Saturday, May 23, 2020

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”
— Aristotle

A glorious sunset ... in the mind's eye. The lockdown is making me yearn for the open spaces. Sketch on the iPad in Procreate.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Deep Konkan, the lucky trip

The glorious Palash tree

Back in Feb Me and Jo (and our little parcel) were planning to go to Ooty in the first week of March. We had planned a nice 4 day trip via Bangalore, were we would meetup with Aniket and Priyanka and drive down to Ooty. But the dark clouds of Covid-19 were hanging on the head and when the time came to book these flights I was really worried. The airports would be the distribution centres of the infected for an imported virus. So we cancelled it.

Rima and Animesh (and their parcel), in the meanwhile had visited a farm in the deep Konkan and highly recommended it. We had to get out and so we decided to book it. On those days Amey and family would also be in Devrukh and we would visit them too, that was the plan. We would drive non-stop and avoid any interaction with people. First week of March was getting to be a risky time.

So finally the three of us left one early morning in the trusty Hexa and headed for the Konkan. The highway is good and we made good time. Soon we took the right past Karad and headed towards Malkapur. The first few kilo meters were good as the road was newly laid. We took a short halt at a hotel for loo and headed on. The road then got very bad and it was tough going.

In the ghat just before Malkapur we came across a fabulous 'palash' tree were we took some photos. Then on to Malkapur and Amba. At Sakharpa we took the right for Devrukh. For once we headed on towards Sangameshwar without halting here. From Sangameshwar it took some finding, a missed turn, but we finally managed to get to our destination. The last kilo meter or so was a dirt track...

The 'sada'

Early morning Fog!

Looking at the west valley

12000 year old art — Petroglyphs

a traditional kitchen

Testing the PD36R in the night

Chafa near the temple

Early morning!

Malkapur hinterlands


Monday, April 13, 2020

Deep Konkan

The “sada” — the costal high laterite plateaus of the Konkan.

Home to the hare, fox, jackal, civet, barking deer, wild boar, malabar hornbill and numerous other animals and birds these plateaus are enchanting. Traditionally these are rocky and less fertile so they have been left alone.

In the summers, bushfires lay black large tracts of these wonderful grassland.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Monsoon magic

The rolling Sahyadri foothills are heavenly in the monsoons. The lush green, the low dark heavy clouds and the cool drops of water falling on your face...

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Pataleshwar Deepotsav

The Pataleshwar Temple (पाताळेश्वर मंदिर) which is located on the Junglee Maharaj Road in Pune is an ancient rock cut cave temple from the Rashtrakuta period. This magnificent Shiva temple is about 1300 years old.

Every year on the Tripurari Pournima (first full moon day after Diwali) a deepotsav (festival of lights) is celebrated at this temple.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Golden sunset

Riot of colours and structures. The photo hardly does justice to grandeur of the moment... 


Friday, October 18, 2019

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Photo Editing Tutorial 1: The Path

The Path

The Path (Unedited)

All photos, even a regular photo of a not-too-glamorous scene can benefit from a little editing.

First of all, let us get one thing straight: All photos are processed. A camera sensor captures light which comes through a lens of a certain specification. This data from the sensor is processed by the camera hardware chip. This data is then further processed by the Camera software. This is the ‘RAW' photo state and some cameras can save it. If the output is JPEG or other such formats then this RAW photo data is further processed and then saved as a JPEG. Now, different lenses have different specification. Different sensors have different hardware and different cameras have different camera software. So what you get finally is a result of all this variable processing. And this still may not be what you saw!

What you see with your eyes (and interpreted by your brain) gives you a ‘feeling' about the frame. This feeling is what we want to communicate with others. We can do this via multiple mediums, a photograph is one of which. The photograph has to represent what we ‘saw'. There is often a gap between what we ‘saw' and what the output photo from your camera is. Editing is the mechanism of trying to bridge this gap.

“50% of the creative process occurred in the Dark Room” said Ansel Adams.

For us today, the darkroom is digital.

Let us see what we did to this particular photo. The editing was done on an Android phone using Snapseed software.

On observing the photo we find that the contrast is high. The sky is blown out with less detail. The foliate and grass are darker. In real life, it was a rainy overcast day. The sky was dark and set the mood. The toplight was enough to make the grass shine a very bright and fresh green. The overall feel was not so contrasty and stark. So we want to lower the contrast of this photo, darken the sky and lighten the grass. This kind of adjustment can be done using the HDR tool.

So in the first step, we apply the ‘HDR filter' with the ‘Nature' template. This usually results in the photo looking too artificial and dramatic to my taste. So after applying this filter we go to ‘view edits' and open the HDR edit in brush mode. Here we apply a mask of varying intensity. The sky benefits the most from the HDR filter as usually, the phone sensors are unable to differentiate between the different tones of the sky as they are all very close to each other in the high key. i.e. they are all similarly bright so the sensor captures them flat. HDR can also benefit in bringing out some shadows. Its effect on the mid-tones needs to be controlled, though.

The result has a better balance between the sky and the path.

Since the path is our central element we enhance its tonal contrast using the ‘Tonal Contrast' filter.

Finally, we use the ‘Selective' tool to increase some local contrast to bring out the foliage. This is done by selectively reducing or increasing the brightness, contrast and structure of the selection.

That's it. Thank you. Hope this was useful.

In Part 2 we will talk about tonality, light, shadow and other such weird things.