Monthly Archives: June 2004

New beginings

Aasim’s school reopened today. He is now in 1st Standard, has to carry books back and forth to school, has school for nearly the full day (Read return at 3:30pm). We were apprehensive that he might not cope very well with having to eat cold lunch, pampered that he has been till now… However all our apprehensions were in vain – he just returned, very happy with the new classrooms, apparently they are huge, knows that the teacher has a 40 day old son, has eaten his lunch and now playing outside.

Yesterday Vivek called up and asked if I was game for some table top photography. I readily agreed and got a three hour crash course in lighting table top subjects, starting from a single light, adding a fill-in light, then adding a reflector and as a bonus I got to use his Nikon D70 :)

The picture shown is one of the result of that exercise. He criticized me for being afraid to experiment when I wanted a single spotlight on a white background to light up this urn and added an orange plate with a flower! The result while not what I was seeing in my minds eye is indeed eye catching…

Photography and Ethics

Vivek our photographer friend, a very recent convert to digital photography, had come over one evening – during the course of conversation he remarked that while digital was one of the best thing that happened to his photography it is the worst thing that has happened to a photographer.

What he really meant was that digital cameras are the cause of decline(at least in proportions) of “Thinking Photographers” the instant gratification of digital seduces you put the thought process on a back burner. This while I found to be very true reminded me of how simply Aasim’s grandfather (’s father and a retired photographer) had taught him to create great compositions. The subject was one of Aasim’s Lego Bionicle lying amid the general clutter of his room. He said to Aasim:

1) See if all you want to photograph is in the frame
2) Look at the remaining space, see if anything you don’t want is in that space – remove it (either physically or changing the POV/zoom), Aasim removed a stuffed toy
3) Look at the remaining space, see if you would like to include anything which will enhance the picture – Aasim added a few more Lego pieces
4) Never put the main subject in the center of the frame!!

It took little more than 15 min for the entire lesson….

Aasim being a child, little did he know that what he got that day was a distilled wisdom of decades, which many adult photographers strive for years to achieve, today he simply does not know any other way and he has some pictures on his camera which puts many other of ours to shame(note to self – put them on-line). It doesn’t matter how so ever sharp that peacock/tiger/person may be in the photograph if the composition chops off their tails/legs/heads it is unacceptably bad. I do have a dilemma as to how I am going to teach Aasim to compose abstracts, but I guess he will evolve his own style

This again brings my chain of thought to the fact that just reading/quoting greatness cannot absolve anyone of their mediocrity let alone make them great, this is not just in context of photography BUT life itself. Just as religion and philosophy is not about doctrines and dogmas it is about being and becoming!! BUT If you are to “Be and Become” then you have to have a measuring tape for the distance you have covered in your journey – It calls for you to be judgmental about yourself and the choices you make. Without such a measuring tape you are doomed to flounder in the unfathomable greyness of morals and ethics which in itself would not be such a bad thing for an individual but unfortunately for most followers of the “greyness” the Grey ultimately changes to black or white, leaving them to whine that life has not been fair on them. The fact is they have not been fair to life. Though the variables involved with life are many more, still the whole concept can be simplified into “Judge and be judged!”

P.S. Those who need a bit more elaborate version of the above photography lesson see this.

More birds and some code

In flight If the week could be described in one word I would say “Hot”, in fac this was the hottest week of the summer, temperature was mostly above 45C, Even the garden lizard felt need of a drink. Thankfully yesterday it rained and today temperature has been in the low 40s…

Now that the Mango season is drawing to an end the parrots want to make the best of it. Friday morning I decided that I wanted to capture a parrot in flight, I knew it would be difficult but after nearly 3 hours of efforts, the picture you see on the left is the only displayable picture which I could get out of the several dozen I took.

On the work front things took a break so I decided to try my hand at making a new valid XHTML 1.0 template for Coppermine. “2B or not 2B” was the result, this puts to rest a criticism that Coppermine just cannot output valid HTML etc etc… The theme is dark and very well compliments the mostly dark background pictures that I take.

My flirtations with WordPress continue, swatisani has choosen it for her website but I will wait till

  1. The Pagination plugin works properly
  2. The Coppermine plugin works properly
  3. The Threaded Comments plugin works properly
  4. The LJ Autoupdater plugin works properly

The above is a combination of wishlist and a ToDo, things for which Swati cannot wait will be done by me,  I am also trying to make a plugin which can keep a WordPress install in sync with an LJ account, tags, comments, metadata and everything, duh! whats the point one might say… well what the point anyways :)