September 14, 2022

Ep 44 – How Supriya Samal from Meanderquest take back her health and life when she quit her job as the bank manager and found photography

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The Art of Photography
The Art of Photography
Ep 44 - How Supriya Samal from Meanderquest take back her health and life when she quit her job as the bank manager and found photography

Hey Wicked Hunters, 

Welcome back to The Art of Photography podcast with Stanley Aryanto. This week we will be chatting with Supriya and how she took control of her life when she quit her position as bank manager and found photography

Meanderquest is the handle name for all the visual work done by artist Supriya Samal. Supriya is a photographer, digital artist, generative artist, and writer. She started her journey into photography while still working as an officer in the bank. It was also the time when she got diagnosed with Clinical Depression.
Hence, photography became a part of her healing process. She traveled with her partner and found a world of art outside the struggles of mind. Photography and digital art made her discover her strengths, mindset, and inner power. She also blends photography and digital art to create subtle yet meaningful abstract art. Mental Health and Art are her core focus in life.


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Supriya Samal From Meanderquest  0:00  
Can’t go through it anymore. It’s just not helping me at all. And when this my health became bad, that was the last straw for me

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  0:09  
Hey, Wicked Hunters Welcome back to The Art of Photography podcast by Stanley Aryanto, where we share photographers journey and how they find hope, purpose and happiness through photography. And today we have someone that I’ve met through Instagram and we’ve been connected all the way through all this time. And you know, I’ve seen her journey since the very first time she was, you know, asking on how to capture the first Milky Way and she just kept growing. It’s just such an inspiration to to see her journey through photography and how it changed her life. So today, we have Supriya Hey, Supriya, how are you today?

Supriya Samal From Meanderquest  0:55  
Hey, Sandy, I’m doing good. How are you doing?

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  0:59  
I’m doing well. I’m doing well. I’m so glad that you know, you made it here. And I know you have an inspiring story behind your photography, as well as you know, behind your life. So I’d love I’d love to, for you to share that because I know that the audience cannot find a lot of inspiration from it. But you know, you we cannot connect through Instagram, right? The first message you asked me, I think clubhouse was the first one I can’t remember. Yes, yeah. And then you need to see your eyes about like the Milky Way. And the next thing I know is like, you just capture this crazy Mercury shot. So that’s, that’s amazing. But you know, before we get there, how does the passion for photography come to you like, what makes you want to do photography in the beginning? Yes.

Supriya Samal From Meanderquest  1:50  
So first of all, I would like to thank you for inviting me to this podcast regarding my journey, so initially, actually, I didn’t have any idea regarding photography, or whatsoever. It all started back in 2017 2017 2018. So the thing is, I was actually going through clinical depression. So and at that time, I was working as a full time working as a bank manager. And it’s been six years. But there was something missing, you know, in that day to day life. And with clinical depression, it only got worse for me. So at one point, I was hospitalised and my health was quite worse. So my husband, Sam, he proposed like, Let’s go somewhere, you know, so we planned a trip to the Himalayas. And there was this village, those Rukwa it’s like, the border village in the northern side of India. So we went to that village, it was a quite an off road. And like hardly any, you will hardly find any car or bike, you know, going there. So we were like the only persons going there. And the road was pretty bad. And we had like a near death experience that day, because we were at 13,000 feet. I remember, it was a pass mountain pass. And suddenly the cloud came from nowhere. And our houseguest. He has warned us like, you know, don’t spend much time there. It’s very beautiful. But you know, don’t get tempted. So, but we were there and we wanted to take some pictures. So we took some pictures. And suddenly the cloud came and as we were, as we started to, you know, go down, said we didn’t even know the car. No, it was on an automatically it shut down. And it was just riding down the mountain road. It was luckily, we thought like we were hearing some music. And luckily it stopped and I was like, why we’re not hearing the music. Then we realised Okay, the car is not running. So Sam started the car and we were just you know, just on the edge of that road. So we stopped there. And you know, we got out of the car and I was like taking deep breaths. And I was thinking like, what am I doing with my life? It was like those moments, you know, and then we went to that quiet little village. It was a very beautiful, you know, old wooden houses and like they have preserved their mountain culture and everything. And now the beauty of that place was so good. I started taking some pictures on my phone. Sam had a camera back then because he was doing photography, you know, taking travel shots. He was a biker so he does that I had no idea how to operate a camera. But I was taking on my mobile camera and he had, he actually had to take a shot. And he was doing trying it. And he said, like, it’s not coming as I want. So I was like, let me try. So, you know, I tried the camera and I took a shot and, and he said, like, yeah, I want you to take this one. So I was like, okay. No idea. But, you know, there was something like, when I hold it, and you know, I looked through the viewfinder, I took that one first photo. It’s not that good. But you know, that the first feeling of doing that, like, you are doing something, you know. So after that, when we came back, I decided to quit my job. And we thought, like, you know, let’s do this travel thing, because I was already feeling a little bit good, health wise. So we started travelling for the next three months. And during this time, I started taking pictures, like random pictures that I took. And but then when we came to Germany in 2019, so I got my first camera. And from there onwards, like, till today, I never look back. It was like, quite a journey for me. learning everything, but I enjoyed every bit of it. Because I sometimes think to myself, if not for photography, if not for travel, I would not have been where I am today. No. So it’s it’s like a blessing for me. Yes, clinical depression is something one shouldn’t think of happening to someone else. But it was like a blessing for me.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  6:48  
Wow. That’s, that’s crazy, right? I mean, it’s sometimes we take our lives for granted so much, until we need to hit that rock bottom, you know, and for you, it was like that near death experience, you know, on the car, like, just on the side. Like, I mean, like, I don’t know exactly how it is. But you know, I was, I was just came from Nepal, and then we go through that kind of roads. So I think I kinda can picture you know, what you mean, with the crazy road and stuff like that. And, like, so nervous when you when you eat when you share that story? That’s crazy. So, you know, so it seems like photography and travel have really just deceived yourself, it has changed your life. Yeah. How, but share us a little bit more about it, right? How does it actually change your life, you know, how taking photos and going on trips, makes you happier, and, you know, become less depressed. And, you know, essentially, where you are today, where you are feeling a lot better about your life, I take it. Yeah, give us a little bit more about that journey, because I’m pretty sure our audience would love to hear that.

Supriya Samal From Meanderquest  7:58  
And yeah, so like, what happened when we started travelling. And initially, it was only you know, to mountains and places, because we both love spending time on mountains. And at that time, like now, also I write daily, so when we used to go on our travels, and all on the mountains. So there were some times when I was like, not thinking of anything, and just enjoying that place. You know, so the living on those moments, was like, I was experiencing something for the first time, like, on the daily basis, when we run to Office, do our work, all the stuff, you know, we forget to take those moments to ourselves. And just think about, like, where my life is going on, or just not think about anything at all. So it was those moments and the same thing I felt when I hold the camera. So like if I’m taking a photo, I just immerse myself so much, that I can’t think of anything happening in my surroundings, literally nothing. And I’m the kind of person who doesn’t enjoy hikes, right? I had never done any hikes before in my life. And it was only during those time. And this photography actually inspired me to go on hikes to you know, to break that boundary like that those limitations we put on ourselves. So that was like some very first things which were happening to me. And I had only heard these things from Sam because he was travelling in before me and and I was like, okay, just saying stuff. But when I experienced all those things, I was like I understood the you know the reality of it and why someone should do it and also like in travel, you meet people, you experience different cultures, you talk to them, you hear their story. And you understand like, the problems you think, you know, in you have in your life is like, so minuscule compared to what is happening in this world. And you are just in your bubble thinking about, Oh, this thing happened to me, that thing happened to me which is, which is not, it is very trivial. And in the bigger terms of life, so these are the learnings, which I get no experiencing. And regarding my depression, so, like, I was, I was in that kind of point, where my mental health was so bad, I was not talking to anyone to like any person, you know, to my friends, to my family, except them. And when you are travel, when you’re travelling, you’re meeting people, you’re, you know, forced to have that conversation, sometimes you can’t just, you know, keep mom don’t say anything, it can’t happen. And when they’re a new person you are, it’s like something new, you want to know about them. So you have to have that conversation. And like, it’s, it’s so intriguing, it’s so interesting to learn about people. So, that also, you know, dissipate my that afraid I like I was very afraid to interact with people. So that also went away. Like the thing which is happening today, I would not have thought of doing this because I am so afraid of you know, interacting with someone. But yeah, this travel and photography, both of these helped me so so, so much. And I actually met many interesting people who have spent their life in such a way in such hardships, and yet they have so many interesting stuff to share from their life experience. And it was worth knowing, like, in this lifetime, you got to meet them and learn about them. And, yeah, that was the thing. All of this, you know, helped me with my mental health and, and my photography journey.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  12:17  
That’s incredible, you know, just Just hearing that I’m very happy. Much the same way. And you know why I love photography and travel, I know exactly what you mean, you know, being in the present. I remember when I was when there was a COVID Right. Now a lot of my clients is like, broken down, and a lot of my income was going to stop and I was stressed about money. And then you know, when like, I’m living here in Bali, and I wouldn’t give them to like, you know, give 2000 or 5000 rupee or tips, which is not even $1, right, it’s about 50 cents or 20 cents, and they are the most grateful and you know, when so I know exactly what you mean, you know, we we live in a bubble and we always look at social media and seems like we need to be like that, you know, like is simple to be happy. Right? And of course, we still need all that money to buy all of our gears because the target

that is the worst. It’s funny, because like, when I was in Canada, you know, like I had a car and everything. But just to put that in perspective that what I have in my bag is a lot more precious than everything else in the car, I was just like, including the car, just like holy, it’s crazy. But that’s, you know, it brings happiness. So when you were a bank manager, um, you know, you’re in a really good place, right? Being a manager, it’s a dream for a lot of people to be a manager, you know, it’s a lot of people are working hard to get up there and obviously work hard to get there, right. You’re a bank manager, I’m guessing you know, you’re getting that really good income, you’ll get really good benefit or comfortable financially, but what’s missing? Why why is it that you’re still you know, unhappy and depressed about it and how does that change when you and what what makes you decide to leave that career and start something different or try something?

Supriya Samal From Meanderquest  14:21  
Okay, actually, to narrate about that experience I need to go back a little bit further. So I did my graduation in pharmacy. And after that, I worked for a year in a pharmaceutical company as a Quality Assurance Manager and it was in Goa. So like in India go up people treat it like okay that is is such a place near to the sea. It’s beautiful. It’s actually a beautiful place, but people go there to you know, have their holidays, and I was working there and during like on the weekends Whenever we visit, see, I would see people in, you know, spending the holidays and everything. And I was like, why I’m not feeling that experience, I am in a place which people all over from India coming to spend their holiday, I should feel that, you know, but then I was when I was working there in that company, I was like, No, something is missing. So I thought like, maybe because this is a private sector or corporate sector, I’m not feeling it. So I should try something different. So I gave the exams and got the job in a government bank in India. So when I went there, and the first day when I met my manager, it’s an interesting story. When I met my manager, he asked me like, Okay, you did graduation in pharmacy? Why do you asked me like, why did you choose to come and join the bank? And I was like, why this person is asking me this ridiculous question. And like, after, after, like, one month, I understood why that person was asking me that question. So and it was like, I was in my probation. So after three months, I had to leave that branch and go to some other branch. So my manager told me, you know, Supriya, I have very high hopes for you. You shouldn’t, you know, you shouldn’t continue in this bank, you should go somewhere else. Okay, you should tell me, where should I go now? Okay. I thought like, okay, maybe this is not working, you know, I should try something else. So I thought, what is the you know, highest job in India. So it was like the civil services. So I thought, okay, I love to travel, I want to travel. So maybe I should try for the foreign ambassador position. I know, there were exams. So I started studying for that. I even passed the exam, the written exams and the interview twice. Okay. But when I was preparing for the third time, I was still on to bank working. So when I was preparing for the third time, you know, this question came to my mind, every time when I was in the bank, when I was studying, it came to my mind, like, Am I doing it, right? Like, why I need this job. I’m saying, I know, I’m giving myself or using like, I want to travel, but that is not something this job entails, like okay, you got you will have, you will have the opportunity to travel, but you will have lots of other responsibilities as well, because you will be working for a nation you have, you know, you should be able to justify that. So, it got poking in my mind again and again. And when I was in the office now working, and I was thinking like, okay, the scenario is not going to change. I will be you know, working in an office with other colleagues, you know, there will be other people, but it will be the same office, I will have to sit inside this four walls and work. And okay, I will have a little bit more opportunity to travel then this banking career. But that’s not just enough. So this question is what you know, I didn’t write the exam that year. I decided like, okay, no, this is the time this is the high time. I know, I was continuing. But that was the last time I was like, it’s everything, you know, you feel like a choking that feeling inside yourself. And it’s just not enough. Like you see everyone else enjoying it. But you are like the one person I was feeling sometimes in the bank. You know, everyone else is just running. And I’m the only person sitting in that desk. And I’m just wondering about my life. It was like that. So

yeah, that was a very tough decision to take. Because knowing like, you don’t, you will not have your next paycheck coming for you. And it was like, you know, we were just married back then. And it was only six months. But and it was lot to you know, ask from your partner. No. So it’s not something I had decided from a long back that I will do and you know, you you got to talk about it. It was not something like that, but I’m lucky on on that matter that you know, Sam was very understanding because he wanted to do all this stuff. So yeah, so that was the thing that led me to quit my job. I am saying it sincerely, Stanley. I had no idea what I was going to do. But I knew that I’m going to do something, you know. And when we took that trip, like I said, So I At this, I had this idea came to my mind, like, I should do photography, I should write about my experiences. So that was it. And like any Asian, you know, parents, my parents were not that, you know, agreeable to me leaving my job. But yeah, with time, I hope they will come around like my mom, she understands it now, my father is still a bit hung up on that, but I know with time he will come around it. So yeah.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  20:35  
Wow, that’s, that’s really cool. You know, I know, it’s how hard it is to leave that secure life. And I think what’s really cool is that you keep and you keep looking for the answer, right? You try this one thing. And most people when they get stuck on, you know, get comfortable in that job, even though they don’t like it, they just keep going by you go out there and try something else, and you try something else. And there you are finding something that, you know, of course, it’s not perfect, because nothing is perfect. Right? It comes with the struggle and everything. But it’s something that seems like you know, it’s good for your health, making you happier as a person and helps you with the depression as well, which is fantastic by massive congratulations for doing that. I’m very happy to do that. So, you know, like when you quit your job? So, tell me this one thing? So are you doing photography full time now? Or what are some of the ways you are doing in order to find that income, you know, and to offset to offset the income from your previous job? Because I know, we all love photography, and we all wish that all we got to do that all we can do is take photo and travel. But unfortunately, we all need money, right? So then what did you decide to do to find that income? And how is that transition kind of work for you?

Supriya Samal From Meanderquest  21:59  
Okay, so, like for the initial two years, I had some savings, you know, from my previous job, which I knew I can depend upon. So that was my safety net. But then actually, when we move to Germany, here, there is a little problem when it comes to approaching clients or anything, it’s that you have to learn the language, you have to know the language. So I actually wanted to join the language courses, but then COVID came and all those restrictions, the classes were not happening now, although stuff and afterwards I started learning on my own, but it was not that efficient, because the you have to give the exams and everything here. So that I will be doing now like I have already enrolled in learning the German language classes. So I will be doing it now. But yes, like after the second year, I started approaching some brands. And I had worked with some and like some were paid, and some were, you know, not paid, like just they got to the what the things which you wanted, and there was some hotel collaborations on our trips. So that was like, a good thing happened. I also, when we were on Matera trip, I also did a collaboration with our Airbnb house owner. So that was my first thing happening. So apart from that, I also did some, like paid gigs here, like there, some people want to take the portraits or there was an event in our Old City, it was happening for the farmers market. So I did a paid gig then. So it was like that, like small small gigs. But I also when last year when I joined NFT space. So that also was a source of income. And now, like after learning the language, I want to properly establish, you know, my business here, I want to register and everything because that’s what you need in Germany. And yeah, after that, I want to approach the clients because Munich being a big city, here you have even more opportunity. So I’m looking forward to that and I’m quite positive about it. So

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  24:45  
yeah, that’s fantastic. You know, you know going and starting over basically from the having a nine to five and then you move to a different country and you have to learn the language and you know all of this struggle but you keep pushing through and I would We all know, as photographers and artists, we all know that, you know, photography is not an easy thing to make money. But I think what people don’t understand is that almost everything else is not easy, right? It requires. Yeah, it’s really fun. It’s like, you know, as an engineer, I have to study for years, plus an extra one year for my master degree, right? So, five years, just study, when I quit my job and do photography, full time, I was expecting to be up and running in six months, it’s not going to happen, you know, you have to learn how to do all these mistakes. So it’s really funny how that mindset is just so different. But I’m glad that you’re pushing through and you know, you get that you get, you push through, you know, a lot of this challenges to get to where you are today. So, what is some of the things that really, that you really passionate that really makes you excited when it comes to photography, like know, when you capture it or when you travel? What are some of the things that you look for? After your photos?

Supriya Samal From Meanderquest  26:13  
Yes, so my, when I started photography, it was initially the landscape, you know, so, I was quite drawn towards nature. I, I saw like Daniel cotton Albatros, you know, their photos and how they took it. And I was like, so fascinated about it. I was like, how how people do that? No, I want to learn that. So, that led me to, you know, different journeys on different trips. And every trip I learned something, like, I remember this trip in Germany, German Alps in Bucharest garden, okay. So there is this place called hinter z. So, I studied everything, you know, prepared everything before going to that place, and we went there. And, and the first sunrise, there was nothing happening, and no, no clouds, it was just a black sunrise, I enjoyed the sunrise came back. Then the second day, they went to the same place. And it was like, magnificent, you know, everything was so beautiful. And guess what? I took blurry pictures. And it’s been like, what, seven months, I had been taking pictures. But at that moment, I took blurry pictures came back home thinking, Oh, we got some good shots. And when I looked into you know, I open this and MOLAP to lose it. Why? All this happened? How did I think blurry picture, then I understood, okay, this is the shitty tripod, which I put there. I should get a better tripod.

So that was my first lesson, you know, because it was windy that morning. And I was there was the lake, the mountain I was trying to take the long exposure, and somehow everything got blurry. So So you know, after that, after that, actually, when I went in that trip only we went to another lake OBC. And then I saw photographers taking photos. And they were it was like, What 8am 8:30am and the sun was up. They were taking long exposures. And I saw they were using something you know, I didn’t know about ND filters back then. And every experiences of mine, whatever I have learned it was on sale. I don’t know what the hell I was researching over the Google. But Google never told me anything. So everything on sale. So I saw that. And I was like, I went to one photographer. He is a very known photographer in Austria. I went to him and I asked him, like, why you were using this? He looked definitely. He looked at me and I was like, this is an ND filter. I will say okay, what’s the use? And then he explained me all the stuff. You know, I think that is something good about me. Like, I don’t know, I’m not afraid of asking questions. I don’t think for a second like what the other person is going to do you have a camera, you’re taking photos and you’re asking questions. But yeah, that’s how I have learned actually on field. And that after that, I came home that day on my trade. And I he gave me some links, you know, from where I can read read about stuff. So I read a lot everything and I understood about it. And from there onwards, I got like a part how to, you know, look about stuff and how to prepare yourself before the trip and all those things. So that most of us think landscape, then, actually, when we went to Barcelona last year, like before that trip, I was a little bit of thinking like, Okay, I have only taken landscape photos, how I’m going to take any street shots, how I’m going to take any architecture shots, like, this is not something I have done. And another of my friend, Julia, she, that I met her also from Instagram, like you. So she was joining us in that trip, she lives in Madrid. So it was also new for her because she also takes only landscapes. So both of us, you know, went around exploring the city and taking all kinds of shots, you know, and it was quite fun. And after the trip, actually, I realised like, I don’t have to, you know, put a pin on anything, but I do, like every photographer, you see the group, everyone grows. And this is why like, I had put a pin on my life, when I was working in that nine to five job, why I had to do the same in terms of creativity, I can grow. So that was the thing I do did Street and architecture, then I when I went to India this year, I took tribal portraits. So it’s like, now I’m finding you know, everything, which I do, I want to do it in a better way. And that’s the thing, I’m enjoying everything, everything related to photography. And even though astrophotography you know, that also, like, the nights you spent there standing, you know, alone and looking at the sky, that feeling that feeling is incredible. I don’t want to partner with that feeling just because I take architecture shots, or you know, portrait stuff. No, I want to feel that also. So yeah, I’m going to try everything. So let’s see.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  32:08  
It’s cool. Yeah, I think you know, I love the changes. You know, I don’t like the one thing and I get bored easily. So I agree with you, I like to just be do everything right now. When it comes to branding, a lot of people say stick with one first. But at the end of the day, I think it’s important to do what we love. And you know, don’t let what has been done before restrict us from what we want to do. I think that’s really important. So it’s really cool. But I want to talk about the astrophotography there for a second. I remember that they were specifically I was running the webinar. And then you asked me about you know how to take you know, the Milky Way, because you’re gonna go on the trip. And I was like away, so I didn’t see your message. And then when I reply to you, you already like, you know, like, already went on the trip. And then after that you got to tracker and then you know, you just you grow really quick capturing that Milky Way, right. So tell me tell us a little bit about the jerky because shooting Milky Way is, first of all, a lot of people have a lot of restriction against it right? Go out there at my, you know, where it’s dark, in the middle of nowhere. A lot of people first of all have beer doing that. But second of all, the technique and everything is very different. I know like it took me, I think about two years until I can finally successfully capture my first photo of the stars, and therefore you’re not captured the motorway. But it takes a lot of a lot of a lot of journey to get there. So share with us a little bit about your journey behind your Milky Way and Astro photography, because I know that we grow very quickly and you learn very quickly and we go from asking me the question, start shooting tracker. So it’s crazy.

Supriya Samal From Meanderquest  34:02  
Yeah, so regarding astrophotography actually, it was during the COVID. During the COVID I first saw your page on Instagram, and I saw those Milky Way shots. Even before that actually I remember in 2018 or something. I first saw one of the Milky Way shots from one Indian photographer. So it was like one image but when I came to your page, and I just saw all those images, I was like, quite hooked. And then I saw Joffrey. He was, you know going on shooting the Milky Way’s I was like, What is this thing? No. Earlier I was thinking maybe this was all done in Photoshop or something, you know? And then when I saw your no so many images and then Joffrey going out there shooting I was like, I want to do this. What is this thing? I’m quite intrigued then I started reading about You know, it all the astrophotography stuff. So I asked you, you know, and then I asked to Joffrey or so. And I would search on Google like, it was like four months, I was just waiting because there was COVID restrictions and everything. So I was just reading about the stuff. And I would tell Sam every day, you know, I want to take a Milky Way shot in Madera. We had no plan whatsoever to go to Madera, you know, we were thinking of going to Slovenia, okay? And I was like, I want to go there. I don’t know what about the place, I want to go there and want to take a Milky Way shot. So I read about everything. I, you know, ordered the new tripod. Okay, I ordered a new tripod and the lenses and everything. And the tracker thing, actually, it was taking some time to get delivered. In Germany, it was about a month or so. And we were about to go on a trip and 15 days. So I just madly searched over internet about Madeira photographer who is taking Astro shots, okay. And I got one, this person angry. So I contacted him. And we started talking. And I told him like, you know, we are coming to Missoula, and I want to take those Astro shots. And and I don’t have a tracker. So like, can you listen to me or check? And he said yes. And he was like, okay, that will be fun, you know, to meet you guys. And so I was like, Okay, let’s do that. And then we went to Madeira. And the first night, we planned to take photo, it was actually near lighthouse, okay, near the sea. And like your earlier mentioning about, you know, being afraid of the dark. If there is someone on this earth who is afraid of that it’s me, like, in my own house. I get so afraid. So imagine me standing on a hill taking extra shots. It was like, that’s the thing I love about photography, you know, I have done things which I would have never done in my life, if not for that. So. So we went to that lighthouse. And I wanted to take shots. It was not tracked shots. I just wanted to you know, experiment. And I learned about those 500 rule 400 rules. No. So I on the field when I was experimenting, and I asked Sam to you know, be the object of that whole scenario. So he was standing there, he was going back and forth. And I was like, okay, the stats are not that charts are blurry, the focus is not good.

The entire night, we didn’t sleep. And like, I think about like, after two or two and a half hours. I got what I wanted. Okay. But there was quite a bit like pollution because, you know, it wasn’t the sea level and something and there was a lighthouse also. So the light, there was light pollution. But yeah, the stars were neat, and everything was good. And we took that and we came home. And then I was like, Okay, I now I want to take the track shots now that I know, I want to take the traction. So on the day when we went so our friend Andrey, he also joined us. And he had another whole setup for you know, deep sky photography with telescope and everything. And I was like, Whoa, that’s one thing. I didn’t know. That was a new thing for me. I was like, Okay, let me handle this small thing first and I will go for the bigger so he was setting up his and I had read about the you know, the polar star, you know, the alignment and everything. But with star tracker when you look through that, you know the tiny hole and do that polar alignment. Oh my god after after, like one hour. I was nearly blind. I was not able to see.

The I was only looking through that one hole. No, no, no, Sam was trying. I was trying. It took us two hours to do the polar alignment. Okay. And we did the alignment by the time it was already dark. And but yeah, we did it. And then we took the panel shots. And it was in funnel forest. Okay. So in that forest, visited two cameras, one without tracker and one with tracker with tracker, I was taking the art shots. And another I took for the you know, to make the light trails, Star Trek sorry, star trails. So it was at one end of the forest. And it was another end of the forest. So in that dark night, we went you know, tries yeah food Times, and you know, you’ll have if you have seen them funnel forest images, the tree is, you know, they look like something, you know those creatures, something like that. And imagine in the dark when you suddenly hit the light, turn them it was like, okay, something there, I was so afraid, I was just thinking about, Okay, think about the photos you are going to take, you know, that was my inspiration to go through that dark night. And the entire night I didn’t we didn’t sleep at all, like angry, he called us, you know, you guys too, should take some rest, you know, we should set up tent, you know, we should take some rest, and he’ll go and sleep, I want to sleep. I was so excited. So, and we took all kinds of shots experimented, I also took that Andromeda galaxy shot. And then, you know, he showed us many objects, you know, many stars on the sky he showed us. So that was you know, quite a learning experience. And then about like, five ish in the morning, we started coming back home, everyone was asleep. And, and I was just thinking about, wow, how is all these photos are going to look on my laptop, I want to see them. And, of course, then we came home. And after that actually, the real struggle started. I took all these photos, I had no idea how to do a panel. Okay. But I actually had done a webinar with Daniel Colton once. So he mentioned something about particularly, no, I remember I remember that. So I was like, Yeah, I remember that was something regarding the panel, you know, you can do panels in that. So I got that software. And then I searched about how to do stalking and all those stuff. And yeah, that was quite an experience. Like, you see those images, a Milky Way arch and you think okay, well, what is in there, but no, oh my God, all that thing that experiences that, you know, the research and an after you take the images or the post processing is like a journey in itself. So yeah, I enjoy it though the astral shot. And after that also, we went to take the meteor shower pursued meteor shower shots in Germany. And they’re also we had some struggle with our new star tracker, you know, the day one, we couldn’t do the polar alignment. It didn’t happen. And it was night it was windy, we were actually not prepared. And like after one or two, if you’re not prepared and windy night, you can’t just you know, stand there and do something. So we came back. And the next day, we went fully prepared. We took all the shots. And even if the forecast was, you know, it’s going to be cloudy. But before the clouds we actually saw 50 meteors and took the Milky Way. And with with the meteors, so it was like it was I had never imagined it. So yeah, everything you know, in life is a first if your dries up. Yeah, I enjoyed that.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  43:18  
That’s cool. That is really cool. You know, like this during that journey is crazy. I think, you know, one thing that I could find inspiration from is how never scared to ask for help. Right? And you see how how fast you can learn and progress in your journey by reaching out to other people who have done it before, right? I mean, whether you buy a course or go on a webinar or just asking a question. Yeah, that’s really cool that you know that, to hear that journey of you reaching out and, you know, having this photographer, local photographer who don’t know you at all, but you know, also, like, let you borrow all this stuff. And that’s, that’s, I think that’s one of the coolest thing about travel and photography is next. Right? And, yeah, so I saw some of your, you know, Astro photo, and it’s just, they are incredible, you know, especially for someone who just started when I first saw it and was like, Why? Why did you ask me this question, you know, how it’s like, it’s crazy, but it shows how much artwork you put in there and, you know, just make such a big progress because you’re committed to make that happen. So massive kudos to a massive alteration in that happen. So when you think about you know, a travel or a trip or a photo that you ever take there any particular moment or any particular photo that you’re either most proud of or you love the most out of that moment and tell us why

Supriya Samal From Meanderquest  45:01  
Sorry, I didn’t hear the last part of the question.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  45:04  
Basically, like, you know, like, out of your travel and the photo that you have taken us your favourite moments or your favourite photo that you have captured, and just tell us why it is so important and why you love them so much.

Supriya Samal From Meanderquest  45:21  
Okay, so it’s, it’s very difficult to choose, you know, your favourite photos. But yeah, on in terms of like trip or journeys I had to take. So I’d say the first on my list is obviously, obviously, the Milky Way arch, which I took, because, like, six months, went into that just to make it happen. So all those research and everything. And that was my favourite, and because I also faced my fear of darkness, like, that’s my major fear. And in a heartbeat, I would like to, you know, go back and live that moment, over and over again, it was such a beautiful night, like, I saw the stars, the Milky Way, I think after 15 or 16 years in my life, I saw the Milky Way for the first time. So it was like, in an experience in itself, I couldn’t forget that. And if I have to choose second one, it would be this tribal portrait, which I did recently in India. So for that, that trip is also kind of an experience in itself, because we did all kinds of, you know, preparation I learned about because I had never taken portrait before that. Okay, yes, I had done some gigs. But it was something you know, when you do for your clients, they need some particular stuff. And you know about that, of course, I understand the lighting and everything. But like, when it comes to your personal project, something you want to do, you are fearful the most like that goes into me like I feel like okay, how I’m going to do this. So I had read about that stuff like okay, how this portrait stuff is, no thing happens. I saw the images, Steve McCurry have taken and all those things. And I was like, Okay, let’s do that. I had no expectations from that. So for that to be actually went to a village in northeast India, northeastern India, and we didn’t know that there was a cyclone, no warning for that region. Because normally when I take landscape photos, I checked the weather I check for astrophotos shots, I check the weather, but for portrait, like, Okay, why I would need to check the weather. So we went on that trip, and that part of the Himalayas mountain, it’s actually the land is very, you know, muddy. And it’s very, like landslides happen all the time in that region. And when we started our journey, there was no rain like and halfway through, it started raining massively, like as we, you know, started climbing up the mountain, it started raining heavily. And by the time like, I remember, it was turning dark, and we couldn’t even see what is up there. You know, a little bit ahead, it was so cloudy. And around sexuals or 630 it was completely dark. And we were stuck in a road which is only mud like our car was literally floating over it you know? And the driver said we can’t make it we can’t go no go further. And I was like how we are supposed to be in this place. It’s raining it’s muddy. And it’s nowhere like there was no house there was nothing there were only trees and and and the house guest where we were supposed to reach he was calling us and he was asking like where are you guys have you reached or not? And we were telling him okay, we are in the forest. We are in this road we don’t know. And he was asking Is there anyone going is there any truck going? No one is working and like who is mad enough to go that weather and then like

we told our driver Okay then let’s return back and you know, go to the nearest village but we didn’t imagine like returning also that road is also you know that muddy and everything. So that is also going to take time. So to go downhill also it took us you know another half and out. And then when we were supposed to go and look for a place to remain for that night, then our driver said, no, no, you guys have come from so far, we should go, we should try again. That was like, why we will get the half an hour to coming back here, you know, then I was like, Okay, let’s go. And actually, Sam and I, we were both quite angry, open that travel agent, because we had told him, like, we want a four by four car because this route is not good. That is what we have heard, like back from the blogs and everything. And he didn’t provide us a four by four card. So it was it was an adventure, like we ditch the place around 10 Like, no 11pm around 11pm Finish the place. And that too, after like people came, I Sam and I also have to get down from the car, we had to push the car, and the event and you know, we had to walk through the forest. And you know, the driver was more afraid than us know. And we like Sam and I, we will guide in him, okay, 10 take turn, like we went to Google Map for him that night. And we’re like, take left take right. And then we’ll reach the place. And after that those are tribes whose photos we went to take. And it is like the last generation remaining. And they are in their 80s and 90s. And, you know, when people in 80s and 90s, like many people, many travel photographers also come to take their photos, and they don’t speak your language, they have a different language. So we took a guide with us who can you know, who is from them, and who can translate what we want to convey with them. So first he took us to an old lady, she is in her I think in 85 or something 8586. And then he told her, like, you know why we had come and you know, we want to take the photos and everything. So I just sat there in the house, she offered her, she offered us the local wine, you know, they do from the rice and everything. So she offered us that. And she was sitting by the fire, you know, wouldn’t fire and there was the house was you know, not in a good shape, because she is the only surviving member of the family. And you know, she had to do all those stuff. And I was sitting there and I was looking at her and thinking like, I have taken great deal of you know, all this, like 15 hours of flight and all that adventure of 12 hours. And now I’m here sitting in front for her, and I want to take the photos, but how do I approach her like, I don’t know the language. And because when you know the language when you talk with someone, you create

something, you know, some kind of connection with that person and then it becomes easy. So I started asking questions, because I asked her that tour guide, you know, to translate all those questions and she started telling all kinds of story, like, you know, how those, like they have some kind of, you know, tattoo face tattoos and everything done. So I started asking, I started asking about her childhood and you know, she was narrating translator was narrating beside there for one and half an hour, you know, chatting with that old lady. And then I asked her like, okay, and by that time she was smiling, and you know, even though we were not talking, but we I felt like okay, I felt that connection from her story. And then like, I asked the guy like, now can I you know, can I take her photo? Can you ask her that? Then he asked her and she said yes. And then I took photos of her, like the way I have imagined the way I wanted. And it was quite good. And, and that moment when I was taking that photo of her. And then I also know, took the Instax search so that I can give some photo to remember by and she was you know, she was so happy when I gave her that photo to smile. I won’t even you know forget Stanley I will never forget and she was like a childlike happiness. And we see photo every day, you know? And then you know that was something I learned that day. Like, the things we take for granted, every simple thing, every small thing can make someone smile. I take photos every day, but I was like, Okay, these are the photos. But for her, it’s something to remember by you know. So these are the two moments which is quite near and dear to my heart, and will always be

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  55:23  
Wow, what a story. Thanks for sharing that Supriya. It’s just incredible. Yeah, I know, I do. As you were, like, explaining that, you know, when she saw that photo, and she’s smiling, I just got massive goosebumps. You know, it’s, it’s moments like that, that makes us really enjoy photography and photography, right? Yeah. Look, Supriya It’s been great having you here. You know, we’re coming to the one hour mark. And one question I always ask. So my audience is that if there is one advice that you could give your younger self or also the audience, whether it is about photography, or live or mental health, or whatever it may be? What would that one single advice

Supriya Samal From Meanderquest  56:03  
be? Yes. So for me, like if I have to give this to younger self or someone else that would be don’t be afraid to try new things in your life. Because you never know. You never know what lies ahead of you. And when you go into that path, trying new things, you will discover things that you have never imagined you will be able to do. So. Yeah, that’s the one thing I would like to say.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  56:35  
So beautiful advice, Willa. Super, thank you very much for being here. You know, I enjoyed this talk. enjoy listening to your story. I know we’ve connected to Instagram and Twitter and clubhouse. But you know, that’s why that’s why I love this kind of podcast is I really get to know you personally in a much different level of level. And you know, you are able to share your story and your journey as a photographer, you know, not, like, not many people know about that, you know, six months journey capturing your Astro photography, or your journey going into this tribe, you know, being able to see one of the happiest moments of someone else’s life. And that really give us perspective on how lucky we are. If we have a roof over our head, you don’t have to think about what to eat tomorrow and have a phone and a camera and a laptop, you should be really thankful. And in many cases we’re not instead we’re looking for the things that we don’t have. So I think that’s such a powerful, powerful thing to to share. But for people who want to learn more about you about your photography or service as well as your NFT project, I don’t we didn’t get to do that today. But you know, we talked about so many fun things today. What where can they find you?

Supriya Samal From Meanderquest  57:47  
Yeah, they can find me on meander squares, meander That is my website. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. And my handle name is Manda quest. And on Twitter, they can find all my NFT is all the links that is also on my website. So yeah, if you have any questions, if you want to reach out, then please feel free to do that. I know Stanley is going to put all the links on the description. So yeah,

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  58:18  
fantastic. Well, we do this thank you very much for tuning in. Hopefully, you have found a lot of jam in there. You know, Supriya have really kind enough to share not only her success story, but the journey kind of personal journey behind her life and how she finds purpose, happiness and get out of that depression, you know, true photography. And I think that’s something that’s really powerful. You know, I’ve never come to a point where I had, you know, I was diagnosed with clinical depression, but I certainly know what it feels like to lose purpose and not knowing where to go and not knowing a direction or anything meaningful to life and photography have really changed my life. And that’s why I want to share more of this journey with more of you, right? But if you do enjoy this conversation, don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. And, you know, give us a review a comment letting us know what if you enjoy this journey so that other people can also find find us and be able to find that whole purpose and happiness and inspiration to our artists. But with that being said, thank you very much Supriya for being here. You know, it’s such a pleasure to finally get to know you much deeper level and to be able to share your story because I know how powerful that story is.

Supriya Samal From Meanderquest  59:42  
Thank you so much, Stanley for inviting me and you know, giving me this opportunity to share my story because I also felt good about doing that and I really enjoyed our session. It was kind of something I was hoping and I loved it. I liked Like everyone else who is watching the video, please subscribe to Stanley’s podcast because he is great and I love his photos and I’m sure he is going to have some many more beautiful episodes coming, so please don’t miss them.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:00:16  
Thank you. Thank you. All right, well wiki hunters. With that being said, Keep shooting, keep creating and I’ll see you guys next week.


The Wicked Hunt by Stanley Aryanto Copyright 2020 All rights reserved.