A Week in Quicksand

A 2-month time-lapse in Kutch!

This is the story of one of the most complex and exciting timelapse projects I have ever handled in my young career as a photographer with StudioOnCloud.

As soon as I arrived at the office late morning one day, Vikas sir called out: “Anand! Will you be able to install a camera at a site in Kutch?” I responded: “Sure, why not?” Thinking, “Just setting up a camera… How hard could that be?” It will be a sweet little getaway to an unfamiliar exciting place.

From all the images I’d seen over the internet, Kutch has a beautiful landscape – with white desert, stunning sunsets, and not a crowd in sight! And all I had to do was set up a camera? Sounds like every lazy photographer’s dream! (Not that I’m lazy). Little did I know about the challenges that were about to come my way…

On a side note: I was booking my return ticket for 3 days after my arrival, but Vikas sir told me not to book it yet. His intuition said that this little trip wasn’t going to be so little after all.

And guess what? He was so right!

The first problem hit us: we were not even allowed to visit the shooting site because of all the paperwork and medical checkups required to enter the industrial premises.

With the help of Mr. Shubham from Godrej, we finally got the gate passes on the 3rd day of arrival. We woke up at 3 in the morning and take the 5 am bus from Bhuj to Kutch in order to reach the location at 7 am.

Finally reaching the location!

Upon finally entering the premises we find out that the land around the construction site is so marshy that there was no solid erection to set our camera on! This was an eye-opener… I hadn’t in my wildest dreams thought this could happen.

I couldn’t sleep on the bus ride back to our hotel room that day. I had to have an internal discussion with my very neat-and-clean OCD brain that we will have to repeat clothes from the next day because this was going to be a long stay. My nervous system had kickstarted into the problem-solving mode. My teammate, Vaibhav, and I started to list down things we would need to achieve our goals.

Setting up the camera!

The next day we bought all the safety equipment that would be necessary to work in those harsh conditions. We also organized some metal objects that could stabilize the camera, internet dongles to monitor the data daily, a plastic box to weather-proof the installation, a few cables and clamps to hold everything together.

We got two 30 feet poles cemented on the ground and installed our cameras at the very top of these poles. Mr. Vipin Patel (Civil Engineer at Agrocel) kindly helped us with the permissions and the entire execution process, including the raw material and manpower support needed to erect the poles in order to set up the timelapse.

Slowly and steadily, everything started falling into place. Thanks to the combined efforts of the entire team, we were finally able to bolt our cameras at the desired angles and height to get the perfect timelapse view of the ongoing construction.

After this, we rigorously tested our setup for two days to see if there were any errors in shooting timelapse or collecting and maintaining the data. Thankfully, there was none. It is very satisfying to go through the resultant footage of this project every day. This was an amazing experience professionally, as well as personally.

By the way, before I end, I wrote an entire paragraph about the amazing street food I had in Bhuj but that got cut by the editors of this blog… they don’t understand how important the food is. If you ever visit Bhuj contact me personally I will tell you all the details.

One can contact Anand at: https://www.instagram.com/anandhiianand/

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