Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jewels of monsoon

Rainy days always provide an interesting photographic opportunities. The overcast skies provide a good diffused light which proves really good for photo shoots. Just after rains you would find water drops clinging to all the objects which make them look very different and beautiful. The monsoon breaths in new life into the landscapes and brings out all the colors. It has been kind of overcast since many few days here in Bangalore and has also rained few times. I took this opportunity to take different shots of water drops at different times. Few of them are posted below. All of them are taken by Nikon D40.

Holding a Drop

This one was taken early in the morning in my garden. I realized that it had rained during the night and saw this plant where many leaves were precociously holding drops of water. Ofcourse, this had to be captured so I got my camera out and took couple of shots.
Exif: 18-55@55mm, f/8, 1/500sec

Painted by light

This was again taken in my garden. It has rained late in the afternoon and by evening the sky had cleared off. It was late evening and the mild rays of sun light was falling on the plants. The backlight created a lovely halo around the flower which was covered with the water drops. A nice setup was created by nature, I simply captured it.
Exif: sigma 150mm@150mm, f/9, 1/200sec


The sun was behind this plant and I asked my wife to spray water on the plant when I took the shot. Because of backlight the water shower became prominent and it looked as if it was taken during rains.
Exif: sigma 150mm, f/11, 1/500sec

Textures in nature
An early morning walk after a rainy night can be really productive for a photo shoot. This leaf was lying down drenched with water. The lovely patterns and texture on the leaf along with the water drops on it caught my eye and the camera was out. Yes!!! I carry my camera along with me most of the times.
Exif: sigma 150mm, f/8, 1/13sec

Water drop has unique optical quality. It has capability to reflect and sometimes, if looked at it very closely you tend to see the surrounding areas being reflected from the water drop. Here a flower was behind the drop which made it appear in the drop. Interesting!!! Looking closely to nature reveals the real beauty of it.
Exif: Sigma 150mm, f/9, 1/320sec

Holding On!!!

This was one of my first few shots with the Sigma 150mm macro lens. Just after rains the budding rose
was drenched with water and this large drop of water was clinging to the rose. I thought it would fall off, but it seemed to hold on strong. This resilient drop had to be shot. So here it is.
Exif: Sigma 150mm, f/8, 1/400sec, tripod mounted

Holding on Part 2 :)

Just after taking the above shot, I saw another drop that was holding on to the flower. If you notice carefully, the drop has reflection of the house which is on the opposite side of my house.
Exif: sigma 150mm, f/16, 1/30sec, tripod mounted

Sparkle on drops

This one was taken in my garden. The sun was down and there was hardly any light, so took this shot using on camera flash. The use of flash allowed a faster shutter speed and also rendered the background stark black making the drops stand out. The reflection of flash light also created a slight spark on the drops.
Exif: Sigma 150mm, f/6, 1/60 sec.

This is again an early morning shot. The rains during the night had left the drops on the leaves. This was taken at a relative narrower aperture to achieve corner to corner sharpness.
Exif: sigma 150mm, f/22, 1/3 sec, tripod mounted.

Nature art

I took this just couple of days back. Initially I wanted to capture just the drop, but when I saw through the lens, I realized that because of the shallow depth of field the drop looked as if it was clinging on to a thin line.
Exif: Sigma 150mm, f/8, 1/100 sec.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Flower fest at Lalbagh (Bangalore)

I had been to Lalbagh flower show for the 1st time at around 26th Jan, 2010 but had not clicked too many flower shots at that time. I just felt that flowers were such a common subject and everyone shoots them so whats the fun!!! However over the period I saw many good, in fact stunning flower shots on flickr and other places in web, I realized that capturing any subject can be interesting. Its all about looking at it with a different perspective.

So this time, about a week before Independence day I decided to visit Lalbuag flower show and try to capture one of the many beautiful things God given to the world. As I had visited the show earlier in January, I knew what to expect and I also knew that if I failed to reach the flower show early enough it will get little crowdy for a comfortable photo shoot. So I started off early at around 8.00 AM, yeah I know its not that early but the flower show opens for public only at 9 AM so no point in reaching before that.

This time around I was equipped with my reliable Nikon d40 and Sigma 150mm macro lens and I had decided that I am going to shoot entirely in manual mode. So all the shots you see are taken with manual exposure and focus. I reached the Glass house at around 8.45 AM and since they were not allowing the people to get in before 9, I roamed around to take some practice shots.

By now the glass house was open for public and people, mostly shutterbugs like me, entered in with their fancy dslrs and heavy lens and started clicking instantly. I had realized during my previous photographic trip to Bannerghatta National park that taking your time to take shots will result in better hit ratio. Over the period of 3 hours, solely in the Glass house I clicked many shots. When in Bannerghatta, most of the times I had used ISO 200 with aperture wide open (3, 3.5). This time I used a relatively narrow aperture (f8) and higher ISO (400) compared to what I used in Bannerghatta. This resulted in better control over the depth of field, focus and sharpness. Now I am going to bombard my pictures below. Sorry for posting so many but when I started picking my favorites I picked up so many :)

I still have couple of more shots that I liked but I will not post more. This trip was by far most successful trip as I got many keepers this time and I just loved the time spent at the flower show.

Signing off for now till next trip.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Visit to Bannerghatta National Park

After a long period of hibernation, couple of week back I finally decided to head to some place during the weekend for a photo shoot, and this time it was Bannerghatta National park.

First something about Bannerghatta park. Bannerghatta National Park is situated 22 km south of Bangalore, Karnataka, India. The journey to the park takes nearly one and a half hours from Bangalore. This hilly place is the home for one of the richest natural, zoological reserves. The zoological park makes this a major tourist attraction of Bangalore. (courtesy

I started off at round 7.30 AM as the plan was to reach the park at 9 AM i.e when the park opens, hoping that in the early period there will be less crowd which would allow me to take photos leisurely without much disturbance. Even before I left I had some shots in mind which I wanted to take. I especially wanted to take some really good shots of butterfly s in the Butterfly park. So as planed I reached the park at around 9 AM and as expected there were hardly any people around.

This time I was equipped with my 55-200mm lens and Sigma 150mm macro lens. With 55-200 mm lens attached to my camera I headed to the crocodile/cayman section of the zoo as I wanted to get some frame filling shots of crocs. Unfortunately it was very dull and cloudy day and the crocs had not yet come out from water for basking. So I moved on and was roaming around randomly.

Soon I came across the section where peacocks were kept. There were around 5 peacocks and same number of peahens and the peacocks were busy wooing their female counter parts. The male peacock was flaring out its feathers to get the female's attention, and boy, it was a wonderful sight. I took several horizontal and vertical shots to capture the beauty of our national bird. I spent around 20 minutes there and was really happy to get some good shots early on. Here are couple of them

Then I moved on to the reptiles section. The snakes were too far from reach of my lens to get a frame filling shot, however the Star Tortoise was within the reach so I took couple of shots. By this time I had also changed my lens to sigma 150mm macro as I had spotted lot of spiders around and wanted to take closeup shots of them. One of the spider (1st one) is called Orb Spider.

After roaming around for some time I spotted a small lizard/gecko on a rock. I am not sure about the name of this species. I think its a Rock Gecko. As the rock was high enough, I was able to get some eye level shots of the reptile. This is one of my favourite shot. I loved the way this reptile camouflaged with its surroundings. At a first glance it is difficult to distinguish it from the rock.

By this time the sun was high and my legs were getting tired. So I decided to move out of the park and head to the Butterfly Park with high hopes of taking some good shots. I had never shot butterflies before so did not know what to expect. On the way to butterfly park, I saw a small beautiful wild flower and couldn't resist to take its shot.

Once in the butterfly park, I got too exicted and started clicking every butterfly I saw. After a while I reviewed the images on my camera's LCD and was disappointed to find that not a single image was worth keeping. Some of the shots were bad in composition and many of them were not at all sharp. So I slowed down a bit, and from then onwards I concentrated on making a better composition and taking a sharp photos. I managed to get a few but still not to my liking.

By this time, I was damn tired and hungry so finally called it a day. I took the volvo bus to Majestic and then back home.

Though I managed to get some good shots, for me the trip was not as productive as I had thought. I took many shots but when reviewing them on my laptop I rejected most of them, majority because of lack of sharpness. One thing that I learned from this trip is that just taking more frames dosen't mean that you will get better shots. If each shot is taken with little bit of thought and concentration the success ratio is more. Another thing that I realized was taking macro/closeup shots require good amount of practice and skill, other wise most of the time you will find that the picture taken is not focused correctly and is not tack sharp.

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