Sunday, March 30, 2008

An evening with Ann!

    It was on Dec 24th, Christmas time when the whole Ottawa was busy decorating the houses and streets for the festival! There are lights of different color all around the city. The joy of the festive season was in the air and everyone were busy in buying the things to decor their homes. It was in this time when we were invited to attend the Christmas Carol Party in the Cathedral Church of Ottawa! I always wanted to see the celebration of Christmas in the traditional christian way and it was a perfect time for me to experience that! Thanks to Ann Bourke who invited us to the dinner party and thanks to Sam and Lynn who extended the invitation to me and Prashanth as well! :) So we were there with Ann and it was an excellent time! I enjoyed the music a lot and the memories of that evening will last for very long.

  It had been almost 3 months and we decided to meet again for a dinner and decided the venue as East India Restaurant on Somerset. We had decided that we will gift her something memorable! As she likes traveling and photography my obvious choice was to gift one of my images! [:) a slightly selfish thought! :)] After many rounds of discussions we zeroed in on the image of Jog Falls which I made during last monsoon trip to that place! I processed the image and after some struggle we took a nice 8x12 print of the image and went in search of a good frame for that. Finally, we were able to locate a frame which suited the photograph well. I was curious to know if she likes it or not as it was my very first image which got printed and framed! So I was also a bit of nervous! 

  We got the table after standing for a good 1 hour!! Thanks to a party by one of the Indian families which occupied a good half of the place! The food was good and the ambience was fantastic. Ann went on to tell her experiences of her encounters with the Lions in South Africa! She narrates amazingly! I enjoyed it a lot! 

   After the desert was served, it was the time that I was waiting for! On behalf of the friends I presented her the gift bag and requested her to open it and let us know if she liked it or not! My heartbeat was audible to my ears! I was curios and a bit nervous! She slowly opened the gift wrap and slowly took the frame out and very slowly turned the frame and............... the smile on her face and the joy in her eyes said that all!! I was relieved and contended! :) There was the first print of my image in the hands of a person who gave me one of the most memorable experiences of my life on the last Christmas eve! This photo is just a small token of memory from our side which reminds her of us in the time to come! 

Below is the photo which I got printed and framed! I had never shared this image before!

Ann is planning to visit South India next year! 
You are always welcome Ann! 

 Had been to Niagara last weekend and working on the images and planning to come up with an article about what I have felt at that place (in fact about how bad I felt !!). Hoping to upload soon.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Out in the woods!!

After a very long time had a very nice and satisfying weekend! I with some of my friends here had been to Algonquin Provincial Park . An amazing place to be. Spanned across 7500 plus Sq.Kms full of lakes and forest with a good count of around 30plus species of mammals and a fantastic place for birding in Summer and fall. Although the time that we went is not one of the ideal but still spending the night in the amidst of the pine forest is something different for me! Enjoyed!
Even though we dint had luck with any mammal sightings, I spent some good time in the field experimenting some simple compositions!
I always believed that the empty space in an image, if used intelligently, has a positive effect on the composition. In some images it gives a good amount of depth to the composition. I call the depth in the case of composition is the amount or depth of thought that it generates in the viewer when they see the image. As we know that the thumb rule of composition or the rule of thirds etc are all towards achieving such depth in the composition.
So this time I tried to play around with this aspect and tried to create some very simple composition which may seem very basic or sometimes may be empty as well.

For example, in the above image the space on the right was a deliberate choice. Some people may argue that the vertical composition may suite better but for me it looks that may restrict the mood, giving less space around which may leave the viewer having less space to think.

The above image was a deliberate overexposed image where I tried to create a gloomy feel.

Here is another attempt to capture the mood of 'Solitude' or 'Lonely'. The challenge for me was to get the right exposure as the light in that part was playing alot. Its always challenging to get the right exposure when you want the details of the snow unless you are using a handheld lightmeter with you.

I was searching for the right opportunity to capture the feel of the snowfall during the entire winter! But that day found a good opportunity as this home caught me attention. The maroon colored wall was giving a nice feel to the frame. Dont know how much I am successful in capturing the feel here but I am quite a bit satisfied. There will always be scope for improvement :).

A deliberate attempt here to make an experiment with positioning of the subject of interest! I was mainly attracted by the color gradations on the fallen log. This part was in the complete shade. My attempt was to keep the hole created by the knot in the wood, in the center of the frame and trying to balance the whole image still after keeping the hole at the center.
You only have to tell me whether I am successful or not.
Note: On an uncalibrated or dull monitor all the fine colors on the tree bark may not be visible fully.

I had a luck with a big bird, which was similar to the peafowls that we find in India. On our way I found two of them on a bundled grass. By the time we stopped the car and I rushed to the place with the age old 200mm Manual Focus lens on my camera, the bird hid behind the grass bundle. I waited in the knee deep snow for about 10-15 min. I was able to see the tail of the bird. I went very curious and focussed my lens (as it will not Auto Focus) and made sure that I set the right exposure as the lens will not meter also!! I had a tough time! By the time I set the right exposure, the bird slowly started moving and then... It just flew!! That too in the opposite direction! :( Finally with all those attempts and preparations what I was left with was the flight shot of a head less bird!! :(

So all in all, had a wonderful time in the Algonquin and now I know where to go if I come again to Ottawa in Summer or Fall!!


Monday, March 10, 2008

Remembering Ramanagaram!

Missing my home!
Memories are the best gift by GOD to man! Anyone disagreeing??

Ramanagaram has always been very close to my heart! An amazing place. You should see it to believe it! The glory that it gets in the early mornings, when the first rays of Sun hits the boulders is something that is indescribable! I enjoyed each and every mornings that I spent there!

All those days are in a sense now haunting me here! The weekends here have become more and more dull as the hostile weather continues its dominance... We had two winter storms back to back this week! The last one being yesterday!

Waiting eagerly (and endlessly!!) for the Spring!


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Emotions - Compositions!

If we start finding the root of the word 'Photography', how it originated and how it emerged into another form of art we start finding a very interesting informations.
Wiki says - The word "photography" comes from the French photographie which is based on the Greek words φως phos ("light"), and γραφίς graphis ("stylus", "paintbrush") or γραφή graphê ("representation by means of lines" or "drawing"), together meaning "drawing with light."

'Drawing with light!'
what a beautiful thought!

This implies that a photographer and a painter more or less share some commonalities in the way they look at a subject or feeling the emotion of a situation in order to represent them effectively on the canvas (or film). So the rules of arts apply equally to both!

Composition is the plan, placement or arrangement of elements or ingredients in an art work - Wiki.
This definition applies to every element which comes under the form of 'visual art'. The way these elements of the artwork are arranged decide the amount of impact they make on the viewer. The 'impact' of an artwork on the viewer is subjective! If the artwork relates to any particular emotion of a viewer, the impact of that artwork on that viewer will be high! It stays for a long time in the memory!

Same is true in the case of a photographer. Certain compositions relate in some way to some of his/her emotions which stay close to their heart. If another person who sees that composition afterwards feels the same or not is a different debate and that may decide the success in capturing the emotion effectively! But the feel that the photographer/artist felt at that moment while making that composition is something which is as true as the sunrise everyday! No one needs to give justification for that! Feelings are feelings !!... and they vary with person to person!

When I visited Gudvi Bird Sanctuary in the last monsoon season, it was full of egrets, herons and ibis! The birds were making so much of loud calls that the human voice was barely audible from a distance! Probably some of them were nesting in that time! That part of the lake was having bushes and weeds which had grown quite high! They were giving the feeling to me like the curtains made by nature where on the other side the birds spend some of their intimate time together. I wanted to somehow capture that feeling on the camera. Waiting for an opportunity. My plan was to focus on the dry branches in the front and to make the bird out of focus giving a sense of dreamy or moody feeling to the composition. I was waiting silently by having this sketch in my mind. Finally after sometime made the below image where I was able to get the flight of the egret just behind those dry branches! That bird was just landing near his mate! Patience paid off!


The last night it had rained. The rain had stopped in the early morning. I had decided to visit Lalbagh the morning in order to try some experiments. The overall mood was very wet as well as the paths too! While passing by one of the paths, this below flower caught my attention. In the mid of the whole green surroundings this was the only one which was standing apart from the crowd with the proud red on it! Graphically this scene caught my mind and the result is the below image:


It was my another usual visit to one of my favorite places in the Bangalore outskirts - Ramanagram! The rocks and the mighty Long Billed Vultures always fascinated me and made me to visit that place over and over. The magical landscape of that place still comes in my dreams here! Such a beautiful place! Another interesting creature you find there is the Rock Agama! Very photogenic - in terms of colors and to some extent very brave as well as it allows close approach. All of my initial images of Rock Agamas are from this place.
This time, it gave me a different opportunity! The mighty mountains in the background added a lot to the mood! The soft light was also helpful for me. It was my birthday that day and the place gave me a wonderful gift! -


I dont know how much I succeeded in conveying the same mood to you which I have experienced. I might have failed also. May be because of this fear (!!) I had not shared these compositions till now. Each of these images still take me to the same mood and place every time I see them. May be this is what they call - close to heart!

I have some more such memories.... they are the ones which are keeping me alive here!!..... in this dead cold!!