Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ever seen one of these?

Found this in cafeteria. Couldn't resist doing some "Product Photography".

Sparkling water - for Bats and Sloths only

I placed the PC Monitor Stand under the lamp on my desk. Placed a plain sheet of paper against the wall and the monitor stand, then placed the bottle on it.

Shot with 50mm 1.8, in aperture priority , at F3.2 and ISO 100. I also over-exposed by one full stop (exposure compensation +1EV) yet, at 1/60s it looked a bit underexposed. In the end, I had to use "Fill Light" and "Tuning" in Picasa to get a brighter background.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Oh! The Joys of Childhood!

It was a fun weekend. My daughter loves her new bubble maker - "Infinite Bubbles". So on Sunday evening, we went to the near-by play area.

I wanted to shoot colorful shots of all the reflections. I had my 50mm F1.8 prime attached to the camera as I knew I was not going to shoot wide angle. I wanted to use narrow depth of field to make the bubbles stand out. But pretty soon I realized that it was too difficult to take any good pics of shiny bubbles in it with the windy weather.

It was very sunny and taking pictures of my daugher was also difficult due to high dynamic range. As evening sattled and shadows grew longer, I started getting better shots. Out of 50+ shots that I tried, this one is my favorite.

Focal Length: 50mm
ISO : 100
Aperture: F2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/500s
Mode: Black and White (with red filter)
Editing: Sharpen and Glow with Picasa (Free from Google), Noise reducation with Neat Image (Free Demo)

And, I could see parallels between both of our toys. She was making lots of bubbles effortlessly and enjoying running behind them. And I was taking lots of pictures, trying different settings, checking thr results and trying something new.. almost a child's play compared to what photography enthusiasts had to go through a generation before.

I wonder what her first dSLR would be like !

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

A year later...

Wow, it has been almost a year since my last post! I never thought I'd leave such a large gap in my posts. But time never stops for anybody.

Hmm... if you could stop time, then what shutter speed would you use to take a picture ? ;)

My sincere thanks to the netizens who have linked to this blog, provided this blog as reference to others in forum posts or left encouraging comments right here. This is not a "Photo a day" blog or my "daily diary". So all your back links have helped this blog stay relavent even when it has not been updated in a while.

Here are some topics I am planning to cover in next few posts.
  • Selecting lenses for your DSLR
  • Understanding Exposure Value
  • Understanding Histograms
  • Any suggestions ?

The purpose of this blog is to capture things that I have learned about Photography so that someone else can benefit from it. So your feedback is valuable to me if you learned anything from this site. Please voice your comments and criticisms for the writeups.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Soordasji - a Candid Portrait

Earlier I had posted a candid portrait that I had clicked in India during my previous trip back home. Well, here is another candid portrait from India but with a subtle difference.

(c) All Rights Reserved

First of all, what makes a "candid portrait". From what I have understood so far, A candid portrait is an image of a person where

  • the subject (the person) is not deliberately posing for the shot
  • the image should capture the essence of that person's mood or character or some other unique property

As per this description, the above photo does not look quite candid, as it seems the person is posing.

Well, he is not! He is blind! He had no idea that I was taking his picture or even I had a camera in my hands!

The subject
The person in this picture is Soordasji. On our India trip, we also did some pilgrimage to a holy place in Madhya-Pradesh (which literally means Central State) of India. Soordasji has dedicated his life to taking care of inner sanctum in a small shrine located inside a larger temple. I don't know much about him other then the fact I have seen him at the same shrine almost two decades ago, dedicated to the same activity. When I say "dedicated" I mean really really dedicated! The number of visitors is not very large on any given day at the shrine. But day and night, he keeps the inner sanctum clean by washing and dusting. He hardly even moves away from the place.

In fact it was quite a humbling experience to see him there. I remembered when I visited this place when I was a kid and my father told me about him. And now I was visiting the same place with my daughter and seeing him do the same dedicated service.

I thought of taking his picture next to the shrine door etc. But none of that would have done justice to the character of this man that I had in my mind. So I took a close-up. It captures this mans simplicity, his age, and his eyes in a way that I liked. This man is really pretty much what you see in this picture. He does not have much worldly possessions, nor is he interested in anything other then keeping the shrine clean. I am not sure how to capture his dedication in a picture. But once you know his story, you start seeing that in his face and eyes.

The original was obviously in color. But to bring out details in his dark skin, I had to do some editing (Fill Light, Contrast etc.) that caused the color quality to suffer. So I ended up converting it to Sepia, then exaggerated contrast a little further and moved the temperature control also to get the kind of colors I liked. All of this was done in Picasa2.

One last note. Before you think I exploited the blind by taking his picture, a clarification. I did tell him after taking his picture; he didn't mind. I gave some donation too and wondered what a man so detached from the world will do with the money I'm donating anyway! Well, it only took a few seconds to find out. On our way out, an administrator told us that the temple in which the small shrine is located was going through some reconstruction, And the new beautiful gate that was being built, was entirely being sponsored by Soordasji!

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Found a Friend in Fatehpur Sikri

After visiting Taj Mahal, next day we visited Fatehpur-Sikri, The mughal captial built by Akbar. Main attraction over there were Akbar's palaces, a beautiful Shrine of sufi saint Salim Chishti and The Buland Darwaza (The Gigantic Gate).

But for my daughter, the main attraction was this puppy that followed her around. I took a few shots of them interacting.

Found a Friend in Fatehpur Sikri
(c) All Rights Reserved

Prince Pup of Fatehpur Sikri

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It was a good change from the rest of the scenary - which was all full of very high dynamic range. My choice of timing to visit the place (afternoon) was very bad. But I did manage to get couple of interesting ones... which I'll post next time.

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