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Archive for February, 2009

As i had mentioned in an earlier post, i attended a presentation on digital photography at Canon Image Lounge by Sudhir Shivram today evening. It was an amazing experience, and was totally worth the time spent.

I had expressed my disappointment with Canon, which had organized a horrible workshop at NICC, in one of my earlier post, but Sudhir’s presentation and Canon Image Lounge experience made me change my mind.
Sudhir patiently went through all the questions that were raised, and explained the concepts in the time available, which was 2 hour stretched to nearly 3 and half hours.

I even got a Pied Kingfisher image printed and autographed from Sudhir at the end. :-)

Image autographed by Sudhir Shivram:

pied kingfisher with sudhir shivram's autograph

An evening well spend, and an end to a great weekend.

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Caught this lovely kid at Aero show 2009 on Valentine’s Day.

i-love-bangalore

Hope you had a happy Valentine’s day!

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painted-stork-at-ranganathittu

Located at a distance of 125km from Bangalore, Ranganathittu bird sanctuary is one of the most popular bird sanctuaries in India. Large number of migratory birds arrive here during winter from across the world.

My plan of visiting this place was to shoot a supermodel of Ranganathittu, the Pied Kingfisher. Almost everyone who has been to Ranganathittu in the recent past has come back with a good shot of the resident Pied Kingfisher, which is hard to shoot at other places. Since initial plan to go on 31st Jan didn’t work out, i planned to go on 7th Feb. Most of my friends, who had initially asked me to plan for 7th Feb so that they could join backed out on Friday evening. I somehow convinced Karthik and Chinmay to join me. Dantis confirmed at 11:30pm. Sam sent me a message at 2am expressing his interest to photograph the irresistible supermodel.

I left my home at 5:30am, and picked Sam, Dantis, Karthik and Chinmay from different parts of Bangalore. We were on Mysore road by about 7am. Total disarray of plan. I wanted to reach Ranganathittu by 7:30am, but we weren’t even close. Didn’t stop either for Sam to get cash at an ATM or for Chinmay to have breakfast. Dashed to reach Ranganathittu by 8:45am.

Route: Bangalore -> Ramnagaram -> Bidadi -> Maddur -> Mandya -> Srirangapatta -> Ranganathittu

Distance: 125km or 78 miles

Stork billed kingfisher first catch

Stork billed kingfisher first catch

First up, we got very co-operative Red-whiskered Bulbul. As we reached the boating area, we spotted a Stork-Billed Kingfisher. There were hardly any tourists at that time, and could manage to click a decent shot of the bird before it flew away. There were plenty of Cormorants, Painted Storks, Openbill Storks, Spoonbills, Egrets, Ibis, Night Heron, and Spot-billed Pelicans on the islets of the river Cauvery.

We took a boat for 5 of us at Rs.50/- per person. I asked the boatman to head straight to spot where we can find the Pied Kingfisher. It was already 9am and the sun was getting harsh. I didn’t want the sun to come overhead and spoil the good lighting for photography. We clicked few Painted and Openbill storks and also a pair of Stone Plovers before we reached the spot of supermodel.

Open billed stork, obvious why it is called so, isn't it?

Open billed stork, obvious why it is called so, isn't it?

Since i insisted on clicking the kingfisher, the boatman got little skeptical of finding it, and said Sir sometimes you’ll find them straightaway and at others you don’t get them even when you wait for an hour. Cautiously moved the boat around, but we couldn’t get a sight. I told him, i’ll not leave without clicking the king, with a good tip. Just then, we could spot a Pied Kingfisher under the canopy, near to the shore. Once we spotted, it’s not hard to click the supermodels. They are so used to people here! May be as a challenge, i should click a good shot of Pied Kingfisher elsewhere.

Next target species was River Tern for me and Mugger Crocodile for Sam. Moved around the rocks where Swallows nested. Could spot a croc in water, but that’s not how Sam wanted it. At a distance, we could spot a River Tern. As we got closer, a chic came towards it mom. It was a great sight. The boatman told that there are 3chics around, but we could see only one. It was close to 10am and the sun was getting harsh. Managed to click the River Tern with its chic, but not to my satisfaction. The shadow of its head was on its body and face, covering its eyes at times, and i couldn’t get a sharp eye of the bird.

cormorant-in-flight

We left the spot, and clicked few shots of Pelicans. My attempts of getting a good shot of Painted stork in flight went in vain. Tipped the demanding boatman again, and left for breakfast.

Pied Kingfisher

pied-kingfisher

River Tern with a chic

River-tern-with-chic

Stone Plover couple

stone-plover

Myself and Sam walked along the edge of the river for some time. Sighted an Asian Paradise Flycatcher, and also pied wagtail. Couldn’t reach the place where we sighted the Pied Kingfisher as the fields on the edge of the river were slushy and we hadn’t equipped ourselves for it.

We left for Bangalore by 12:45pm. With an hour break for lunch at the hyped and over crowed Kamat restaurant near Ramnagaram, we reached Bangalore by 4pm.

Couldn’t resist one more image of Pied Kingfisher:

pied-kingfisher-01

All shots are shot with Canon EOS 450D and Canon 55-250mm IS lens, post processing on Canon DPP and Adobe Photoshop 7.0 (I know i need to upgrade).

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I visited Canon Image Lounge on Monday evening. This lounge showcases all Canon products for the prospective customers to try a hand before they buy.

This is an excellent initiative from Canon. One can try the latest products from Canon, from Cameras to Scanners and all other accessories. This kind of a concept is for the first time in India, and i was really impressed by the service they offered.

I wanted to try 400mm f/5.6L lens. They were more than happy to let me try the lens with any specific camera body i want. I took multiple shots, with and without a 1.4x teleconverter, with and without a tripod. The lens itself is light enough to work hand held without any issues, but adding a teleconverter makes it hard to use hand held, for two reasons. One, it gets heavier and two, manual focus becomes much harder. But the speed of focus is excellent. You’d miss IS if you are used to it, like me.

I also tried the ‘dream lens’, 500mm f/4L. It is huge, and it’s really hard for me to try hand held. The lens is incredible. There’s no need to write more about that lens.

Sudhir Shivram is giving a small presentation on digital photography at the Canon Image Lounge this Sunday (15th Jan) at 3pm. Read about it here. I plan to go there. The Aero show plan looks bleak. Will catch up if any of you are there. Btw, Canon image lounge is at Brigade towers on Brigade road, towards residence road (after eva mall).

That’s all folks!

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Dinner with Dr. Dholakia of AIIM

Last Wednesday, i got an opportunity to meet one of the most distinguished person in Business education. Dr.Bakul Dholakia, who currently heads the Adani Institute of Infrastructure Management(AIIM) was the director of IIM-A from 2002 to 2007, chairman of RBI from 1992 to 1999 and was awarded Padma Shri in 2007 for his services in the field of education.

Our discussion varied and was mostly about the Blogging. Joel, Nikhil and myself talked about the phenomenon of blogging, its reach, and the way it works.

Dr.Dholakia talked about his days in IIM-A, where he was phenomenal in starting one year PGPX course for executives. Read this article on Rediff, How Bakul Dholakia nurtured IIM-A.

After quitting IIM-A, he has taken up the challenge of heading the AIIM, which would cater the specific management needs of the infrastructure industry. He explained how the infrastructure industry lacks quality managers, who are necessary for managing thousands of crores of investment in infrastructure in India.

AIIM aims to bridge the gap the infrastructure industry that does not have enough quality managers with an insight into infrastructure industry. Students at AIIM’s 1year course would have an opportunity to visit a foreign country for a field trip. Adani group has a lot of infrastructure projects going on, and the demand for quality managers would rise in the near future. This demand would give opportunity for students to intern and get placed in Adani group itself.

Read more about AIIM’s PGPIM course here.

P.S.: Please don’t hurl stones at me.

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Sleeping Disorder

Kehte hai ke ishq mein neend udh jati hai
Koi humse bhi toh ishq kare.. Kambakth neend bohot aati hai

Sleeping disorder saps the energy out of you. Makes you more stressed. I have been going through this for quite sometime now. And no, no, i’m not in love. In my case, it is not because of this.

I lay in the bed for little more than 8hours on an average but manage to catch only about 4-5hours of sleep. I get into bed by 12-12:30am and i don’t fall asleep for nearly an hour and up to 2-3hours on bad days. If i am lucky, i’ll sleep for few hours before i’m awake by 4-5am. Another hour of battle to catch sleep. Again, by 8am i’ll be awake struggling to catch sleep for the last half an hour or so, but in vain.

This really stresses me out, especially on the days when i have lot of work and when i go out for trips. Even after long hours of sleeplessness i don’t catch sleep easily, like it happened yesterday. I hit the bed by 12:30am on Friday night, and got up (rather got out of bed) by 5:15am on Saturday morning, managing to sleep only for about 2-3hours. Reached home, after a good trip (more about it in the next post), by 4pm. Desperately wanted to catch some sleep, at least for couple of hours. But no. I lay in bed from 4:30 to 5:45 without a wink of sleep, and the i gave up!

Why does this happen with me?! period.

P.S.:

After Bird Race, and Chitra Sante on successive weekends, I went to Valley school on 31st Jan, and Ranganatittu on 7th Feb (yday) . Yet to upload and process images from these two trips. Will try and do this asap.

And, yeah, planning to go to Aero India 2009, the coming week (weekday or weekend, undecided yet). Also, thinking about IndiBlogger’s meet on 21st Feb 28th Feb. Would be good to catch up if any of you are coming for Aero show or blogger’s meet.

Somebody stop me from going out every weekend! I think i should have a girlfriend :))

P.P.S.:

Have accumulated about 50GB of images since i bought my DSLR in late July. Have it all dumped on my desktop hard disk. Since i couldn’t upload anymore images to my computer, i thought to writing these to DVDs. And man, my writer is dead and none noticed. :(

Got writer from my cousin, and started the process. Writing one Sony DVD with 4.5GB of data took nearly 1.5hours!!

I learned that Sony discs suck, and need to get something else. Any inputs on this??

And, ignore the last sentence in P.S.

update:

As Dilip pointed out the problem might be due to device transfer mode in “PIO”, instead of “Ultra DMA”. I had done changes to make the LG drive work about a year back. Read that post.

This link provides more information: http://winhlp.com/node/10

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