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Monday, 28 December 2009
Blackbucks @ Chennai IIT
Category: Birds 'n Animals

On a visit to Chennai, when I was told by Sridhar and Mili that the best place to spot blackbucks was the IIT campus, I did not believe it! I have only myself to blame to reach there late on a cloudy day. What awaited me there was someting amazing ... herds of blackbucks and spotted deers, a mongoose and many birds, a sparring pair of stags, an albino male blackbuck and the opportunity to get so close to them without scaring them.

When I went to Maidanahalli a few months before (see 'Blackbucks @ Maidanahalli'), the blackbucks there were a scared bunch and ran away at the first sign of a human being approaching them. I guess, the measures adopted by the IIT authorities to protect the blackbucks have been very effective and also made them fearless and hardly bothered about the crowd. I waited for hours to get one of these guys to look at me with a raised head ... and they were least bothered and went on grazing!

The light was really bad and though I had a tripod, most of the shots were blurry due to their fast movement ... as they were shot at 1/8s ... etc.

My chance came on our way back, when Sridhar turned the car around with the head light directly on to a male blackbuck. The animal raised its head and stared at us for a while and with the tripod on I got a shot I liked.

The shot is with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens, mounted on a Manfrotto 728B digi tripod. I used Av mode for this shot, with a -2 exposure compensation, f/5.6, ISO-800 for a 1/4s exposure.

I am defenitely visiting the IIT campus, earlier in the day, when I visit Chennai next time!


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
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Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Ettina Bhuja
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

Sharing some more shots from our trek to Ettina Bhuja:

Almost halfway to the peak, we were at a grass land wading through shoulder-high thick grass. This valley offered us a good look at the vertical rock face of Ettina Bhuja, right ahead of us. The trail to the top of the peak goes around its rim, before going up from the slanting side.

I carried only the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens for the trek and this shot is taken at its widest focal length. I used A-Dep mode for this shot @ ISO-200 and the camera returned f/9 with a 1/50s exposure.

We were helped with very good climate at the top of the peak, next day morning. The blue sky had, just the right amount of white clouds. The sunshine was also just the way it should be - not too bright and not too dull. This pic is, once again, shot with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens at its widest focal length, in A-Dep mode, ISO-100 for a f/6.3 and 1/800s exposure.

Here is an up close shot of the Ettina Bhuja peak, from its slopes, taken on our way down. This pic also comes from the 16-35mm lens, at its widest focal length, ISO-100, f/4 and 1/1600s exposure, as chosen by the A-Dep mode. The peak visible on the left side of Ettina Bhuja is Amedikallu, our next target!


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Thursday, 17 December 2009 7:28 PM
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Friday, 11 December 2009
Wet 'n Wild!
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

Wet 'n Wild they were - on the forest floor adjascent to Kapila river, enduring the heavy rains in the last few months. We were on our way to the top of Ettina Bhuja, when I saw these wild Bracket Fungi. The canopy was thick and the available light was low - but whatever sun came in was shining from the rain water collected in these mini pots:

The pic is taken using the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens at its widest focal length, Av mode, ISO-400 and f/3.2. I chose to go for a -4/3 step exposure compensation for a 1/40s exposure time.

We saw more of these beauties later in our trek ... and the one here was a lot smaller than the first one. Once again, I used the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens at its widest focal length. Camera was set to Av mode, ISO-800 and f/2.8 with an exposure compensation of -1 step, giving me an exposure time of 1/60s.


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Saturday, 12 December 2009 7:03 PM
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Monday, 7 December 2009
Ek Thithli!
Category: Macro World

After watching a Youtube video of the 'Suraj Ek Chanda Ek' song from DD days, if I am posting a butterfly picture - what else would you expect the title to be :)

This is the brightet butterfly I have ever seen - and I spotted it in a park at Mandya. It was a slow mover and kinda lazy - so getting a clean shot was not a problem either. But, I stopped soon when a few kids from the area joined me for photography and offered to catch the butterfly so that I can take a better shot!

The pic is taken with the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L macro lens, handheld in Av mode, f/5.0, ISO-400 for a 1/160s exposure.

Note: Thanks to John and Roxy for identify the cutie as 'Crimson Rose'

Posted by usandeep at 11:39 PM
Updated: Thursday, 17 December 2009 9:10 AM
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Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Three Musketeers
Category: People 'n Portraits

Found these three men at a farm, near Mandya. They were ploughing the farm and getting the field ready for the next crop:

Caught the first one taking a break from ploughing to smoke a 'beedi'. The pic is taken using the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens, handheld in Av mode, f/6.3, ISO-400 for a 1/1000s exposure.

Soon, the second guy stopped for his break and 'beedi'. This pic also comes from the same lens, Av mode, ISO-400, f/6.3 for a 1/1250s exposure.

The 3rd musketeer headed for his lunch break soon after and I had my third shot too :) This pic is also with the 400mm telephoto lens, handheld, Av mode, f/6.3, ISO-400 for a 1/640s exposure.

Posted by usandeep at 1:36 PM
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Friday, 27 November 2009
Mom and Son
Category: People 'n Portraits

Preethu and Manu were back in Bangalore last week and days are more interesting now :)

The pic is taken with the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L (macro) lens, mounted on a Manfrotto 728B digi tripod. I used a Vivitar 285HV strobe to provide the required light. The camera was set in manual mode with a 1/200s exposure, f/5 and ISO-200. The black background comes from a dark brown cloth which was the backdrop for this shot. Finally, I used GIMP to adjust the curves a little bit to completely wipe out the background.

This is also the 200th post in the blog. Thanks for all the readers to keep it alive.


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Saturday, 28 November 2009 4:30 PM
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Monday, 23 November 2009
Scenes from KR Market
Category: Vintage India

KR market in Bangalore is a bustling place early morning and I'd been planning to visit the place some day early morning for a long time now. But it never happened! Instead, on my way back from Mandya, on a cloudy noon, I got down from the bus at the Mysore road flyover and walked down towards the KR market bus stop. The ramp to the flyover going up from the KR Market did give me a good perspective for some pictures:

The place has so many colorful spectacles and one of the things that caught my attention was these bags of snacks - apparently called Boti (the cylindrical ones) and Sandige (all the other shapes :)), according to a Kannadiga colleague of mine. These have to be fried in oil before being served as crunchy snacks or along with pappad for meals. The pic is taken with the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L (macro) lens, handheld, set in Av mode, f/5.6 and ISO-400 for a 1/200s exposure.

The 2nd shot is also taken with the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L (macro) lens, again handheld in Av mode, at f/5, ISO-400 and a 1/100s exposure.

Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Tuesday, 24 November 2009 8:01 PM
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Wednesday, 18 November 2009
The towers at UB City
Category: Cities 'n Architecture

The towers in UB city (owned by the UB group of Mr. Vijay Mallia) is one of the most prominent sights of today's Bangalore skyline. I first noticed it all light up while driving along the cubbon road and asked people 'which building is that?' Subsequently I have roamed around the area to get better views of the towers.

On a visit to the HDFC bank, I figured that the view of one of the towers from the bank complexis not so bad, especially on a sunny day with those white clouds for the background:

This pic was shot using the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens, set at 35mm, in Av mode, f/8, ISO-100 for a 1/160s exposure. I wish I had a tripod at that time so that I could take three different exposures and do an HDR merge (see 'HDR image from Golden Temple, Bylakuppe' for a 'HowTo' on HDR). I never got a chance again, since the sky was mostly dark and cloudy soon after that!

The second tower had to be shot in the night because of its lighting, which makes it stand out in the night even from a good distance - like say Cubbon road or the Mysore road flyover. I took my gear on a weekend evening and drove towards UB city. On my way back, I stopped at Kasturba road for this shot:

This time I had a tripod and a managed to get a few shots for the HDR merge. All of them were shot with the Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens, at 35mm, full manual mode, ISO-100 and f/8. The base image was shot at 1.6s and the others at 0.8s and 3.2s. I dont think the HDR made much difference to the final result, but a little perspective correction and tilting using GIMP may have :)

Apparently, the building's design was inspired by the Empire State's building in Newyork. Even though, its much smaller in comparison, TOI already refers to these towers as Bangalore's Empire State's building ... and rightly so, dont u think?

Posted by usandeep at 3:45 PM
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Friday, 13 November 2009
Butterfly and the Marigold
Category: Birds 'n Animals

During a week-long break at home, Eranhikkal, Kozhikode, Kerala, I had a lot of time to enjoy the flora and the fauna - the greenery around the garden and the little visitors there. Here is a couple of pics from the garden:

The pics are shot using the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L macro lens, handheld. For the first pic, I used manual mode, ISO-800, f/5.6 and a 1/200s exposure.

The second is shot in Av mode, ISO-400, f/3.5 for a 1/250s exposure.

Posted by usandeep at 1:03 PM
Updated: Tuesday, 17 November 2009 9:48 PM
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Friday, 6 November 2009
Chocolate Girl!
Category: People 'n Portraits

Devi Parvathi (isnt it a big name for a small girl? I guess, Malu suits hers better!), was too busy easting chocolate, when I clicked, but the moment I did, she came running to me and checked up how she looked through the camera! A young model in the making ... dont you think?

She is the same girl in one of my earlier posts (see Kids @ Padinharayil, 2009). I used the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L (macro) lens for this shot, handheld in full manual mode, f/3.5, 1/320s and ISO-200. I also had the Vivitar 285HV strobe mounted on the camera, bouncing off the ceiling, without which I cant get this shot from the light available indoor.

The only processing I did with this pic was to increase the saturation by a whisker. Otherwise, the pic is as it is from the camera, without even a crop.


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Saturday, 7 November 2009 12:58 AM
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