14-20 June 2013 #660

Picture perfect

The bird’s eye view image of the crowd during Rato Machhindranath gained immediate fame among millions across the world

The iconic image of the swinging Rato Machhindranath as it lurches through the narrow alleys of old Patan is a perennial favourite among photographers both home and abroad. Drawn by the drama and colours, 28-year-old Navesh Chitrakar, who works for Reuters in Nepal, turned up year after year to capture the chaos on his Canon 5D Mark III. But there was a problem.

All Pics: Reuters /Navesh Chitrakar
CATCH IT: Chakala Dangol, the priest who is responsible for the coconut ceremony on Rato Machhindranath, gets ready to toss the ceremonial fruit. This year, Dongol wore a GoPro camera on his head (below) to capture this stunning image.

The photos he took over the years were no different than the generic postcards sold in Thamel: the same low angles, the same crowds in the foreground. “The images were bland imitations of each other. So I thought why not attempt a shot from the top?” says Navesh.

Navesh met Chakala Dangol, the priest who is responsible for the coconut ceremony and convinced him to strap on a GoPro, a kind of camera used in sports and adventure photography. Programmed to take a picture every five seconds on fixed exposure, the camera was running throughout the 45 minutes that it took for Dangol to reach the top of the wooden chariot, drop the coconut, and make it back safely. Navesh was pleasantly surprised with the results.

The camera was running throughout the 45 minutes that it took for Dangol to reach the top of the wooden chariot, drop the coconut, and make it back safely.

As soon as the photo went up on Reuters’ website, the bird’s eye view image of the crowd and up-close shot of the coconut in Dhangol’s palms gained immediate fame among millions across the world. But controversy was just around the corner. Fellow photographers were angered that Navesh gave himself credit for work that he had not clicked.

Navesh Chitrakar (left) and Chakala Dangol.

But the experienced lensman says he sees nothing wrong in putting his name on the photos. “Dangol dai was kind enough to help me and the images wouldn’t have been possible without him,” he explains. “Credit is usually given to the person who comes up with the concept, fixes settings, or fires the shutter by remote control. I did everything but press the shutter.”

The iconic image of the swinging Rato Machhindranath as it lurches through old Patan.


HANDS FREE

GoPro is a wearable camera used to take high definition videos and photos for adventure sports and situations where a normal camera would be useless like bungee jumping, trail cycling, tight-rope walking, etc. Besides full HD videos, the gadget is capable of taking up to 10 photographs per second, is waterproof, works with remote control, and can be programmed to take photos on its own.

GoPro HD HERO2

**Fixed Focus (2 ft/0.6m - ∞), glass

**Aperture: f/2.8

**170° wide angle available in all modes

**127° medium angle in 1080p, 720P, or WVGA mode

**90° narrow angle in 1080p or 720P mode

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