24 March, 2011

Shooting the moon

Just a day before....

"You should shoot the moon on Saturday. It will be closest to earth, once in 18 years opportunity", said my friend to me. "But, we are going to Sai's marriage on Saturday", I exclaimed.
"So what? Take your camera and we shoot there in the night", suggested my friend.
"Taking my DSLR to marriage and taking photos. No way. Everyone will think of me as a marriage photographer", I explained my concern (it has different meanings in India).

Not liking the idea to take photos on my friends marriage day, I decided to shoot the moon on Friday, a day before the super moon. So it went like this.

I took my crappy tripod, which I baught for my point-and-shoot Fuji, I headed to the top of the building around 10'o  clock in the night. The night was calm and I was excited. But I never shot the moon before. Nor did I read anywhere until then on the technique. So my experiments started.

Setting my Pentax K-x on Av mode, I set the aperture at f5.6 at 300mm of the Sigma 70-300mm DG Macro lens. The first shot was taken and I was eagerly looking at the LCD only to see a blob rather than a crisp moon. What the hell?

I thought the light is more and the picture is not crisp and so I set the aperture to f8. The shutter speed went to 1/20. Thats too slow and the result? Once again a blob. And so I again.........
This experimentation went for a while, the shutter clicked for almost 30 times...every time either I got a blob, under exposed moon or over exposed moon picture. So whats next? Lets depend on the manual exposure.

I set the DSLR to manual mode. And now the testing begins. Initially I set the shutter speed to 1/150, aperture to f5.6 and ISO to 200. Hurray.............................................................

.............I again got a blob..................

So i decided to test the smaller apertures. I took pictures at every f stop after f5.6. The results started getting better from f11. And I observed that the picture is better than all others at f16. But its not the best I can settle with. So I made the shutter click faster at 1/250th of a second. Hurray......................................................

I got a crisp moon. I love it. I think you too love it :-)

What happened after f16? Either I started seeing grain (even at ISO 200 of my K-x) or its getting under exposed. Ok. Whats the time now? Its already 11:30 PM. I shot few more pics at - ISO 200, f16 and 1/250 at 300mm of the lens. Headed down to my house, eager to see the pics on my notebook.

You know I am pleased with the result and learned something about shooting moon ;-)


07 March, 2011

Declaration of Freedom!

It's almost 8 years since I desired to shoot photos like a pro. But somehow due to my new found mundane job and the new lifeless life in the polluted city, I forgot about my deepest desire. But when I went to Stuttgart, Germany in 2009, I had plenty of chances to see many beautiful places in Europe.

That's a nice chance, isn't it? But my primary intention was to take photos in the famous locations of Europe and showcase before my friends circle. A nice idea, but how? I don't have a camera. So what? I can afford one now. But my colleagues, who happened to own their own cameras earlier, bombarded me with various questions - how many MP? How much zoom? With or without Video? Why not a DSLR?

After some days of heated discussions and reading some camera reviews on DPReview.com, I decided to handhold the camera before I was going to buy one. So on a nice weekend, with a day pass and two of my other friends I headed towards MediaMarkt in Stuttgart.

"My goodness, there are some discounts on the cameras", I exclaimed when I saw discount boards in red color. After fiddling with some cameras with discount I decided to know more about Fujifilm Finepix S8100fd
model with 10MP and a whopping 18X optical zoom. My God, I can get as close to my subjects as I want ;-)
 .......after some days of deep study on the camera......

"Ok. To hell with the reviews. I like the camera and I buy it today", I took a firm decision. I went to the shop and bought it. Now I am fully excited to take some photos with it.

I will share my experiences with the camera in a next post. For now see some photos I took with it. I love this camera man!

PIN: You can buy this good camera here - Fujifilm Finepix S8100fd 10MP and 18x Optical Zoom Camera

03 March, 2011

First Disappointment :-)

I got a camera for our walking trip to Tirumala temple”,  I felt joyful when these words came out of my friend’s mouth. Not because we are finally making this trip, but because we are getting a camera to shoot the pictures.

I will buy the film roles”, I declared in amusement. My mind was racing in imagination of shooting beautiful scenery, flowers and people alike with the little picture making device.

Finally the day came. I bought two Fuji Velvia roles and loaded one into a Kodak point-and-shoot camera. I didn’t know what I am going to shoot but, I was really excited. I am literally not giving the camera to anyone.

The trip was so entertaining. We made good darshan of Lord Balaji. I shot many photos of flowers, so closely that I wanted to reproduce the Macro shots I had been seeing these years. I was so confident that, among all the photos, the flower shots will be amazing, because I shot them so closely.

After 15 days, my friend came with the prints. I eagerly opened the envelope. Although the portrait photos were good, I was looking for those flower shots. When I saw them I was completely disappointed. My imagination was not painted onto the prints. All the flower photos were out of focus. Colors look so pale.

My imagination fell down. Why wasn’t I able to shoot those pics. I had no answer, only to find it out years later when I started to study photography seriously.

My friends were happy, because their photos are looking so good. I was in disappointment because I didn’t prove I was a good photographer.

Note: Later I found that the camera fixed lens has no close focusing ability. Of course it was not made for macro shots back in 2002.

02 March, 2011

Love at First CLICK!

I still remember that day, exactly 10 years before, in 2001 hot summer in Tirupati, AP, India. I was going with my friend to see a professor of him, who returned recently from a trip to England where his son works. I thought of asking him if he would help me get some books from UK.  

But I got a bigger surprise that day!

When we entered his house premises, his wife, in her mid 50s invited us inside. It seems my friend is so familiar with his professor's family. When we sat down on the sofas, we heard that the professor was busy in almost a dark room.

"What the hell is he doing in that darkness?", I asked my self.

"He is making some photo prints. He had taken so many photos in UK zoos and some nature locations", told the professor's wife, giving us some tea to spend the time.

My friend seems not to care about that but it triggered an interest in me. Ever since my childhood I was curious about these gadgets called cameras that take pictures. I never fiddled with one but was very curious about them. So I thought may be I can see some of his equipment.

While I was in my imagination, the professor came out with a big grin on his face, with a feeling of joy. It was not certainly for seeing my friend though.

"Young men, you are so lucky today. You are the first to see my wildlife pictures taken in London. If you have a photographer's eye you will be amazed."

Surely I was mesmerized. I didn't know if I have that photographer's eye, but I was able to feel the deepest desire in me, to take similar photos. Those photos of close encounters with wild cats, beautiful birds and pleasant scenery made a sweet and compelling effect on me. I started longing to have a camera and capture the beautiful nature.

Yes, that was my Love at First CLICK with Photography story!