Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow is on my mind

So, I'm back. After almost 10 months to date. A beautiful New England Summer and Fall have come and gone, Winter is at its peak. Life has been busy, and I haven't found the initiative to write anything. But as always, I've kept clicking. I take this entry to share some current pics - snow, snow and more snow.
Santa's in trouble ya'll!

Although it was bone shattering cold outside, I saw some sun one afternoon and ventured out to take some pics. Here are some pictures that shows a winter with some personality!
Is that a CAR under that while pile of snow?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Beautiful wind vanes

I'm coming back to writing this blog after a long time. My last hiatus was 4 months, and this one has been 8 months long. Life has been busy, obviously. But I keep thinking if it has been busy enough to have kept me from coming here once in a while. I spent the first year writing regularly and slowly that enthusiasm seems to have faded... And that is quite unfortunate. I received an email from a stranger the other day - asking why I had stopped writing! Guess it's time to pick up the proverbial pen again...

I spent a few months last summer on the West coast and had a great time exploring and taking pictures in the Pacific Northwest. Now that I'm back, I'm hoping to explore a lot more of the Northeast. I also have a brand new camera: a Canon Powershot SX20! Let me share a few pictures I took with it a few days ago. The theme is: wind vanes. There are so many different kinds of wind vanes around this area, here's only a few that I've photographed in the Harvard University vicinity and some in Concord, MA.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The setting sun

I'm back from a 4 month long hiatus! Not that I planned it that way, it just happened. I've been pretty busy over the last few months. I haven't stopped taking pictures, so I do have a lot of them that I want to talk about.

Here are a few that I took of the sun setting on the shores of Shilshole Bay (The great blue Pacific!) in the Golden Gardens Park, just South of Seattle. The three pictures were taken over the span of about two hours.What I like best about them is that the water is literally shimmering in all three pictures, albeit in a different light. It was a sunny and hot day, so there were lots of kids playing around and people sailing in the water. The setting sun proved a perfect backdrop for such subjects.

These pictures remind me of a very beautiful Marathi song by Lata Mangeshkar - 'Mavaltya dinakara, arghya tuz jodun donhi kara'...

After downloading all the pictures, I put one up as my desktop background. Funny thing is, I find my eyes have trouble adjusting to the bright sun on my desktop! Don't my eyes understand the difference between actual brightness and an image of brightness?!!?!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Personal music

A couple of days ago I got to hear a few local musicians play in an open mic session at a Davis Sq. Starbucks in Somerville, MA. Impromptu music sessions in local coffee shops is not a new thing for me anymore. Webster's in State College, PA, where I was a regular fixture, hosted such events quite frequently. And yet, every time I see somebody strumming away some musical composition on their guitar on a street corner, a local bookstore or even a subway station, I cannot but feel jealous of how open this society is to such displays of personal music.

Don't get me wrong, I come from a place where every hero and heroine sing and dance in every movie. Music is as much an integral part of my society as it is here. But you'll hardly ever see any self-respecting musician play on the street or in a bookstore back home. The only ones that do, are usually beggers and homeless people.

And that is what I admire most about this culture. Such venues have become a platform for people who otherwise might not have access to showcase their talents. Around here, it is just so easy to pick up your guitar (or any other musical device for that matter), go sit by the fire in a coffee shop somewhere and begin playing. You'll even get a few admirers who'll listen while sipping their coffee and cheer!

I had my camera with me that evening, so I asked one of them if I could take pictures! Didn't want to disturb everybody with the flash, do decided to take my chances and take pictures without one. The low light setting in Starbucks that evening didn't help either! Most of the pictures have come very much pixelated, but they do have a romantic feel to them. I did a little bit of work on some of them in Picasa. Here are a few...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Think, point, click, and crop

Point and click,
Think, point and click
Think, point and click and sometimes crop...

This is how I've slowly graduated in my photography adventures. For the longest time I wasn't too much into photography, but loved to have lots of pictures. That point and click phase passed quickly though, when I realized that half the photos weren't coming out well. Then there was this extended phase where I would think, then point and click. But I refused to tamper with the picture - no changing effects, no tuning, no cropping... nothing... I believed that I would compromise the very essence of being a serious photographer. Because of that, I would end up with pictures (especially the ones destined to be macro pictures) where composition seemed to be thrown out the drain! Here's an example - I had gone strawberry picking last Summer with a few friends. One of them picked up a stick with a small beetle on it and I jumped at the opportunity of taking a picture. But the beetle was so small that no matter what I did, the macro setting on a Canon A530 wasn't good enough to capture it. The moment I zoomed in with the macro setting to capture just the beetle, the focus would go out of whack. I tried different things - even asked my friend to hold the beetle in the sun vs. shade (all this while the poor beetle was trying to escape! sorry!). So finally I gave up, zoomed out and here's the picture...As a memory, this picture was good, but I didn't see any photographic value in it. So I decided to crop it... yes, I cropped! Thank god Picasa asks if the original image should be saved or not.. Here's the result -
Now, I agree that standing on it's own, this picture has a flaw - it is not crisp enough - looks pixelated (is that even a word?!??!). But whaddya think? My friend's hand created the background, the beetle stood out with a fair amount of focus on it, and if you watch closely, you can even see a small water droplet on it's back!!!

I'm in a phase now where cropping a picture once in a while is okay. At least it gives me some lessons in composition and all that! Fraudulent transaction? I think not! :-D

Oh btw, Happy new year! I know it's February, but this is my first post in this new year.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Let's break some bread...

December 31, 2008... I have actually managed to write a blog, although infrequently, for an entire year! I end this year with some delicious bread! Yep, I made bread... It was a regular olive rosemary focaccia recipe derived from multiple sources (, and a book I have!)... This was the 4th time I tried it and it was the best! :-) Yum... Sameer made some spinach and chickpeas soup to go along with it and we had some nice partay going!

I might just share the recipe with you in the new few days when I get more time, but right now I leave you with just some pictures I took!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Diwali - The festival of lights

Coming home to India for Diwali was something I was really looking forward to... Diwali, or Deepawali, is one of our biggest festivals. The name literally means 'a row of lights' and hence the title - festival of lights. For a culture that promotes a way of living represented by the saying 'तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय' (Take me from darkness to light), diwali is a fitting king of festivals - celebration of the victory of good over evil. With the thought of being at home for Diwali brought back fond memories from my childhood. When I think of Diwali, I think of lighting oil lamps, homemade sweets, shopping for new clothes, making the paper akash-kandil, rangoli in the front yard, fire crackers, building a mud castle in the yard and meeting the extended family and lots of friends! Here are a few pictures borrowed from different sources.
Oil lamps (wikipedia)

Homemade sweets - Faral (Happy Burp)

Akash Kandil (Grace's photostream)


Apart from experiencing all of this, I was also looking forward to this being a great photo opportunity... Call me opportunistic, but I was determined to be poised with my camera every step of the way.

However, I have to report with great disappointment that I don't have a lot of pictures to share... I was so busy actually doing all that stuff I mentioned :-), that there was no time to take pictures! There was one evening where I did have my camera in hand while out and about in the city and I saw a big roadside stall setup to sell earthen lights. From simple lights to the most beautiful intricate designs, there were numerous type of lights (diya - small clay pots) one could choose from. Everybody buys lamps that they can afford, simple plain ones to the most expensive designer ones... While I growing up, we had about 2 dozen lamps at home - some to be arranged in the front yard, some to be arranged beautifully around the rangoli, some more on all the window sills, and the rest around the house. These clay or eathern lamps, filled with oil are the most beautiful sight during diwali. Here are a few different ones I saw that day...
No matter which ones we choose, let them bring light into our lives... तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय...