Thursday, April 27, 2006

Flowery dreams - part 1

(Canon S2 IS, f/3.5 at 1/125 s , focal length 6mm)

(Canon S2 IS, f/4.0 at 1/100 s , focal length 16mm)

(Canon S2 IS, f/3.5 at 1/1600 s , focal length 185mm)

(Canon S2 IS, f/4.0 at 1/200 s , focal length 6mm)

(Canon S2 IS, f/3.5 at 1/125 s , focal length 6mm)

This set is from my very first shoot last month. This was taken as a result of unsurmountable and unrelenting peer pressure :) ... jokes apart, most of these pics were taken at a florist's shop on CMH Road, Bangalore. The florist's watering of the flowers gave an added look of freshness. I set the camera on a vivid setting so I could get good saturation. Some of the focussing could have been better. It will improve next time!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Avian Shots

(Canon S2 IS f/3.5 at 1/500 s, focal length 42mm)

(Canon S2 IS f/8.0 at 1/30 s, focal length 72mm)

(Canon S2 IS f/7.0 at 1/160 s, focal length 72mm)

(Canon S2 IS f/7.0 at 1/125 s, focal length 72mm)

(Canon S2 IS f/3.5 at 1/800 s, focal length 59mm)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Being Indian

It is a strange feeling...There is something about the national flag that inspires me. It kind of stirs a lot of emotions. It gives me goose bumps and makes the hair on my neck stand up instantly…I don’t know why this happens… Is this patriotism?

I frankly do not know what patriotism means.. Are you labeled patriotic if you salute the flag and know the anthem ? Are you patriotic if you keep yourself abreast with all the happenings in your country? Or are you patriotic if you want to do something good for your country?Maybe it is all of these…maybe it is something else…maybe its just in my blood...My grandpa was a freedom fighter. He was imprisoned by the British for this and he even shared the same cell with the Mahatma. I do not know much beyond this..I was too young when my grandpa passed away. I only remember that he was given a state funeral and his body was engulfed and wrapped with a sea of humanity and ….the national flag. To me this is the ultimate achievement of any human being...It is measured by not what you are when you are alive , but how much you are remembered when you are gone. Not everyone has the privilege of taking the national flag to the grave. To this day (it has been a couple of decades now) people still remember my grandpa.

India might be a country which tops the list of most corrupt nations. It might be a country where being above the povert line makes you a minority. It might be a country where corruption forces the common man to succumb to the deadly sins of life.It might have a system of governance where coalitions change overnight and lack – of – governance is the paradigm…

But heck, India is also the country with the smartest people on the planet. The fact that a country with such diversity in culture and traditions has a billion ppl staying together and united speaks volumes for her character. It wont be long before the world wakes up to a new super power. A super power that feeds the world through its talent pool, a super power that leads in technological prowess built completely from scratch, a super power that countries long to have as an ally, an economic power house that drives the world economy.

However these things might never happen. India might just stop progressing. The poverty line might just hit the sky. Our allies might turn into our worst enemies. The world order might suddenly change. India might go back to the dark ages. Irrespective of what happens, irrespective of what patriotism means or is supposed to mean, one thing is for sure....(at the cost of sounding cliched and corny) i will always be proud to call myself an Indian.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Motion blur

(Canon S2IS f/8.0 at 1/20 s ,focal length 42mm)

(Canon S2IS f/7.0 at 1/20 s, focal length 57mm)

(Canon S2IS f/8.0 at 1/15 s, focal length 112mm)

These are pics from the roads of Bangalore (actually just one road). The aim was to focus on motion with a complete blurring of the background. So there i lay on the footpath waiting for my vehicles to pass, so i could capture them. As luck would have it, this was the day after Dr.Rajkumar's death (for the uninitiated , he is or rather was the Tom Cruise of Kannada cinema) and 102% of Bangalore decided to stay indoors to mourn his death. After 10 minutes of swatting flies, along came a brave auto driver. By the time i adjusted aperture, focus and zoom , he had zoomed into the distance leaving only a dust cloud on my LCD! For the next twenty minutes i counted 5 dogs, 2 cows, 1 buffalo a million crows and 0 vehicles. Looked like i was on a safari!

This surely was not my day.There i was lying down on the road at sunrise peering through the view finder hoping to catch a few pics of zooming vehicles. The few morning walkers who ventured out gave me the weirdest of looks. They might have thought that i was a terrorist waiting to use WMD on their locality. Or maybe they thought i was from Tehelka doing an undercover job to raise TRP ratings on TV. Anyways, after a looong wait along came a few vehicles and these are the pictures i managed to capture.

The first pic shows an autorickshaw...I like this one because the focus is pretty sharp. One can even read the number plate on the auto. The second one shows a guy driving one-handed and talking on the mobile phone. Pity i didnt get his number plate :)...i should tie-up with the Bangalore police for undercover operations like this. I will be a millionaire in 10 days.

I also like the third one , which is a closeup of this guy riding a vintage bicycle. I find the intense concentration on his face a little funny. You would think he is driving a Ferrari :)

Two hours and ten snaps later, i returned home satisfied.....a little.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Furry creation

This is a grey squirrel who frequents my terrace very often. This lady like most other ladies, and squirrels for that matter was very shy and guarded at first glance. A few generous crumbs of bread and she began to get more comfortable with my presence. After a few minutes she actually sat and posed for the camera. A would-be model in the making?!

I love her huge black eyes. The bread seems to have disappeared down her throat and she seems to be gratefully thanking me for the food... making this one of my fav snaps!! :)

Exif: Canon S2IS, focal length 72mm, f/5.0 at 1/200s

Macro Photography

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Suborder: Anisoptera
Family: Libellulidae
Genus: Orthetrum
Species: O. cancellatum
Orthetrum cancellatum

This is a dragon fly that i captured in my garden. He is a
Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum). This species was first spotted in Europe and later spread its wings across western Asia and finally, to the subcontinent as well. The male has a blue-black abdomen with a black tip and transparent wings, and the female has a yellowish brown body with black zigzag marks along the abdomen and the transparent wings.

This particular guy seemed completely oblivious to my presence and was basking in the morning sun. I particularly like his compound eyes.....They are simply magnificent.

The composition of the picture could have been a lot better. However he started to get a little suspicious and flew away before i could manoeuver for another shot.

Exif : Canon S2IS, focal length 72 mm, f/3.5 at 1/60s

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Amazing facts of a truly magnificent beast

1. Tigers are the largest of the big cats.

2. Wild tigers are at the very top of the food chain.

3. There were originally eight subspecies of tiger, the Javan, the Bali, the Caspian, the Indochinese, the Sumatran, the Bengal, the Siberian, and the South China tiger.

4. Unbelievably three of the eight subspecies are now extinct.

5. A captive tiger can live up to twenty years, while a wild tiger can expect to live ten to fifteen years.

6. The Siberian tiger is the largest of the subspecies with an average length of 9ft 8' and an average weight of 540 pounds. It has the thickest fur and roams the largest territories.

7. The Bengal tiger is found in India and around the Nepal/China border, it is the second largest of the subspecies weighing in at around 480 pounds, and is 9ft 5' long (average).

8. The Indochinese tiger is found across most of Southeast Asia, it is 8ft 8' long and weighs in at 380 pounds (average).

9. The South China tiger is 8ft 1' long and weighs in at 336 pounds (average).

10. The Sumatran tiger is the smallest remaining subspecies, with an average length of 7ft 8' and a weight of 250 pounds.

11. The heaviest recorded tiger was a Siberian weighing in at an amazing 1,025 pounds.

12. It is impossible to count how many tigers are left in the wild but experts estimate the number to be less than 6000.

13. The tiger's saliva is antiseptic and comes in handy for cleaning their wounds.

14. An adult wild tiger is a solitary animal and will establish its own territory, which can cover over 100 square miles.

15. A tiger marks its territory by spraying surrounding trees and bushes with urine, dropping prominently placed scat, and leaving deep scratch marks on tree trunks.

16. In the scent of the tigers urine and scat is a code which can only be deciphered by other wild tigers. The message not only acts as a warning to trespassers, but will also attract a would-be mate.

17. A tiger will circumnavigate its territory every few days.

18. Tiger stripes are individually as unique as the human finger print.

19. If you were to shave the fur from a tiger it would still have stripes.

20. Tiger stripes act as perfect camouflage in tall weeds and grass.

21. The tigers most developed sense is its hearing.

22. A tiger can only usually expect a one in twenty success rate when bringing down prey.

23. On average a tiger can eat up to 60 pounds of meat at one time.

24. After a feed, a tiger will usually bury the remaining animal carcass in an attempt to hide it from scavengers, and then exhume it for its next meal.

25. In a part of India called the Sunderbans, tigers have been known to eat man.

26. To deter these attacks villagers wear masks on the back of their heads as attacks are always from behind.

27. A tiger can spend up to eighteen hours sleeping.

28. Tigers can swim and like to cool down by sitting neck deep in water holes.

29. Tiger cubs are blind at birth.

30. A tiger cub can gain 100 grams in weight per day.

31. It is believed that the two white dots on the back of a tiger's ears are designed to act as a visual beacon to enable the cubs to follow their parent.

32. A tiger cub will make its first kill around 18 months of age.

33. All tigers have a similar marking on their forehead,which resembles the Chinese symbol Wang, meaning King.

34. Tigers do not purr.

35. Usually before mating, as a sign of affection,tigers make a kind of chuffing sound by expelling air softly through the nostrils.

36. Unlike the domestic cat the tigers pupils are round.

37. The tiger's foot print is known as the pug mark, and its measurement is sometimes the only method of recording wild tigers.

38. Like the domestic cat the tigers claws are retractable.

39. There are five toes on a tigers forefeet and four on its hind feet.

40. A tiger's night vision is six times greater than a human's.

41. A tiger's canine teeth can grow up to three inches long and would be capable of crunching through the vertebrae of any creature on this earth.

42. Adult tigers have thirty teeth.

43. On average a tiger's tail is around four feet long or half the length of its body. The tail gives the tiger extra balance when running and is also used to communicate to other tigers.

44. The tendons in a tiger's leg are so strong that an animal has been known to remain standing after it has been shot dead.

45. The fore limbs of a tiger are more powerful than the hind limbs for grabbing large prey.

46. Tigers move both legs on one side of the body almost simultaneously when they walk.

47. The South China tiger has a slightly different shaped skull to the other subspecies, its eye sockets are deeper and it has a slight hump on the back of its neck.

48. Most tigers are orange with black stripes and a white underbelly and jowl.

49. A white tiger is not an albino, all white tigers are believed to have descended from a single white Bengal male called Mohan.

50. Every single part of the tiger is used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 1000 years.

52. There is no scientific evidence to back up claims that any of these remedies work.

53. Tiger parts are also used as trophies, trinkets and aids to ward off evil spirits.

54. In Asia, illegal tiger farms operate to supply tigers for the traditional Chinese medicine market.

55. The Siberian tiger was declared an endangered species and awarded protection.

56. In 1959 The South China tiger was declared a pest and a bounty was placed on its head.

57. In 1959 there were approximately 4000 South China tigers in the wild.

58. Between 1960 and 1984, 3000 South China tiger pelts were officially recorded.

59. Now the Chinese government is completely dedicated to saving the South China tiger.

60. As the trade for tiger parts has now been forced underground the incentives for poachers have greatly increased, one tiger carcass can mean as much as ten years pay.

61. Tiger powders and potions can be bought all over the USA, Europe and the UK.

62. There are believed to be 120 outlets selling tiger derivatives in Australia alone.

63. Tiger populations are being cut off as their territories shrink and the corridors which join them together are being destroyed.

64. It is estimated that Bengal tigers are still being killed by poachers and villagers at the rate of one per day.

65. A single brewery in Taiwan imported 2,000kg of tiger bone annually during the 1980's, the equivalent of 100-200 tiger carcasses, to produce 100,000 bottles of tiger wine.

66. There are now more tigers in captivity than there are in the wild.

67. We could lose the wild tiger in as little as five years time.

Please help save this magnificent creature....Before it is too late.
ps: This magnificent picture shows the beauty of a fully grown Bengal Tiger....courtesy of Google :)

Monday, April 03, 2006

The powers of an S2

This is a picture of an aster that i saw in a florist's shop. The water droplets are thanks to the florist who sprays his flowers with water every now and then to keep them from wilting in the sveltering heat. I really like the level of detail in this piture. Although the focussing could have been a lot better, i like the composition and the vividness . The contrast gives the picture an almost scary and evil look! :)