We’ve all seen the classic view of the Taj Mahal from the reflecting pools in front. I have taken that photo myself. It is fun and very beautiful, yet still I always look for the non-classic shot when visiting well known landmarks, like the Taj Mahal.
When learning photography you are often instructed to “keep the sun at your back” especially with landscape photos. Or at least keep the sun at your side. Rarely will someone tell you, “Always shoot into the sun”. But if you want to break out of the norm, you have to break the rules.
This isn’t that drastic of a rule break and it happens to work well with the timing at the Taj Mahal. After the gates open, the sun comes up to the right of the mausoleum. The angle depends on the time of year and it often takes a while to bathe the whole structure in even light. I took some pictures on my first trip and thought they were perfect, until I realized only half of the minarets (towers on the sides) were fully lit.
Knowing that timing, on my second trip I chose to spend time around the base of the structure and to look for new views. This side of the platform is where the mosque is situated and was fairly empty when I arrived. Walking around I noticed the shadow of the minaret on the ground and could see light poking through the openings at the top.
All it took was a bit of positioning to obtain this unique photo. I then used the funky new ‘Upright’ feature of Adobe Lightroom to help bring all the lines straight, instead of concaving as they were. I like this image because the golden light gives the structure a different feel. It’s also a good way to deal with the typical Agra haze in the sky. I did warm up the picture a little by increasing the white balance to 5500K. And some other tweaks.