Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Open for Search and Subscription!

   I am no geek in exploring the latest tools on web. But agree that they make your life simpler. Its only recently that I got to know about the 'Subscription' tool and 'Search' option tool which we can embed to the blog space. One enables to Subscribe posts/comments and the other to search the whole blog space
Cool stuffs.
I am late I know!

As the world says - Better late than never! :)


Monday, September 21, 2009

Angle of light and Texture...

Photography is all about the way of handling and controlling light. It may be either the light falling on the subject or the light falling on the CCD/film. In most of the forms of Nature Photography, controlling the light falling on the subject may not be possible, in which case we need to control the light falling on the CCD to make the image how we want to portray. But in some cases it is possible to control the light falling on the subject and that opens up a Pandora's box of opportunities.

In macro photography it is not only the amount of light which matters but what also matters is the angle in which it falls on the subject. In most of the cases the angle defines the structures and gives more textured feel.

In the below series of images I will illustrate how does the angle of light change the feel of the image.
All the images were shot with/compensated for the same exposure values. I have used Nikon SB 600 flash for the experiment, with Body: D300 and lens: Nikkor 50mm f/1.8. I have NOT applied sharpness for any of these images while processing and they are just out of the camera with only JPG conversion and resizing for web publication.

The below image was lit with flash almost perpendicular to the plane of the tree bark. Note that there are not much details visible on the bark. The image looks very flat and the moult of the Cicada is also not visually highlighted.

Now consider the below one where I have lit the bark from the top right corner. This highlights some of the textures which were not visible in the previous image. But still the image looks flat on the bottom portion.

In the next image I tried lighting from the bottom right. This added a bit more drama on the right side of the frame and the textures have come out good. The Cicada is also lit from the side and gives a better anchor for the visual. However the left part of the image went too dark and creates an uninteresting empty space.

This time I lit the bark from the bottom and almost at the center of the lower edge of the frame and close to the plane of tree. This created good amount of drama. The play of light and shadows created a nice feel to the image (at least for my taste!)

So we can see that, how the texture and feel differs depending on the angle of light falling on the subject. If you compare the first and the last image you can see a mammoth of difference in terms of the texture and feel of the image. If you had noticed carefully its the shadows which create drama and dynamism in these kind of images and to make the most use of it we need to experiment on the angle of light falling on the subject. If we cannot move the light source then we need to see if changing our shooting angle helps in creating this drama of light and shadow.

This is nothing new thought. Just an experiment from my side. You can read a related post by Ganesh H S - HERE .


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Yana - graphically!

Though I belong to the region of Sahyadris and close to Yana, I have been there only for couple of times till now!....The second time in that "couple of times" was just over a month ago!! :) Curse me and I take that!

Yana, I must say, is a wonderland for Landscape and abstract photography. You get some wonderful perspectives if you spend some time there.

Pramod, Shiv and self were there on an early morning and the whole place was completely void of any human beings! The pundits of the temple and a small coffee shop owners are from a nearby village and they arrive there only by 10 - 10:30 in the morning. Till then the whole place belongs to the fairy blue birds, scarlet minivets, Malabar whistling thrushes, Emerald Doves,Golden fronted Leafbirds and above all for the wonderful Ruby throated bulbuls! They all literally rule the place till almost 9:30 and as the sun starts his routine walk over the Bhairaveshara Shikara, they all fine their way into the thick forest again where some go to the canopy and some on the forest floor and some to the nearby stream beds!

The rock formations of Yana are no less than any Natural wonders. Stud in the middle of thick evergreen forest of the Western Ghats, they look huge and majestic when you see them for the very first time. I bet, everyone on their very first visit will skip a heartbeat when they see the main rock - Bhairaveshwara Shikhara. It has to be seen to believe.

While we were shooting, an idea came to my mind after seeing the unique edges of the rocks. 'They look like graph' !

I exposed only the top portions of the rock and underexposed the image very much so that I get the edges but as completely black.

Then while viewing on my computer they looked very interesting even if I invert the image! That what I did for the below one.

So if any of you have not visited the place yet, just plan your next trip there. Its not far, but more than worth visiting.

Some more images of Yana will be shared on Landscape Wizards.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Kukkana Gudda - an experience....

"They have arrived and this time we have to make it." Adithya Biloor's voice was filled with joy when he told this to me that night over the phone. It was the mid of monsoon and in that part of the Western Ghats the monsoon is ruthless.

On the backwaters of Linganamakki Dam which is built across river Sharavati, there are plenty of very interesting places to photograph. Some like Honnemaradu are quite familiar to people while many others are not.

This place is called Kukkana Gudda by the local people and 'Kukka' for them means the bird - whether it may be Black headed Ibis or Crested Night herons or Little or Median Egrets. They all belong to the family of 'Kukka' for them! :) And 'Gudda' means mountain (in this context it means island!).

As I was planning for three day photo trip to the places around Sirsi on the first weekend of Sept
2009, I some how had to squeeze time in between to make a trip to explore Kukkana Gudda which almost no one has photographed before. Thanks to Adithya Biloor who has arranged for a small coracle (or boat or whatever you call, as there is no English word for what is used here - "Teppa" in Kannada) and couple of Life jackets! As it takes around 45 min to reach the island on boat, where you will be sitting about 1 inch below the water level and the boat wobbling because of the heavy winds, the life jacket seemed appropriate. I wish if there were a life jacket for my camera gears as well! ;)

That day when I landed there at his place, it was slightly drizzling and the Sun was playing hide and seek behind the fast moving low level clouds indicating the unpredictability of the weather.
After spending some time in the morning in the Jungles around by trying some macro we were all set in the afternoon to head to Kukkana Gudda.

It was a slippery road which took us to a small village on the bank of backwater. The person who was supposed to take us to the island is basically a fisherman. There were couple of other houses also nearby.

After a warm greeting we directly headed towards the place where he had his coracle, placed upside down. His brother was nearby who will also be joining along with us. A single person is not enough to drive the coracle. The heavy winds will drive away the coracle in different directions and it needs some excellent skill to control it.

As soon as we stepped inside the boat I realized that we are in fact 1 or 2 inch below the water level and that made a chill to ran through my spinal chord! It was a different experience not to mention that how much scary too!

We started. Slowly but steadily we were moving. The atmosphere was promising with patches of clouds lingering around. Far distant mountains were under the black shade of rain clouds but they seemed too thick to move to us within couple of hours before which we were planning to return to the shore.

What looked like a very tiny island from the shore ,started looking like a considerable sized one. As and when we started moving closure the birds there slowly started realizing that they have guests!

Unlike other heronaries like Gudvi or Ranganatittu, the birds here are not get used to people. So they started becoming alert as our coracle approached nearer.

There were Black Headed Ibis, Median Egrets, Little Egrets, Crested Night Herons, Little Cormorant, and Pond herons and all in good numbers. The habitation was consisting of shrubby and thorny bushes which was providing a nice canopy for the birds to breed.

We slowly circled the island sitting on the coracle. Never got down from it because of the fear of disturbing the birds too much. Slowly they seemed to be accepting our presence and started to returning to their ground.

As it is the backwater, there are several dead tree tops which are buried underwater several years ago. The birds which take off will find that place convenient to sit. It provided some nice photographic opportunity.

The photography was tough because of the speedy winds and wobbling boat and no hard surface to stand.

After spending around 30 min around the island we thought that it was time to head back as the clouds started gathering.

It was another man's turn now to row the coracle and we were all set to become drenched in rain! The thick dark clouds were gathering faster than we expected. I packed my camera inside a plastic bag along with the long lens. There was a thick plastic blanket which the fishermen use which proved useful for me. After I packed them to protect from rain, I started enjoying the showers sitting in the middle of the water.

By the time we reached the shore the rain had disappeared again. The air was clean and the visibility was clear. We could still see the island clearly from the shore...The birds were now calm and on their routine.

Their guests are gone.