Jaseel Keloth is a full time business analyst from Bangalore with a flourishing career in traveling, photography and visual production. At 23, he has already traveled to over 20 countries in the world, and to top that, has captured them on his camera with the utmost perfection. He also pulled off a backpacking trip in Europe under 1 lac!
Jaseel talks about managing his full-time job, his career as a travel photographer, and some of the many other adventures he has had along the way.
Shot while doing filming projects at Coorg in Karnataka.
Hello Jaseel, tell us about yourself.
I’m Jaseel Keloth, a 23-year-old engineering graduate from IIT Varanasi. I juggle between a full-time role as a business analyst in Bengaluru and a life-time role as a content creator. I love traveling, photography and filmmaking. In the past three years, I’ve been able to cover 37 countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
I mostly shoot aerials, cityscapes, and landscapes. I also create video content, mostly commercial or promotional for some major brands. I also enjoy reading, economics, and international politics.
A memorable place for Jaseel, DisneyWorld brought back childhood memories!
Your travelogues are inspiring, and we love how you’ve captured every place beautifully. What inspired you to take photos?
My earliest influence was my father. He had a classic Yashica film camera which he took everywhere and captured candid moments of the family. I started taking photos with his film camera which taught me the importance of composition, color and details.
Captured in the early 2000s. Jaseel on the right, poses for a picture with his sister
Later on, I started experimenting with Photoshop as a graphic design tool during my school days which further helped me create my dream images. I spend quite a few years learning core photographic techniques, as well as editing, composing and post-processing. I got hooked onto YouTube, spending days on cinematic vlogs and travel videos. The concept that anyone can be a storyteller was a huge realisation. I soon started making short travel vlogs and cinematic videos, and have not stopped since.
My dad, Photoshop, Film & Media Council and YouTube – these were my gurus.
His camera collection consists of his father’s Yashica, their family Nikon Coolpix, a Panasonic Handycam and a Canon 70D DSLR with which the picture was taken.
How do you manage a full-time job, traveling and photography together?
I’ve been working as a business analyst at a multi-national banking firm here in Bengaluru, for over a year now. I do confess that it is not easy to manage traveling and content creation along with a full-time job, and an independent adult life. The firm I work at has a great leave policy – about twice more than what other firms provide, which really helped me take a long break for my Europe trip.
However, there are a few ways in which one can devote time and energy. It’s extremely important to plan your time after office hours, and having a calendar helps. Weekends are the best times to get a lot of travel, content creation and editing done.
“The bottom line is – we all have a lot of ever-changing priorities in our twenties, and it is up to ourselves to set aside some time every week for getting better at photography and film-making. I personally don’t think I’ve been putting in as much effort as I should be, but I do not have any regrets.”
The Dubai Frame captured by Jaseel was published in the biggest daily newspaper in the Middle East. A highlight in his career as a photographer.
Talking about your photography, what’s your creative process and favorite subject to shoot?
Since I’m quite passionate about traveling, my main aim has always been to showcase destinations in the most inspirational way possible. I want people to get inspired to see these places, explore and travel. Hence, I love shooting landscapes, cityscapes, and aerials. A frame that captures vast amounts of physical details and covers an entire range of colours is my favourite type of image or video.
I love spending time on high vantage points – rooftops, mountain peaks or fly a drone. I also enjoy shooting long exposures at night in cities with a lot of tall buildings.
My creative philosophy would be this quote:
You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.
Capturing the rising sun through the beautiful arch of Atlantis, The Palm Resort in Dubai, UAE
You’ve gone on a solo backpacking trip through Europe, crossing more than 20 locations. Tell us about it.
Ever since my six-month stint in Switzerland back in 2018 as a master’s student, I wanted to explore the non-touristy, non-commercial parts of Europe. I’d already seen all of the regulars – the Eiffel Tower, Gaudi’s Magic in Barcelona, castles of Germany, the music in Vienna and the sins of Amsterdam.
After some calculation, I concluded that I could pull off a month-long backpacking trip across 12 countries in under INR 1 lakh! Once I was back in India in July 2018, I told about my plan to my friends, who thought I was crazy to even consider such a menial budget for a huge trip.
In the month of December 2018, as I was randomly browsing flights to Europe, I came across some kickass deals and reserved those non-refundable tickets for April 2019 without second thoughts. Sometime in March, I started planning out my daily itineraries for each day of the trip.
“I started by landing in Berlin, Germany and then make my way across Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Siberia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia, Croatia and lastly to the canal city of Venice, Italy before flying back to India. The majority of these countries are never on the itinerary of any European vacation.”
I set out from Bangalore on the midnight of April 14th, 2019 with two backpacks weighing about 20 kilograms, my passport and €500 in cash, and I returned back in one piece on May 08th, 2019 with €80 in cash and 5 kilograms lighter!
What is it that you loved about this trip and took away from it?
There’s more to Europe than fancy five-star hotels, luxury brands, landmarks and museums, and exotic food and desserts. The non-commercial parts of Europe are a melting pot of culture, religion and politics. My trip through the Auschwitz concentration camps in Poland where over 2 millions Jews were systematically killed or experimented on – opens your eyes to the reality of war crimes. Romania’s rolling countryside of Transylvania where the Bran Castle (popularly known as Dracula Castle), where the tyrant king Vlad The Impaler lived, became the setting for one of the most classic horror-novels of our era. The Bulgarian city of Varna on the coast of the Black Sea boasts of its great seafood and natural hot-water springs.
I’ve visited a lot of beautiful places, but the islands of Greece – Mykonos and Santorini, were the most stunning and beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life. The stereotypes of Albanians being dangerous were broken when I made a few friends from strangers and had a jolly time in the lively colourful city of Tirana, Albania. The Yugoslavian republic had been divided into smaller nations of Siberia – with its ruins from the World War 1 era and Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo with its confusing mix of communism and Ottoman Muslim influences with slow westernization. Montenegro’s Skadar National Park is as good as Switzerland but a gazillion times cheaper. Croatia’s sea side forts of Dubrovnik and Split are popularized now as sets for Game of Thrones. A church on a blip sized island in a lake surrounded by mountains in the fog is a sight to behold in Bled, Slovenia.
I was surprised to go days without seeing a single fellow Indian on this trip. These countries may not be popular or fancy, but they all were a playground to the wars and geopolitical struggles in the recent history.
Sudden change of plans during the trip ended up in a 5 km trek in deep Austrian snow.
We see a lot of drone shots in your photographs. How does it help with traveling and photos?
Drones help in capturing scenes that humans aren’t traditionally used to – vast landscapes in a single frame, top-down patterns of cities and roads – which gives a feeling like one is discovering a new country. It’s not only great for photos but also helps in exploring places in a different way.
However, nowadays, drones are increasingly becoming very common even in India, and sooner or later, every tourist and every family vacation would involve a drone being part of the kit, just like how DSLR usage became widespread in the past.
A picture of his home in Kerela shot with a drone camera.
Drone film of the gushing Hogenakkal Waterfalls, Tamil Nadu, India
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Hogenakkal Falls.⛰🏝🌊 *TURN UP THE SOUND* © @jazeelmuhammedkeloth Listen to the thundering roar of this block waterfalls, downstream along the river Kaveri close to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu! You really don’t wanna miss the Niagara of India during the monsoons!😉 © Jaseel Muhammed Keloth. Kindly do not repost without prior permission.
What is your most memorable capture of the solo backpacking trip?
This particular location in Greece had always been in my bucket list of places to visit and capture.
“I’m a huge sucker for twilight colours, sunsets, layers and reflections. Everything came together in this one rare shot. My all time favourite.” says Jaseel.
Any future plans or upcoming projects?
I’ve been associated with Samsung for content creation using one of their latest smartphones, the A80. I’ve been exploring how its unique triple lens rotating camera system with a dedicated depth sensor and ultra- wide camera can be used to shoot cinematic videos which is usually difficult on any smartphone.
Later on, I’ll be working with Panasonic with their acclaimed Lumix GH5 camera system and put it through its paces.
A heartwarming film production from Jaseel Keloth.
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A Kitten’s Day Out.😽🐈 x @thebohospiration © @jazeelmuhammedkeloth I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Fountainhas, the old colourful Latin quarter of Goa, thanks to Jigyasaa and her sister. We decided to shoot a couple of quick video clips. Soon, a cat😸 became part of our random plan as we walked around this beautiful little town at sunset🙃. I decided to put together a quick edit after 2-3 months (sorry for being incredibly late, Jigyasaa.🙈😅) © Jaseel Muhammed Keloth. Kindly do not repost without prior permission.