Week 8 – Awake

Am playing major catch up with my submissions! Life has as usual got in the way 😛 and photography has been th farthest thing from my mind the last few weeks.

Awake was a difficult one for me. I thought of eyes, coffee and sunrises…but having photographed them all before, I wasn’t too keen on doing it again. I find that I lean toward finding a unique interpretation of the theme each week – and believe me – it ain’t easy! I knew the feeling I wanted to get – that of the whole world being asleep and just one person being awake. I have my insomnia to thank for the shot I finally took!

I was awake very early one morning, probably 4.30 am and when I stood in the balcony enjoying the cool morning breeze, I saw the perfect picture. One lit window in an ocean of darkness. I might be tending towards the dramatic here…but it struck me that a light in the window – is such a beacon of wakefulness. It allows the weary traveller, hope. Hope that someone is awake, waiting, perhaps even welcoming 🙂 I wish I were in Goa – I would have photographed the Aguada Lighthouse! It would have been perfect.

In the absence of the Lighthouse, I settled for the ‘lit window’. I’ve tinkered with the shot in my edit, increasing the luminance for the softness it brings and the blues coz I love them. Hope you like it! All critiques and comments welcome as always 🙂

Week-8_Awake

Pic Details: Shot with my Nifty 50. f/1.8 1/20 ISO 200.

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Week 7 – Round

Finally a theme that excited me! Rounds are everywhere really – given the circular nature of Life, perhaps that’s as it should be! This week I wanted to concentrate on the shape of my subject and keep the rest simple. I was also fairly sure I wanted to take a food pic, so I baked a quiche 🙂 No, really! The things we do for our craft 😛

And though the quiche turned out fine, taste and shape-wise, it wasn’t quite the picture I was looking for, which is when I remembered the orange in the fridge! So I sliced it in half and got clicking. I used my Macro lens and tripod, because I wanted to get up close and personal (so to speak), and shot in natural light. I like that the emphasis on the round shape worked out and that I had a glass of refreshing citrus juice at the end of it all 🙂

Orange-Rounds
Taken with my Tamron 90mm Macro. f/6.3 1/100 ISO 200.

Then I noticed my son’s markers and thought they would make a great picture. I linked them together to form a circle, stood them on top of a drinking glass which I placed on a coffee-table book and photographed from above. I used my step ladder! I find myself doing that often while taking pictures 😉 I also dug up a few old favourites that work well with the theme and I’m posting them here. As always comments and critique are welcome 🙂

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Week 6 – Kiss

It being Valentine’s Day and all, one could hardly complain about the theme 😛 but this was a tough one too, which is why I’m late 😛 Again 😉

This week I actually wanted to try customised Bokeh in the form of ‘lips’ and see if they turn out any good. I did attempt it but was far from happy with the results. So I fell back on the tried and tested – ‘self-smooch on a mirror’ idea 😀 First I had to clean the mirror 😉 Then I used the darkest shade of lipstick I had and planted lips firmly on said mirror. But it’s tricky I learnt. No matter how clean you think you’ve wiped the surface, the lens picks up up every little speck of dust and lint! The pictures were just average and so I decided to have some fun with the editing 🙂

I love to edit and for me it’s an integral part of photography. I enjoy playing around in Photoshop and am often surprised by results from unexpected quarters! For this particular pic, I fiddled around with the red saturation and luminance levels and increased the blacks to a 100%. I was going for a poster-like look without actually using the ‘Posterize’ filter. I added the quote because I think it’s very cool and very true 😉

In the end I quite like how it turned out. An editor’s kiss can do wonders 😉

Week-6_Kiss

Pic details: Taken with my Nifty 50. f/5 1/60 ISO 200.

Week 5 – Against

Here we are on a Sunday with me sneaking in this week’s post yet again! “Against” – a challenging theme if ever there was one. I knew I didn’t want to be literal in my interpretation – I rarely do! My first thought was of silhouettes, but I have taken a few of those, some by design, many by accident 😉 and was still scouting the Internet for ideas when I saw this High Key image tutorial on the Digital Photography website that I follow. I knew instantly it was what I wanted to attempt.

I must confess though, I wasn’t quite sure how I would get the lighting right since I do not possess any equipment other than my camera and a few lenses! No off camera flashes, reflectors – nothing in short which would ensure the blown white background, until I came across another tutorial which explained how one might attempt this in natural sunlight without fancy equipment but just by manipulating exposure ‘in camera’. It seemed worth a try and I must say I’m not unhappy with the result. Ideally I would have loved to do a portrait, but my son wouldn’t humour me, so I turned to this gorgeous hibiscus bloom in my little garden 🙂

I enjoyed the process, although I must say, it was hard to keep a steady hand while trying for an angle where I had only the sky in the background. I took many shots of course, but settled for this one where the exposure is adjusted to -5 EV. I find I like the starkness of this look and I will definitely be trying it for portraits in the future 🙂

As always, all comments and critique welcome!

Week-5_Against

Pic details: Taken with my Nifty 50. f/10 1/100 ISO 200 -5 EV

Week 4 – Glass

There’s a pattern emerging, slowly but surely – I seem to be dawdling through the week and then rushing to sneak in the post on Sunday evening 😛 Time differences have never been more helpful 😉

Glass – by far the toughest theme so far. Lots of ideas but none that I managed to execute to my satisfaction. Glasses, mirrors, reflections, spectacles, even books with Glass in the title for a completely unexpected take on the subject at hand…all of these ran through my head, but as the week passed and pictures were posted, I was fast running out of ideas. Then I thought of ice in a glass and wondered how that might turn out. Shot with my Macro lens to get up close and personal and hoping it would turn an ordinary picture into something worth posting. I’m not sure I like the result…I would have preferred sharper edges on the ice cubes, but ice melts – duh! I chose this one because of the angle and the condensation, but this is one shot, I would like to try again in the future, under no duress! At the very least, I hope it’s refreshing 🙂

Week-4_Glass

Pic details: Taken with my Tamron 90mm Macro lens. f/8, 1/50, ISO 160.

Happy Clicking People 🙂

Week 3 – Entrance

Just back from the long weekend in Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram (posts to follow soon!), which is why I’m a day late with this post.

The week’s theme ‘Entrance’, was as always open to interpretation. Thank You Ingrid for coming up with these endlessly engaging themes 🙂 I was lucky to be in Pondicherry for this particular theme, because this tiny ex-French colony, is dotted with interesting entrances! Pondy (as it’s, I like to think, fondly called), epitomises for me a sort of ‘laissez-faire’ attitude that is hippie yet chic. The French Quarter is my favourite part of town with it’s narrow lanes bordered with colourfully painted entrances to houses, cafes and boutiques, often framed by profusely blooming bougainvillea. In such a setting, it wasn’t difficult to find doorways that would make for a pretty picture. So of course, what actually caught my eye, was a derelict bungalow with a rusty gate framing it’s unkempt yard! Talk about the unexpected!

Much of photography is still impulsive. It’s just who I am as a person. So even though I’ve much improved my technical knowhow through last year’s challenge, it’s still often a case of ‘Shoot Now, Think Later’ 😛 This was one of those shots. I took a picture because the house seemed haunting, it tugged at my heart strings and I found myself imagining what it must have looked like in its youth, how it must have felt then and how it must feel now – weary, forgotten & abandoned. Like Mandalay in Rebecca 😉 You get the picture! The geometry helped too – I like that the structured entrance framed the disorder within! I do regret however that my nifty 50 is the widest lens I have at the moment 😦 I really want to get a nice wide angle for these kinds of shots, but for now, this will have to do. I did think about converting this to sepia or B&W but decided after trying those out to stay with the original colours…it just seemed fitting somehow and I like the overall tones.

Week-3_Entrance

Taken with my nifty 50. f/3.5, 1/100, ISO 125

As always, all comments and critiques are welcome! How could I have made this better? Let me know!

Have a Happy week ahead people 🙂

Week 2 – Local

Local – a theme open to a million interpretations…so the first thing that enters my head is of course – Food! India, in all her diversity, boasts a veritable universe of ‘local’ goodies. Every state, every community has a local specialty that they swear by, whether it’s a main course or dessert or even alcohol! My home state Goa is known for its Portuguese-influenced preparations such as Fish Reichado, Vindaloo, and Sorpotel, best enjoyed with piping hot soft bread called Pao or the harder version known as Une (u-nay) from the local bakery. Every little village in Goa has its own local baker and the baker’s boy, who can be heard in the evenings, honking his bicycle as he goes door-to-door peddling his wares! Oh my mouth waters at the thought of such delicacies 🙂 Such a glut of local flavours to explore too, here in Bangalore where I currently live. If there’s one crib I have with Indian food though, it’s that, it doesn’t always photograph well. Our dishes are often unstructured and individual platings rare (unless in restaurants serving fusion cuisine), because much of our eating experience is a communal one. Sharing is key. Most dishes are served in large platters and bowls – curries, biryanis, even desserts – to be shared by family and friends. It might not be pretty but it’s delicious 🙂

The shot I chose to submit was one featuring my absolute favourite South Indian meal – the humble, ubiquitous, utterly delicious, ‘Idli-Sambar’. This one all the more special because a friend cooked it for me for Pongal! Thank you Meera 🙂 The softly, fluffy idlis drowned in the steaming hot, perfectly-spiced sambar made for an unbeatable combination that tingled every taste bud I had and some I didn’t know existed 😛 This picture was taken with the leftovers that I brought home! I arranged them on a steel plate because I love the reflections I can get off the steel surface. I used my tripod and my flash for this one. It’s been a long time since I used either and it felt good. I also used a ladder 😉 To climb up and manipulate the camera angle for this overhead shot! It was fun, not in the least because I got to eat my subject after 😉

Week-2_Local

Taken with my Nifty 50. f/6.3, 1/100, ISO 125. All comments and critiques welcome!

I hope you have a chance to sample your favourite ‘local’ flavours soon!

Until next week – Happy Clicking 🙂

Week 1- Beginning

I hope 2015 has been treating you all well so far 🙂

Just my luck that as soon as I post a Sunrise picture to symbolise New Beginnings, Ingrid posts our first theme of the Challenge. No prizes for guessing – ‘Beginning’ is our theme! Why couldn’t I just have waited a couple of days to post that pic 😛

I had a few ideas in my head, books, time, God…but all my attempts fizzled out. In the beginning, there was Chaos! I thought for a while about flinging paint at an empty canvas to depict Chaos – very appealing, but time consuming not to mention MESSY! Before I knew it, it was Sunday and I was going to be late for my very first post – not what I intended. And that’s when it dawned on me; In the Beginning…there was light 🙂

So here I go, making my Beginning, with one of my favourite things to photograph…Light. I love all forms of light, from the warm, delicate glow of a candle, to the fiery flames of a bonfire. Light to me is auspicious, symbolic of ‘good’ and ‘all that is well with the world’. In these fractious times, light soothes my cantankerous moods and brings promise of a brighter tomorrow, and yet I’m often disappointed. The World being what it is, succour is hard to find. Recent events in Paris are proof enough of the anarchy that stalks us relentlessly 😦 And yet, what choice is left to us, but to pick up the pieces and start over? To soldier on through the darkness in the hope of light at the end of the tunnel? I’m reminded of this quote by Martin Luther King Jr.

“Darkness cannot drive out Darkness; only Light can do that. Hate cannot drive out Hate; only Love can do that.”

I dedicate my first image of the Challenge to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. May they find Peace in Light everlasting ❤

Week-1_Beginning

Pic Details: Taken with my Nifty 50. f/2.5, 1/13, ISO 125. I’ve increased the shadows to heighten the contrast between the orange glow from the light and the encircling darkness.

May the Light be with you People ❤

New Beginnings!

I know, I know…the title is as unoriginal as they come, but cliches are cliches for a reason after all 😛

This is my 2nd year with the CameraShy Take52 Challenge. In 2014, I started of with a bang until I lost my mojo majorly in the latter half of the year, when Life got rather hectic. I had such a wonderful time though – it’s a group of warm and talented photographers and I learned a lot, not only about photographic techniques and tips but also about the creative process in general. Most of all, it was FUN!

My goal this year is to complete the Challenge. I have every toe and finger crossed and I’m stating now for the record that this is NOT a New year resolution, because let’s face it, we all know what happens to those 😉 With that goal in mind, I decided to start this Blog – to marry my two passions – writing & photography. I’m hoping the Blog will not only serve as a record of my adventures in photography but also keep me motivated through the year. Your comments, critiques and suggestions will also go a long way in keeping me motivated, so lend a girl a hand would ya?! I’ll be eternally grateful and I’ll try my best not to disappoint.

The plan is to post ‘A picture a week’ based on the themes from the Challenge. And just to show I’m not faffing (coz why would you believe me?!), here’s my first post of 2015. It’s not Challenge-based ‘coz we haven’t begun yet, but I just wanted to start off with a picture that matches the title of this post…what could be more symbolic of new beginnings than a beautiful sunrise? I caught this one on our drive from Goa to Bangalore, my first one of 2015!

Goan-Sunrise

Taken with my Nifty 50. f/20, 1/100, ISO 125 (click on the picture for ‘the big picture’!)

P.S. Just a word about my equipment (such as it is). I use a Nikon D90 and have 3 lenses at the moment…My nifty 50, 50mm f/1.8D which lives on my camera. My 70-300mm Zoom which I use primarily for wildlife/bird photography and my recently acquired second-hand Sigma 500mm which I use for…what else…wildlife photography! It’s a passionate obsession of mine as you’ll find out if you stick with me on this journey 🙂

So Happy 2015 People…May it be Picturesque 🙂