Towns and cities are increasingly crowded, overtaken gradually by roads, buildings and other infrastructure day by day. With thousands of people gathering daily, cities and towns eventually become ideal places filled with photo opportunities. But only a talented photographer can capture cityscapes through a lens, freezing them forever. A cityscape photographer can give life to concrete jungles in cities.
“Other photographers are mostly interested in landscape and nature photography. They need good conditions and those conditions always keep changing. For instance, the sunset is not always the same. But, no such conditions are required for cityscape photography. And for me the lights in the night are perfect background for a good photograph,” says cityscape photographer Thulith Nelaka, a man in his element.
Reading for a degree in engineering no doubt helps Thulith in spotting that perfect angle in a built environment. Thulith is currently an undergraduate at Nawaloka College of Higher Studies, following a degree in engineering. But he intends to develop his career in the field of photography.
“I have to move to Australia to continue my degree. As Australia is another country with a lot of places to be captured, this would allow me to continue my passion for photography while continuing my studies,” Thulith talked about his future plans.
Photography was a childhood passion of Thulith. After completing his education at Lyceum International School, Panadura, Thulith devoted all his time to chase his dream. He is a self-taught photographer. Youtube videos were his main source of education on the art of photography.
“I got my first Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera just two months before my Advanced Level examinations. I felt like I got wings,” Thulith recalled the happy moment.
As a blossoming photographer he is happy about the success he has achieved within a short period. Thulith started photography a little over a year and a half ago. Yet, compared to many photographers in the field he says he is content with his achievements. “At times I feel that I have produced better photographs than those who have been in the field for a long time,” he explained.
Even though he has participated in a few competitions, he prefers to reserve his best photos for better future use. “I usually do not participate in each and every competition, yet I am waiting for better opportunities to showcase my best works. I will not use the same photograph for two competitions. It is not allowed. So I reserve the best for more high profile competitions,” said Thulith.
According to Thulith, the photographs we capture gives a glimpse of our country to the outside world. Their perspective of Sri Lanka partially depends on the photos that are out there.
Thulith explained the limitations and challenges faced by cityscape photographers in Sri Lanka. “In Sri Lanka there is very little recognition for photographers. And there are many restrictions on photographers.” He explained that, for instance, if a photographer is spotted with tripod in certain areas in Colombo, there have been instances where police officers have asked him or her to leave, claiming that photography was prohibited. Though taking photos with handheld cameras or mobile phones is allowed, a perfect shot cannot be captured without a tripod,” Thulith said.
An unforgettable incident for Thulith is when he, along with his friend, went to watch the Kandy Perahara last year. “We reached Kandy around 11 am. We were seated by the side of the road, waiting for photo opportunities. We waited for hours until the procession ended. It was well past 1 am when it ended,” he recollected. “Our legs were numb from sitting for more than 12 hours at a stretch. Yet I am happy with the results.”
His happiness knew no bounds when his friends and followers on Facebook appreciated and commented on his photographs. According to Thulith, the talent of a photographer is far more important than the quality or the value of the camera he or she uses. “A perfect photograph doesn’t require the best of camera, only skill,” concluded Thulith.