Sunday, March 31, 2013

An evening at Marine Drive - Time Lapse

Here is another attempt at time lapse - I am getting seriously addicted to this form of expression.

Shot with Nikon Coolpix P500

Monday, March 25, 2013

Timelapse Videos

My friend Chetan and me used to debate if it is really worth 'wasting' shutter counts of our cameras doing time lapse videos. I was reluctant to use my camera to click 1000+ photos within a time of 30 minutes, since it would wear out the shutter prematurely.

Chetan, Mohit and me met up at Worli Sea face last evening and were brainstorming generally and thought that there has to be a better way to do this and there is! Instead of setting the timer and shooting photographs at regular intervals, we can take another approach
  • shoot a 30 minute smooth video
  • split it into jpg frames (using free software 'Video to JPG' convertor)
  • stitch it back into a video (using free software photo lapse - it can also do a reverse time lapse, very interesting one!)

Technically, it is a very simple process, and you can get some very interesting time lapse videos done without ANY special hardware requirements - just ANY camera that can do good quality videos will work. 

I did a time lapse video of a construction site from my home window this afternoon - and it looks quite interesting for the first ever time lapse I tried.

  • Camera - Nikon P500 (point and shoot)
  • Original video - 24 minutes (3GB of HD footage)
  • Split into 1050 JPG frames (selected every 10th frame)
  • Stitched back into a video at 24 fps (59 MB of final output for a 44 second video at 720p)
You can do really cool stuff with time lapse - just get your creative juices flowing for a personal project.

Comments and suggestions welcome.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Barsaane ki Holi

Holi, the festival of colours has a very special celebration in the Braj Bhoomi of Uttar Pradesh. 

Braj bhoomi encompasses the region of Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, Nandgaon and Barsana, all of those having played an important role in Hindu mythology, where Lord Krishna spent his childhood. Amorous songs, devotional and religious fervor and sprinkled colors present a delightful scene. 

At Barsana, the 'latthmaar holi' is famous. The men of Nandgaon known as 'gops' raid Barsana and try to mark their victory over the temple of Radhika by furling flag over it while the women of Barsana try to fend them off with long bamboo sticks. The men are well padded because they cannot retaliate to the women and can only try to keep them off by sprinkling colors on them. In case they get trapped, they are dressed as a lady in a sari and cosmetics are applied and they are made to dance like a lady. It is said that even Lord Krishna was made to dance like this by the gopis of Barsana. Next day, the same scene is repeated in Nandgaon as men of Barsana raid the village to win over temple of Shriji and women of Nandgaon beat them with sticks to keep them off. Holi songs known as 'Hori' are sung by the men and women and are mostly based on the dialogues exchanged between Krishna and Radhika.

Barsana ki Holi by iamShishir
Barsana ki Holi, a photo by iamShishir on Flickr.
While the facilities at these villages are very basic and it may be inconvenient for most of us to spend a night there, this festival of Holi can be experienced in its most interesting form in these two villages.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Uttarayan in Ahmedabad

30th December 2012 - lazying at home in the evening, watching TV and chatting up with Chetan and Mohit on BBM - we suddenly felt an urge to go to Ahmedabad to see the Uttarayan celebrations. This is supposedly a very big festival in the whole of Gujarat. Within a couple of hours, Chetan and me had our travel and stay booked - so as to confirm the trip.

On 12th January, both of us landed up in Ahmedabad at around 09.30 AM, checked into our hotel within an hour and went out to the Lal Darwaja before lunch.Ahmedabad is distinctly divided into two parts by the Sabarmati river. One side is old Ahmedabad with many heritage structures, old markets and Pols. The other side of Ahmedabad is fairly urbanised - business centers, hotels, offices etc.

We had discussed this trip with a few friends from MWS during a shoot at Mandwa. Since it was almost a last minute plan, most couldn't make it. However, Maulik was in Ahmedabad on the same weekend. We caught up with him at the IIMA campus after a lovely lunch at Agashiye (this one is a must visit for a meal during your trip to Ahmedabad), and proceeded to Thol.

Thol is a bird sanctuary that is reachable in around 30-45 minutes from Ahmedabad. It is a paradise for bird watchers and bird photographers. We stopped several times on the way to see birds perched on wires. 

Maulik could identify almost all the birds that we spotted that afternoon. 

It was a fairly long walk within Thol - we left as soon as the sun set. Had kadak masala chai at a road-side stall, chatting over birds, photography, life and passions. We also met Maulik's friends who were very passionate about wild-life & travel.

On day 2, we went to the Sabarmati Riverfront to check out the International Kite Festival. The preparations were still in progress and we saw no point in hanging around, so we proceeded to the Gandhi Ashram at Sabarmati. This is a very serene and peaceful place for some introspection. we walked through the ashram and saw several squirrels and birds chirping away merrily.

Squirrel at Sabarmati Ashram
After spending some time there, we went to the Akshardham Temple - this one place is magnificient. It is a beautiful piece of architecture, very well mantained. It was in international attention when two heavily armed terrorists attacked it in September 2002. After this incident, the temple is very heavily guarded and visitors are required to deposit their mobiles and cameras at the entrance. Videography or photograpy is strictly prohibited inside the premises. The place has very decent amenities and is a good place to spend a day with the family. There is an exhibition throughout the day and a water-show in the evening.

We then went to the Vibrant Gujarat celebrations in Gandhinagar, but it was too crowded and we were fairly disappointed. Caught up with Sneha Trivedi (MWS friend who is studying photography at the National Institute of Design, & her friends and left for Ahmedabad. Sneha took us to Adaalaj ni Vav (stepwell) which is an amazing piece of architecture with fine carvings. It was built in 1499 A.D.

It was around 14.30 by that time and we were very hungry. Sneha suggested a Kathiawadi Dhaba for lunch and we had some amazing food out there. We went to the Raipur Kite Market near Raipur Darwaja after lunch. This market was buzzing with activity on the eve of Makar Sankranti. People were very enthusiastic about purchasing dozens of kites, dori, pipudis and cheap goggles for the next day. Some locals told us that the kite market is even more active in the night and people are out shopping for these items till late night.


We went back to the Sabarmati River front again in the evening to check out the International Kite Festival, but weren't very impressed, so called it off from there. Sneha had to return back to Gandhinagar before it was too dark, so she departed. Chetan and me went back to the hotel for a quick shower and some rest after a hectic day out. We went to the Delhi Darwaja kite market at around 21.30 and it was buzzing with activity too. However, we were already in love with the Raipur Darwaja market, so went back to the same place in an hour.

We had skipped dinner due to the heavy Kathiawadi lunch late afternoon. There is a famous Bhajiawala at Raipur Darwaja and we couldn't resist feasting on some sinful fried bhajias, bateka vada, methi na gota and pyaaz ki kachori. The scene in the Raipur kite market was nothing less than a riot. People were buying kites and accessories in dozens and it was difficult to even move through the street. It took us over an hour to walk through a stretch of 1/2 a kilometer.

We did not want to miss main kite festival action on the 14th of January, to decided to return back to the hotel after mid-night to catchup with some much needed sleep. Sneha was to join us for the shoot at Lal Darwaja next morning. However, she dropped out due to some sudden assignment that came up that day. Chetan and me decided to go back to the Raipur Darwaja since it was a known place after 2 visits on the previous day. The street wasn't as busy as the previous day, though it was still buzzing with activity. Movement was easy. A few steps into the street and we were tapped on shoulders by a gentleman. He said the he had seen us clicking photographs the previous day. We told him that we were amateur hobbyists who were traveling to see the vibrant kite festival in Ahmedabad. He was very enthusiastic and invited us to see the action on the roof-tops from his terrace. We were on the tinned roof in a few minutes and saw a skyline full of colourful kites everywhere. we were soon introduced to the whole family of Mr. Nainesh Pandya who was a Chartered Accountant by profession. I have never seen strangers on the street being greeted and welcomed so warmly before. We were treated to a whole bunch of home made delicacies - Khichda, Sweets, Ladoos etc. We actually had to skip our lunch after this hogging session. Mr. Pandya also took us around to a couple of more relatives who were enjoying every bit of the festival on their terraces. We were over-whelmed by the hospitality shown by the families in the pol.

Around noon, we decided to continue shooting the streets, went to Kankaria (which was closed since it was a Monday). We went out to the Riverfront again to see if there was some action in there. To my view, the government celebrations of the festivals were no-where near to the traditional celebrations in the pols of Ahmedabad. Vibrant Gujarat - yes, but festivals are best celebrated in the traditional manner. We headed back to the hotel and left Ahmedabad with some amazing memories - good food, fantastically hospitable people who treat strangers with so much respect and a few good moments captured in our cameras.

Overall, it was a weekend very well spent - gave us an insight into the colourful celebrations of Uttarayan / Makar Sankranti in Ahmedabad.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Reds and Greens

Reds and Greens
EXIF Information:

Camera: Nikon D90
Exposure: 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture: f/6.3
Focal Length: 32 mm
ISO Speed: 200

Monday, January 7, 2013

Life around lifeline of Mumbai

Life around lifeline of Mumbai - this one made it to today's DNA 

EXIF Information:

Camera: Nikon D7000
Exposure: 0.002 sec (1/640)
Aperture: f/5.0
Focal Length: 42 mm
ISO Speed: 200

Sunday, December 9, 2012


EXIF Information:

Camera: Nikon D7000
Exposure: 0.001 sec (1/1600)
Aperture: f/2.2
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 100

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sharad Purnima

Sharad Purnima

The Sharad Purnima or Kojagari Purnima or Kumar Purnima is a harvest festival celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu lunar month of Ashvin (September–October). It marks the end of monsoon. There is a traditional celebration of the moon and is also called the 'Kaumudi celebration', Kaumudi meaning moonlight.

At night, goddess Lakshmi is worshiped and night vigil is observed. According to a folk-tale, once a king fell on evil days, and was in great financial straits, but then his queen observed this fast and night vigil, and worshiped the goddess of wealth, Laxmi. Consequently, they were blessed by the goddess and they regained their prosperity.

It is also believed that on this day as moon and the earth are very close to each other, the moon rays have certain healing properties of nourishing the body and the soul.
EXIF Information:
Camera: Nikon D7000
Exposure: 0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 300 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: -2 EV

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Queen's Necklace - Marine Drive

Marine Drive

Camera: Nikon D90
Exposure: 5
Aperture: f/11.0
Focal Length: 24 mm
ISO Speed: 100

I haven't been a big fan of night photography so far, however, some photographs like this one make me re-think about my choices. I have been avoiding use of a tripod, mostly due to the inconvenience factor. I think it is time to invest in a tripod and spend some time photographing this city during the night too.