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Last week, I got a chance to try out the new Canon EF 2x II Teleconvertor on top on Canon 100-400 on a non-pro Canon EOS 450D (Rebel XSi) body. It was not a ‘test’ of sorts. I just chanced on an Egyptian Vulture and shot from the car. As it was too far for a good frame filling shot on 400mm lens, I put the 2x extender to check what I can make of this.  I did not use a tripod, but used support of car window.

On non-professional Canon bodies such as EOS 450D (Rebel series), 40D, and 7D, Auto-focus doesn’t work at aperture f/8 and higher. So, I had to use manual focus. The results were very impressive. Here’s for you to see:

Captured with 100-400 @ 400mm without TC. Full Frame Image. Click on image for full resolution (900 X 600)


Captured on 100-400 + 2X extender (teleconverter) @ 800mm. Full Frame Image. Click on image for full resolution (900 X 600)

 

EXIF:

First image – Canon 100-400mm @ 400mm, Canon EOS 450D, Auto-focus, ISO-200, f/5.6, 1/1600s.

Second image – Canon 100-400mm + Canon EF 2x II Extender @ 800mm, Canon EOS 450D, Manual-focus, ISO-200, f/11, 1/400s.

 

I don’t believe in tests under controlled conditions where you use a sturdy tripod and test pattern. What matters to me is what I get in the field. And I am impressed with the Image Quality, Sharpness and Contrast produced on the new 2X extender and Canon 100-400mm combination. Many a times I have heard that zooms don’t perform well when used with a teleconverter, but this trial has proved it otherwise. If I can get this kind of sharpness and Image Quality, I love the flexibility of a zoom lens.

 

Here is a 50% crop of the image captured with a 2X TC.


50% crop of 800mm view (full resolution – 700×467)

 

I did not put up a 100% crop because, the image was not as very sharp as you can get on a frame filling 100% image on 400mm lens. I didn’t want do excessive sharpening to give an appealing image. Also, I felt it is not fair to put a 100% crop when the conditions used to capture the image were far from ideal – hand holding with support of a car window to manual focus at 800mm and 1/400 shutter speed. If you use a sturdy tripod, I definitely think the results would be much better. I also stopped down to f/13 and captured few more frames, and it has come out even sharper.

Bokeh or Depth of field – Shooting at f/11 takes away the advantage of the bokeh you expect to get on a 800mm lens. It is almost same as what you get on 400mm at f/5.6 (obviously so?).

 

The catch of course is where can you get the luxury of shooting at 1/400s shutter speed at f/11 aperture at ISO-200. Definitely not in 80% of the situations I shoot in. It is best suited to open grasslands, lakes, coasts, and similar spots with good lighting. Also, not suitable for birds that are very agile. Most raptors maintain their distance and don’t move much. So, ideally suited for photographing such birds.

It is best to have a longer lens if you want to shoot far away subjects, but for those who want to try a longer reach without shelling out a lot of money, this works decently. Though I haven’t tried out the older Canon 2X extender, I have heard it is not very good. But the version II of the 2x extender definitely is worth a look.

 

P.S.: I have not done excessive post-processing to give a impressive image. As I always follow, only the very basic post-processing steps of levels, saturation, and USM have been used.

 

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More than three months back, just about the time TFN 2009 was announced, I wanted to start a blog about the unique event in this part of the world. Err.. Hold it.  Are you wondering what is TFN?

TFN is passion. TFN is a cult. TFN is madness. TFN is about challenging yourself. TFN is about making a statement. TFN is about raising awareness. I would be wrong to say TFN is just about cycling. It is all these and more. Tour oF Nilgiris is an 8-day-900km cycling tour across the Blue Mountains (Nilgiris). It’s not a race, it’s a tour. Read about the tour here.

Now, why didn’t i write this three months back, and why am i doing it now? I created a blog for TFN 2009. I wanted to make a documentary on the event on the lines on Iditarod, I contacted the people involved in TFN and other documentary film-makers to assist me. Worst case, i wanted to blog about the event.

Unfortunately, I have to earn my bread and had to travel on work. A zillion other personal things caught me. Not that i am free now (probably obvious since i haven’t updated my blog for long time), but like i always say I don’t have time for only something i don’t like to do (at least priority-wise). I saw the contest for the official blogger of TFN – and thought this might be my last chance.

So, why should i be the official blogger?

1. I have the passion about natural environment and I try to spread awareness in whatever little way I can – as evident from this and this.

2. I can take good photographs and narrate a story (cat chase).

3. I have compiled enough travelogues on this blog, and written about relatively unknown travel spots.

4. I can write blog on the fly ( as i am doing now :P ) and still make it interesting (ya, i wish).

Above all, i have the zeal for TFN – I don’t have the endurance to ride 900km, but admire the ones who do. I have friends who have been training for TFN for quite some time, and i want to be there to witness their win as every rider is a winner on TFN.

That’s all folks!

P.S.: Still have tons of images from Bandipur, Cologne, Eindhoven, Amsterdam, Pottery Town, Valley school, and TG Halli. Hope to publish soon.

P.P.S.: Heading to a non-descript village in northern Karnataka – follow me @SandeepEmbar. Hope to be back by Sunday morning for Canon PhotoMarathon.


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How to rig online polls?

Online polls are easy and fun, but not bug free. One can easily rig an online poll, and i’ll tell you ‘how to’ soon. Why do i write a post on rigging online polls now?

Avant grade bloggies awards is open for live polling. What’s Avant grade bloggies awards? Read here about this blogging awards started by Poonam. I figured out one can vote for best blogger/post in various categories by online poll from PollDaddy.com. Nice, simple and easy.

How to vote more than once?

Just clear the ‘private data’ of your browser. Some data is saved each time you visit a webpage. Most online poll work by storing a cookie in your system, which indicates that you have already voted. So, when you want to vote again, just delete the cookie and vote again. :)

To delete cookies and other private data, go to Tools menu and click on ‘Clear Private Data’ on Firefox (Check the Cookies list). On IE, similar feature is available.

Isn’t rigging simpler than voting online?

Now, isn’t this the best how to post? :-))

P.S.: It had been really long since i posted anything in ‘technology‘ category. Thanks to Poonam and her set of judges for providing me this opportunity. :P

I think it’s better to let readers vote by comments than this poll, but what do we do about the anon comments with unreal email ids? Judges decision would be final. :P

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The Quote tag

The title says it all, isn’t it?

Well.. This is from Sneha, and i’m more than happy to put down 5 of my favorite quotes.

1. As you think, So you are.  – The Buddha

2. Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed. – Benjamin Franklin

3. Keep looking, don’t settle till you find what you love to do. – Steven Jobs

4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. – The Dalai Lama

5. I don’t have time only for something i don’t like to do. – Sandeep R.

Okay, the last quote is from a guy who doesn’t have a wiki entry yet but wishes to have it some day. :)

I’m a quote freak, and i’ve a page here listing few of my favorite quotes. The five above are picked from there. Now comes the fun part, tagging fellow bloggers. Here’s the list: Sakhi, Shivya, Dinesh, Swats (c’mon this’ll be fun!), and Reema.

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The Quirky Me

I am not quirky, How can Reems know about my quirkiness when i don’t have any?

“Every man had his own quirks and twists” – Harriet Beecher Stowe

So, what are mine?

1. Once i had life now i have a blog :))

This says all:

2. I don’t hate or have a strong dislike for anything, but sometimes i do feel i should hate something or someone.

3. I’ve my weird choices. Sometimes i appear stingy, sometimes i blowup money on what others see as stupidity. An example, I had a Nokia 6600 and later 7610, soon after its release, in college,. One year into work, i spend what seems like a fortune on a pair of headphones. “$380 for headphones!!? Are you crazy??” is expected, isn’t it? Six months later, 7610 breaks down. I live for 2 months without a cellphone saying ‘i don’t need it‘. Then i buy Samsung C-160. “Aah.. you bought a 6600 and 7610 when your dad was paying for it, and now you buy C-160. Loser!

4. Watches. I’ve bought so many of them as a kid. For few years, i even used to wear them to sleep. No, i wasn’t 4 or 5 then. I was much older.

Got Fast track, sometime early into college. Used that for a long time, a year of more into work. Then i saw a Tag Heure, and decided this would be my next watch. One month after that, strap of my watch cuts down. ‘Big deal, get a new one like i’ve done a few time in the past 4-5years.’

Nope, no such luck! They don’t have that particular type of strap any more. So, i stop wearing watches. I was cajoled to buy a new one. But that Tag Heure costs $2000! :P

5. I clear all spam mails in my 6 mail accounts, all of which i check regularly if not daily.

6. And i thought i wasn’t quirky :)) :P

Those were 6, i am feeling i’ve few more. I’d tag Po (where are you?), Deeps (make time for this, will you?) , Manasa, and Priti. I wanted to tag Dinesh, but i got late.

P.S.: I got this in a mail:

Concept of Bankruptcy

Once there was a little island country. The land of this country was
the tiny island itself. The total money in circulation was 2 dollars
as there were only two pieces of 1 dollar coins circulating around.1) There were 3 citizens living on this island country. A owned the
land. B and C each owned 1 dollar.

2) B decided to purchase the land from A for 1 dollar. So, now A and C
own 1 dollar each while B owned a piece of land that is worth 1
dollar.

* The net asset of the country now = 3 dollars.

3) Now C thought that since there is only one piece of land in the
country, and land is non producible asset, its value must definitely
go up. So, he borrowed 1 dollar from A, and together with his own 1
dollar, he bought the land from B for 2 dollars.

*A has a loan to C of 1 dollar, so his net asset is 1 dollar.
* B sold his land and got 2 dollars, so his net asset is 2 dollars.
* C owned the piece of land worth 2 dollars but with his 1 dollar debt
to A, his net residual asset is 1 dollar.
* Thus, the net asset of the country = 4 dollars.

4) A saw that the land he once owned has risen in value. He regretted
having sold it. Luckily, he has a 1 dollar loan to C. He then borrowed
2 dollars from B and acquired the land back from C for 3 dollars. The
payment is by 2 dollars cash (which he borrowed) and cancellation of
the 1 dollar loan to C. As a result, A now owned a piece of land that
is worth 3 dollars. But since he owed B 2 dollars, his net asset is 1
dollar.

* B loaned 2 dollars to A. So his net asset is 2 dollars.
* C now has the 2 coins. His net asset is also 2 dollars.
* The net asset of the country = 5 dollars. A bubble is building up.

(5) B saw that the value of land kept rising. He also wanted to own
the land. So he bought the land from A for 4 dollars. The payment is
by borrowing 2 dollars from C, and cancellation of his 2 dollars loan
to A.

* As a result, A has got his debt cleared and he got the 2 coins. His
net asset is 2 dollars.
* B owned a piece of land that is worth 4 dollars, but since he has a
debt of 2 dollars with C, his net Asset is 2 dollars.
* C loaned 2 dollars to B, so his net asset is 2 dollars.

* The net asset of the country = 6 dollars; even though, the country
has only one piece of land and 2 Dollars in circulation.

(6) Everybody has made money and everybody felt happy and prosperous.

(7) One day an evil wind blew, and an evil thought came to C’s mind.
“Hey, what if the land price stop going up, how could B repay my loan.
There is only 2 dollars in circulation, and, I think after all the
land that B owns is worth at most only 1 dollar, and no more.”

(8) A also thought the same way.

(9) Nobody wanted to buy land anymore.

* So, in the end, A owns the 2 dollar coins, his net asset is 2 dollars.
* B owed C 2 dollars and the land he owned which he thought worth 4
dollars is now 1 dollar. So his net asset is only 1 dollar.
* C has a loan of 2 dollars to B. But it is a bad debt. Although his
net asset is still 2 dollars, his Heart is palpitating.
* The net asset of the country = 3 dollars again.

(10) So, who has stolen the 3 dollars from the country ? Of course,
before the bubble burst B thought his land was worth 4 dollars.
Actually, right before the collapse, the net asset of the country was
6 dollars on paper. B’s net asset is still 2 dollars, his heart is
palpitating.

(11) B had no choice but to declare bankruptcy. C as to relinquish his
2 dollars bad debt to B, but in return he acquired the land which is
worth 1 dollar now.

* A owns the 2 coins, his net asset is 2 dollars.
* B is bankrupt, his net asset is 0 dollar. (He lost everything)
* C got no choice but end up with a land worth only 1 dollar

* The net asset of the country = 3 dollars.

************ **End of the story ************ ********* ******

There is however a redistribution of wealth.
A is the winner, B is the loser, C is lucky that he is spared.
A few points worth noting –

(1) When a bubble is building up, the debt of individuals to one
another in a country is also building up.
(2) This story of the island is a closed system whereby there is no
other country and hence no foreign debt. The worth of the asset can
only be calculated using the island’s own currency. Hence, there is no
net loss.
(3) An over-damped system is assumed when the bubble burst, meaning
the land’s value did not go down to below 1 dollar.
(4) When the bubble burst, the fellow with cash is the winner. The
fellows having the land or extending loan to others are the losers.
The asset could shrink or in worst case, they go bankrupt.
(5) If there is another citizen D either holding a dollar or another
piece of land but refrains from taking part in the game, he will
neither win nor lose. But he will see the value of his money or land
goes up and down like a see saw.
(6) When the bubble was in the growing phase, everybody made money.
(7) If you are smart and know that you are living in a growing bubble,
it is worthwhile to borrow money (like A ) and take part in the game.
But you must know when you should change everything back to cash.
(8) As in the case of land, the above phenomenon applies to stocks as well.
(9) The actual worth of land or stocks depend largely on psychology

That’s all folks!

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My first post on this blog, Hey World, was on 4th September 2007. Today is 366th day since, and my stats at this moment shows 35524 hits. As any other amateur blogger i didn’t start this for hits, and as an indicative of that, first month of my blogging had only 118 hits. There are no real life friends of mine constantly following this blog even now. I didn’t advertise with my friends, i didn’t want an audience. I wanted a distraction, and blogging was one of those. I never imagined to blog for this long. Though i felt like stopping some time back, i didn’t.

I now read and follow a few blogs, listed in my blogroll, and i’d wanna mention them here. KJ Avinash, Meghana, Priya, Nikhil, Neha, RJ, Reema, Super Nova aka Neha, Sakhi, Bhavna, Radhesh, and Megha. This is in no particular order. There are few blogs which i wish to read or follow more often, but due to not-so-obvious reasons i don’t, rather i can’t. The list of blogs i’d like to read more often: Deepu, Manasa, Shefaly, Xylene, Vishesh, Amit, Dinesh, Swats, Tia, Sneha, Po, Su, Prarthana, and Priti. (i’d add more if i’ve missed any). I’ll try and follow these blogs more regularly from now on and will add them to my blogroll soon.

One year down, i have quite a few people following this blog, including Google, and this, at times, makes me conscious and reflects on my writing. Still, there is no fabrication. This has been a great beginning, and i hope to continue for a long time.

P.S.: Google Chrome will stalk you, beware.

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The Expansionist?

Super Nova tagged me, and here’s my take on this.

Please thoughtfully consider the following, and choose one item for each of the categories below. (Be sure to describe your reasons for choosing)

One religious work from a non-familiar tradition you’ll read:
-> Something on Buddhism, if Playboy is not considered religious. :P

One music video–that you like–from your “least likely to listen to’ genre:

-> Creeping death by Metallica or Hosh walon ko khabar kya ghazal sung by Jagjit Singh, from the movie Sarfarosh.

A book from a genre you almost never read, that you have read, or you will read (promise!):
-> Any fictional stuff. On second thoughts, Chetan Bhagat’s book is something i decided i’ll never read after 1 night @ .., and i might do the 3rd mistake of my life. D

Somewhere you’d never thought to go on holiday/vacation, and why it might be fun to go there?

-> Chembra peak at Wayanad. One of the best places i’ve trekked to. Also, I wouldn’t mind visiting Swaziland for Umhlanga. You know why’s that :D

A specific food you’ve never tried, but will because of this meme, honest!:

-> Kashmiri naan, but i don’t wanna try that! Can i consider cocaine as food? ;-)

A sport or game you really hate, or haven’t tried yet, but are willing to give one more go:

-> Golf, looks so easy, but god damn hard. I can’t get a tee off right! Hockey, for having missed out an opportunity to learn and play for college. Also, defeating Rafael Nadal on clay court 6-1, 6-3 and 6-0. I really want to do that! :D

A style of dance you probably won’t try (we won’t make you promise on this one):
-> The street dance to drum beats.D

A career job you don’t feel you’re suited for, and why:

-> Any job which requires boot licking or kissing ass.. I just can’t do that.

An item that’s “thinking out of the box’ for this meme that hadn’t been included:
-> Huh? wait.. i went to the loo, but that didn’t help.

It’s there’s one thing in life you wanted to do, and will do because of this meme, what will it be?
-> I wanna change this question to “What is the one thing in life you didn’t want to do, but will do because i asked you this question?”

I want every reader of this post to answer my last question, including the one who tagged me (coz i know you’ll not read?). Also, i tag Bhavna for her first wordpress post, Sakhi, Xylene, and You. :D

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