Ajanta Caves, Day Two

[Day 23] We made the second day’s shooting at Ajanta Caves today, and perhaps were better prepared, and didn’t have so many problems with the heat as we kept stopping for water along the way, and we found a new way out of the complex, which didn’t involve climbing hills, which also helped.

We took up the photography from cave 11, and managed to get through to cave 19, and included caves 16 & 17 which have many elaborate paintings of the Jataka stories illustrated on them. We have now covered all the caves with any major paintings in them, so I am hopeful we will be able to finish up the work tomorrow.

Yesterday I was rather disappointed with the way the photographs of the paintings came out, and today decided to try using the telephoto lens. As far as clarity goes this was indeed better, but then subjects get isolated from their context in the wider scene.

I think to really get good photos of the paintings would take special permission, better lighting and a lot of cooperation from the authorities, which we didn’t have. I am not entirely displeased with the results, but will need to see them on a bigger screen than I have on the laptop at present.

The photography inside many of the caves has been taken at ISO 3200, which is more than most cameras can manage, let alone manage satisfactorily, but I was quite happy with the performance of the Sony A6000 which has been used on this trip, in this and many other ways.

At cave 19 we met with our first major hold up: a large group of Thai visitors taking selfie after selfie after selfie. For the most part we have avoided groups much better than I ever thought possible, and really today’s group only delayed us for 30 minutes. We have been exceptionally lucky in supportive conditions for our work.


Ajanta Paintings



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