Interview with Rajesh Jyothiswaran

July 11, 2018

Welcome to episode 064 of the F-Stop Collaborate and Listen podcast with Rajesh Jyothiswaran!

Rajesh Jyothiswaran is a self taught photographer born out of a chance realization of his own latent photography skills when a smartphone photo of his native plant garden in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas went viral led to the purchase of his first DSLR. His interests range from macro to astro though landscape and astrophotography in places rarely photographed excite him the most.  Photography has taken him on a path of self-discovery, learning, and meaningful friendships across the world. His images have been displayed at several exhibitions, He has also won several awards for his work including the 2017 International Landscape Photographer of the Year Top 101 award and a Top 10 finalist in the Smithsonian 15th Annual Photo Contest. Born and raised in India, Rajesh lives in North Texas with his wife and two daughters. He aspires to continue growing as an artist and be a source of inspiration to others.

We covered some great topics this week, including:

1. How Rajesh got into landscape photography.

2. Challenges as a landscape photographer in Texas.

3. Bias and discrimination in landscape photography.

4. Recognition and its importance for photographers.

Over on Patreon this week, Rajesh and I had a fabulous conversation about a recent controversy he was involved in when he posted a photo of Mobius Arch with people standing on it.

Please consider supporting the podcast on Patreon! There's a ton of bonus content over there for subscribers! Your support is critical - it helps with production costs and to improve the podcast over time. Thanks!

To learn more about Rajesh, check out his online presence:



Here are some artists that Rajesh recommended for the podcast:

1. Kathleen Croft.

2. Chris Moore.

3. Matt Meisenheimer.

Some examples of Rajesh's photography can be seen below. 

I love hearing from the podcast listeners! Reach out to me via Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter if you'd like to be on the podcast or if you have an idea of a topic we can talk about. You can also join the conversation on our Facebook Group! We've also started an Instagram page and a Facebook page for the podcast, where we'll be sharing updates as we go! 

Rajesh Jyothiswaran - Bias & Discrimination in Landscape Photography

An affluent tourist resort destination and landscape photographer bucket list item is the Cannon Beach in Oregon. Cannon Beach is recognized by its well-known landmark, Haystack Rock. This igneous rock has an elevation of 235 feet (72 m) and is often accessible at low tide, especially in the summertime. There is a small cave system that penetrates the rock and can be seen from the coastline. The rock is also protected as a marine sanctuary. There are at least six other geographic features in Oregon named Haystack Rock, including two others along the Oregon Coast — and others throughout the U.S. Haystack Rock here is accompanied by several smaller rocks known as The Needles. (Now you figured the caption!) This view however is of the Cannon Beach as seen from Ecola State Park from a distance of about 2.5 miles (4km). Captain William Clark of ‘Lewis and Clark’ fame and 12 members of the Corps of Discovery traveled through what is now the Ecola State Park in 1806 in search of a beached whale near present-day Cannon Beach.  After scaling the north slope of Tillamook Head and reaching one of its viewpoints, Clarke described the vista as “… the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed…” It was a few minutes after sundown and the glowing embers were on their last breaths. This is a fairly easy place to access and has been photographed innumerable times before. But I suspect, this might have been one of those near ideal conditions a landscape photographer could hope for.

Rajesh Jyothiswaran - Bias & Discrimination in Landscape Photography

The hike to Taft Point in Yosemite is mildly strenuous for people like me and for the more athletic types, it is a fairly easy walk in the woods. It is literally a beautiful walk in the woods. About 2.2 miles (3.5 km) round trip. Feels a bit worse coming back because you have just witnessed a great sunset and hair raising heights. There are no guard rails except at one place, Taft Point behind which I had my tripod set up. On the way in, I showed my group several plants that we find in nurseries and we pay a fortune for them. Out here they just grew wild and were a lot prettier. On the way here, Wisanu asked me if I would like to be the human element in the scene and before I could reply, Nayana said “Dad! I forbid you from doing risky stuff and mommy will be mad”. There ended my hopes of emulating the Boonrawds. Seriously, walking around here requires you to be careful since there fissures in the rock. Fissures are basically enormous cracks in the rock that is about a kilometer high. Hazards: The dropoff at Taft Point is steep, and a fall would be not just fatal, but squish-you-like-a-bug fatal. The fall is so far that your friends, waving their teary goodbyes and hoping you didn't have the only set of car keys, would lose sight of you before you reached the ground. So be careful. ( The granite monolith on the right is El Capitan. El Capitan is the world's largest granite monolith, rising 3,000 feet (900 meters) above the valley floor. A Taft Point, though, you're looking down on El Cap, so you can imagine what it's like looking straight down at the same valley floor while you're leaning over the railings here. Definitely not a place for people with fear of heights. There were some people that crawled on their belly up to the edge of the rock and threw small stones to see if they can follow them to the ground. I am sure they lost track of them after a second or two. While I was setting up my camera here, Nayana threw some pieces of wo

Rajesh Jyothiswaran - Bias & Discrimination in Landscape Photography

All Rights Reserved

Rajesh Jyothiswaran - Bias & Discrimination in Landscape Photography
Rajesh Jyothiswaran - Bias & Discrimination in Landscape Photography

All Rights Reserved

Rajesh Jyothiswaran - Bias & Discrimination in Landscape Photography

One of the things landscape photographers covet is a unique composition and we all seek that to satisfy our creative appetites. On my the recent trip to California, I had no preconceived ideas or wish lists on what I wanted to shoot. This could be good or bad. Good because whatever you are shooting is your own fresh take on what you see. Bad because you have not done your homework so you are not prepared for field work and you end up wasting precious time. In this case, having a clean slate was good. It helped that my friend Wisanu had scouted this location prior during the day when we split up and scouted different areas. He shot here first and me at the a more accessible location at Yosemite’s Olmsted Point. Later we radioed each other and switched places when I went up the hill in the direction of the dim low level light panel he had set up to light up this large Bonsai like tree. I am a sucker for wildflowers and one of my favorite native wild flowers and a hummingbird magnet is the Penstemon also strangely named beardtounge. They are native to North America and do not grow wild anywhere else. I found this Penstemon I had never seen before at the base of the Bonsai tree. It seemed like both the Mountain Pride (Penstemon newberryi) and Jeffrey’s pine (Pinus jeffreyi) had been planted there carefully to have the best view of the Half Dome, quarter dome if you consider sort of cropped off on the right side; and the heavens above. It feels quite flat in the image but I am on a slope almost at the top of this mountain. I was by myself listening to any rustling noises or foot steps. No, there were none but my senses were heightened. I did spend more time here. More than shooting pictures, I actually sat down and enjoyed the fresh mountain air and appreciating the beauty of the flora this rugged rocky place had to offer. There was no soil for these plants to grow. Just cracks in the granite where they claimed their rightful place under the wide open sky.

Rajesh Jyothiswaran - Bias & Discrimination in Landscape Photography
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