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Saturday, 7 March 2009
Wild Cock @ Bandipur
Category: Birds 'n Animals

February - April is surely the best time to spot wild life @ Bandipur. In the last couple of months, I was able to spot so many of the usual suspects, like deers, monkeys, wild bores, peacocks, elephant herds and a variety of birds. This time, its a male jungle fowl that caught my attention:

This bird, considered to be the direct ancestor of the domestic chicken also looks very similar to the home grown variety. I've spotted this bird a few times before, this being the first time when it all resulted in a decent shot!

This was a gang of two male and a female, all started running as soon as I was around. I stayed as much away as I can and used the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens. This shot of one of the males is @ Av mode, f/5.6, ISO-400 for a 1/250s. The bird was running in to the shade and hence the relatively higher exposure time. Infact, I was pleasantly surprised to get a reasonably blur-free picture, even without a tripod :)


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Friday, 17 April 2009 2:52 PM
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Elephant @ Muthanga
Category: Birds 'n Animals

Every species on the face of earth is facing extinction ... so is the Elephants @ Bandipur, Mudumalai and Muthanga. Elephants in these adjoint wild life sanctuaries located at the trijunction of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are facing all sorts of problems - forest fire, lack of food, lack of water, vehicular noise, suffocation from plastic ... you name it and they have it. Infact, anybody driving along the NH212, which cuts across Bandipur and Muthanga can see plastic and other litter all along the road side. Heavy in-disciplined crowd gathered to see wild life, sneering, howling and growling at the wild animals, not allowing them to go across the highway. This time I even saw a person posing less than 10m from a giant mammal ... that too turning away from it!

 

I was about 100m from her and stepped out of the car for a better shot. After all, she had a lot of easier targets between us ... if she chose to have a go at the people! Her gang was waiting to cross the road and was discouraged by the large number of vehicles and people all along the road. As soon as the crowd cleared a little bit and she was making a move, a police patrol jeep came in, stopped right in front of the herd and started honking for practically nothing! If anybod thought that they were trying to clear the crowd ... no way ... they soon became part of the crowd.

Well ... this shot is using the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens. One thing I've learned from my previous attempts at shooting the giant mammal was that the exposure reported by the camera is almost always a shade brighter than what I liked, irrespective of the metering mode. So, I opted for a -1 EV exposure compensation, Av mode, f/5.6 and ISO-200 for a 1/400s hand-held shot.

I hope good sense will prevail upon the authorities and some sort of control will be imposed on traffic and the in-disciplined crowd within sanctuary limits. If it doesnt happen soon, we'll have to tell the coming generations that 'a forest existed here when I was young'!


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Saturday, 18 April 2009 2:41 PM
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Sunday, 1 March 2009
Sunset & Bird's Nest
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes
Yet another sunset shot from the terrace of my new home @ Ulsoor / Halasuru, Bangalore / Bengaluru:

I used the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens this time too, but operated it with slightly more open shutter compared to last time (See the post 'Some Sunset Snaps'). No tripod required, because the sun was still bright, full manual mode @ 1/4000s, f/25 and ISO-100. The shot is a little sharper than last time and I could crop it to less than 1/3rd of the original size (3888px to 1200px).

Later, I felt that I should have used the 2X converter too for a closer shot. But, if I tried to go downstairs for the 2X converter, the sun would have gone down the horizon. Next day onwards, the climate became a little cloudy and I could not get a proper sunset shot. By now, the tree has already become covered with leaves ... and I am posting this picture for now, atleast for this year :)


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Wednesday, 22 April 2009 12:57 PM
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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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