August 29, 2010

My first Review!

My review of the Canon S90 point and shoot camera was published by
Shutterskills is an Indian website dedicated to photography.

Here's the review.

Looking forward to writing more :-)


August 27, 2010

DIY White Box

A sheet of themocole and a cutter. And fevicol. This was all I needed to make an apparatus essential to product photgraphy- the White box. It is basically a three sided rectangular box with provision for attaching powerful lights. The walls act as reflectors and prevent harsh shadows. All those nice sharp images of watches, perfumes and jewellery are all thanks to white boxes. I made one myself and attached a coupe of CPL lamps up top for the white glow. Pictures below:

My first experiment was shooting drops of ink in a glass of water. This proved very very difficult as synchronising the shutter with the drops was almost impossible. I didn't have help at hand nor was I equipped with a remote shutter release. I then shifted focus to other normal things and the results are below:

August 25, 2010


There is no better place in Hyderabad to test a camera's prowess as Old city. The bright lights, the shops,life everywhere... add to that the festive season of Ramzan and you have a sight to behold. Alas, as is usual with all my other things, my plan to make the best of my camera fell astray due to heavy rain. What's funny was their was no rain until the moment I got down from the 8A bus at Shalibanda. Juber and I rushed into a nearby masjid where Juber got a couple of dates for iftar and we offered our prayers. The rain was doing flip flops and before long we'd settled at a hotel for dinner and then started our photo walk.

I got a polythene bag from a kirana store and wrapped it around my camera. Changing lens was a problem too as there was too much moisture in the air. I'd forgotten my 18-70 lens and had trouble framing the huge Charminar with my 50mm and 35-70. We walked around for almost an hour, sometimes in knee deep water and sometimes running for cover in a sudden downpour. I had to use extreme care to avoid damage to my camera.

Two things I learned from this trip: Low light shooting is not something my camera can handle well. Not with my lenses atleast. Then there is this thing about shooting handheld, you can never hold it steady for shutter speeds below 1/20. A tripod is a great accessory and definitely the
next item on my wishlist.

The rest I'm uploading on flickr soon

August 22, 2010

Mini Beercan: My new 35-70mm Minolta

Global Easy buy on Ebay seems to be an initiative between Ebay US and ICC worldwide, an Indian courier company. ICC relists select ebay items for Indian buyers, allowing payment in Rupees. The shipping and custom charges are all inclusive of the price quotes: I
bought a Minolta 35-70mm lens for around Rs 4000. Shipping was around $23 for USPS priority mail, which costs a lot more from the main Ebay US site- IF the seller is willing to ship it overseas. And the service is from US only for now.... can't wait to get stuff from EU too!

I ordered on 15th August and the lens arrived yesterday. 5 days is not bad at all for something coming straight from New York. The package was a flimsy cardboard box 7x7 in dimensions though. 

The glass is clean and the barrel looks ok, though the lens rotation is a little hard. Autofocussing is smooth too, thankfully. It'll be a while before I get the hang of things, and with the 50mm in my bag, it's time I started with street photography too...

I've found quite a lot of other lens but the shipping costs are way too much for my pocket. I've read that it's often cheaper to get it shipped to a relative in the US and them wait for them to get it over. I'll try next time...

August 21, 2010

Symphonic Bliss

For this once... I'll let the music do the talking. Symphonica by Max Cooper from Beatport Top minimal Techno.

August 13, 2010

Make a difference: Donate

Winter is round the corner and we're gearing up for another long, chilly season with- let's face it, excitement. The thought of slurping on garma garam Maggi, in snug overalls, in heated rooms gets most of us a little fired up. And there is no denying, for the middle class people like us, the cold winter is a sure respite from the hell that is summer. The elite of course are out of the equation here.

That takes us to the next level.... the poor people. The winter season kills more people than all the others combined. I took a General ticket to Hyderabad once and ended up sitting at one of the doors. I was wearing a light sweater and the first couple of hours felt great. The train was cruising at medium speed and the breeze seemed really pleasant. Trouble started after Dornakal(where our engine gets swapped for a high speed electric one), the train was now doing atleast 80kmph and my fingers went numb. Then my face lost all sense. My friends, and a few seniors were totally enjoying themselves smoking away at each stop. A considerate senior then took my place sensing I'd go overboard any minute.

Poor people are at the recieving end of the winter onslaught. There are various NGOs and charity schemes for the underpriviliged, and of course the politicians "distributing blankets" but India is a huge country, no matter how much they try, there are still millions who're in need of
help. Only when common man takes an initiative, will there be progress. In Islam, we have the system of Zakat that binds every earning muslim to pay a part of his income as charity. No wonder a large number of people from villages come to Hyderabad during ramzan. season to collect Zakat.

And it's not always about money, most people shell out some money and think they're done. It's not enough.

Dad started going around the villages around our colony coupla years ago. There is poverty all around us... some villages have no access to safe drinking water, some don't have medical facilities for kilometres around, some have no schools. As a small contribution from his side, he started distributing old clothes to some kids in the nearby villages . Before long, relatives and friends were pouring in their unused stuff for Dad to distribute. Dad called in some of his friends too, some came and some turned their backs. Subramaniam uncle shares Dad's zeal and has become a key volunteer now. Dad and uncle have divided their work by the method of "adopting". Once or twice a month, they go about a village or two looking for people who need help. As of now Dad's looking after a blind woman while uncle has taken resposibility for building another old lady a shelter for the coming winter.

In Images

This woman was a servant once and worked in nearby houses and her husband did petty jobs around the village. Then old age took over and to make matters worse, she lost both her eyes. With no home or living in sight, hope came in the form of a kind family giving them shelter in one of their store rooms. Dad and Uncle have taken responsibilty for providing rice and rations to the lady including one time breakfast for the couple.

Not far from the blind lady lives Saidamma, walking with a stick to support her frail legs. That touch-and-go shelter to her left is her "home". Made of twigs and dry branches, it won't last a second in strong wind or rain. And neither is it warm enough for the coming winter. Through
donations and some government help, a cement shelter was constructed for her, shown behind her. The ceiling work is now pending for want of funds.

These little school kids from a remote village are poor, have no access to medical care and usually end up doing farm work due to lack of money. Subramaniam uncle has adopted one kid, Raju with polio.

At another Panchayat school, shoes and uniforms were distributed along with packets of Parle G ! Last year they collected money and built a shelter for an old woman abandoned by her kids. She lived there happily for about a month before dying.

This time on my manuguru trip, I'll make it a point to visit these villages myself and do my bit to help these needy people. Any financial or material donations appreciated.

August 12, 2010

50mm Prime: First step in Lens Lust

Last time I tried, a 50mm Minolta lens cost Rs4500. The guy, who happened to live close at Gachibowli wouldn't give me a discount and I decided to wait for a better deal. Five days ago I saw this ebay listing selling the lens for just 1k. I thot I'd nailed the deal....

In two days I the bid had gone upto 1600, autobidding was a term I wasn't aware of so I bid again and again, pushing up the price. At Rs 2450 I decided I'd had enough. Then I won.

The lens just arrived by professional Courier packed in a box of Brittania biscuits. So much for the 200 rupee shipping!

The lens elements are clear enough, a few tiny specks of dust are visible. The barrel though is quite shabby with some white chalky substance between the ridges. That's expected too considering this lens dates back to the eighties!

The lens has a focal length of 50mm which converts to about 75mm on my A200(due to the APS-C sensor). This lens is widely polular for its speedy, low light photography. The 1.7 aperture gives it an edge over the kit lens by eliminating the need of using a flash in most situations making it suitable for travel photography. The depth of field is great too.

A few pics of the lens itself and a sample shot below. Bokeh performance to be tested soon...

Test Shots:

Minimalist Best

Air Guitar by Breakfast from Calista Trance 236 is a minimalistic track with a mild bassline but real deep punch. 2009 sure was a great year for trance.

August 6, 2010

Cars in Paint

I'm bored...and I don't have fancy Drawing software. I'm content drawing cars on Microsoft Paint for now!

Wonder what DC Chhabria would think of these :-p

Slow killer

"Alone with you" by Deadmau5 is progressive house at it's best!