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PavanKumar

Plitvice Waterfall

 

Oct 19, 2014  ·  by Admin

After my last post on the Oktoberfest rides, it's now time to capture nature in my frame. In this post on photography I would like to talk about one of my shots that I took at the Plitvice National Park in Croatia.

The technique used to capture the wonderful waterfalls at Plitvice is very similar to the night shots taken at the Oktoberfest. But the end results are different and the viewer is left with an altogether different experience.

Like anyone else, when I started photography I was not aware that different camera settings that can ignite the creative thinking of the photographer and as well as that of the viewer. Ever wondered while looking at a beautiful waterfall picture, poster or a postcard whether it is photography or someone has graphically modified the picture?

Till today I captured waterfalls and water movement in a totally different way. I was trying to capture the movement of each and every water molecule thereby getting an entirely different effect. The fact that you can capture the water particles flying in the air gave me some kind of happiness :) Then, a friend of mine asked me to try taking pictures with long exposures, well thats how usually a waterfall or the movement of water is shown? So, finally I got an opportunity to capture these amazing waterfalls at Plitvice.

Before I start with the details, let me quickly tell you what are the necessary things one should carry to take such kind of shots;

  1. As with the night photography, a tripod is a must and taking the pictures in RAW format is highly recommended.
  2. A wide angle lens is more sensible to carry than a speed lens.
  3. The composition of the frame is very important. Sometimes just the waterfall and at other times the waterfall along with different coloured leaves would look good. One should have a feel for it and understand what looks better.

Now with respect to the shot, I would like to share a few technical points. This particular picture is one of my favourites among the lot I took at Plitvice simply for its composition. This particular picture was shot at 24mm and ISO 100 with shutter speed of 3.2 secs and aperture size of f/25. The lens I used was standard 18-55mm canon kit lens.

As I mentioned before the composition of the frame is important. Here, I tried capturing only the waterfall at first but it didn't depict the beauty of the place. It looked very artificial and please note this is only with respect to this shot. So I tried to include the wooden walking path in the frame and it gave a total altogether touch to the shot. So, one has to work and find out what looks best for that particular frame. Coming to the next point which is shutter speed. Having long shutter speed is the main reason to get that foggy effect of the water movement. What basically happens is that by having longer shutter speed, the lens opens for longer time and captures all the information during that time tracking the movement of each molecule. Hence the movement of water appears like fog in the picture.

Again, one has to be careful here not to overdo the exposure as it might look very artificial or may be we will allow more light in the lens than what is actually required and we might end up with over exposed picture. The last parameter what should be controlled is the aperture size. I kept the aperture size at max which was at f/25. I worked from backwards for most of my shots. What I mean is, I had to set the aperture size first or set it to max since it was a sunny day and then alter the shutter speed accordingly to adjust the light entering my camera.

The rest of the photos can be found here.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome. If you have any specific question then please leave it under comment and I'll try to answer them.

 

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A night at the Oktoberfest

 

Oct 06, 2014  ·  by Admin

I had once promised that I would write more about photography and now finally the time has come! I would like to share my learning with my Canon 550D. In this post I will just talk about my shots from the Oktoberfest, where I tried to shoot different rides in the evening, when the rides were brightly lit.

Auf gehts...

The picture I want to talk about is the shot of a ride called 'Frisbee', one of the most popular rides at the fest. It has a big circular disc which can rotate on its axis and also swings like a pendulum. Since I wanted to capture the colorful light, I had to reduce my shutter speed to 4 secs. Shutter speed basically tells me how much light goes into my camera. Longer the time, more light goes into my camera and for so long my lens will be open to capture all the information. I could have captured the same at may be 2 secs shutter speed but then I could not have captured the rotation motion of the disc. At this point i also took care that my shutter speed is not too long, which would distort the whole picture by letting in more light and also because of the fast movement of the disc. So, I chose the shutter speed which was good enough just to capture the movement and also its the approximate time that the disc stays at its topmost position before changing its direction. Now that we have set our shutter speed, it is also important to adjust our focal stop. In technical terms, the focal stop or f-stop is the ratio of focal length of the lens to the aperture size. In other words it affects the light gathering area and helps to make our subject distinct from the background. Since I did not require any distinction between my subject and the background and I also wanted to reduce the amount of light going into my camera without changing my shutter speed, I had to increase the f-stop to f/22. As I could capture the image I wanted with these settings, I kept my ISO at 100. These three main settings play major role in photography, shutter speed, focal stop and the ISO.

Last but not least, I want to quickly talk about the lens I used to take the shots. Since it was very crowded and I did not have the kind of place I needed to capture the entire ride in my frame, I used my wide angle lens. All the pictures here are taken from my Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC lens and according to me it does a pretty good job.

Few more basic but important suggestions:

  1. Most of the night photos might require post processing and hence I would suggest taking the shots in RAW format.
  2. Always use tripod for night photography.
  3. Try experimenting with different settings. The photos which might look good on the camera LCD screen might always not look good on the computer screen.

Enjoy rest of the pictures here

 

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Skiing

 

Mar 14, 2013

One of the most famous wintersport and my experience with it.

Skiing

 

Mar 14, 2013  ·  by Admin

Have you ever wanted to try something new in Life? Be it food, sport, music or any other ………. I'm sure the answer to that would be a 'Yes'. As far as I am concerned, sports of any kind, gets me excited and staying in Germany provided me the opportunity to try skiing for the first time. It was fun but not all that pretty.

Let me recall and share with you, my first skiing experience.

Ski
Ski

We left early in the morning to a place called Winterberg in NRW (North-Rhein-Westfalen) state which is a well known skiing spot. The moment I saw the snow covered mountain and spotted people skiing, I was excited to my very core. The weather was a little cold that day. Since we were amateurs, we didn’t have proper skiing clothes and so we had to ski in our jeans :D.

At the bottom of the mountain, there was a shop where we rented the ski equipments. The shopkeeper showed us how to clamp and remove the ski boots to the skies. It was very important for us to know that because every time we fell we could not get back on our feet without removing the skies. The ski boots felt so weird and funny, forcing us to do a robot walk. Nevertheless we managed to walk till the actual ski spot at the bottom of the mountain along with our skies. I never imagined the skies to be so big, the length of the ski was equal to my height and after putting them on, I felt like my feet stretched, making it very difficult for me to balance for the first time.

Ski
Ski

We all carried our skies and climbed up the mountain – very tiring! But somehow we managed to reach the top. A Ski tow is available to pull us to the top – where we had to hold the rope and slide up the mountain. Since we were students then, it seemed little out of budget☹. If I rightly recall, as soon as I clamped my boots to the skies and tried to ski, I was down on my butt even before I had begun skiing. It was a different experience in itself. But that wasn’t gonna get me down! I wanted to try once more and see if I can ski a little further, further than I did previously :P Watching others ski, I thought to myself ‘it shouldn’t be that difficult.. May be I’m missing some technique here’. I observed how others were skiing and decided to give it another shot. And I started and then, yes, you guessed it, I was on my butt, AGAIN, within 10 meters. I was just not able to balance or control the skies. The worst part about all this, not to mention tiring, was removing the skies every time I fell and then carrying them right to the top and clamping them again to the boots.

After several failed attempts we decided to drink something hot, to keep ourselves warm. A shop on the mountain was selling Glühwein (hot wine infused with spices served during Christmas). So we gathered up there, enjoying our hot wine, taking some photos of us skiing, well, just posing ;). After 4 hrs of struggle I was able to ski quite a distance without falling. That was my first skiing experience!

Ski
Ski

Two years after my first ski experience, which was very recently I got the chance to ski again I went with different set of people and was hoping to experience skiing differently this time. Why? It was in Garmisch, one of the biggest skiing spot in Germany, very close to Munich and we hired a ski instructor who taught us all the basics like balancing, body position and more importantly breaking. It definitely gave me some confidence, I needed it. The course was for 2 hours where he showed us all the important maneuvers and let us practice on our own for some time. This time we paid for the ski tow, so we could go as many times to the top as we wanted without feeling tired. The place where we practiced was not that steep as it was meant for beginners. After learning how to break, skiing on those slopes seemed like a child’s play to me ;). Late in the afternoon we broke for lunch. Though we weren’t all that happy with the menu, we had to eat something… so I ordered Spaghetti. By the time we finished eating it was time to take the lift back down the mountain. We weren’t able to ski any longer and had return home, but of course with some satisfaction that we were able to learn something.

And the next time I went for skiing I was doing it like a pro… Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself…

I would like to end this post by saying every opportunity that you get to try and learn something new and different; you must make the best use of it. Although it requires a lot of patience in the beginning, not to mention you might even hurt your butt several times in the process ;) the elation and satisfaction you feel at the end of it is something that even words cannot express, it can just be experienced.

P.S: Special thanks to my Fiancé, Shruti for suggesting this topic and helping me write this post :)

 

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House hunting

 

Jun 17, 2012

It is easier to find a job than to find a house in some of German cities like Munich. You wanna know why?

House hunting

 

Jun 17, 2012  ·  by Admin

From the past few weeks it has been a very annoying and frustrating and irritating experience. All I want is to shift to a new house and is it so hard to ask? The answer to that would be “Yes, because it is Munich�. I actually thought that it is difficult in India to find a place to stay but in Munich it is next to impossible. I mean I had heard before, that it is pain in the a** but never believed it to be so tough. Let me take you all briefly through my experience so far.

For the present house of about 40 sq meters if I ask any of you to guess the rent, I think no one would come near. It is beyond imagination. Simply put in words, it is just 1100 Euros (nearly equal to 75,000 Rupees). Fortunately, my Company will be paying till end of this month and from July I need to pay the rent myself. I think that is good enough reason for me to relocate. So, I convince my friend to shift with me thinking that it might be easy to get 2 BHK house. But for my surprise it was the most difficult one. The procedure goes like this… you need to call the agent or the owner and make an appointment. Sometime they provide the appointment date and time on the website (immobilienscout.de) where we search for apartments. Here I was holding my first appointment, waiting to see it. When I went to the address, I was dumb folded to see so many people there on the same time. I mean, it was really like one of our marriages, where people just keep pouring in. This is the only the first hurdle. Once you enter the house, you are allowed to look around and decide for yourself whether you really want to rent the place or not. If you are interested you are suppose to fill a form. If you are thinking it is a simple form with our name and phone number then I’m sorry to disappointment you all. In this form you are supposed to give details about our current address, our employment including salary, any unpaid bills, and references if any. Along with this form a copy of salary slip as a proof of income and a copy of our passport and visa. Oh wait! It is not yet done. So this is the application part. There will be around 30-50 people who will be doing this. After couple of days, the person in charge lets you know if you are that privileged tenant who will be staying in the house. And in my case it was usually a ‘No’. Till today I have no idea on what basis they make their decision. This was the story with 2 BHK houses.

Since it was getting painful, I chose the more painful way (figured that out later :D). I decided to look for shared apartments (Wohngemeinschaft-WG). The procedure is quite same as looking for apartments except here you need to meet all the person living in the apartment. In reality, it is lot more tougher job to convince the guys to choose you. By the way that’s just the pre-selection process :D. After they have selected around 3-4 guys out of 30-40 applications, they provide all details to the house owner. And it is the final call from the owner based on our background and income which decides who is going to stay in the apartments. The best part is there is a website called wg-gesucht.de where one can look for all the shared apartments in Germany and choose to apply which ever they want to. And the worst part is, when you are looking in a big city like Munich, people usually do not provide their contact number and therefore you are forced to email them and at the end of it you hardly find people responding to your emails. Believe it or not, out of 60 emails, I hardly got 7-8 responses. Sometime it even happens that you show up in front of the apartment only to find either no one is there to open the door or the appointment is cancelled because of some ridiculous reason.

After going through so much drama, I was still unsuccessful to find a place. So, I decided to go for third option, which were Studio apartments. In Munich one can find high number of Studio apartments, as there are lot of working professionals come here to stay for short durations. Keeping that in mind, I thought it might make things little easier. But in no way it seemed like that.

Finally I was able to find a Studio apartment only because the agent of my current house referred me to the owner. And the reason for that is, the agent is referred by my company, who are much familiar with foreign professionals (I might sound little racist here, but I am afraid it is one of the criteria.). They are many other factors that are important while finding an apartment like,

  1. Which area you want?
  2. Whether you want furnished or unfurnished?
  3. With furnished kitchen (Einbauküche) or without?
  4. How big and how much you can afford for the rent?
  5. Do you also want Cellar and Garage?
  6. Whether you are fine with paying commission for the agent or not?

This is the whole story of what I have been doing from past 6 weeks. At the end, I would like to give a basic idea on different costs one has to bear while looking for an apartment in cities like Munich (below are only the approximate cost indication),

  1. Rent – Studio: 500 Euros/month, 2 BHK: 900 Euros/month
  2. Additional Rent (water, electricity, etc…) – 100 to 150 Euros/month
  3. Deposit – 3 x Rent – 1500 to 2700 Euros (one time refundable)
  4. Commission – 2.38 x Rent – 1100 to 2000 Euros (one time non refundable)
  5. Kitchen furnishing – 800 to 1000 Euros
  6. House furnishing – 1500 to 2000 Euros

P.S: I hope I did not bore you guys with my house hunting story… :P Wanted to post one from a long time and could not think of any thing else… :)

 

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Cricket v/s Football

 

Oct 04, 2011

Cricket or Football... Love the Sport!

Cricket v/s Football

 

Oct 04, 2011  ·  by Admin

It has been a while since I stopped following Cricket to the extent I used to do couple of years back. Not because I don’t like the sport or I don’t like playing or any other reason I can think of right now but it just happened. It really saddens me. But what disappoints me more is not playing the sport as much as I would have liked to. May be thats the reason I stopped following. Never the less, I still love the sport. Another sport which I watch with keen interest and also love to play is Football. A different sport, played with different pace. Anyways, my intension is not to share my philosophical views on the sport, rather to share my experiences on watching these sports live.

I had been to Cricket stadium several times and I still remember my first match that I watched live. My first live experience is still very fresh in my memory. I was totally excited to be in stadium and to watch my favorite players play in front of my eyes, for real. It was something huge for me. As I started entering the stadium, climbing the steps leading to my seat, the view of the entire stadium was staggering. The lavish green grass around the pitch covering the entire stadium started revealing itself with every step I climbed. The most funny part of watching live is we still wait for those replays, that we are so used watching on televisions. So, if you miss something, then you have missed that moment permanently. On television we are also used to watch the play from the best angle and very close to action. On the contrary, in the stadium we get to see the entire play from a single angle. Watching cricket live in India is always fun. People are crazy about the sport it just adds on to the atmosphere. And since we have grown up watching our cricket superstars play, it is purely treat to our eyes to watch them play live.

Yesterday, I had been to the football stadium for the first time and it was amazing. I must admit that I have not followed the German Bundesliga as closely as English Premier League but the atmosphere in the stadium was simply breathtaking. In Football match the adrenaline of the players and the tempo of the sport is much higher than in Cricket match. And this what kept me excited throughout the match. Though my seat was in the last row of the stadium, I somehow felt I was close to the action. That might be because, I was able to see where the ball was played, due to the ball size compared to cricket ball and of course the game itself ;). The action, the celebration, crowd's cheer and the game is much more lively. Oh! I almost forgot about an important element, which is BEER. It is absolutely no fun watching football, live or on television without Beer. In the photo you guys can also see me eating something. It is a salted bread called 'Brezel', which is one of the typical German food. All in all, had a wonderful experience yesterday and a great time and totally looking forward for more live football matches.

I realized the most important thing of enjoying the live sport is to be with the crowd and to enjoy the atmosphere more than the sport itself.

 

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