Photo Contest

I have just entered my first photography contest.

The National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest sends me updates every year. In the past I haven’t entered, but this year I felt it would be nice to enter and try something new, come what may.

Please check it out the link below if you are so inclined. It is one of my favorites from Varanasi this year.

πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

PS. The smiley faces are the link. πŸ˜‰

Never Far

I finally got the Nikon film developed from my trip to Varanasi!

When I held up the slide shots to the light, I was pleasantly surprised. The one shot I had the most hope for, a little Indian girl with bright blue eyes, didn’t turn out as I had hoped.

However other shots jumped out at me. A red tea stall. A snake charmer’s cobra, and a small dog suffering sleeping in the back streets.

I’m thinking of framing some of these. Especially the one of the dog. It’s an element which those who have gone to India would be hard pressed to miss, and with the picture India is never far from my mind.

Old School

After a busy week I’d like nothing better than a nice photo-walk, and this time I’ll be bringing the old family camera along with me. This is one of my first experiments with film since I was ten.
Truthfully I have no idea how well it holds up since I haven’t been in any place which could develop the film, but I know that I have some of my best potential shots on here.
It’s 7:am Himalaya time, and I’m going for a walk.

Photo Challenge: High speed

Wow. It’s been a busy week, but there’s always time to fit in a photo challenge somewhere. πŸ™‚
This weeks challenge is thanks to my friend Preeti, who suggested high speed photography. When I thought of this I thought of super fast shots of milk droplets splashing or shots of super fast objects. Well, we don’t have much in the way of super fast photo equipment, and not much in Bir moves at high speed, except for birds. So birds it is.
I spent a few days trying to catchΒ  birds in flight, particularly the elusive Asian Paradise Fly Catcher. It was tough, but I found a few interesting shots.
My thanks to Preeti for the idea πŸ˜‰

Aperature f1.8

I found my first photography challenge on the DPS website, who also assign various challenges.
Attaching my fixed 50mm, f1.8 Canon lens, I spent the whole week taking shots with my aperture fully open.
Immediately I started to have second opinions about how to best employ shots.
Initially all my f1.8 shots were at close range, photographing insects or flowers, and sometimes close portrait shots. I’m using a Canon Rebel t1i so my scaled down sensor crops the image a bit and magnifies the image.
But having to shoot everything with one focal length and aperture forced me out of that habit. I took shots from close up, far back, and some from very far away, just to see what happened.
Here are the results.
Ladybug: Shot up close into a plant directly downwards, 1/320sec. This is how I usually think of using wide open aperture.

Paraglider/Village Women: These shots were taken from over 20ft away. The paraglider has very little behind him, so the effect of the open aperture was lost more than the women who appear more clearly than the rock behind them.

Dog: Here I discovered how much I enjoy a focus sandwich. In other words a clearly defined subject, in between an unfocused foreground, and background.

I shot this same alley when the sky was less overcast. The contrast of the shadows and light made me realize that diffused light would be necessary to make this sandwiched effect. Also, my shutter speed needed to be set to something over 1/1,000sec to prevent over exposure and to keep a sharp focus.
My conclusion for a focus sandwich recipe.
1. Diffused light
2. Fast shutter speed.
3. Wide open aperture.
4. A foreground and background to contrast the focus with.
Try it out.
For next week, my challenge is over exposure, shooting and in post production.
Feel free to suggest new challenges you would like to see on the blog.

Here’s to Progress

After a few years of consistently taking photographs, I feel as if I am getting an idea of how I like to approach photography.
Mostly when I travel, there are themes and techniques which I prefer using over others, for instance:
1. Since I often travel to Indian pilgrimage sites I have lot of photos of pilgrims and monks.
2. Because I am generally moving from one place to another, most of my shots of people are at eye level, or shooting down from a high place.
At the same time I constantly question various methods and themes which I don’t normally try.
There is room for improvement, thus I want to challenge myself and take a wider variety of photos which focus on various technical elements and themes.
So here is my challenge. Every week, I will try to utilize a different shooting method, post production technique, or explore a new theme to improve my understanding of photography, and widen my view.

The Weather Report Pt 1: Feel the Thunder

It’s the time of year when the weather heats up in North India, and the season when weather watching becomes one of the more interesting pastimes. As most of India heats up, that heat travels north as a tremendous warm front until it hits the icy wall of the Himalayas. The warm air is rapidly cooled and transforms into massive thunder clouds which, unable to cross the mountains to Tibet, fall back onto the foothills causing massive storms.

Here in the foothills it is now spring, so the monsoons haven’t started. During the day, the weather is perfect. The sun is out, and there’s a breeze. But by early afternoon, clouds begin rolling in from the mountains. Clouds that look like they should have been in Miyazaki’s movie ‘Castle in the sky’. Then in there evening the wind and thunderstorms howl, which can shake the concrete buildings, and shatter windows. It’s like no storm I’ve even been in anywhere else. I’ve timed a few thunder claps on my watch, and some roll on for 30 seconds or more.

So if anyone were to ask me “how’s the weather up there?” I would say, “Awesome.” XD It’s my preference, though it come with the inconvenience of knocking out all electricity, sometimes for days, which doesn’t bode well for my school work which is all translated on the computer. But when the power goes out at night during a storm, I climb onto the roof, (not the best idea) with my camera (an even worse idea) and take shots of the lightning.

Here are some of my initial shots. I hope to do another post on lightning soon.