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Saturday, 29 August 2009
Lady with Marigold
Category: People 'n Portraits

I was on my way home for lunch, when I spotted this lady carrying a basket of yellow marigold flowers. The camera was in my bag as always and with her colorful dress and basket I had to take it out:

With the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens fitted on to the camera, I could easily maintain a safe distance and take a few shots. The above shot is handheld, in Av mode, f/6.3 and ISO-800 for a 1/2000s exposure.

A little later, with a customer looking to buy flowers from her, she sat in the footpath and bargained with him. This was the opportunity and I walked past her and stayed on the other side of the road for a shot from the front.

Looks like she had a good bargain ... isnt it :)

The settings and the lens is same for the 2nd pic as well, 400mm, handheld, Av mode, f/6.3, ISO-800, but since she was sitting in the shade, the exposure was selected at 1/800s.

Posted by usandeep at 10:20 PM
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Sunday, 23 August 2009
Painting the Ganesha
Category: Vintage India

On my way to Maidanahalli, just after the village of Puravara, I saw this bunch of Ganesha idols getting ready for the Ganesh Chaturthi and the man who made them doing the finishing touches:

The pic is taken with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens, handheld in Manual mode, with the settings of ISO-200, f/6.3 and 1/1000s. The lighting was a bit harsh and I could not get the man's face properly exposed.

Wishing a happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all!

Posted by usandeep at 10:23 PM
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Monday, 17 August 2009
Indian Roller aka Blue Jay
Category: Birds 'n Animals

The trip to Maidanahalli was productive not just for the Blackbucks, but also for the amazing variety of birds present within the sanctuary. One of them was the Indian Roller aka Blue Jay (scientific name Coracias Benghalensis). I had seen these birds earlier at Bandipur, but failed to get a shot. It had the same bright blue color as the Kingfisher, but obviously it doesnt look like one and I kept wondering which this bird is.

While driving around Maidanahalli, in search of the Blackbucks, I spotted th same bird once again and this time I managed to get a shot with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens. Its a handheld shot at ISO-400, Av mode, f/8 and 1/1000s.

A little while later, I saw another bird of the same kind and took a few more shots. The settings this time was Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto at Av mode, ISO-400, f/6.3 and 1/800s with a -1/3 steps exposure compensation.

As soon as I downloaded the pictures, I sent them to the expert, Gowtham, for the identification and the reply came promptly (as usual). Thanks again, Gowtham, for providing all detailed information!

Posted by usandeep at 1:04 PM
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Wednesday, 5 August 2009
Blackbucks @ Maidanahalli
Category: Birds 'n Animals

I had been hearing about Maidanahalli for a while now and was dying to go there. So, I grabbed my first chance, even though I was all alone and had to drive up and down all by myself!

Maidanahalli is about 140kms from Bangalore via Nelamangala -> Dobbaaspet -> Koratgere -> Madhugiri and Puravara village. The place is famous for its Blackbuck sanctuary, which is one of its kind in India.

Blackbucks (Antilope Cervicapra) are beautiful animals and is an endangered species. I was not very lucky and did not spot many of them. They are very shy animals and will run away at the first sign of trouble! So, even with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens, I could not get very close. The above picture is taken in Av mode, f/6.3, ISO-400 and 1/2000s exposure.

With time, I managed to get a little more closer :) This particular is also at Av mode, ISO-400, f/6.3 and 1/2000s.

This is indeed the closest I got. I was almost at the same height as the Blackbuck and it gave me this hazy frame, due to all the dry vegetation between myself and the stag. The settings are same as the previous two shots but the camera returned 1/1600s this time.

One main reason why I didnt spot many Blackbucks is the high human presence as well as the herds of sheep and cattle inside the sanctuary. It seems that there is no restriction of any kind to cattle grazing and no wonder I saw more human beings inside the sanctuary than the Blackbucks. From what I heard, this place had hundreds of Blackbucks and they are still somewhere around ... hiding. If the encroachment continues at the current rate, these animals may just become history!

Posted by usandeep at 11:03 PM
Updated: Monday, 17 August 2009 12:42 PM
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Friday, 31 July 2009
A Wide Angle View
Category: People 'n Portraits

I am still playing around with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens and on a quite evening I was trying a few shots of msy favourite model:

I had kept the camera at its widest focal length and aperture (16mm and f/2.8) and shot this hand-held. The focus is on the finger nails which is at the closest focusing distance (about a feet) from the lens. With only limited indoor lighting available, I bumped up the ISO to 800 and used Av mode for a 1/15s exposure.

This picture is shot the next day when the model went for a Mehandi in her hands :) I was marveling at the dexterity of those fingers creating intricate designs with utmost ease. How could I not click again? The settings and location is almost same - Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L, 17mm, hand-held, ISO-800, Av mode, f/2.8 1/30s.

Btw ... for those who saw '20 Weeks to go ...' and/or noted a bump, we have only a few more weeks to go to complete our family :)

Posted by usandeep at 11:24 AM
Updated: Friday, 31 July 2009 8:25 PM
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Monday, 27 July 2009
Sunset @ the River Bed
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

A weekend at my home town, Eranhikkal, Kozhikode, Kerala, after a long time was well spent ... and I did find some time for photography too ... like being there for a sunset at the river bed:

The Korappuzha river and the Canoli Canal is an integral part of the Eranhikkal's landscape and this pic is from the point where Canoli Canal merges with Korappuzha. One can find a lot of birds in this area and I had spent a lot of time trying to shoot birds and other landscape here (See 'Scenes from the River side' and 'Kingfishers @ Eranhikkal'). I guess the birds in this pic are Black Cormorant (the one on the pole) and a Pond Heron.

The picture is shot with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto, set on a tripod, with the camera setting reading Av mode, ISO-100, f/11 and 1/400s.

Posted by usandeep at 10:33 AM
Updated: Monday, 27 July 2009 10:42 AM
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Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Village Women carrying Water
Category: Vintage India

Gundulpet is one of my favourite places - not just because of beautiful and colorful landscapes or hardworking people wearing colorful cloths, but also because of the frequency at which I pass through this place :) Here is yet another picture of the villagers from Gundulpet:

Saw these women carrying water when I had stopped to shoot the Marigold fields (see 'Marigold Fields'). Gundulpet has a few lakes which serves for the water requirement (including irrigation) in the area. I had the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens fitted on the camera and peeped out of the car for these shots. The camera mode was set to Av and the light was fading. The camera meter returned a 1/100s exposure at ISO-800 and f/8. It was not enough for the 400mm lens, but with the car window for support, I did get a decent shot without any blur. I am quite liking the support from the car window. Guess, its effect is compareable to a monopod!

Posted by usandeep at 1:54 PM
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Friday, 17 July 2009
Marigold Fields
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

After (what felt like) a very long time, I did some kind of travel. Driving upto Kozhikode with my parents and back to Bangalore, alone. Heavy rains greeted us throughout the journey. How I love the way it rains in Kerala :)

We also got some time without rain while passing along Gundulpet and the place was so beautiful with Marigolds and Sunflowers in full bloom. I've tried shooting Marigold and Sunflower fields innumerable times and have always ended up disappointed. This time also, after taking so many shots, I was not sure if I should post them. But, finally I am posting a few of what I liked most:

This shot is with my recently acquired Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens. Hand-held @ 19mm and A-DEP / automatic DOF) mode. The camera selected f/11 and 1/125s at ISO-100.

Obviously, I've still not figured out how to shoot landscape, especially with a wide angle lens :( Hence, just to be sure I got some shots with the tele photo as well (Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens). I was trying to get the fence as well as some flowers in focus but that required a very narrow aperture, which the available light and the long focal length did not permit. Finally, I used Av mode for this shot with the car window as the support (guess, this works well ... atleast as good as a monopod). At f/8 and ISO-400, I got an exposure time of 1/125s and the pic was sharp enough, in spite of the long focal length.

Guess I have a long way to go before getting satisfactory landscape shots!

Update: Yet another picture, this time of a dreamy little house right in the middle of the fields with Marigolds in full bloom.

This is yet another shot with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto, hand-held in Av mode. I used f/8 and ISO-800 for a 1/400s exposure.

Posted by usandeep at 7:32 PM
Updated: Monday, 20 July 2009 1:04 PM
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Monday, 13 July 2009
Nikhil & Upasana
Category: People 'n Portraits

Upasana has appeared here more than once and may not need much inroduction (check the 2nd pics from 'Kids @ Padinharayil, 2009' or 'Kids @ Padinharayil, 2008'). But, Nikhil is here for the first time and he is a live wire. The only reason why I think Upasana was happily posing is Nikhil's influence! If you dont believe, me look at the poses Nikhil was giving in these shots. How can somebody not be inspired?

I wouldnt lie that they were not posing! Infact I had the camera, mounted on a tripod right in front of their face.

In about 5 minutes time in front of the camera, Nikhil gave me some ten different poses and all of them were so natural and innovative :) I was wondering which one of these shall I post here. Finally, decided to post a couple of them and some more as a collage. Thats the only way I could do justice to the miriad expressions Nikhil gave in front of the camera!

Would you believe me, if I say that Nikhil and Upasana met each other only half an hour before these photos were taken. Atleast those who know how shy Upasana is ... just cannot!

By the way, I have acquired a new lens, a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens. Ashi and Pappan got this to me from US almost two months back and I never got a chance to use this lens for landscape shots, since I never really travelled after buying it. But, I had to try it out somewhere and this is the first occassion. By the look of it, the f/2.8 is pretty handy for indoor shots! Thanks Ashi and Pappan for all the trouble to get this to me :)

The setup comprises of my usual bed sheets, curtains and a white wall, a little over exposure for the clean white background, a Vivitar 285HV for the extra light needed indoors and a Manfrotto 728B digi tripod for better stability. I used manual mode @ ISO-400 and f/2.8 aperture. The first two pics are @ 35mm focal and 1/30s exposure.

Posted by usandeep at 12:34 PM
Updated: Monday, 13 July 2009 12:38 PM
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Wednesday, 8 July 2009
Catching practice in a Concrete Jungle
Category: People 'n Portraits

Just that the guys were not using a red ball, but a red brick! Thanks to the numerous new buildings that is coming up in Bangalore, we have concrete skeletons almost everywhere. There are few of them on my way to work and this is what I saw when I was heading back home one day:

The guys were moving the bricks from a truck to the 2nd floor of this building. There was a chain of people from the truck all the way to the 2nd floor and the bricks were being passed by hand. One of these guys were taking some nice catches and was positioned in front of a shaded area giving me an almost black background.

Shots are taken using the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L (macro) lens, handheld in Av mode @ f/3.5. I bumped up ISO to 800 to freeze the action @ 1/640s for the first shot and 1/500s for the second.

Posted by usandeep at 12:05 PM
Updated: Thursday, 9 July 2009 2:23 PM
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