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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Feel Like God!
Category: Travel 'n Living

Going by the old Bajaj Avenger ad, did I really feel like god after a 1000km solo ride in two days from Bangalore to Malampuzha / Siruvani / Mannarkad / Attappadi? May be not! But the trip was really fun and hope to do more of those!

One of the best moments during the ride was Malleeswaramudi and I could not resist taking a pic of this majestic looking peak with the Avenger in the background. The pic was taken using the Canon EOS 7D and Canon EF 16-35mm /2.8L almost at its widest angle. I used Av mode for this pic at f/16 for a 1/15s exposure at ISO-100.

Another photography moment came, when I was taking a break near Erode at sweltering heat! I had the bike parked next to the highway and the helmet next to me. The reflections falling on the helmet looked interesting and I had to take out the camera.

I used a f/9 aperture with 1/50s and ISO-250 for this pic. In spite of the scorching sun outside, I still needed a relatively higher ISO to get the reflection from the black helmet surface.

Posted by usandeep at 8:12 PM
Updated: Thursday, 27 March 2014 8:22 PM
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Thursday, 23 January 2014
Bunty aur Babli!
Category: People 'n Portraits

Thanks to Amit and Priya for this rare opportunity to try out the lights (Prostar PhotoPro 300D Compact Flash Studio System) :) They posed effortlessly under Preetha's direction!

I used the Canon EOS 7D and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II combination for this. Two of the above mentioned lights were placed in the front on both sides and two more were used for backlighting (from both sides again). Lights are triggered with a wireless trigger attached to the camera, with manual metering. Exposure time could not be longer than 1/200s to ensure proper flash syncing, making the light rather strong. After a few trial and errors, I eventually chose a f/6.3 and 1/200s exposure.

It was a great experience shooting with this lovely couple :) and I am sure they enjoyed it as much!

Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Thursday, 23 January 2014 9:40 AM
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Wednesday, 15 January 2014
Landscapes from Kavunji and Kilavarai
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

I managed to see some very beautiful landscapes on our 2nd day of our Kodai Munnar Trek (see 'House on the slopes!' also). As soon as we came out of the Berijam - Konalar trail in to Kavunji village, there were endless tracks of step farms all around us. The pleasing green, coupled with the cotton clouds were indeed a sight to behold.

This picture is taken using the Canon EOS 7D + Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens, with the lens at its widest focal length. I used a f/16 aperture for 1/100s.


On day 3, we were at Kilavarai village and could spot the hills of Marayoor at distance. I used pretty much the same settings for the 2nd picture as well, but used a closer shot @ 35mm to get a better view of the far away hills.

Posted by usandeep at 8:57 AM
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Wednesday, 4 April 2012
Ye Dosti ...
Category: People 'n Portraits

Walking around my home town carrying a DSLR (Canon EOS 7D), fitted with a long white lens (Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L tele photo) gets you a lot of attention. So, I was not surprised when this little fella in a blue shirt, riding a cycle, called me from the other side of a canal and asked me why I am carrying around this big camera. I simply smiled at him and told I was looking for birds. More queries followed and I responded by taking a pic of his.

The reaction to the photo was not very nice - he drove away in his cycle in a hurry and I was wondering, if he was offended. I got the answer when he came back in a few seconds, with his friend in tow. He did not want to miss the opportunity to get a picture with his friend!

He did not even tell me his name and did not even bother to take a look at the picture - all that mattered was that his friend be in the picture too!

The pic came in Av mode, f/6.3 and auto ISO for a 1/500s and ISO-250.

Posted by usandeep at 10:32 PM
Updated: Wednesday, 4 April 2012 10:39 PM
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Sunday, 25 March 2012
Swallow at Berijam
Category: Birds 'n Animals

We stayed at a forest department camp site near Berijam lake, on first evening of our Kodai Munnar trek. The bird life here was amazing and we were out for a walk around the lake on next day morning.

We spotted a group of swallows, right outside the building we stayed in - I guess this particular one is a Pacific Swallow. I had the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L mounted on my EOS 7D, set in Av mode, f/6.3 and auto-ISO. This particular picture came at ISO-100 and 1/640s.

Another picture of a different bird from the same group, using the same settings - this time, the camera picked up a 1/640s, ISO-200 exposure.

Posted by usandeep at 4:36 PM
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Wednesday, 7 March 2012
Man & the Mountain - part II
Category: Lights 'n Shadows

Part II of Man and the mountain pictures (see 'Man and the Mountain' for part I) are from a trek to Karigudda, where we ended up scaling the relatively un-explored Karigudda peak of Savandurga hills. A trail was there till one of the hills with a large natural pool in it. We could spot Karigudda from the top of this hill and soon we were on unchartered waters.

This pic of Sudeepto, while descending the pool hill, is taken using the Canon EOS 7D, mounted with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle lens. I used a f/20, ISO-100, Av mode setting with partial metering for a 1/640s exposure.

After descending the pool hill, we searched through the forest to reach another hill with a Ganesha carving at its base. Karigudda was quite close to this Ganesha hill, but it required another hour of crawling through the forest, followed by climbing up a very smooth rock face to finally reach the peak.

The second pic, taken while Sudeepto was descending the Ganesha hill, was also using the Canon EOS 7D and the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle lens. This time, I opted for a Manual mode exposure at f/16, 1/1600s and ISO-100.

Posted by usandeep at 3:36 PM
Updated: Wednesday, 7 March 2012 3:49 PM
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Tuesday, 28 February 2012
House on the slopes!
Category: Lights 'n Shadows

On the 3rd day of our Kodai - Munnar trek, we started early morning towards Kilavarai. The striking feature of the landscape here is the terraced farming land - with the far-away hills forming a beautiful backdrop.

I was looking for birds when I spotted this house - seated on top of a green hill far away from us. I first searched for the landscape lens, but soon realized that a closer shot of the house may make a better frame. I was not carrying the 70-200, otherwise, it would have been a better choice for this shot with a slightly wider frame. So here it goes - taken using the Canon EOS 7D, mounted with a Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L tele photo lens.

I opted for a manual, f/16, 1/60s, ISO-100 exposure. With the 400mm, I could not have handheld the camera at 1/60s, neither was I carrying the tripod. But, I could find the fence which could support the setup. I placed it on top of the fence and used timer trigger for this shot.

Posted by usandeep at 4:07 PM
Updated: Wednesday, 7 March 2012 4:17 PM
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Sunday, 19 February 2012
Pied Kingfisher
Category: Birds 'n Animals

The first time I got a glimpse of Pied Kingfisher was at Maddur, on an electric cable, while I was seated in a bus - there was no way I could have taken a picture. I revisited the place a few times, but did not even see it again. The next sighting was at my home town in Eranhikkal, Kozhikode, Kerala (see 'Scenes from the River side', 'Kingfishers @ Eranhikkal' and 'Are there no crows in Bangalore?' for some earlier posts from the same location) - but this time I was not carrying my camera!

But, on another visit to Eranhikkal, I returned to the river side, looking out for the Pied Kingfisher - after walking along the river side for almost an hour, I finally found the bird I was looking for. In the initial pics, the bird was seated in a small branch against the blue sky - and the angle was not so good to get a good view of its plumage.

I waited for some more time hoping the bird to move in to some other position and I was rewarded heavily when I saw its mate flying in and sitting in a nearby branch. I tiptoed towards it for this shot.

The picture comes with the Canon EOS 7D, mounted with a Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L tele photo, in Av mode, f/6.3, auto-ISO for a 1/640s, ISO-250 exposure.

I still did not want to leave and kept taking more shots. The birds changed their positions a few times, but did not go too far. After almost an hour or so, one of them took a plunge in the river and came up with a catch. I retained the earlier setup for a Av mode, f/6.3, ISO-250, 1/500s shot.

Posted by usandeep at 11:01 PM
Updated: Monday, 20 February 2012 5:52 PM
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Wednesday, 15 February 2012
In to the Blue!
Category: Travel 'n Living

Ever since I discovered it during a my first trip to Goa in November 2004, Palolem is one of my favourite beaches ever. I revisited the place during a Mumbai trip in October 2005 and a Dudhsagar trek in July 2006. With golden sand, clear blue waters and beautiful sunsets / sunrises, it is ideal to spend a weekend. So, when we wanted to hit the beaches, this is the first place that I could think of.

Our plan this time was to spend the weekend lazing around the beach. I was soon roaming around with the camera (Canon EOS 7D, mounted with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II), when I saw this paddle boat.

The pic comes at 70mm, Av mode, f/5.6, auto-ISO for a 1/1600s, ISO-100 picture. In hindsight, I should have used a higher DoF, but what can you expect from a lazy photographer, lazing in a beach - a lazy photo :)

With the second photo, I corrected the problem, using a manual mode, f/13, 1/400s, auto-ISO setting for a ISO-100 shot. But, this time, the shot is at the telephoto end - at 200mm. Lets say, I was lazy to go closer to the boat :)

Posted by usandeep at 4:10 PM
Updated: Wednesday, 15 February 2012 5:33 PM
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Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Manchinbele and Savandurga
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

While driving to Savandurga for a Billigudda trek, we stopped for a while at Manchinbele. The sky was clear blue with a hint of fluffy clouds and it was a perfect day for photography.

The hill forming the backdrop of Manchinbele reservoir is Savandurga. The pic is taken using the Canon EOS 7D, mounted with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom, fitted with a Tiffen 82mm Circular Polarizer filter. I used Av mode with f/16 and Auto ISO for a 1/40s, ISO-250 exposure.

Just before reaching Savandurga, there is a quarry from where one can get a good view of the Savandurga hills. The peak to the right side is Billigudda, while the one to the left is Karigudda. Karigudda trek is a little more harder and adventurous, as there is no proper trail leading to it. Meanwhile, Billigudda may be scaled through an easily identifiable trail used by many people.

This pic is also taken using the Canon EOS 7D, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L and Tiffen 82mm CP filter combo. It is again in Av mode, auto-ISO, f/16 but for a 1/25s, ISO-160 exposure.

The last pic - again taken using the 7D + 16-35mm + CP combo - is of the Karigudda hills, from the top of Billigudda. This time I turned off auto-ISO and opted for ISO-100, but maintained the f/16, Av mode settings for a 1/25s exposure.

Posted by usandeep at 4:14 PM
Updated: Wednesday, 25 January 2012 6:22 PM
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