Friday, March 25, 2011

How to take macro photos with a normal lens? Photographing flowers

I recently went on a vacation and found a flower that I wanted to photograph. I am not a pro and dont like to switch lenses to shoot macro (besides I dont own a macro lens!)

The "goldilocks and the the 3 bears" approach to close-up photos of flowers

I realized that the trick is to get close to the object, and use a high f stop (but not too high to make the background too clear).

Since you are shooting close, the flower is usually in different planes. Having a low f stop reduces depth of field and hence an out of focus image. Having a very high f-stop does not blur the background and hence pulls you away from the subject.

Too low an f-stop (f/1.8)
From Kodaikanal_Vacation

Too high an f-stop (f/8)
From Kodaikanal_Vacation

Just right (f/4.5)
From Kodaikanal_Vacation

Here is another pic I took
From Kodaikanal_Vacation

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Vacation Travel : Tips for a vacation in Kodaikanal

Travelled to Kodaikanal for vacation. Had fun - For the sake of travellers who have never been there and are planning a vacation, I am just putting in some tips

How to get there from Chennai: I figured that if you travel with little kids, more than 500 kms, is not worth travelling by Road. Take the Pandian express (Egmore) night train, get down at Kodaikanal Road station (2nd stop after Dindigul). Request your resort to send you a car pickup (80 kms from here to Kodai and usually charge about Rs. 1800 for an Innova). You can do the same for return too (Pandian express in the night from Kodaikanal ). Kodai road is a quaint little way-side station. There is a pair of old porters who use a little wagon to take your luggage to the platform - very interesting.

Getting around Kodaikanal: Koai runs on Taxi. 60 bucks a drop anywhere around this big city. Most of the taxi guys will give you their mobile number and you can call them to get a ride.

Time to avoid: Apr-Jun - this is supposed to be the  "Season" when the entire summer gang lans up in the hills to watch the flowers bloom and escape the summer heat.  Wrong time if you just want to relax and spend some leisurely time

Things to do:
1. Cycling around the lake - There is the lake and there is the lake - You can hire cycles for Rs. 20 per hour and go around the lake. Its a 4~6 kms 30 mins of cycling. For couples, you can even get a double bicycle with 2 sets of pedals

Here is a picture of the lake.... Sure makes it worth cycling around

From Kodaikanal_Vacation

2. Sightseeing tour - Most taxi guys will charge about Rs. 500 to Rs. 750 for the 8 or 12 sites tour which lasts for about 4~5 hrs. we did a short tour that covered about 6 places
a. Lake view point
From Kodaikanal_Vacation

b. Pine forest

From Kodaikanal_Vacation

c. Pillar rock

From Kodaikanal_Vacation

d. Suicide point now called Green Valley view
e. Pambar falls
From Kodaikanal_Vacation

f. Coakers walk

Some places like the Munnar cochin road to Berjam lake require forest department permission, but most taxi drivers can guide you on it

3. Bryant park - Just a nice park to hangout
From Kodaikanal_Vacation

Bryant park has a photographer who does family portraits and puts it on a mug for you instantly.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Read: Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

Amazing book - definitely worth reading and making it part of your daily work. Its one of those thought changing books.I am still pondering over which of my problems to apply.

The book argues about the simplicity and effectiveness of a checklist - especially to specialist fields and intelligent men and women, who loathe a process!

The book argues about the simplicity and effectiveness of a checklist - especially to specialist fields and intelligent men and women, who loathe a process!