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Wednesday, 22 June 2011
Lantern, thatched roof and the red wall
Category: The Abstracts

While checking out the Hoysala Village Resort, we were at the recreation area, which was under renovation, where I spotted these lanterns:

The pic is taken using the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens, handheld in Av mode. I used a -1 Ev exposure compensation, with ISO-200 and a f/6.3 aperture for a 1/25s exposure. I feel some people would feel that the red wall is a distraction, for which I tried out the monochrome mode. But, in the monochrome version, the contrast is not good between the roof and the lantern. I, finally opted for the color version, after slightly cropping the picture to reduce the wall area.

Posted by usandeep at 8:42 PM
Updated: Wednesday, 22 June 2011 8:50 PM
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Tuesday, 14 June 2011
The smaller and cuter Kingfisher
Category: Birds 'n Animals

Everytime I am at Kozhikode, one of my regular spot is the riverside. This is where I usually spot the White-throated (White-breasted) Kingfisher (see 'Kingfishers @ Eranhikkal'). This time also, I did see a couple of them, but what interested me more was a Common Kingfisher (aka Eurasian Kingfisher or River Kingfisher and sometimes wrongly called as Small Blue Kingfisher).

While sitting at the river side, I spotted this kingfisher sitting at the other side of the river. The distance was a little too high to get a clean shot, so I ended up sitting and watching it. The bird's gaze was fixed at the water and it seemed very adept at catching fish. I saw it taking a few dips in the water and every time it did, it came up with a fish in its beak! A succes rate of almost 100%!

After one of those catches, I tried taking a few pictures and it came out decend in spite of the bird being a little far. The pic is taken with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens - the longest I have - manual mode, f/6.3, 1/400s and ISO-800 exposure. Finally, I cropped the pic (3888px to 1500px) using GIMP.

A little later, I spotted it sitting on my side, with its gaze fixed in the water, looking for any fish movements. I froze where I was standing and picked up the camera, already fitted with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens avoiding any unwanted movements. The pic comes in Manual mode, f/6.3, 1/500s, ISO-800 - once again cropped using GIMP (3888px to 1500px). As soon as I clicked a couple of pics, a bike came from the other side and scared the bird away.

While going through my archive, I found an older picture I have taken of the same bird. This pic is also taken with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens, but I was amazed to see how close I was able to get to the bird at that time. I actually had the camera mounted on a tripod and moved it towards the bird slowly, without disturbing it. Once, I got close enough for a frame filling shot, I went for a remote trigger (using an RC-1 remote) and even fired the flash! No clue, why I did not post this picture at that time!


Posted by usandeep at 1:03 PM
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Friday, 10 June 2011
Upasana ... again
Category: People 'n Portraits

Vishu at Padinjarayil (my maternal house) is most awaited, especially with the once in a year opportunity to meet a lot of my relatives. I also have a good time chasing the younger generation :)

Upasana (see 'Nikhil and Upasana', 'Kids @ Padinjarayil, 2009' and 'Kids @ Padinjarayil, 2008') used to be very camera shy couple of years back and used to cry when she saw me trying to take her pictures. But, look at her now! She was running around and when she saw me with the camera, gave a very instinctive pose - by tilting her head to one side! The pic comes with the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L lens, handheld in Av mode, f/6.3, ISO-800 for a 1/320s exposure. The original pic was in portrait mode, but I cropped the pic in GIMP for this frame.

Posted by usandeep at 8:11 PM
Updated: Friday, 10 June 2011 8:19 PM
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Monday, 6 June 2011
Male damsel and female dragon!
Category: Macro World

Our garden at my Kozhikode home is an excellent place for chasing birds, butterflies and dragon flies. During our stay at Kozhikode, during Vishu, I spent condierable time at the garden and terrace expecting to find some colorful fauna.

The first good spotting was a Dragon fly - a Common Picture Wing female. It even stayed at this twig (of a tulsi plant) for a while and allowed me to get close enough for a frame filling shot. I used the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L macro lens for this shot, handheld in Av mode at f/6.3 and ISO-400 for a 1/125s exposure.

The damsel visited our house in the night and was hovering around the tube light at the sit-out. This, I believe is a Pigmy Dartlet (I guess, a male) and the bright green was too cute to ignore. I picked up the camera once again and mounted it with the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L macro lens. It was hovering around the tube light and I used the pop-up flash as fill and used a manual mode exposure of f/6.3 and 1/200s at ISO-800.

One of my friends was asking if a Damsel fly is a female dragon fly! Infact, I too had this doubt for a very long time :) But for now, here is a female dragon fly and a male damsel fly!

Posted by usandeep at 11:46 PM
Updated: Tuesday, 7 June 2011 12:19 PM
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Friday, 3 June 2011
Lady from the street!
Category: People 'n Portraits

When I saw this lady sitting in the footpath with a kid near Ulsoor, Bangalore, I could not ignore her vaccant expression. She looked very tired and the kid was asleep in her lap. I stopped my bike a litle ahead of them and quietly took a few shots. She did notice me after a while and I paid her some money before leaving. Hopefully, that is some compensation for the model work she did for me, though unknowingly.

To maintain the distance and take the pic without her noticing it, I used the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens. The light was a little low for this lens and I ended up using ISO-800, with f/6.3, 1/400s for a manual mode exposure. The pic was grainy and dark, but I had the RAW format and was able to get this JPEG out of it, using Canon's Digital Photo Professional software.

Posted by usandeep at 3:20 PM
Updated: Friday, 3 June 2011 3:23 PM
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Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Scenes from Chennakeshava temple, Belur
Category: Cities 'n Architecture

During our weekend trip to Hoysala village resort, a visit to the Chennakeshava temple, Belur was unanimously agreed as a 'must-do'. It was about 5 by the time we came out of the Doddagaddavalli temple complex (see 'Lakshmi temple at Doddagaddavalli') and it was a little doubtful if Chennakesahava temple will be open after 5.30. Contrary to all fears, the temple stayed open even after 7! Dont know, if it was the normal timings or a weekend tourist special, but we all made the most of it.

It was a little cloudy after a slight drizzle, but the sun too was making its presence felt, shining brightly with a golden hue. There was even a rainbow to spice up the skies! We spent a while loitering around clicking at everything that caught our attention. My best moment came when I spotted Neelima, set against some beautiful cloud formation and a temple stupa, trying out some angles.

The pic comes with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens. I went for a Manual mode, f/8, 1/200s, ISO-100 shot to capture the silhouette of this multi-talented girl (a brilliant photographer to start with), her gear and the subject, while exposing for the sky and clouds.

Rain had formed a few puddles in and around the temple complex and I spent a while looking for one big enough to get me a reflection shot. After roaming around for a while, I found one close to the boundary walls. This pic also comes from the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens, this time set in Av mode. I used it with a f/8 aperture and a -2Ev exposure compensation to bring out the details in the reflection. Light was a little too low by now and I had to bump up the ISO to 400 for a 1/50s exposure.


There were too many other things to shoot at Belur - like the rainbow agains the main temple pillar and the red, cloudy sky at the dusk - but I am stopping at these two images from a very memorable visit to Belur.

Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Tuesday, 31 May 2011 11:19 AM
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Friday, 27 May 2011
Water birds at a Mysore tank bund
Category: Birds 'n Animals

One of the major attractions during our normal trips to Kozhikode (see 'Kozhikode Trip' for an earlier bike trip account) is the amount of birds and wildlife we spot. It usually starts at the paddy fields of Mandya and goes on till we cover the Bandipur forest and reach Sulthan Bathery. This time, the major sighting was at a tank bund in NH212 (Kozhikode / Ooty / Nanjagund / Gundulpet road) just after Mysore. As we passed by the tank bund, there were many water birds at the tank bund.

I picked up the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens and jumped out of the car. This is the first time I am seeing a Black-winged Stilt - that too a group of them. Naturally I clicked many pictures and posting the ones I liked most. This pic was taken in Av mode, at ISO-400 and f/8, at a 1/250s exposure. I had the support of a fence allowing me to click at this longer exposure time (longer for the 400mm).

One speciality of the Black-winged Stilt is thier long legs! The above pic should give an indication of how long they are. This pic also comes in Av mode, but I bumped up the ISO to 800 for a shorter exposure of 1/800s.

Black-winged Stilts were not the only birds in the tank bund. I also spotted a few egrets and a pair of Eurasian Coots swimming around. The pic of the Eurasian Coots come with the same settings (f/8, ISO800), but the metering mode was partial to account for its dark color. My aim was to get the details around its eye and at a 1/400s, the camera managed to get it!

Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Friday, 27 May 2011 10:08 AM
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Wednesday, 25 May 2011
Lakshmi temple at Doddagaddavalli
Category: Cities 'n Architecture

Doddagaddavalli, a rustic village off the Hassan - Belur road hosts a Hoysala style Lakshmi temple. We were on a weekend trip to Hoysala village resorts and thanks to Arun and Lakshmi for hosting this trip and taking us to this little known temple.

It started drizzling as soon as we reached the temple - providing us with the wet and shiny floor and the dark hovering clouds. On the other hand, shooting was quite tough with the rain. To start with, I had to make sure that the camera was covered and did not get wet. Then, water droplets got stuck to the lens front creating patches in the pic. At the end of it all, I got only a few pics which I could use.

Most of those frames was in such an angle to avoid the electric post located near the coconut trees and cables extending from there till the top right corner. But those pictures looked quite incomplete without any space to the right. So, after some deliberation, I picked up this picture and edited it using GIMP (the eraser and the healing tools) to wipe off the electric cables and posts!

The pic is taken using Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens. I used the Manual mode coupled with a lower exposure of f/8, ISO-100 and 1/125s to bring out the clouds and the shiny surface.

Posted by usandeep at 1:46 PM
Updated: Wednesday, 25 May 2011 2:06 PM
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Sunday, 22 May 2011
Sprout on the Rock!
Category: The Abstracts

Saw this little sprout on the rock, when we stopped for a bath at a stream near Kalladi, after an awesome trek to Wayanadan Mala.

I tend to like the tinge of green set against a wet and dark background. I guess the pic looks similar to one I have posted earlier (see the first pic of 'Water water everywhere ...'), but the green is smaller this time!

The pic is taken using the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens. I was not carrying any macro lens and clicked this at almost the minimum focusing distance of this lens. This took me a while to get the focus right. Since the light was low, it took me a while to get the exposure right as well. Finally, the pic comes at manual mode, ISO-800, f/5.6 and 1/25s at 20mm.

Posted by usandeep at 10:35 PM
Updated: Tuesday, 31 May 2011 9:04 PM
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Friday, 20 May 2011
Cracked view of Rosary Church at Shettihalli
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

Rosary church at Shettihalli was built around 1860 by French missionaries. When the Gorur dam was built, the entire village of Shettihalli relocated and the church was left behind - submerged in water for most part of the year!

When we visited Shettihalli on our way back from Hoysala village after a blogger's get together, the water levels were low. But, the effect of water was to be seen. The church is dilapidated, the ground around it covered with green grass and the area closer to the river cracked.

The picture is taken using the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L lens at its widest focal length. I used Av mode at f/6.3, ISO-400 for a 1/60s exposure.

Even though, this frame was tall and a candidate for vertical framing, landscapes usually look better with a horizontal frame. So, it would have been foolish not to have taken a few shots with a horizaontal frame - even with some additional distractions in the frame. I used Av mode and ISO-400 for this frame as well, but added a -1 Ev compensation to bring out the clouds behind the church. This also allowed me to have an even higher DoF at f/9 with an exposure of 1/80s.

Posted by usandeep at 11:09 AM
Updated: Friday, 20 May 2011 11:14 AM
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