The final one for the year took me to Dahanu.. a rustic town by the sea, north of Mumbai. I had been to Dahanu once before, about 10 years back and had loved the serenity, the water front and the old world charm. So when Rajlaxmi called up and asked me to cover her wedding there, I instantly agreed. This wasnt going to be about pomp and show; this was a simple wedding in simple town. I shot the Srimant-poojan the evening I reached and the wedding and reception next day. Got some superb shots, one of them being one of the best I ever shot. For me the day wasnt done till I did a couple shoot on the beach. We had very limited time and it didnt go futile.. The couple were great and the sunset over the Arabian ocean made it super romantic.. Here we go..
10 days later I was on my second assignment; this time flying east to the City of Joy.., Kolkata. This was Paromita and Nilanjan’s big day. It was a late night flight from Bangalore which was further delayed by fog and by the time I landed at my destination, it was past midnight. But what a relief it was to see Abhishek, Paromita’s brother waiting to receive me at the gates. The next day was super eventful and I shot some of the best moments of all times. Wonderful couple, great people around and great food..! Here is their story…
Come November and the Indian wedding scene is abuzz with activity. And its a time of plenty for the wedding photographer too. Sometimes a bit too much…
This season had 3 weddings in store for me and I had utmost fun at each one of them. The travel was intense and I probably booked more flight hours than some pilots 6 flights in 11 days was a personal record..!
These were weddings of different cultures; something I been longing to capture. Full of fun, emotions and color…
The first one was in base camp Bangalore and I was shooting every bit of it starting with Mehandi, all the way to the reception. Dhanashree and Aditya knew each other since school days. It was such a pleasure photographing the couple, the families and friends. Here are some snapshots of the days…
Folks I recently found the Toucan backup utility while searching for free backup apps. Its pretty simple but does a good job. It can do copy, of a diff copy or sync. Several options are available on its simple but intuitive GUI.
I used it for syncing my two portable hard drives. Worked pretty well.
Kata WS 606 was the gift I received this Diwali. I wanted a bigger bag that could accommodate 2 digital SLRs; 4 lenses, one of them being the 70-200 f2.8, 580exII, LED light panel and all other tit-bits like filters, snoots, gels, batteries, CF cards… The bag that I currently use was bought back in 2002 in Korea. I must say its the most durable and comfortable shoulder bag I have used till date. But sadly it can house only 2 SLRs and 2 smaller lenses.
I started looking for reviews for different bags that matched my specifications. The only other bag that I liked more than the Kata was the Domke F1 X (a little bit bigger bag). Check out the link: http://www.cambags.com/nikon/d1/shoulder/images/domke_f-1/domke_f-3x_nikon_d3_rhansen.jpg
A couple of things here. It can accommodate two SLRs for sure but with a little struggle. Also the bag in itself doesnt offer any shock protection from sides to its contents. For that you need to separately buy the cushioned compartments shown in the picture above.
The kata comes with customizable partitions and has ample cushion on all sides. The only negative for me is its a bit too tall. An inch and half less could have done for me. But all in all pretty sturdy with lots of room. Check this video out:
Another minor annoyance is the shoulder strap’s cushion. The cushion is stitched at the center of the strap. This may be good for someone hanging the bag on one shoulder but for someone like me, who takes the strap across so the bag hangs on my back, the cushion doesnt position accurately on my shoulder. Though I can live with that I hope. If not, I will get a custom strap that suits me. The bag has 3 pockets. Two on sides and one on the front. There is a netted slot on the inside of the top cover to put batteries, cf cards, papers or other small stuff.
The yellow interior makes it easy to see the contents in low light too. All in all a good bag to carry most of your stuff. You will have to control the urge not to stuff it to capacity or it will be too heavy to carry
I am using the Kata only to transport all my gear securely, be it on a plane or a bus. The side cushions do a good job here. For the actual shoot, I carry two much smaller and lighter bags. One being the LowePro Adventure 1700 which carries all my lighting stuff – flash, batteries, snoots, diffuser, LED Light panel and some small LED torches.
My next buy is something that makes carrying cameras a breeze – the Spider Hoster system. http://www.spiderholster.com
Finally a new addition to my list of post processing tools – the Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch tablet.
My first reaction was – Awesome. It looks great, is very light, sleek and performs just as good. Contrary to some reports that it takes considerable time to familiarize with, I got comfy with mine in just 20 minutes. While installing it can be installed for either left or right handed operation – right being default. Just like any mouse. The pen has one button which defaults to right click (on a mouse). With tools like photoshop, this button is useful to get options for selected tools - like when brush is selected, clicking this button brings on the brush palette. This button can be pressed on both its ends – pressing the other end brings on the pan (hand cursor) in photoshop and the image can be moved around on the screen.
There are lots of other nice features folks. Just google for the words above and u will get plenty of videos and tutorials.
What I will plan to add in the coming time is a wish list of features that I would love to have in this little wonder but arent currently supported
Heres the video:
PS: Thanks Trisha for carrying it.. and Shantanu ofcouse for everything
I am sure many of you would have wondered why the same image looks different on different viewing devices, even browsers… A lot of factors affect how a monitor (if I may use that as the broad term to describe electronic viewing devices) renders colors of an image. A CRT monitor would do it differently than a LCD and a new CRT monitor would differ from an aged one of the same brand. You need to calibrate the monitor correctly to be able to faithfully see colors. But this post is not about monitor calibration. You can calibrate your own monitors but not of the rest of the world. So what are our choices? Not many…!
Heres what I have found and experienced. I always convert images to be shared on electronic media to have sRGB (standard RGB) color space. The sRGB is the de’facto color space of the world and the world wide web. You could be working in Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB while editing your images but while putting on the web, convert them to sRGB. No dont just assign a sRGB color space, ‘convert’ to sRGB. Guys using photoshop would know what I mean. Go to Edit > Color Settings > and convert.
You would generally need to reduce the image size before sharing. In photoshop, the ‘save for web and devices’ option in ‘File’ menu does just that. It down-rez the image to 72 ppi and removes all color color management information (like color space) from the image. You have the option of allowing PS to embed a sRGB space – which I found works fine.
Next you need to see how the colors could look. Go to View > Proof Setup and click on Monitor RGB. This tells you how the image will look on the monitor. You can also check Windows/Mac RGB to check how browsers will render colors. I have seen that save for web only bumps the gamma a little but the colors are mostly identical – I have seen pretty carefully and I dont see any difference.
Do does that get rid of your cross-browser, cross-moniotr color woes? No..! but thats not your fault. This is the best you can do to make sure your images render most faithfully across different browsers/monitors…
Try it yourself and see the difference…
Its almost an year I did my last product shoot. The next was was certainly overdue
Heres one of ruby in gold pendant from Swarovski. The idea was to get a few shots; one of the pendant and another of the human form wearing it.
I started out with conceptualizing the lighting for the pendant. The pendant is small and I couldnt have used flashes and regular light modifiers. I had to get the red of the ruby to show through and also get enough side lighting on the gold to glitter. So I started out with a white cardboard seamless, placed the case, carrying the Swarovski logo and laid the pendant flat on it with the ruby on the transparent plastic window.
Two A4 size white papers were made to stand on their long side which were for the fill light from the sides. Two LED lights were placed on blocks such that light from them was hitting the A4 paper on their opposite side – left light incident on the paper on the right and vice-versa. This took care of lighting the gold chain, but since the case was deep blue, the red ruby was quite dark. So I took a third light (a handy Maglite tungsten torch) and pointed it up at a white reflector which I held in my hand. This reflected light into the plastic window and lit up the ruby and also provided a golden-orange background to separate the pendant from the background. The camera was on tripod at an angle to the case and pendant, with a RS-80N3 switch.
Heres the final image. I added the orange streak and glow in post processing to match the overall mood.
Much has been said about jewelry in an Indian wedding… but all those words fall short in describing their beauty and their place in our rituals. So I thought I dedicate one exclusively to jewelry and et’al. I am no expert on jewelry but I sure appreciate their beauty and they are my fav when it comes to photography. Modern jewelry is sleek and minimalistic, in contrast to the elaborate and ‘heavy’ appearance of the traditional jewelry. A lot of weddings still stick to the traditional way but receptions are places where you would find a tinge of modernity.
I tried giving a post processing treatment, inline with the type of jewelry I photographed. So most of it is that good old ‘timeless classic’ feel.
Bangles, I feel is one of the simplest yet stunning combination of glass and colors that man has invented. And they obviously enjoy a unique place in all our weddings; most of the times preceding any other ‘metallic’ jewelry. Here is a collection of bangles in all colors, envying the rainbow.
What a busy half year it has been for me..! No time to write. I covered weddings and receptions, that were both challenge and fun at the same time. For someone into people and portrait photography, there is probably no better occasion than a wedding. You have people dressed to their best. the Bride and Groom are decked up to perfection and the rituals, customs and culture add spice to the recipe. The challenge is – there is no margin for screw-up; no one out there is going to enact all that a second time just because you werent ready, or your camera didnt work, or you were talking on phone, or simply because u were in a bad mood…
Rather than getting into specifics of events; something that has been discussed a lot elsewhere, here are some of the images that I loved the most. The moments these images depict make them special to the people that they were made for.
My efforts are always focused around making an impact..! and it starts with shooting an image, followed by the post-processing. After having seen thousands of photos from a hell lot wedding photographers, only some make an impression.. the reason is they infused their images with something unique. This is just such an attempt.. There is always a room for improvement and I will keep improving with each pass
It has been ages (3 months) I wrote on my blog and I am beginning to feel sick…
Things have piled up and there is a considerable backlog of shoots and pictures to clear… So here we go…
Last December I did a few shoots at Lalbagh along with Pradeep. The idea was to get a mix of everything – candids, street shots, landscapes and portraits. Lalbagh is probably the only place that offers all these.
I reached there at 6:45 am and Pradeep joined me 10 minutes later. We walked straight into the huge open lawn near the main gate parking as this was the place that held a lot of promise. The early morning winter cold, mist and trickling sunlight make an excellent combination. Add a human form to it and now we are talking… Heres my shot of Pradeep taking a shot.
This is with the EF 85mm.
A wedding shoot in God’s Own Country – Kerala was a truly ‘divine’ experience .
I had been talking to the bride to be, Brinda over phone and e-mails for almost 3 weeks and I got to meet her on the morning of reception in Kumarakom. Over breakfast, I was introduced to her family and Kumaran, her groom who had flown down from US just a couple of days earlier. Since none of the sides had a home in Kumarakom, they were all put up in 3 different resorts. These are truly wonderful people and personally took care to see that I am comfortable. Thanks a lot folks for that..
My arrangements were made at the Tharavadu Heritage Homes , a rustic but cozy place with a clear view of Sri Kumaramangala Temple, just across a backwater canal. The temple was the venue for the wedding the following morning.
I started with exploring Tharavadu and the surrounding townscape looking for suitable environment and lighting for the next morning. Lovely little town with lots of opportunities for even a casual street photographer too. A high bridge went over the backwater canal and gave a breathtaking view of the temple and the easy-going village life. Here is one my my most fav pics.
Was happy to see 10K + hits today when I opened the blog stats. Its been 10 months I started writing… way to go
When it comes to using flash – I generally bounce it off walls, ceilings and any other surface I can get hold of in the vicinity. Well I dont curse myself for that since I mostly shoot indoors with a flash. The light is beautifully directional but with the side-effect of acquiring the color cast of the surface it bounced off of. But what if I didnt have anything to bounce the light off; what if I shot exclusively outdoors…!
I use the Canon 580EXII. In the E-TTL II mode, it defaults to the fill-flash mode. While shooting, the camera first meters ambient light on half-press of the shutter button and then on full press, a low power pre-flash is fired from the flash gun. The reflected light is also metered by the same metering system as used for ambient. An algorithm then calculates the correct flash exposure after comparing the ambient and the flash exposure from – as per the white paper for the 1D MKII – the central 17 metering zones. Areas with large difference between ambient and pre-flash readings are excluded or given a lesser weightage as they are assumed to be a highly reflective object like mirror, glass panes etc.
Unlike E-TTL, E-TTL II can also use distance information provided by compatible lenses (most canon lenses do this). Also, E-TTL II is not completely focus point linked. So regardless of what metering method is selected for ambient metering, the camera uses either evaluative or average (based on selection) to meter the pre-flash exposure.
There are two algorithms that can be used – evaluative and average. The Evaluative takes into account the inputs from the entire frame for calculating the exposure, whereas the average gives more weight to the zones around the focus point. How the E-TTL II algorithm exactly works has not been revealed by canon. Its left to the user to try out these methods to know what best suits their taste.
I visited Cauvery fishing camp for a couple of days – a team outing. The weather was awesome. Gently overcast with the sun occasionally peeping out from behind the clouds. The light was great for portraiture, all day (barring the short but heavy spell of rain early one evening). This gave me a good overall exposure on the subject but the light still appeared a bit flat and boring for my taste. So I had to make my ‘models’ pose in a way and in locations where there was a gradient of light and then use the flash to fill in the shadows.
Heres the first one where I positioned Pradeep under this huge tree a couple of hops inside the river. The metering was for the background, which was giving me a pretty high exposure. But there was very little light under the tree. I didnt have a ND filter and so had to compromise a little with the background. I overexposed it by 2/3rd of a stop to get more leverage on the foreground subject.
Used 580EXII with the white-card and tuned the exposure to -1 on E-TTL. The flash did a great job and I got a nice even exposure with the main light still being directional.