About Me

My photo
Hyderabad, AP, India
I used to be a bit of a drifter, still am partly, but life is getting more and more organized recently due to a special someone. I love playing and watching cricket, I have recently realised that I have a very big interest in wildlife and birding. I work for a blue chip company. I am well and truly blessed! No complaints there :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Humming Bird

One of my biggest inspirations for bird photography (apart from India Nature Watch and Ashok's stunning pictures) came from the book 'Nature Photography' by Tim Fitzharris where on the front cover there is a stunning picture of a Gray-tailed Mountain Gem Humming Bird in flight above a flower bouquet. I used to wonder I I would ever be able to shoot such intimate shots of a bird in action. Late last year, Ashok and I were in the US on work and we were waiting for our bus back to San Francisco from Mountain View, CA. Outside our place of work, there is a well-manicured lawn that also has a beautiful arrangement of flowers. Ashok sensed some movement amidst the flowers and we immediately saw a Green Violetear humming bird happily flitting about in gay abandon! Now, I can't tell you how important it is to keep carrying your gear at promising locations no matter how heavy it might be. That day, I was extremely lucky to have had my camera and the 170-500mm to catch what turned out to be the best bird picture I have ever caught so far :)

From One time wonders

Exif Info:
Location - Mountain View, CA
ISO - 300
Exposure - 1/250 sec
Aperture - 6.3
Focal length - 500mm

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Its all in the game!

What can I say? India is cricket crazy! Sometimes one feels that the only thing that unites the nation is cricket. So if you want to take travel cricket shots, then India is the place to be in. But these kind of shots are also quite common to come by. How do you set yourself up for a shot with a difference? Very simple, find a vantage point :) If you can set yourself right above where the action is at, you will increase your chances of getting dramatic shots of the same. This shot happened on a lazy Sunday morning where I found the lighting dramatic and the shadow of the stumps and the batsman adding loads of depth to the picture. You can also try this experiment at mid-day with different results. Make sure to expose for the player though when shooting at mid-day.

From One time wonders

Exif Info:
ISO - 800 (should have shot this at 200 max considering the good lighting, elementary mistake)
Aperture - 14
Exposure - 1/400
Focal Length - 55mm

Pandol - Durga Puja, Kolkata

One Timers (4)

Cloud patterns on a blue sky accentuate your pictures. They add that extra dimension to your pictures to make them stand out. Important things to note when exposing to the sky is to ensure that you are always exposing the blue in the sky at a 90 degree angle to the Sun's position in the sky. The sun in this picture is hitting the statue from the right, this picture was shot around 3.30 in the evening. So the 90 degree angle where I can get the 'bluest' sky is around 12 noon if I take a normal clock for reference. You can also try other techniques like holding your thumb and fore finger at a 90 degree angle. Point the thumb to the sun directly and the part of the sky the fore finger is pointing to is the 'bluest' it can get. This approach will improve the quality of your pictures dramatically! You can also try a polarizer which will darken the sky further adding more blue and making the picture look much better for the blue . . .

From One time wonders

Exif info:
ISO - 300
Aperture - 10
Exposure - 1/250
Focal length - 18mm

Looky looky

One Timers (3)

This owlet has been stuff made up of dreams! Well, its actually not that dramatic. But the very fact that I had been searching for a shot of this elusive creature for 3 years definitely added to the drama for me and also made me a bit of a blithering idiot before I could at least get a documentary shot of the creature :)

From One time wonders

For all that, its a common bird resident in open farmlands and near human habitation. It feasts on insects and rodents and so the proximity to human habitats.

Exif Info:
ISO - 200
Aperture - 5.6
Exposure - 1/400 sec
Focal Length - 432mm

Jaguar (Panthera Onca)

One Timers (2)

2. I have always wanted to take a shot of one of these creatures looking directly at me. That was relatively simple if you find their habitat close by. But what was important was to make the look appear to be sinister and foreboding. So I elected to shot this specimen at the Nehru Zoo Park in Hyderabad on a warm summer afternoon so that the warmish hued light could bounce off the ground in to the Jaguar's eyes. The effect is here to see . . .

From One time wonders

Exif info:
ISO - 200
Exposure - 1/80
Aperture - 6.3
Focal Length - 500mm

Note that I had to get really close to the iron cage to be in a position to take out the iron mesh out of the equation. I also had to turn off AF and move in to manual territory for this shot for exactly the same reason.

One Timers...

Over the last year and half, I have been shooting pictures of many a fancy. I have tried to capture the details and the motivation behind these pictures here in this column. The objective is to share some technical information about some of these pics and also give a inkling in to my thoughts behind these pictures. So, here goes . . .

1. Lightning Strikes Twice!
From One time wonders

Lightning never fails to amaze me! This exhibition of raw power of nature can literally send shivers up my spine. My foray in to lightning photography finds its way back to about a couple of years when in a burst of inspiration I set up a tripod and tried to capture that one sliver of light on my camera quite unsuccessfully on a rainy day in Chennai. The disappointing experience took me back to the drawing board and I spent time diligently reading up expert speak about getting 'that' perfect exposure. More efforts followed in the ensuing monsoons, but nothing 'eye popping' showed up. During this period I even considered investing in a lightning trigger, but somehow I ended up feeling that it was only a matter of time before I got what I have been chasing all along.
This lightning streak was part of a sharp summer shower in Hyderabad on the 21st of June in 2009. The previous day was very similar with a sharp downpour preceded by severe lightning and thunderstorms around Hitec city. So the next day I packed up earlier than usual and went home and sat this one up. I kept tracking the progress of the lightning streak until I felt reasonably sure about exposing myself outdoors to take this shot. Remember, lightning is unpredictable and extremely dangerous.

Exposure: 1/2 Sec
ISO: 400
Aperture: 7.1
Focal Length: 18mm
Post processing: yes, added saturation, increased shadow and to accentuate lightning streak as it turned out to be very bright.

National Geographic Photos