Category Archives: Photography

Google+ Photo Features – A Photographer’s Delight

AutoEnhance_1

From auto-storage to improving picture quality to creating fun elements, Google+ in its new avatar delights all photographers, amateurs and newbies. This one looks at 5 features that make it stand apart when it comes to pictures. 

photo storage

1. Storage: Google now allows upload of up to 15 GB of full-resolution images with an auto-backup tool. For the standard resolution, the numbers are till unlimited. Delightful as it may sound you can choose to enable and disable the feature and save them on the size you’ve specified.

2. Auto-Highlight: So you clicked 200 pictures on your holidays and have not found time to sort the best ones to upload on your social profiles. Leave the job for Google+. Auto-highlight makes sure your favorites can be found faster by de-emphasizing blurry pictures, repeat clicks, poor exposures etc. and also brings to the front images of people you care about, landmark and other positive attributes.

auto-enhance

3. Auto-Enhance: So you thought taking good photos and working to make them even beautiful is something only a great photographer can do. We are sure then that you have not yet checked auto-enhance on Google+. It improves brightness; contrasts, saturation, sharpness, structure, noise, focus and everything that could make your picture look like being clicked by a pro. How does all this happen? Automatically :). You just need to upload some photos and then open the light-box to see Google enhancements that are it. What more, if you do not find them interesting, undoing is also on the cards.

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4. Auto-Awesome: And now presenting to you the father of all upgrades, auto-awesome, something that could just present images clicked by you in a way you will love it. It can create a brand new image from the set of photos in your library. You just need to upload some photos and the feature tries to animate it in the sequence the pictures have been taken. So imagine a family event where you clicked 7 people with their best smiles. Upload the same and the auto-awesome will get it together in one shot. Animation at its best isn’t it.

Panoramas, Filmstrips, HDR’s and a lot more features are there. Ladies and gentlemen go and click photos to see them like never before. I loved it, am sure you would love it too. 

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Garhwal Diaries 4 – Reaching Sitapur

IMG_0243Time for a tea break with more sugar!

Majestic mountains and serpentine trails began to welcome me as I started from Haridwar. The plains gave way to rocky mountains. I made an effort to capture the vastness of the sky and nature through my small digital camera. Here are some moments:

IMG_0244The line between reality and make-believe becoming blurred

IMG_0246Increasingly blurred!

IMG_0256Some more cascades

IMG_0260Random clicks

In Pictures: Calcutta’s Fading Trams

Kushal Sakunia profiles the fading Tram services of Calcutta (now Kolkata) in this memoir

Pic 1

Kolkata is the only city in India that still has trams. This year, the city’s tram service is celebrating its 150th Anniversary. However, over the last two decades, lack of investment,
inadequate maintenance & a sharp fall in passengers have led to a decline in their status.
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The first tramway service in Kolkata was run between Sealdah and Armenian Ghat Street on 24 February 1873. The service was discontinued on 20 Nov. Again Metre-gauge horse-drawn tram tracks were laid from Sealdah to Armenian Ghat. The route was inaugurated by the Viceroy, Lord Ripon, on 1 November 1880.
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By the end of the nineteenth century the company owned 166 tram cars, 1000 horses, seven steam locomotives and 19 miles of tram tracks.
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Electrification of the tramway was done in 1900. Calcutta Tram is the oldest operating electric tram in Asia. By 1943, it had a total track length of 42 miles.
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There are seven tram depots and nine terminals and one workshop. Today, the fleet has a more than 300 trams, but rolls out around 125 trams a day because of low passenger traffic & lack of funds for maintenance.
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According to the state transport department, though CTC earns about Rs 50 crore a year from its tram and bus services, it spends a lot more on salaries to its workforce of about 6,500.  There is a yawning gap between earning and expenditure. According to reports, it sometimes finds it difficult to pay its employees on time.
Pic 7
Over the years, a number of services have been shut down. With the CTC finding it difficult to find funds for the daily maintenance of an old fleet, more and more tram cars are being taken off the road.
Pic 8
The trams in the city carries around 16,000 passengers a day, but the traffic continues to fall.
Pic 9
The image of the good old tram trundling along rickety roads and a rain drenched Maidan may vanish forever under the horrific image of a tram full of the stench and stink of fish and vegetables. The CTC would soon be using the second-class compartments of some trams as goods carriage to ferry goods.
Pic 10
In a bid to rescue and revive its old glory, the CTC has recently rolled out air conditioned trams. It has to be seen if this struggle for survival yields any result.
Hoping this make you relive the charm if you had been a user ever 🙂

Aadhar Card and Twitterati’s Dupatta Jokes

Aadhaar Card

 

Aadhar cards have become the bud of all jokes on social media. Here is a collection of top 10 of them. 

Jatin Patel (@RepeatOffendor): jab se ye Aadhar aaya hai khud ko bahut Niraadhar mahsus karta hu…… muze abhi tak mera aadhar nahi mila 😦

Krupakar Manukonda (@krupakar_m): Please wear the same dupatta when you go to collect subsidies :p #Aadhar

Prabhu Chawla (@PrabhuChawla): Aadhar meant for Aam Admi. But govt allots land worth 500 cr in Lutyn’s Delhi for its head office. Mera Bharat Mahan” #Aadhar

Khamba (@gkhamba): If dogs can have Twitter accounts and Facebook pages I don’t see why an Aadhar card is a problem

Maximum Decimus (@Goddamittt): Hmmm Dupatta!! Somewhere Superman is relieved that he will get an Aadhar Card easily.

Keh Ke Peheno (@coolfunnytshirt): Shreesanth wants to know if towel is ok to get the Aadhar card picture clicked.

Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats): Aadhar is a very ambitious softwear project.

adhar_350_053013034620 (1)

Pallavi Ghosh (@pallavighcnnibn): So Poonam Pandey,Rakhi sawant can never get an Aadhar card

Faking News (@fakingnews): Why can’t they photoshop a dupatta on photos they click for Aadhar Card?

ROFL Indian (@Roflindian): Sunny Deol can blind Pakistanis just by reflecting sunlight into their eyes with his Aadhar Card.

aadhar card celebrations

 

 

Match Experience at the PEPSI IPL VIP Box

Kartik in box

Kartik Kannan pens down his experiences having watched a game from the Pepsi VIP Box. Some stuff that. Read on and be jealous.

You queue outside in the hot sun, seeing a serpentine kilometer long queue to enter into respective gates, 90 minutes before the game, and you look at the VIP’s entering in a sedan right outside the gate, and walking in with elan.  Your position in the line has probably moved a few millimeters, while a few VIP’s have made their way in to the stadium. So, given this background, who doesn’t want to be a VIP?

Vip Box

Pepsi as part of its offering to the fans, had made an experience, that’s soothing to the often tensed nerve (more if you happen to be cheering for Dhoni) that the cricket fan nurses in 20 overs of mayhem.

At the Cricket, some of the worries most of us have  are to get a good seat where we can watch the cricket, being able to view the big replay screen, get your hand on food without getting into a queue again, and being able to drink some beverages without paying a ridiculous price. The Pepsi VIP Box solves this and presents you more on the platter to make you feel like a guest, and not a passenger.

The VIP Box is a special unit located on the ground, outside the fenced area, but before the boundary line, usually right next to the dug out.

Pepsi Fridge

It had a fridge stocked with Pepsi, 7 UP, Mirinda,Slice and Aquafina, and for once, there was no competition to beat you to the drinks. The players had a drinks break every 8 overs, during the strategic time out, but you get to sit in an air conditioned room, with a lovely comfortable lounge sofa to rest your back on, and take drinks break every over literally. It also has a shelf stocked with various flavours of Lays and Kurkure, to keep the spices complimented along with what’s happening at the cricket.

From the inside

The air conditioned room, opens up into a small balcony with 4 bar stool chairs, from which you have an restricted view of the cricket, as well as the scenes of what happens in the dug out 2 metres from you.  The cheer leaders are not very far away from you, so the whole combination is lovely at the PEPSI VIP Box, which makes you realize how peaceful it is to watch cricket in such comfort!

At the Cricket, some of the interesting things to watch were

a) Manpreet Goni and Piyush Chawla making Chris Gayle persevere for his runs, until Gayle pulled  a few bownie points at the end with some effortless lusty blows.

b) Gaylestorm was similar to the Indian monsoon. It promised to come, and was pretty relaxed about not coming, willing to tread along, before finally it came pouring down and kept the crowd ticking an item of that little bucketlist that fans have, when they come to the Chinnaswamy stadium during the IPL.

c) Zak’s return!– Watching Zak was a pleasure, and watching him uproot Shaun Marsh’s off stump, was heartening to note.

d) Zak vs Gilly Gilly Yeah! Zak was bowling with gusto to Gilchrist, and even managed to fox a rather scratchy Gilchrist, but Gilchrist came down on Zak with the ferocity of the attack he launched 10 summers ago in the 2003 World Cup semi final.

e) The importance of patience- All the 3 batsmen( Azhar Mahmood, Gilchrist and Gayle), started scratchily, offered a few chances, but managed to hang in there without gifting their wicket away, and reaped rich benefits, and the fans manged a bumper crop in seeing some wonderful batting from the trio.

Punjab

On a Goan Forest Trail

Baba2

Goa’s often known just for the beaches has tracts of equally wonderful forest lands which are unknown to most. Kartik Kannan, explores one such tract, the extremes of Harmal Village, where he got a free facepack, and an unexpected encounter with a greedy ‘baba’ who requested a laptop as Dakshina. Read on to know what happened next. 

7 am, is a time most people don’t see in Goa, and I was one of the few who got up early for a swim by one of the lakes overlooking the sea, next to our beach shack. As I wandered for a swim, I realized that the little lake meanders its way into the forest, alongside a trail that the locals use.

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It was wonderful observing the foliage unravel itself from deep green to the golden color that the sun’s rays change it to.It’s an interesting forest trek that begins by the eastern end of the lake.

The path diverges beyond a point. Just like, all roads lead to Rome, both these paths lead to the Big Banyan tree, that gets your attention at one point, a few minutes into the trek.

Baba3

The path has a few messages for you, if you are ‘beer-bottle’ and ‘plastics’ in hand and if you intend to dump it somewhere in the forest.

5 minutes into the trek, you are greeted by a small portion of the lake, that flows by the ‘Multani Mitti’ rock deposits. Multani mitti, better known as the Fuller’s earth is a clay substance that is hugely popular for its healing property against acne and blemishes.  It is very rich in magnesium chloride which helps to reduce acne. Originally used as an absorbent in the wool industry this ingredient is now greatly used in many skin care products. You can use it as a cleanser, toner and most importantly as multani mitti facial packs, which are very popular. It’s very pocket friendly and has no side effects either. Go natural this time to have a glowing skin. It is sweat resistant and can also be used to improve your hair condition.

Baba6

The locals use this place for bathing, before some of the tourists come over later in the day.  The feeling of wetting your legs, and relaxing in the waters early in the morning, makes you refreshed with a beautiful setting, which selectively allows the sun, thereby keeping the environment pleasant. I also tried the wet clay of the Multani mitti, and turned into a yellowish-Green monster that camouflaged with the surroundings. I waited for the paste to dry on my body and then went over for a dunk in the lake, to wash myself off the clay. I believed I was glowing, but I guess that must have just been the light of enlightenment, that comes from patting myself for wandering upon such a beautiful place.

Baba7

Further trekking, along the path, leads you to the Big Banyan tree, where you turn right and walk straight up to reach this little cove of serenity, where people come to meditate and observe peace. The place has a few regulars who just sit by the tree, and engage in conversations. They live life by depending on the forest for food and water, and have a community of travelers who fund their daily living. Finding this little calm paradise was one of the highlights of a morning trek that was abandoned after paradise was found.

Baba11

I found a man in a loin cloth, who was smoking cannabis, to concentrate more on his prayers to Lord Shiva, and he was questioning me on my profession. Since I was clicking pictures, he said I should pay Guru Dakshina. I contributed a 100 rupee note, but the smoking yogi, would want more. He asked me for a minimum of 500 Rs or a mini laptop to communicate with his followers. I had to say NO to both, but I did say that I found his company interesting, and told him that I needed to leave. But for the Baba, I found this to be a beautiful place, un ruffled by the commercial demands of tourists and well hid from the traveler circuit.

Baba10

Getting to Baba-land and Multani Mitti- Take your bike and park it at Arambol Beach’s parking centre near 21 Coconuts Inn. Ask for Baba in the mountains, the locals will point you on the path beside the lake, that takes you by the Multani Mitti point right to the Banyan tree. Let me know how much peace costs there, if the baba is still around J.

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Light Painting – A Photography Technique

Check out the third of the series of posts by Mili Sharma on the technicalities of photography.

Playing with the light has always been fun. You can do several experiments with lights. One of them is Light Painting. It is one of the photography techniques used to capture light in artistic ways.

Lighting1All you need is to have the items listed here:

1)      A DSLR or a Film Camera

2)      A Tripod

3)      A Light Source

4)      A Dark Room

A DSLR or a Film Camera is recommended because it will allow you to set the shutter speed. If you do not have a tripod, anything that makes your camera stable will work. It can be a table, a chair or even staircase. The light source can be a flash light (torch), LED Flash etc. If you are using a flash light, you can cover it with a colored paper to get different colors of the light. Once you have all these items ready, you need to have a dark room or any other dark place.

Lighting 2

 

Now place your Camera in a dark room and set to Manual mode. This allows you to set an extended exposure up to 25-30 seconds so that more light is allowed to enter into the camera. Set the Camera on the B mode for ‘Bulb’ and place it at a stationary position and ensure that your camera remains still while the photograph is being taken. Turn on the Self Timer and press the click button when you are ready to go. Draw random images in front of the Camera with the light source you are using. This will capture the image you have drawn.

Try this and I’m sure you will love it. Happy Clicking!!