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Monday, 1 September 2008
Red Roses and White Background
Category: The Abstracts

I'd been wondering how people manage to get that pure white background for their pictures, which is pretty common for a lot of Ads. Ofcourse, I know how to manage it using GIMP (and know its possible with other softwares as well) :)

Thanks to Sathya for actually showing me (through some of the awesome pictures he has taken) that keeping a white background is possible by slight over exposure, I tried it then and there with little success. One of the pictures I took then is in the post 'Background Coloring', but the method used there was pretty straight forward. Recently, while trying to photograph red roses in a white cloth, I realized that a touch over exposing the picture almost deletes the white cloth behind it, giving it a clean white background. But, then the problem was that good red roses are hard to find :) Finally, this is the best roses I could find in North Bengaluru and the one I liked most among the pics I could manage:

This picture is over exposed (from what camera reported in Av mode, Evaluative metering) by almost 2 steps (1.7 or 5/3 steps to be precise). I used the EF f/3.5L 180mm lens, tripod mounted, @ f/16 and ISO-100 for a 1.3s exposure. While, playing around a little bit with GIMP, I figured that its pretty straightforward to select the background and make it a cleaner white, I chose to retain some of the shadows and creases and post the original picture after only a small rearrangement of the frame.

I would like to thank Sathya for sharing his awesome collection with me, which gave me the courage to try some of these things :) I hope I could click a classic matching Satya's pictures some days :) Btw .. my final aim is to get a picture of my dad in his easy chair on the lines of this post :'Achan @ Home, RT Nagar, Bengaluru', but I guess it'll take a little more effort and experiments :(

As a side note, if anybody is trying it out, its not a bad idea to click a few pictures with different exposures and comparing it in full screen. Also, this kind of over-exposed background is possible, only if the subject is dark in comparison with the background. For a brighter object, may be a better option is to use a dark object for background and under-exposing :) I may even try a white / pink rose in a black cloth later :)

Posted by usandeep at 9:42 PM
Updated: Tuesday, 2 September 2008 11:29 AM
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Sunday, 24 August 2008
Workers at Paddy fields near Mandya ... again
Category: Vintage India

I've always liked taking snaps of farmers at work, like for instance the posts on 'Ploughing @ a Paddy Field near Maddur' and 'Scenes from Kanalpiruvu, Palakkad in Kerala'. Once again it was time for paddy fields and farmers sweating out in the field. On a drive to Mandya along the Bengaluru - Mysuru highway, I ventured in to a paddy field few kms before Mandya, to catch the men in action:

The first picture is taken with the EF f/5.6L 400mm lens, handheld, and I used ISO-200 to reduce the blur. In Av mode f/5.6 camera chose a 1/500s exposure.

The second one is using the EF f/3.5L 180mm but most of the settings stayed, including the ISO-200 and Av mode. Finally, this pic was f/3.5 and 1/1250s. Reflections had been another of my favourite themes and something I've consistently used - with some personal favourites like 'Birds @ a tank bund near Mysuru'.

It was indeed a great feeling to get the feet dirty and venture into the paddy fields :) Something I would like to do any time now :)

Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Saturday, 30 August 2008 9:55 AM
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Friday, 15 August 2008
Happy Independence Day!
Category: The Abstracts

What better ways to celebrate August 15th than wearing the tricolor in ur hands :)

This snap is a touch over exposed and slightly blurred, taken hand held with the EF f/3.5L 180mm lens @ Av mode, ISO-100, f/6.3 for a 1/60s exposure. Only after downloading the pics I realized that 1/60s is a touch higher for a 180mm lens and I should have used a tripod :(

The 2nd pic is also taken with the EF f/3.5L 180mm lens @ Av mode, f/6.3 and ISO-100, this time with a -1 step exposure compensation for a 1/60s exposure. I thought the -1 step exposure compensation brought out the tricolor a touch better. I did crop the frame a little using GIMP, something I havent been doing for a while.

Happy Independence day to everybody :)

Posted by usandeep at 5:22 PM
Updated: Saturday, 30 August 2008 9:25 AM
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Thursday, 31 July 2008
Watermarking a Myriad of Colors
Category: Digital Room

I'd been adviced to watermark the pictures I post in public domain for a while now. Hence, I was trying to atleast find out how to do it, using my favourite image editing tool: GIMP. The procedure turned out to be fairly simple:

  1. Open the picture in GIMP and Cut paste ur watermark logo into the image or bring up the text tool to add the text u want
  2. Bring up the Layers dialog (Ctrl-L) and select the background image layer
  3. Right click on the image and do Filter => Map => Bump Map with the default settings (experiment with the parameters to obtain different settings but default should work just fine)
  4. Go back to Layers dialog and delete the text (or the pasted logo) layer

The watermark effect is not very conspicuous here and hardly spoils the image, but is barely there to convey the source of the picture. Isnt this what the watermark is supposed to do? :) I used the "Script MT Bold, Bold" font, with size 144 and placed the watermark at the top left corner in the picture.

I still havent made up my mind whether to put the watermarks in to the pictures I post here. It hardly makes any sense, especially since I am posting only small sized (max 500 x 750 pixels) pictures here. But I may end up doing it for wallpaper sized pictures at other places in the site.

Yeah .... the picture is taken @ RT Nagar house (indoor, night, artificial lights) using the EF f/3.5L 180mm lens, mounted on a tripod. I used Av mode with a -1Ev exposure compensation @ f/13 and ISO-100 for a timer triggered 30s exposure.

Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Sunday, 3 August 2008 11:43 AM
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Tuesday, 22 July 2008
The Red Train!
Category: The Abstracts

I shot this millipede only as a sample picture for what a millipede is, but ended up liking this frame coz of the angle and the narrow DOF :)

Picture taken @ my uncle's house in Kozhikode using the EF f/3.5L 180mm macro lens. Handheld shot @ ISO-400, f/3.5, 1/60s in Av mode.

As a side note, I was showing this picture to Amma and asking her to guess what it is :) After abt 10 mins of scrutiny she came up with "something burning" :) Finally, when I said what it is, she could only blurt out a "chey ..." loaded with contempt. It reminded me of the revulsion with which I used to look at this creature during childhood!

Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Saturday, 2 August 2008 9:51 PM
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Saturday, 21 June 2008
Beach, Clouds and the Blue Sky ...
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

Was in Kozhikode this saturday and spent the whole of the evening at the beach. It was a cloudy day with a li'l drizzle as well ... I am sure u can make that out from the dark clouds in this picture :) But, what cannot be captured in camera was the cool, strong breeze with a tinge of drizzle in it ... it felt so good being there :)

The first pic is actually in Av mode with a -1 step exposure compensation to bring out the details in the sky. I used the EF-S 18-55mm lens, hand held, for this with f/4 and ISO-100 for a 1/200s exposure. Once the sun went down (could not see the sun behind the clouds anyway), it became darker and the sky took on a deep blue shade. The 2nd pic is a longer exposure shot (f/16, 30sec, ISO-100) with the same lens mounted on a tripod.

Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Monday, 23 June 2008 11:51 AM
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Wednesday, 18 June 2008
The Hiding Moon
Category: Lights 'n Shadows

It was almost full moon and I wanted to click the moon again. The moon was initially hiding behind the clouds and when it came out, I placed it behind the leaves :) I liked the moon hiding pictures more than a super telephoto pic with all the craters visible (which the 400mm + 2X converter combo is theoritically quite capable of doing but I've never been able to do it to my own satisfaction).

Both pics are un-cropped and taken using the EF f/5.6L 400mm lens, in manual mode, ISO 100, f/5.6. First one is mounted on a tripod for a 1/25s exposure, while the second one is handheld with a 1/5s. Am actually surprised that the second pic came out without much damage!

Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Thursday, 19 June 2008 5:06 PM
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Tuesday, 3 June 2008
Baby Monkey & Mom @ Lakkidi
Category: Birds 'n Animals

This time, on my way back from Kozhikode (Calicut) to Bengaluru (Bangalore), I was past the ghat road a little earlier than usual, by about 9AM and spotted a lot of monkeys with very little people around to disturb them. This place, Lakkidi, were Wayanad starts, has a beautiful view of the valley below and is usually crowded later in the day till dark and I was a li'l lucky to get some time here without crowd in day light.

The baby monkey kept running away from its mom and the mom kept holding it back. I used the EF 400mm f/5.6L lens and stayed away not to disturb them. But, the mom still looked a li'l threatened with my presence. The pic is in Av mode f/5.6, ISO-400 and 1/1000s - hand held and no cropping.

When another car approached with loud music, the mom picked up the baby and escaped in to the trees and I walked back to my car.

Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Monday, 9 June 2008 4:30 PM
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Monday, 2 June 2008
Kingfishers @ Eranhikkal
Category: Birds 'n Animals

I'd made attempts to photograph birds from the riverside near my hometown @ Eranhikkal before. One such attempt is here: Scenes from the River side. I was back at my hometown this weekend for some personal work and did manage to go there again. After couple of attempts, one kingfisher and an egret posed for me on an evening, but the shots turned out like the usual ones, especially with the dim light. On going there again, the next day morning, I spotted a chirpy kingfisher perched on a tree branch in the middle of the river.

The bird kept on preening itself and checking out movements in the water, ignoring me, even with me trying to move closer. It made couple of unsuccesful dashes into the water and everytime returned to the same tree. The two pics were taken from close distance using the EF f/5.6 400mm lens, mounted on a tripod and a wireless remote to reduce movements. The tripod was a little unstable and started shaking with every shot and needed couple of seconds to stablize. I was using ISO-100, with the maximum shuter exposure (f/5.6) in Av mode and got shutter times of 1/125s for both pictures. With these longer shutter durations (for a 400mm non-IS lens), it was very important to avoid all movements and I guess the wireless remote (RC1) turned out to be a very useful tool. In timer mode, I would not have been able to click as fast as I would want to!

Suddenly, to my surprise and delight, the bird flew towards me and sat on a cable right above my head! With a fixed 400mm, I had to walk away to make sure that I have a full frame and later stop down to f/8.0 for more DOF and lesser exposure time (1/100s) @ ISO-100. It sat there chirruping for a short time before flying away.

Thank u birdie for not getting scared and fly away :) U shud've been a model in ur previous birth or wud be one in ur next ;-)

Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Thursday, 5 June 2008 12:12 PM
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Saturday, 31 May 2008
Feather in the River
Category: The Abstracts

Spotted this feather floating in the river near my house @ Eranhikkal while looking around for birds! Shots from two earlier visits to the same place is in Scenes from the River side and Kingfishers @ Eranhikkal (Technically, the 2nd of pictures were taken later, but posed earlier than this).

I used the same 400mm (EF f/5.6L) lens fitted in the camera for bird shots and clicked this in Av mode, f/5.6, partial metering, ISO-100 for 1/250s.

Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Thursday, 19 June 2008 11:40 AM
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