Why I Love Road Trips

 

 

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Photograph/Rohit Paradkar

Mithila Mehta loves road trips. And what’s there not to love? The ever-changing views, the laughter, music resounding through the car as everyone sings along – the sheer joy of the journey at its absolute best.

The Frame The Star finalists Altaf, Raju and Kevin kick started their final showdown with a road trip from Chandigarh to Naldehra (Himachal Pradesh), photographing the beautiful Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 along the way. I accompanied Kevin in his white Mercedes on the drive, and boy, what a rollicking time it was!

Here are some of my favourite memories and recollections (in no particular order, of course)

  1. The road itself, the hero of our story: Whimsically winding through the hills, we followed this concrete ribbon through forests and valleys, up imposing mountains and through tiny villages. Sometimes the road disappeared altogether, but we kept going – a relentless quest with Kevin for the best photograph(s) ever.
  1. The best plans are unplanned: Sure it’s great to plan, but road trips allow a massive degree of spontaneity, chance and absolute serendipity. It was wonderful to see how Kevin rose to the occasion, beautifully capturing unexpected elements in his frames – the wrong turn which led us to a gorgeous off beaten path, for example.
  1. A photographer is never done: Never. Ever. Because there’s always scope to do better, be better and the quest for perfection is perpetually ongoing. For almost three hours, we were just about half an hour away from Naldehra. We never made it to Naldehra, however, because Kevin kept finding interesting shots to stop for. Every time, he would swear this was the last one – but of course we all knew that wasn’t true! It was great of course to see his dedication, except that we didn’t get to eat lunch till 6pm!
  1. Oh Nature, you dramatic one: Nature happily obliged the contestants with some breathless moments along the road trip which kept them clicking away! Over the course of the journey, we had every single type of weather possible – blinding sun streaming through the sun roof, gusty winds, damp cold rain, a thick mist that enveloped us (leaving visibility at minimum). Finally, the mist and rain gave way for a brilliant sunset, which set the sky on fire in myriad hues.
  1. Even though this is a fiercely contested competition, we had a whole lot of fun. Singing along to the Beatles and Coldplay, laughing and joking all the way – we were a happy bunch, focused on making beautiful pictures. The contest at times felt purely incidental.

Contestants will now spend a day traveling in and around Naldehra, photographing that perfect shot. And we are there to capture all the action, of course!

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Mithila Mehta is a journalist, author and intrepid traveler. Follow her adventures on www.miss-wanderlust.com 

Tags: chandigarh, face-off, frame the star, July 2015, Mercedes, Mercedes-Benz CLA, Mithila Mehta, Shimla