Attending the annual color festival has been on my bucket list for a few years now, and we finally got to check it off. We attended this year’s Holi festival in Mathura, India. The festival signifies the beginning of spring and is celebrated nationwide.
People take to the streets armed with bagfuls of intensely colored powder and buckets of radioactive colored water. The powder is thrown or smeared onto everyone as they walk through the city. ‘Happy Holi’ is repeated throughout the day as bursts of color come your way.
Generally, everyone was happy to have their picture taken and I got a few good ones. However, others saw a camera and tried to blast it with powder or dump neon-colored water on me and my camera. If you plan on going read my guide on how to protect your camera from the Holi festival. The fist full of powder stopped long enough to click a few good portraits of Holi.
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We were definitely a special target everyone wanted to color us, especially the girls. Most of it was good spirited and fun, but not all. At the end of the day, we were every color of the rainbow. Hannah had some interesting color splatter, it almost looked like an Avatar from the movies.
No one is exempt from the color, not even the cows. The cows are considered holy and are left to roam the streets and do as they please. They are looked after by the people and on Holi, they are not left out of the celebration.
Even days after the Holi festival we are still pink in some areas. Hannah’s hair looks like a rebellious teen’s with streaks of pink, my toenails are a nice shade of pink too.
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Thursday 9th of March 2017
Hello! Thank you for the article!! You have beautiful pictures of Holi! I'm planning to go to this year's Holi and I found your article about how to protect my camera very useful! I wanted to ask you about what lens did you use in that opportunity, I have a Canon T3i and I always switch between my standard 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 and my 50mm f/1.4, but as I can't change lenses that day for protection I was wondering what would be the best to use, What do you think?
Wednesday 31st of May 2017
Sorry for the late reply but I use a Tamron 18-270mm so I would not have to change the lenses. I would not recommend changing lenses during the festival, even if you found a place away from the mess to change it you'll be covered in powder with a good chance of getting it into your camera. However, if you are strictly going after portraits the 50mm will definitely be sharper and faster, but it's all outside so having enough light shouldn't be a problem. Good luck, hope you and your camera survive!
Friday 29th of May 2015
I remember having a book when I was a kid about children from around the world and the festivals they celebrate. The India page was about Holi and I was fascinated! Since then I've always wanted to experience the festival first hand and, fingers crossed, next year we will!
I particularly love the photo of Hannah - so beautiful and definitely reminiscent of the Avatar movie!
Sunday 15th of March 2015
Friday 20th of March 2015
Thanks Christine! It was a crazy festival to try and photograph.