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Saturday, 28 February 2009
Clouds, Sun and the Valley
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

This is the last set of pics from the Vavul Mala trek series:

This is what we saw from Masthakappara, our day 2 camping site. The small hills covered with clouds were our stepping stones! Literally, since the trail up is along these hills. The valley to the right, about 1500m below, has villages of Anakkampoyil, Muthappanpuzha and Thenpara, where we started the trek. Like most treks, I carried only the EF-s 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens for this and no tripod. Focal length @ 18mm, Av mode, f/8 for 1/60s.

Soon after the sunset, the sky turned into a deeper shade of red. With the sun deteriorating I had to resort to ISO-400. Using the same lens @ 18mm, Av mode, f/6.3 and a -1EV exposure compensation, I got a 'just enough' 1/20s exposure. The pic is a little more grainier than I would like.

Next day morning, with the sun rising from the heights of Vavul Mala, the clouds way to the sunlight. The hills visible are mostly from Wayanad, including Chembra and Swargakkunnu. Straight out of the camera, the pic was a lot more duller and I did a contrast adjustment in GIMP to salvage it. The lens and focal length is same @ ISO-100, Av mode, f/6.3 and no exposure compensation for a 1/160s exposure.


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Tuesday, 31 March 2009 12:32 PM
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Friday, 27 February 2009
Sunrise @ Kethanpara
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

As promised in the last post, this is the first pic in the sunrise / sunset series from Vavul Mala trek:

This is the view from 'Kethanpara', where we camped on the first night of our trek. The hill, from which the sun is coming out, is part of the Nilgiris and is connected to 'Vavul Mala' through a mountain ridge.

The pic is taken using the Canon EF-s 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, handheld @ 55mm, Av mode, f/10 with a -2 Ev exposure compensation for a 1/320s exposure.


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Monday, 16 March 2009 12:01 PM
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Vavul Mala from Masthakappara
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

At an altitude of 2339m, Vavul Mala is the tallest peak of the Vellarimala hill ranges in North Kerala. It is also the tallest peak between Nilgiris & Himalayas. In spite of these adjectives, its not as famous compared to its counterpart in Wayanad, Chembra. I guess, its mostly due to the diffculty in access, which is via the small town of Anakkampoyil in Kozhikode district. One has to take a steep trail from Anakkampoyil and ascend close to 2000m to reach this peak, making it arguably one of the toughest trek in South India. Since Vavul Mala is not so well known, most people heading to Vellarimala from Kozhikode side will stop @ Masthakappara - which is what is visible from Anakkampoyil town. This is what we did too during our first trek to Vellarimala. But, this time around, I knew where I wanted to reach and had a gr8 trek to the Vavul Mala peak!

This pic is taken on our return journey, from Masthakappara which became our 2nd day camp site. The fog had the whole area covered and I was waiting for it to retreat. So, here it is ... a moment when the fog is clearing.

Soon ater the sunset, the fog cleared and we had a much cleared view of the peak. So, thats the 2nd shot.

I only had my kit lens, Canon EF-s 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, since the rest of the lenses were too heavy to carry. No tripod, either. So, both pics are hand held, Av mode and ISO-100 was enough. The first pic is @ 24mm and f/5.6 for a 1/100s exposure, while the 2nd one is slightly wider @ 18mm, f/8.0 for a 1/20s exposure.


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Wednesday, 18 March 2009 12:13 PM
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Watching Sunset from Masthakappara
Category: People 'n Portraits

Couple more pictures from our Vavul Mala trek ... this time the both of us watching sunset @ Masthakappara, the 2nd day camping site:

This is the silhouette of Josettan, my guide for this trek. The pic is using the Canon EF-s 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens as that was the only lens I carried for the trek. Handheld @ 55mm, manual mode, f/16 and 1/400s exposure.

Its yours truly in this pic, taken by Josettan. Settings were very similar, except the focal length (slightly wider @ 50mm) and exposure time (1/500s).


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Thursday, 19 March 2009 5:46 PM
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Sunday, 22 February 2009
Some Sunset Snaps
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes
Early summer is the best time for sunset snaps. Now that I've moved to a new apartment in Ulsoor / Halasuru with a nice terrace, its become even more easy:

I guess, the bird in the picture is a crow ... and hopefully it looks prettier than a crow :) The pic is taken using the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens, handheld, full manual mode, f/32, 1/4000s and ISO-100. In short, the sun was pretty bright when I took this shot and I used the tiniest aperture and the shortest shutter available! Being a prime lens, the lens should not have any chromatic abberation even @ f/32. Even if it is there, I didnt have any other options :(

In the second picture, the bird is an eagle :) With the sun settling among the trees, I used a slightly longer exposure - 1/3200s. Every other stays same as the first picture. Both the pics are as it is, except for a 60% crop (3888px to 2400px).

I am planning to post more sunset pictures in the next few days! Some from my weekend trek to Vavul Mala and some more from the terrace.


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Tuesday, 10 March 2009 10:36 AM
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Tuesday, 17 February 2009
Spring in Bangalore
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

This is a common sight all over Bangalore / Bengaluru during January and February. I guess the tree is called Tabebuia and comes in pink and yellow shades. This yellow tree is between my home and office:

I've tried photographing these flowers even earlier, but it is usually tough to get a clean frame like this - thanks to all the buildings, electricity lines and other trees. Even this time there was an electric line running near the tree and thats why I placed it in one corner and later cropped the top portion of the sky. This one was shot with my Canon EF-s 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. I used Av mode as usual, @ 38mm, f/5.6 and ISO-100 for a 1/640s exposure. I shifted the White Balance towards blue for a bluer sky and later played around in GIMP for an even higher saturation.


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Wednesday, 4 March 2009 8:02 PM
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Saturday, 14 February 2009
Happy Valentine's Day
Category: The Abstracts
A happy pink-hued Valentine's day to all of you ... including Pramod Mutalik - from Preetha and Sandeep!

I was trying to get an effect similar to the Modelling Sessions and Red Roses and White Background, but didnt have as much patience :) I did have a white background initially, but didnt bother to get it as clean as the previous posts. It was easier this time, since I had a Vivitar 285HV strobe, which was used to brighten the background bouncing off a thermocol. The lens is Canon EF-s 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, handheld @ 31mm. I used manual mode @ f/4.5, 1/25s and ISO-100.

Finally, I used GIMP to clean up the background and gave it a pinky shade - you should know on whose suggestion :)


Posted by usandeep at 11:11 PM
Updated: Tuesday, 24 February 2009 6:09 PM
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Sunday, 8 February 2009
Passing through Bandipur
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

Everytime I drive to my home town, its also an opportunity to pass through some beautiful places - the paddy fields near Mandya, village of Gundulpet, Bandipur Wildlife sanctuary and Wayanad. Most of the times, I would get atleast one picture to post. This time, I believe, I got more than one :)

This is the 2nd post (after 'Another paddy field & Workers') from a weekend trip to my Kozhikode, home town. The section of the highway (NH212) passing via Bandipur Wildlife sanctuary and flanked with tall trees on both sides. Its a handheld shot, using the EF 180mm f/3.5L lens and I used ISO-200 to reduce shakes. Av mode as usual, @ f/5.6 for a 1/400s exposure.


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Monday, 23 February 2009 7:29 PM
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Some more scenes from Gundulpet
Category: Vintage India

I am still hanging on with 'again', 'another' and now ... 'some more'. Just cant think of any more such words/phrases :) For now, this is 3rd set from the last weekends trip to Kozhikode, following 'Another paddy field & Workers' and 'Passing through Bandipur'.

This lady is seperating chafe from grain and its a common sight on roads passing through village roads. I stopped the car a little far from the lady and used my Canon EF 400m f/5.6L for this shot. Thanks to the evening light, soaked in gold, I didnt need a tripod. The shot is in Av mode, f/5.6, ISO-200 for a 1/500s exposure.

A few kms ahead, I saw this herd of sheep and a shepherd. I wanted to take a shot with both the sheep and shepherd, but they were too close for my 400mm. They were coming towards us and I had no time to change the lens, either. So, I finally settled for this frame and clicked. Light was going down by then and I used the car window as a prop to negate the blur. Rest of the settings are similar - Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L, Av mode, f/5.6, ISO-200 and 1/250s.


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Monday, 2 March 2009 10:16 AM
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Saturday, 7 February 2009
Another paddy field & Workers
Category: Vintage India

I cant help but click, when I see paddy fields and workers with colorful attire :) There had been numerous posts with paddy (or vegetable or corn) fields and workers in it, the last one being 'Workers at Paddy fields near Mandya ... again'. I wonder, how many more words I can find like 'again' and 'another'! This one is also near Mandya / Sri Rangapatna,  on the way to my house @ Kozhikode:

This time I was right next to the highway inside my car and only the lens peeking out of the window to avoid their attention. I used the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L lens for this shot, handheld in Av mode, f/9 and ISO-100 for a 1/200s exposure. I had used white balance shifting (towards red/brown) and later used GIMP to increase colour saturation and cut off the lower portion of the frame.


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Monday, 23 February 2009 6:32 PM
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