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Wednesday, 1 October 2008
Sun and the Windmills @ Chitradurga
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

Chitradurga is a beautiful town with hills all around and windmills all over the hills. Most of the time I've passed through here, I've witnessed beautiful sunsets. During this trip to Hampi and North East Karnataka, when we were about to reach Chitradurga, sun had just about  turned red and was going down in between the windmills:

I used the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L lens for this pic, tripod mounted and timer-triggered. Since, the camera was being very whimsical with the expoure selection, I chose the manual exposure mode and selected f/8 and 1/250s for ISO-100.

Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Monday, 13 October 2008 4:03 PM
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Sunday, 21 September 2008
Modelling Sessions ...
Category: People 'n Portraits

Its been a while since I had been fiddling around with this idea and even tried it a few times, though with smaller subjects, like say in this: 'Red Roses and White Background'. But, this time it was quite different. This is almost the first time I actually used the pop-up flash ... along with a fluorescent tube, three CFLs, three more table lamps and a white curtain for background :) Isnt that as bright as one can get? Thnx to Vishal for suggesting a 'Light Tent', I ended up making a customized version of my own :)

In this picture, the metering mode was partial (or spot metering) and I used Av mode with a +2 step over-exposure and ISO 400 @ f/3.5 for a 1/5 sec exposure. Its taken with the EF-s f/3.5-5.6 18-55mm kit lens, tripod mounted @ 24mm.

The 2nd picture being a closer shot, I dug out the EF f/2.5 50mm compact macro, which I havent used for a while. This lens can open much wider for a narrower depth of focus, best suited for this picture. Also, I switched to manual mode, with f/2.5 and 1/20s exposure. Even with this wider lens I needed the tripod and ISO-400. May be its time to procure the EF f/1.2L 50mm :)

Finally, thanks a lot to Preethu for patiently (?!!) sitting through this, in my 'Light Tent', while I experimented with the lenses and camera settings. I know I can count on u whenever I want a pretty model :P

Posted by usandeep at 3:39 AM
Updated: Friday, 20 February 2009 6:44 PM
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Saturday, 13 September 2008
Sea from my Apartment @ Kozhikode
Category: Travel 'n Living

During the few days around Onam, I could spend some time at the 7th floor apartment in Kozhikode (which was occupied till recently), watching the sun going down in the Arabian sea. Ofcourse, I had my camera and couple of lenses with me ... and how can I not take pictures :)

As the sun was going down, the sea sparkled along a line all the way from the horizon till the shore and these fishermen were crossing that 'light line'. I used the EF f/5.6L 400mm for a handheld shot against the bright sunlight. Av mode, ISO-100 and f/5.6 for a 1/2000s exposure.

The 2nd picture is taken the next day, with the sun almost setting and turning the sea in to a cauldron of gold. This picture is using the EF f/3.5L 180mm, again handheld and Av mode ISO-100. But, this time I used a -2 step under exposure for a 1/2500s.

I wish I could sit here everyday in the evening staring into the sea ... watching people and boats cross over ... and ofcourse ... clicking more pictures. Hopefully some other time :(

Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Saturday, 20 September 2008 1:59 PM
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Friday, 12 September 2008
Monsoon Stream near Wayanad Ghat
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

I spotted this stream on my way home @ Kozhikode for Onam, while descending the Wayanad ghats. I've never noticed this stream all this while and was quite surprised to spot this. During monsoons its common for small rivulets to erupt from all over, but this one looked a little more than just a rivulet :)

Anyways, I was more than happy to descend down for a couple of shots of this stream and used the usual long exposure and slight under exposure for this (see 'Long Exposure for Streams' where I posted my first long exposure stream pics. Later I didnt post the Meenmutty Falls pictures just coz of fear of repetition. This time I believe its not repetitive coz of the presence of some greenery around!).

I used the EF-s f/3.5-5.6 18-55mm kit lense @ 43mm for this, tripod mounted, in Av mode with an exposure compensation of -0.7 steps. For getting a longer exposure shot, I set the 'f' to F/22 and an exposure of 1/3 seconds.

Btw ... Happy Onam to everybody :)

Posted by usandeep at 8:00 PM
Updated: Saturday, 20 September 2008 11:22 AM
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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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