Monday, December 17, 2007

The Cracked Pot


A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the masters house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his masters house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you."

"Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?"

"I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your masters house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts." The pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the masters house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the Pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pots side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my masters table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."

Each of us has our own unique flaws. We re all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Fathers table. In Gods great economy, nothing goes to waste. Don't be afraid of your flaws. Acknowledge them, and you too can be the cause of beauty. Know that in our weakness we find our strength.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Old House, Matheran.

Old House, Matheran.

My obsession with this place continues. Every time I visit I have to click one photo. This is November 2007.

Vidyanagari Campus - mid 70's

Vidyanagari Campus - mid 70's
Photo by my dad and my photography guru, the adventurous VSR.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Harihareshwar etc.


It was good to be away from the city after a long time. I was feeling quite dead. So when the trip was proposed, I was ready. My car was in the garage, so had to borrow my brother's Honda city. It was fun driving. The company was good. The places we went through were refreshing.

We decided that we will go via Diveagar to Shrivardhan. This would mean a detour on a very bad road. But having passed through these lands on our bike trip, I knew it would be worth it. It was.

We reached Harihareshwar late. The MTDC was full. But between Percy and Harsh, they acquired accommodation for us. It was pretty good. We headed for dinner of fish in the local style.

Next morning I could not get up early, but Percy and Ipshita went roaming the land. After a breakfast we headed for the beach. It was so beautifully serene. I wish I could have stayed there for a few more days. Me and Percy walked to the other end while the others enjoyed the crystal clear waters and the white sands.

Lunch with our hosts, again of fish. Then on the way back to reality.

Our lives have become such a circus. Of running about. Of doing who knows what and to what end. Of chasing a life with the hope of a nicer future. This is the time of plenty. The food and shelter is there. But everyone is still looking for something ... else. It's such a circular thing that it becomes funny. The good part of it is that such occasions as ones describe above become all the more desired and enjoyable. I think we have psyched ourselves into such an hyper-excited lifestyle that we yearn and desperately strive to live these moments to the fullest. Experience.

Harihareshwar Beach
Harihareshwar beach. 180 deg panorama

on the road to Harihareshwar

the state highway to shriwardhan

the road from Diveagar to Shriwardhan


Annie on an isolated beach

Suru trees on the beach. They are beautiful.


At Shrivardhan for tea.

Dinner at Harihareshwar

Harihareshwar beach.

Beach view from the other end.

Annesha and Ipshita

Place where we stayed

Road to Bagmandla

On the road from Bagmandla to Shrivardhan.

harihareshwar beach

Note: All photos taken with the Kodak V705 or Panasonic GS320 cameras.

Photos by Percy (Sony W55)

on the way to Shrivardhan

post lunch at Diveagar

On the way to Shrivardhan from Diveagar

early morning


the travelers


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Past: Vidyanagari Campus

Vidyanagari Campus
Photo by Vijay Rao

The Vidyanagari Campus of the University of Mumbai in the MID-80's. Photo taken from the water tower by my adventurous father. He had done a similar stunt sometimes in the mid 70's too.

How different was the whole world at that time. I remember the first time I had come to this place (before we actually shifted) was to see the Haley's comet. The program was held on top of the Library building. The campus seemed so huge at that time... or even later when we played chor-poolice all over the place in our summer vacations.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bike Ride

Charu's house
view from Charu's house

Rode 150km to Dehu Village to attend a 13th day ritual of Charu's dad. This is the view from Charu's house.  Start's right from his varenda.  Looks peaceful.  But peace always needs a price to be payed.  Met people I have not in a long time.  Remembered days long gone when everything was different.  I have spent a lot of time with Charu in those days.  I remember us collecting 10 bucks to fill petrol in Ganesh kaka's kinetic and then going on till it ran out.  Then pushing it back home.  I remember us sitting out whole summer afternoon's at Durga tekdi in the shade of some obscure spot.  Watching the arid surrounding country and having arbit talk. Of us drinking cheap brandy in matka water in his house when the family went out.  Simple peanuts were the only chakna we had.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Digital Landscapes and Contrast Masking

This short essay is inspired by one of my flickr friends who goes by the nick Patryaa. He is a trekker and his very nice panoramic photo of Pratapgad made me want to see if I can make its digital form slightly better.

Original Photo

What we observe from this photo is that the dynamic range of the light on this occasion is very large. There are the clouds and even though they dont look that bright to the human eye, they are very bright as compared to the scene below which is in the shadows. This range cannot be captured directly on film or by digital sensor (though digital sensor does a better job at it - it has a lot more shadow detail than film). What one has to do in such a situation is to shoot for the highlight - do not have burned pixels. They are irrecoverable and photo is wasted. Patryaa has done a good job at keeping the highlights. Now e need to flatten the contrast of this image so that the shadows, which are very dense, come out a bit. In traditional photography it would mean dodging the shadows. In digital photo editing, we achieve this (with far greater control than traditional dodging) using a technique called Contrast Masking.

First let us correct the level by applying a gamma to bring out the shadows. (This is by moving the middle marker in a levels control panel)

Photo with Levels correction applied

Then we apply a contrast mask to the shadows.
For this:

  1. Select the shadows using the 'select' tool.
  2. Copy the selection to different layer and name it "Contrast Mask - Shadows" and select it.
  3. Desaturte
  4. Invert
  5. Now change blend mode to "Overlay".
  6. Apply Gaussian blur. Try different strengths from 25-50. You will have different effect depending on your image dimensions. Use your judgment to choose a value which 'looks' the best and least affects surrounding areas.
  7. Change the opacity of the layer to about 70% (or any other sane value you like) so that there is subtleness in the effect

Photo with Contrast Mask applied to the shadows

Now our layers correction had affected the highlights. So apply a contrast mask to the them. Follow the same steps as above except select the highlights instead of shadows.

Photo with additional Contrast Mask applied to the highlights

The thing to remember about digital photo editing and post processing is that we have to be subtle. Manipulations which completely change the 'light' or the 'feel' or the 'truth' of the photo end up creating 'digital art' not photographs.

These kind of techniques become quite important when one uses digital sensors. For example the shadow detail which can be recovered from digital sensor photos is greater than what is possible from film.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Walking Matheran

Two Paths .. Matheran
it was afternoon - heavy top light. we walked a lot. nice and quite. no agenda. no destination. no nothing.

me photographing ...
That is me photographing the previous photo. Taken by Percy. I had to wear the freaking raincoat to protect the camera - it rained randomly and frequently. The others, Chavri and Aniket watch bemused...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

amboli waterfall

Amboli waterfall

A quick charcoal sketch from a photo I clicked when I visited.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


DP's, originally uploaded by quasi's mobile.

Testing from the phone.

Sent using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone

Thursday, August 23, 2007

experimental faces

Faces, faces and faces. They surround us. They talk to us. They define a dimension of the world we live in which we cannot live without. Some experimental faces at 37mm.







me (photo by Dinya)

Note: All photos taken with the SE k790i phone camera.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


waitDynax 5, 50mm. Matheran, May 2007

the paint withers, the strength wanes, the soul holding on - waiting for someone to open.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Dynax 5. 50/1.4.

A brass protector. A solid piece of the door. The door is a solid piece of the house. The kadi gives the door the strength. The door gives the house the strength. Interlocking units of life ...