Friday, December 18, 2020

A serious birder

As evening falls we all check our 100's of bird clicks for ‘keepers’. He gets many of those. But he also enjoyes watching the birds in their environment. I have learned a lot from him about of feathered friends.

The photo
Camera: Sony A7R III
Lens: Sony Zeiss Plannar 50mm F 1.4

It was late and the light source were a few hanging bulbs. I tried to catpture the pensive mood of the evening.
Postprocessed in Lightroom/PS.

Monday, November 23, 2020

The orb of life

Sunset. The sun set rather high on the horizon that day. I thought it was the heavy haze. Then after a while the sun came out from what must be a distant cloudbank. I hurried to get the camera out...

Sony A7RIII and the Sigma 100-400 C.

Friday, November 20, 2020


A calm and happy person, is our Dinu. Always dependable. He rarely gets roused, but when that happens - everyone beware!

The photo
Camera: Sony A7R III
Lens: Sony Zeiss Plannar 50 F 1.4
Most of the light comes from a tube light on top. Some natural light from a window fills in from the left.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Human Condition

The human population has exploded. The cities swell and compress periodically to accomodate the numbers. Expanding out the boundaries and compressing internal structures. There is the great force of survival at work. But like a virus or a parasite, we destroy what we encroach and live off. Parasite or a virus.

We have to evolve into a symbiotic species. Live with the life here. Else the earth will cure herself of this infection.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Experiments of the pen

I have taken to writing some random stuff. Use a fountain pen when possible. I acquired a great notebook which uses Tomoe river paper from Japan. This paper is wonderful with good quality inks. The sheen is nicely seen. There is no bleed. The ghosting is quite heavy with broader nibs so we can only use one side of the paper. I have got a few Krishna inks and using them with my Ranga or a TWSBI.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

The mountain fortress

The Painting

I stare into the distance
the mind's eye travelling far beyond
The visions of worlds seen unseen
beautiful and strange

The mountains call me into their fold
Blue horizons with twinkling lights far below
Life as we know...

I feel the wildflowers dance with the bees
I feel the sun firing up a riot of gold
- saying goodbye
I feel the freshness of the morning breeze
and the first rays of the sun...

I feel all this — but I am not there.
I stare at the blank paper
praying that my hands can put down my dreams ...
and in doing so, let me live
a tiny bit of those ...

— quasi

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Watercolour painting: Fog

This is done on a cheap local pad. The sizing of the paper is good, but it is dull in colour. The paints are Sakura Koi. I used an unbranded mop. This painting was done following along Uffe Boesen on Youtube.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

View from a balcony

Colours after a thunderstorm. 5 Sept 2020

Covid19 has changed lives. We have been confined to our homes since March. For some of us it has been easier than others — we have been confined to the comforts of our homes with fast internet and good food. For others it has been a hard struggle.

These are some of the images I saw from my balcony. The space was the same. But at different times nature painted very different canvases. Covid has made me realise the value of simple things which we took for granted. Even a cup of cutting chai is now only a dream.

Lockdown begins! 29 March 2020

Sunset with some early cloud buildup. 11 April 2020

Pre-monsoon showers. 31 May 2020

Glorious sunset. 4 June 2020

Sunset colours. 14 June 2020

Sunset colours. 24 June 2020

Crazy brilliant sunet. 28 June 2020

29 June 2020

Super clear!! 2 July 2020

Rainy evening. 6 July 2020

Beautiful colours north-west. 22 July 2020

Rain!! 16 August 2020

19 August 2020

Whiteout!! 5 September 2020

Beautiful Sunset.

Early rain (Sometime in May. clicked with the A6000)

Torna!! One of the super clear days. This is Torna at approx 315mm on the A6000.

On the same super clear day. This is he side of Sinhagad visible from our balcony.

Same day. This is the mandir on the tekdi on the north side.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Friday, July 31, 2020

Sunset, Devgad Fort

It was long back in May 2009.

It was our second bike trip. We reached the Devgad Fort by late afternoon. There was a sudden thunderstorm approaching from the east. There was great running about as we hastily put all our equipment into waterproof bags and huddled near the temple. The storm was low and it was moving fast. It passed over the fort, spewing its contents, and out into the sea. Within half an hour the rain had gone. I clicked this photo in the beautiful light as the sun went down towards the horizon. It is Unmesh on the wall; reaching out to the clouds — the remnants of the fiesty storm.

Photo shot on the Panasonic LX3

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Egg dum biryani (अंडा दम बिर्यानी)

This will feed 6 Adults.

  1. Eggs 12
  2. Basmati rice 3 cups
  3. Onions 5 large
  4. Tomatoes 3 large
  5. Curds 3/4 cup
  6. Garlic 10 cloves
  7. Ginger 1 inch piece
  8. Coriander stems
  9. Coriander fresh-cut copious
  10. Mint leaves copious
  11. Bay leaf 2
  12. Cloves 6
  13. Black Cardimon 2
  14. Star anise 1
  15. Jayatri 1
  16. Cinamon 1 inch pieces 2
  17. Black peppercorns 10
  18. Salt to taste
  19. Cooking oil of choice and quantity
  20. Cumin seeds
  21. Red chilli powder
  22. Tumeric powder
  23. Garam Masala or Biryani Masala
  24. Cashews 20-30
  25. Manuka / Sultana / Rasins 20-30
  26. Saffron about 10 threads
  27. Milk 1/4 cup
Collect all the ingredients. 
Make a paste of the garlic, ginger and the coriander stems.
Fry the cashews and keep aside.
Warm the milk and soak the saffron in it.
Wash the rice in water; drain the water and keep on side.

Start cooking in an open cooker pot which can be sealed later.

Hard boil the eggs.

Cut all onion longitudinally. Fry 50% of the onions is sufficient oil on high heat till they become brown (caramelized).

Like this.

In the same oil put 1/2 the spices, cumin and the onions to cook on low heat.

Add the ginger garlic paste to the onions and cook for some time till onions are translucent.

Add the diced tomatoes and cook further. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder and the garam masala/biryani powder.

Put a pot of water to boil with the rest of the spices. Add the washed rice and let it come to a boil.

Cook till the tomatoes pieces disappear. Reduce flame completely and let the mixture cool a bit. Then add the curds and stir well.  Add salt to taste. Adjust with more chilli powder and masala powder if needed.
Once the rice is 80% cooked, drain the water. Add all the de-shelled eggs on top of the masala. Add 25% of the fried onions, 25% of the coriander and 25% of the mint leaves on top of the eggs. Add the rice on top evenly. Sprinkle the saffron milk on top of the rice. Sprinkle the cashews and raisins. Evenly spread the remaining mint leaves, coriander and fried onions on top.

Now put the cooker top with the whistle and turn the heat to very low. Let it have the 'dum' for 15 minutes.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

A sunset, only in the mind's eye

“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