. Some of the photographers turned their cameras at them, while others made way for the large primates. It was during this time that one of them hopped on to one of the rocks I had designated as my foreground subjects, and sat on it for less than a minute. He didn’t sit still, and was fidgeting about. I worked furiously – I had to change settings, I had to reframe the shot – hell, I had to re-imagine the shot.
In the 50 seconds he was there, I managed to get off a few shots, out of which this is the one I liked the best. There were a few more sunsets I shot on that trip, but none was as memorable as that one, nor did they produce such a dramatic output!