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Tuesday, 28 February 2012
House on the slopes!
Category: Lights 'n Shadows

On the 3rd day of our Kodai - Munnar trek, we started early morning towards Kilavarai. The striking feature of the landscape here is the terraced farming land - with the far-away hills forming a beautiful backdrop.

I was looking for birds when I spotted this house - seated on top of a green hill far away from us. I first searched for the landscape lens, but soon realized that a closer shot of the house may make a better frame. I was not carrying the 70-200, otherwise, it would have been a better choice for this shot with a slightly wider frame. So here it goes - taken using the Canon EOS 7D, mounted with a Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L tele photo lens.

I opted for a manual, f/16, 1/60s, ISO-100 exposure. With the 400mm, I could not have handheld the camera at 1/60s, neither was I carrying the tripod. But, I could find the fence which could support the setup. I placed it on top of the fence and used timer trigger for this shot.


Posted by usandeep at 4:07 PM
Updated: Wednesday, 7 March 2012 4:17 PM
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Sunday, 19 February 2012
Pied Kingfisher
Category: Birds 'n Animals

The first time I got a glimpse of Pied Kingfisher was at Maddur, on an electric cable, while I was seated in a bus - there was no way I could have taken a picture. I revisited the place a few times, but did not even see it again. The next sighting was at my home town in Eranhikkal, Kozhikode, Kerala (see 'Scenes from the River side', 'Kingfishers @ Eranhikkal' and 'Are there no crows in Bangalore?' for some earlier posts from the same location) - but this time I was not carrying my camera!

But, on another visit to Eranhikkal, I returned to the river side, looking out for the Pied Kingfisher - after walking along the river side for almost an hour, I finally found the bird I was looking for. In the initial pics, the bird was seated in a small branch against the blue sky - and the angle was not so good to get a good view of its plumage.

I waited for some more time hoping the bird to move in to some other position and I was rewarded heavily when I saw its mate flying in and sitting in a nearby branch. I tiptoed towards it for this shot.

The picture comes with the Canon EOS 7D, mounted with a Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L tele photo, in Av mode, f/6.3, auto-ISO for a 1/640s, ISO-250 exposure.

I still did not want to leave and kept taking more shots. The birds changed their positions a few times, but did not go too far. After almost an hour or so, one of them took a plunge in the river and came up with a catch. I retained the earlier setup for a Av mode, f/6.3, ISO-250, 1/500s shot.


Posted by usandeep at 11:01 PM
Updated: Monday, 20 February 2012 5:52 PM
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Wednesday, 15 February 2012
In to the Blue!
Category: Travel 'n Living

Ever since I discovered it during a my first trip to Goa in November 2004, Palolem is one of my favourite beaches ever. I revisited the place during a Mumbai trip in October 2005 and a Dudhsagar trek in July 2006. With golden sand, clear blue waters and beautiful sunsets / sunrises, it is ideal to spend a weekend. So, when we wanted to hit the beaches, this is the first place that I could think of.

Our plan this time was to spend the weekend lazing around the beach. I was soon roaming around with the camera (Canon EOS 7D, mounted with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II), when I saw this paddle boat.

The pic comes at 70mm, Av mode, f/5.6, auto-ISO for a 1/1600s, ISO-100 picture. In hindsight, I should have used a higher DoF, but what can you expect from a lazy photographer, lazing in a beach - a lazy photo :)

With the second photo, I corrected the problem, using a manual mode, f/13, 1/400s, auto-ISO setting for a ISO-100 shot. But, this time, the shot is at the telephoto end - at 200mm. Lets say, I was lazy to go closer to the boat :)


Posted by usandeep at 4:10 PM
Updated: Wednesday, 15 February 2012 5:33 PM
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Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Manchinbele and Savandurga
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

While driving to Savandurga for a Billigudda trek, we stopped for a while at Manchinbele. The sky was clear blue with a hint of fluffy clouds and it was a perfect day for photography.

The hill forming the backdrop of Manchinbele reservoir is Savandurga. The pic is taken using the Canon EOS 7D, mounted with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom, fitted with a Tiffen 82mm Circular Polarizer filter. I used Av mode with f/16 and Auto ISO for a 1/40s, ISO-250 exposure.

Just before reaching Savandurga, there is a quarry from where one can get a good view of the Savandurga hills. The peak to the right side is Billigudda, while the one to the left is Karigudda. Karigudda trek is a little more harder and adventurous, as there is no proper trail leading to it. Meanwhile, Billigudda may be scaled through an easily identifiable trail used by many people.

This pic is also taken using the Canon EOS 7D, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L and Tiffen 82mm CP filter combo. It is again in Av mode, auto-ISO, f/16 but for a 1/25s, ISO-160 exposure.

The last pic - again taken using the 7D + 16-35mm + CP combo - is of the Karigudda hills, from the top of Billigudda. This time I turned off auto-ISO and opted for ISO-100, but maintained the f/16, Av mode settings for a 1/25s exposure.


Posted by usandeep at 4:14 PM
Updated: Wednesday, 25 January 2012 6:22 PM
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Thursday, 19 January 2012
Twins at the door
Category: The Abstracts

One of the things that caught my attention during my stay in Beijing was the door knobs used in some of the heritage centres.

This pic is from the Forbidden City (Palace Museum), taken using Canon EOS 7D, mounted with a Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II lens. I used Av mode, auto-ISO and f/6.3 for a 1/200s, ISO-500 exposure.

I saw a similar looking door knob, later at the Temple of Heaven. The pic above is also with Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II lens, at f/9, auto ISO, Av mode for a 1/160s, ISO-400 exposure.


Posted by usandeep at 3:49 PM
Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2012 9:57 PM
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Thursday, 12 January 2012
The Great Wall at Badaling
Category: Cities 'n Architecture

The best part of my 10 day stay in Beijing was the opportunity to visit the Great Wall. I went for the Badaling section - which is touted as the most spectacular of all.

We headed to the north section and soon had a good view of the entrance and the south section. The pic is taken using the Canon EOS 7D mounted with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom. I used Av mode for this with an f/8 aperture and Auto-ISO on, for a ISO-250, 1/60s exposure.

 

We walked up till the 8th tower, which is also the tallest tower at Badaling stretch. I was not very happy with the dull sky, but as we were on our way back, the sky turned bright and blue, to go with this frame of the 8th tower and the hoards of people heading towards it.

The pic is also taken using the Canon EOS 7D, mounted with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom. This time I used an f/11, Av mode and auto-ISO for a 1/60s and ISO-100 exposure.

The wall meanders through the mountains for some more distance and most of the crowd was returning after reaching the 8th tower. The lack of crowd made the stretch beyond 8th tower a little more interesting, but we had to return as it was already time - not before taking a few shots, though. I mounted the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II zoom lens at 70mm for this shot and again used a Av mode, f/11 and auto-ISO, for a ISO-160, 1/100s exposure.


Posted by usandeep at 3:29 PM
Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2012 9:54 PM
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Wednesday, 4 January 2012
One ... two ... three ... four
Category: Birds 'n Animals

Drives on Bangalore - Mysore road are always interesting, especially when I have the time to explore. The waterholes off the highway are full of avian life.

I spotted this Purple Rumped Sunbird in a field midway between Channapatna and Maddur. The picture is taken using Canon EOS 7D, mounted with a Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L tele photo. I used a manual mode exposure of f/6.3, 1/200s and ISO-200 to get it right against a bright sky.

 

This pair of Spot Billed Ducks were found near a lake, just before Channapatna. Here, I used a manual exposure of f/8 and 1/640s, but with auto-ISO on with spot-metering, which ended up using ISO-160.

The three Green Bee Eaters are from a field between Channapatna and Maddur. This time I used Av mode, with f/6.3, auto-ISO and spot metering for a 1/500s and ISO-250 exposure.

This gang of Tricolored Munias were seen near a riverside just before Maddur. I used Av mode f/5.6 for these shots which in hindsight, looked inadequate for this frame. Enough light was available to give me a 1/1000s, ISO-100 exposure.


Posted by usandeep at 7:51 AM
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Wednesday, 14 December 2011
Pictures from Beijing
Category: Cities 'n Architecture

I was in the dragon land capital for about ten days (see 'Ten Days at Beijing') and got the chance to visit a few landmarks in Beijing. Here is two pics from that trip:

This is the 'Hall of Benevolence and Longevity' in the Summer Palace. The pic is taken using the Canon EOS 7D mounted with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens. I also had a Tiffen 82mm Circular Polarizer filter attached to the lens.

The picture is taken in the Av mode, with an aperture of f/6.3 and ISO-100, the camera picking up an exposure of 1/60s.

The 2nd one is the 'Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests' in Temple of Heaven. It is again using the Canon EOS 7D + Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens + Tiffen 82mm Circular Polarizer filter. This time I used a manual exposure with f/16, ISO-100 and 1/20s.


Posted by usandeep at 4:21 PM
Updated: Friday, 23 December 2011 4:27 PM
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Wednesday, 26 October 2011
Baya Weaver and Nest
Category: Birds 'n Animals

I had been taking regular drives on Mysore road last month and had ample time for pit stops. Water spots are the usual pit stop points giving me a chance to chase avian life. It is in one of those trips that I found a colony of Baya Weavers:

The colony had many of these birds and intricately carved nests hanging over a stream, from tree branches on both sides of the stream. I did visit the place a couple of times more, until the nests were abandoned.

This particular pic comes from the Canon EOS 7D and Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L, handheld in Manual mode. I had set a f/6.3 aperture and a 1/640 shutter with Auto-ISO and camera using ISO-200.

Also ... wishing everybody a sparkling Diwali!


Posted by usandeep at 1:15 PM
Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2011 1:38 PM
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Monday, 10 October 2011
Agumbe Ghats
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

After a trip to Kollur, we decided to return via Agumbe - Sringeri. The roads were not all that good, including the ghat section leading up to Agumbe. The day was quite hot too ... but, the views made up for all that! To compliment the greenery, the sky was clear with its share of clouds floating around. We had a stop at the view point and took a few shots, but I got a better view just after the view point.

I hope that the use of the branches to frame the view worked well. The pic was taken using the Canon EF 16-35mm wide angle zoom lens, mounted on the EOS 7D and fitted with a Tiffen 82mm Circular Polarizer filter. I used manual mode exposure, handheld at f/16, 1/30s and ISO-100.


Posted by usandeep at 6:23 PM
Updated: Wednesday, 19 October 2011 12:30 PM
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