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Monday, 22 November 2010
Banasura Reservoir in Black & White
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

Banasura reservoir dominated the landscape for most part of our trek to the Banasura peak, but it did look further and further away as we climbed. The looming rains, dark clouds around the resevoir and the silhouette of far-away hills made it even more dramatic. At this point, Kattukunnu (Windy hill - from where we started climbing) looked like a small hillock:

This pic also comes with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens, handheld in Manual mode, with a settings of ISO-100, f/9 and a 1/100s exposure. I used the RAW image out of the camera and saved it as Monochrome JPEG with higher intensity in the mid-tones, using Canon's Digital Photo Professional software.

Posted by usandeep at 7:42 PM
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Sunday, 14 November 2010
Banasura Reservoir and Kattukunnu
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

A trek to Banasura peak in Wayanad, Kerala, starts from the foothills of Kattukunnu (windy hills in Malayalam). We first crossed a stream and then started ascending another hill on the other side of the valley. It was a beautiful sunny day and the Banasura reservoir was visible for most part of the trek. As we gained altitude we could also see the Kattukunnu on the other side of the valley.

I used the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens for this shot, fitted with the Tiffen 82mm B+W Graduated Neutral Density filter to take care of the brighter sky. Camera was set to Av mode, f/9, ISO-100 for a 1/400s exposure. I used RAW mode, developed three JPEGs out of it and did an HDR merge using GIMP.


Posted by usandeep at 10:30 PM
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Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Scenes from a Chembra Trek
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

Chembra peak is in Wayanad district of Kerala, which may be scaled from the town of Meppadi, about 12kms off Kalpetta. During our trek to Chembra, the weather was at its best with a bright blue sky and white clouds hovering around the peak:

This is the first close up view of Chembra, as we were driving towards the foothills from Meppadi town. I used the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens for this shot, handheld, connected with a Tiffen 82mm GND filter. The GND filter is 2 stops darker at the upper side of the frame. The camera settings were Av mode, ISO-100, f/6.3 for a 1/400s exposure.

After an hours trek, we reached the heart shaped lake, which has not dried for years. The shape of the lake is not very obvious, until we started climbing again towards the peak.

I had set the ISO to 800 for an earlier shot and forgot to change it back to 100. Otherwise, the shot is taken with the same Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L lens, attached with the Tiffen 82mm GND filter. I used f/5.6 for this shot, but at ISO-800, the exposure came to1/2500s.

I used RAW mode for both the shots and used the Canon's Digital Photo Professional software to get three different JPEG images (one normal exposure, one 2 stops brighter and the other 2 stops darker). The pics were combined to a semi-HDR image using GIMP (see 'HDR image from Golden Temple, Bylakuppe' for information on how to do HDR merging).


Posted by usandeep at 11:55 AM
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Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Fields, Sky & Clouds @ Gundlupet
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

Gundlupet is indeed a gold mine for a photographer - if you are bored of taking portraits and village life, you can always try a few landscapes and thats exactly what I did! The place usually is covered with marigold and sunflower fields duirng the beginning of monsoon (july - august), offering wonderful landscapes (see 'Marigold Fields' for an earlier post) and this time I was fortunate to have clear weather to accompany the landscape.

The picture is taken with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens, handheld in A-Dep mode, ISO-100 for a f/6.3, 1/1000s exposure. I had never been happy with my landscape pictures, but this one I believe is some improvement!

Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Tuesday, 19 October 2010 12:20 PM
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Wednesday, 1 September 2010
Tea Estates @ Valparai
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

With a reduced frequency of posting and many pictures taken from Valparai, I still have many pictures to post from that set! Valparai is a beautiful place with a landscape dominated by tea estates and I had to have atleast one post dedicated to the tea estates:

I still come back home disappointed after taking landscapes and the pics from Valparai was no different. But, the place was so beautiful that even if I could capture a glimpse of its beauty, it would be good enough! The first picture was taken on our way back from 'Nallamudi Poonchola', using the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens, hand held at f/22, 1/30s, ISO-100, in Av mode.

This is yet another tea estate, taken with the same Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens, set in Av mode, f/6.3 and ISO-100 for a 1/320s exposure.

This was taken next day, on our way back from Valparai, on a misty morning. I had once again used the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L wide angle zoom lens for this shot, in Av mode f/4.5 and ISO-100 for a 1/50s exposure.

I guess, I should improve my posting frequency and atleast clear my backlogs now!


Posted by usandeep at 7:54 PM
Updated: Monday, 13 September 2010 2:11 PM
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Wednesday, 14 July 2010
Aliyar Bridge Cachement
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

Aliyar dam is one of the popular picnic spots en route Valparai and just before the ghat section begins. The place offers a good view of the dam cachement and the hills of Valparai:

The picture was taken at mid afternoon with sun blazing in full glory - not a good time to take pictures. I used the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L lens for this shot, handheld, set in Av mode, f/7.1, ISO-100 with a -2 exposure compensation for a 1/800s exposure.

Posted by usandeep at 1:39 PM
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Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Daybreak @ Amedikallu
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

Waking up at the top of a mountain, miles away from the civilization is one of the best experiences in life :) During our trek to Amedikallu, we experienced exactly the same!

When we woke up in the morning, sun had already cast its reddish hue at the horizon and clouds had all the surrounding hills covered. Only the tallest of the peaks jutted out of the clouds. In the first pic, the tallest of the peaks is Minchukallu Betta - one of the closest meighbours of Amedikallu.

The pic comes with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM wide angle zoom len, which was the only lens I was carrying for the trek. There was no tripod and the shot comes handheldin Av mode, with a -1.3 steps exposure compensation. I used the exposure compensation - one because of the lack of light itself and the other because, a darker exposure would do more justice to the misty hills. Even with the exposure compensation, I had to go for a ISO-400 settings with a f/4, for a 1/25s exposure.

The sun soon came up and the mist cleared in no time. I would have loved to click the sunrise with a slightly longer lens, but I had to manage with what I had - the 16-35mm. This shot comes with a manual exposure, ISO-100, F/5 for a 1/40s exposure.

The most prominent peak in this shot - which resembles the hump of a bull is the Ettina Bhuja. One could spot many peaks from here. Just outside of this frame (to the right side) was Ombattu Gudda. Further right, at a considerable distance even the silhouette of Kumaraparvatha was visible. Talk about view from the top and having a clear day :)


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
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Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Man & the Mountain
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

We were on a trek to Amedikallu, passing through a Shola forest right under the peak. Sun was at its peak, when we came out of the Shola forest for a magnificient view of the valley. We climbed up on top of a rock for a better view of the hills on the other side of the valley. While Chennappa, our guide, was taking a look at the peak, I took this shot of him, set against the vertical face of Amedikallu and the sun:

I was carrying only the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM wide angle zoom lens for this trek. I used the lens at its widest focal length and a manual mode exposure of f/8, 1/2500s and ISO-100, to get this silhouette shot.

We reached the peak in another hour and was enjoying the sunset a little later. After the sunset, the sky had some beautiful cloud formation. Watching Chennappa walking on top of the peak, I composed the above shot, with the sky as the background.

This is also shot with the 16-35mm, once again at 16mm, manual mode, f/8 and ISO-100. But, the light was much lower than the earlier shot, so I used a 1/60s exposure.


Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Friday, 19 March 2010 11:42 AM
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Friday, 15 January 2010
Sun or Moon?
Category: Nature 'n Landscapes

After taking a few pictures during the solar eclipse (Jan, 15th, 2010), I could not help wondering, if I've photographed the moon or the sun. Check it out yourself:

I was at Palakkad, when the event happened and rued not driving to Thiruvananthapuram (aka Trivandrum), which is abt 6 hrs drive, to watch the full annular eclipse :(

I used the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L telephoto lens for this shot, mounted on a tripod, in full manual mode. I had an X-Ray film folded in to two to avoid over exposure and used the thinnest aperture (f/32) and the shortest exposure time (1/4000s) available. Ofcourse, I am not happy with the sharpness of the picture and lets blame it on diffraction caused by this very thin shutter - may be, I should have folded the film in to four! I also cropped the pic (3888px -> 1500px) to remove too much of empty space around the sun.

The second pic was taken with the same lens and setting - minus the X-Ray film and the crop.

Posted by usandeep at 12:01 AM
Updated: Monday, 18 January 2010 8:02 PM
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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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