Surprise Surprise!!

A week back, I was at Pune for my post graduation convocation ceremony. As a rule, I had my camera along with me. After all was over, as we were packing our bags to return, I notice this kitten, sleeping soundly. Approached her a bit and stroked her fur, she purred contently. I pulled out my camera, fired off a few shots, and she was surprised at the sound, a bit curious too I guess! Loved the expression on the face 🙂

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Kitten awake and curious

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My schedule has restricted me to shooting quite occasionally. The stream of posts has become shallow but by no means dry! New post shall be up soon!
Cheers!!

En route Lavasa

The plan was made on an impulse, so the three of us, Mahajan, Jobin and I, we grabbed helmets, managed a couple of bullets and we were on our way to Lavasa.
Lavasa is a cool place to be, nice lake town, planned and built nestled within the ghats. True! The flip side is, they charge ₹200 per person as an entry fee to the town, and somehow, the minute they see a DSLR, they assume the owner to be on a professional shoot, and they charge you ₹5000 for a day’s pass (unless it has changed recently).
Now, our agenda was clear, to get some cool photos of us, on bikes. So, again, why Lavasa?
For, the road to Lavasa, offers amazing curves, and is not very crowded. Here are what we shot 🙂

Mahajan came charging round the corner, I turned back on the bike, and click and click!

Man on Royal Enfield Bullet taking a turn

We stopped to shoot 🙂

Man on Royal Enfield Bullet taking a turn

Man posing with a Royal Enfield Bullet

Two men on Royal Enfield Bullet taking a turn

Man on Royal Enfield Bullet taking a turn

Two men posing with Royal Enfield Bullet

Three friends posing with their bikes

Even I got a shot of mine. Loads of thanks to Mahajan for the shot 🙂

Man on Royal Enfield Bullet taking a turn

Spotted this yet to be launched Tata Nexon test driving around.

Tata Nexon car test driving

With mission accomplished, we turned back. Since all three had been to Lavasa earlier, we didn’t miss it at all. The trip was fun, the ride was awesome.

Man on a bike in an empty road

Till the next post…

Cheers!!

Star Trails: What is and how to..

Shooting at night, and in long exposure is quite fun, one must agree. With a little tweak, the night can be turned  into dusk, if not bright day.
This shot, 0230 h. 30 seconds of exposure does this trick.

Long exposure photo of lake with landscapes mirrored into the lake.

We get enamoured by the photos of trails of lights across the sky, often in round or elliptical patterns about a stunning landscape. Some of my readers may already know what it is. What you have seen, is a star trail.
What is it? Well, as the earth rotates, from our point of view, fixed on the earth, we find the stars shifting. If we capture this shift, over considerable span of time, we shall get the path traced by the star. That illuminated trail, is the star trail.

Star trail photo over landscape. Multiple long exposure photos combined in one.

Things we need are quite minimal. We need a tripod, a camera with a means to take a certain number of shots over a period of time, a landscape and a starry night.

Set the camera appropriately on the tripod. In the settings menu, make it take photos till the battery runs out or at least 8gb worth of photos are captured. For the exposure settings, you ll have to take a couple of cold shots. Try with the minimum ISO and shutter speed at about 15 seconds. Take a shot and inspect it, if you can see at least one star in your display screen. A few trial and errors and you shall get the exposure right. Once done, set the camera on the interval shooting mode, and wait.

Now, what you shall get out of the shots is a series, where the only movement, preferably, will be of the stars. Get hold of the software, StarStaX, and load up the images. Follow the instructions and let the software process the photos. If done correctly, you should get yourself a beautiful star trail photo.

If you have reached till here, you have definitely earned the right to know what may go wrong. Take a look at the photo above, once more. Zoom it. Do you notice that there are tiny gaps between each trail. That gap is what 5 seconds looks like. Between each of my exposure, I had set a gap of 5 seconds. If you want a continuous trail, ensure, no gaps. You may have to shoot on JPEG for that, turn noise reduction off, so that as soon as the camera shoots one image, it can continue to the next one. You have got to ensure that there are no movements on your end. Before you put the photo into StarStax, it is advisable to convert them in JPEG, if you have shot in RAW. And while you are at it, make the uniform changes in all the photos using sync (Lightroom) or similar functions.

My exposure is about 120 photos, half an hour long. This was a proof of concept shot, to try out whats and hows. Now that I know, in near future, better, seamless shots should be expected.

Till the next post.
Cheers!!

Moments from IAPAR International Theatre Festival 2016

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women are merely players”

When Shakespeare wrote these lines as the beginning of As you like it , there is no doubt that he had a theatre stage on his mind, not the blue screen of the movies, not the elaborate sets; just the actors, their voices, their emotions and their connect to the audience.
Ask anyone who has some knowledge of acting, how do you judge a good actor…one of the points that ll invariably come up is, how they perform in front of a live audience. Every single person who has been there on the stage shall agree that between facing the camera and facing the audience, the later is incomparably difficult. There are no retakes, and there are no prompts. When you go on that stage, its all you. Sure, there ll be some lights to set the tone, some music to give a cue, but there are no visuals to distract the audience, no scope for you to get away with a mistake for the audience shall spot you for sure and the finally, the most important, you shall receive your appraisal immediately, whether its a lacklusture clap to signify that the crowd is thankful that the act has come to an end, or a standing ovation to urge you go about it once more, it is completely up to you.

So, when I got an opportunity to work with Monks in Happiness to cover the IAPAR International Theatre Festival 2016, I didnt miss a beat in accepting the offer. My job was simple. Sit right in front of the crowd, blend in and shoot.
Following, are some of the shots:

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On the first day I attended, the play that I loved more than any other, Leaving Ziller Valley. A play about the struggle one faces to identify what home is. Julia Rosa Stoeckl being an exceptional artist made sure the play went right straight to the heart.

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On my second day, Aditi Venkateshwaran, the head of admin, my point of contact there and an amazing danseuse, and three other wonderful ladies, performed a contemporary dance about rediscovering our own bodies.

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The play that followed was an experience that shall stay with me for a long time. Confessions of a Mask by Theatre Russian Stage (Germany), was a Russian play, casting Andre Moschoi and directed by Inna Sokolova-Gordon. The play was visually stunning and for once I felt, language was no barrier at all to the understanding.

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On the night of the finale, they had Tom Alter and Zia Nath performing to The Old Man At The Sea: A Whispered Fable by No License Yet (Mumbai). The retelling of the novella by Hemingway was so amazingly done that for once it didnt feel that I wasnt there on the boat with the old fisherman, watching him as he battles to turn his fortunes.

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With these, the IAPAR fest 2016 came to an end and all I can say is, it was amazing. So, dear reader, the next time there is a theatre or a theatre festival  in your town, please take some time out, and go watch it. Often, you shall not regret spending those 90 minutes in the play.

I ll be off on a trip to Ahmedabad shortly. Hopefully I ll be back with some shots worth sharing. Till then…

Cheers!!

The Supermoon Post

This is a late post about the most recent supermoon that the world saw. I was determined to shoot it.

So, I made my way to a nearby temple, which rests on a hill top to try shoot the moon, and the city underneath, and this is what I got.

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trail
Not exactly the way I wanted it to be. The temple, being on elevated ground, was a perfect vantage point for some nice cityscapes though 🙂

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So, when a bunch of friends suggested we go the nearby Singhagadh Fort to capture the moon before it sets, I was ready in a snap.

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Now, these were more like it. We were there till sunrise, and then made our way back to our daily routines.

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Recently, I joined a group of amazing photogs and have covered an event of international fame. Shots from them, shall be up shortly. Stay tuned.

Cheers!!

LUXE – The Luxury (Mainly Auto) Expo – The Westin, Pune

Another weekend, another expo, again at Westin. This time, it was different though.
This time, I had guest invitation from one of the participating teams, OhSoGood Tech for the event. And, the event was basically an auto expo. Pune Fashion Week was also going on next door too, and I ll be honest, I found the 911 way sexier!

So, OhSoGoodTech, better known as OSGTech is a startup who have managed to make a name for themselves in the niche market of nano crystal coatings on cars and bikes and everything shiny to make sure that the shiny surface, stays shiny. They market hydrophobic and oleo-phobic surface coating which is scratch resistant too. So, if you own something that you want to be protected from the elements of nature, and want it done good, you know where to find them. I ll show you how a hydro oleo phobic surface looks like when you spray it with water.

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Moving on, to the other attractions of the place. I ll let the photos do the talking….Ogle on, dear readers!!

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I was thoroughly satisfied with the show. The peace of the exhibition would be disrupted by the grunts of the Mustang and the whine of the 911 GTS quite often. Once a while the Multistrada would join the fray.

I consider it a quest to expand my horizons, and this is me, taking the steps towards fulfilling the quest.

And yes, this time, if you would like to use any of the photos here, as a wallpaper, go ahead, use it. If you would want to use it commercially, or repost it, kindly let me know before you use it, the photos are copyrighted, and the copyright belongs to me \m/

Cheers!!

Ganpati Bappa….Morya!!

If you were in Maharashtra, am sure you would have heard this chant in the praise of the Lord Ganesha loud and clear quite often. Add heavy bass drums and cymbals in rhythms. Colourful processions, music and dance.
This is what Ganesh Chhaturthi or Ganesh Utsav looks like in Pune

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Until the next festival….

Ganpati Bappa….morya; Mangal Murti….morya!!

Cheers!!

Rare Elements of the Fauna

Albinism, is considered to be a rare phenomena, be it in human beings, or animals. Here we have, one albino tiger, and a white cat. Rare, because you don’t see a lot of them naturally occurring 🙂

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Cheers!!

A Dash of Blue

What is your idea of fun on a Sunday? Lazying around, relaxing?? I went to a trek/outing to a nearby hill, Vetal Tekdi, and look what I found there 🙂

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The hill gives a nice view of the Pune city but thats not the main attraction of the location. This is….

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The place is filled with peacocks. One ought to have a minimum of 400mm reach on the lens to be able to capture these beauties. I had a 55-200 on me. I must admit, the shots were difficult. Not enough light, some camera shake, and yes, a lot of cropping.
We shifted locations, and we got some more shots.

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To part, I ll share a photo that mesmerizes me for the camouflage. Hope you find the peacock in there.

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Incidentally, the Peacock is considered as the national bird of the country, my country, India, and today, its the 70th Independence Day too.

Cheers!!

 

TTL: Tikona Fort

They say, the forts around Pune, look amazing during the rains. Heard this so many times, and have been enticed by so many photos, that finally, we gave in. We loaded us on a couple of bikes, and went on our day trip to the Tikona Fort, morning, 7 o’ clock on a Saturday. This is the account of our trip. There may not be photos of the fort in here, rather, there are ones of what you can see from the fort.

Keeping true to Murphy’s Laws and the weather reports, we lost our ways a couple of times, splashed into huge puddles of water and finally made it to the hill and found it engulfed in fog.

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We caught our breath for a minute and took in the amazing view, though limited view from the base of the fort.

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Post maneuvering through some muddy and rocky paths, we reached a spot, from where the path ahead was this…

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For the sake of railings, there was a co-axial cable cut and bolted into the hill face, and we had to climb on the rocks, which were at least a foot high and slippery. The gradient felt close to 60 degrees. Well,  it was just the beginning though. Some time into the climb, things became more slippery, and agreeably, scary too.

It was the views that kept us going and pushing to reach the top.

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We got the view of the greenery that had been so much referred to, and also realized that after all, monsoon may not be the best time to come to this place. Not because of the rain, but because the clouds obstruct the visibility.

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This is a nice place to be for a day outing. As we climbed down, we saw tiny kids and even toddlers climbing up the trail, so it is not very technical climb or a difficult one as such. One must always exercise a certain amount of caution though.

The location ought to be an amazing one for night time photography and star gazing. The peak of the climb experiences quite strong winds so the ones venturing up should take the necessary precautions.

While climbing down, some caution had to be maintained as the place had become very slippery and narrow approaches forced us to move in a single file.

On the whole, the trip was a nice way to unwind and to get some of the much needed fresh air.

Cheers!!

What type of photog am I?

A question has been often posed at me, what kind of photographer am I? Today, I ll try to answer it.

I am in pursuit of photography with some seriousness, for the past two and a half years now. My peers, who had started along at the similar time, have become specialized. Some shoot only portraits, some are landscape guys while some are wildlife fellows. They have expanded their arsenal with better bodies and lens…and then there is me.
I have not managed to settle down to just one genre yet.
I like shooting portraits.

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Also enjoy shooting landscapes.
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I am not averse to shooting macro

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And even the streets appeal to me just fine.

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And sometimes, I do shoot purely technical shots too.

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I guess, I am just not cut for the strict regime of just one type of photography. Some might say that I am straying and that I must stick to a certain genre, but I’d rather shoot things that appeal to me,even if they belong for different genre. It brings out the me in the photos. This my calling, whats yours?

If things go according to plan, as they rarely do, next week, I shall be travelling to Velas, Maharashtra, to visit the tiny turtles hatch and make their maiden journey to the sea. Stay tuned.

Cheers!!

TTL: Mumbai

A couple of weekends earlier, with an amazing group of photographers from Pune, under the banner of Pune Photo Lovers, we went to Mumbai for a photowalk for a day.

The route was simple, from the CST to Gateway of India and back via the Leopold Cafe.

The 50 mm prime being the only lens with me, it was an amazing experience to restrict myself and work. Here are how the things looked once I came back and processed the photos.

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The thing about street photography is that you need to keep the eyes wide open and be able to handle the camera fast enough. Missing a shot because the camera was not set right, is honestly a shame.

Keep shooting and keep practicing.
Cheers!!