Puffing Billy… What a pleasure riding this relic of an era gone by

Puffing Billy... What a pleasure riding this relic of an era gone by

What a trip to Australia we had… AWESOME fun :). Just got up from editing the snaps from the trip. This post is specifically about the fun filled amazing day trip we did on board the Puffing Billy Its a bit pricy, but for all day fun i think its ok to splurge once in a while now 😉 The opening shot is an accidental double exposure. In the rush to click i had accidentally flipped the switch on my mamiya 645. Nonetheless, i guess it did turn out interesting… Luck by chance 😉

Here are a few more from the trip… I tried to create a nostalgic look in the pics… cus it sure did remind my childhood riding in steam engine pulled trains back home (India) in the early 80’s(1980’s i.e 😛 i am old… not THAT old).
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Another one, my wife tryin to relax once our kid went to sleep.. He was super excited and then i guess ran out of sugar… luckily she got some cooling off time too 🙂
wife relaxing in puffing billy melbourne

Coaches resting after takin us all the way up.. i guess they need some rest too 😉
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The pickup… Our ride back
puffing billy in light flare captured on medium format film melbourne

Thats how you know it was worth it… That look :).
I hope we created some good memories that day 🙂
my kid enjoyinh his rinde on the puffing billy, steam train melbourne

Green means go…. Thats it folks…
black and white photo of puffing billy pulling out of the station, steam train melbourne

Stay tuned for more… i’ll post more from the Australia trip…

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For more snaps from the trip go here

SFO in film…

SFO in film... Street car waiting for passengers in San Francisco

Just out of sheer excitement i took my family on a day trip to SFO (San Francisco) to try out the film camera. I did tag along my small Pentax Q as a light meter :), but didnt need to use it. The metering on the otherwise fully manual Mamiya 645 seems to work just fine 😀

Here are a few more from the trip:

In the tram:
view from inside a tram in San Francisco captured on medium format film

Walkin by the sea:
San francisco in film, walking along the coast

Here’s one in color :
San francisco in film, color photo of my wife and kid
It was the last exposure on the color film in my camera. I (on a hunch) put in the B/W film to get street shots from SFO. I think i like the shots i got form the trip in B/W… the images seem to lend themselves to monochrome much more than they would have to color.

Here’s another one in color I captured biking around the Bay trail in Mountain view.
bay trail mountain view ca in film

This time i scanned the negatives at 3200 DPI (on my Epson V600) and imported the files at 48DPI as tiff files. Each negative scans in at a cool 32MP… Beats the pants off my NEX7 or 6d in terms of both sharpness and resolution… This is indeed going to be fun 😀

Have fun..

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P

Heres a link to the rest of my film gallery…

My first film photographs :)

My first film photographs Sunrise over Golden gate bridge with San Francisco in the backdrop

A week or so back I was lucky enough to chance upon a used Mamiya 645 film camera. It came with a std 80mm f2.8 , the tele 150mm lens, metered prism, 120 back and a grip. Its a beast compared to all my other cameras, but I just loved it… What a beautiful piece of machinery 😀
For my first few reels I got a b/w negative Kodak 400 ISO and a color negative Kodak 100 ISO film.
Just got back my first sets of color and monochrome film developed… I was eagerly awaiting to see if I had completely blown the first few roles…
The results were not all bad, they were not all good either 😉 I had managed to squeeze out some winners the first time around 😀

Having said that, I had tons of shots with missed focus (I am still getting used to the focusing mechanism, though its much easier to manually focus than my digital cameras, but I guess I need a lot of practice before I can focus fast in dynamic conditions .)

Overall I am really satisfied with the results the film gave me, its got micro contrast and tonality nailed right out of the bat…

Here’s another one from the color film… Both this and the one up top are taken at the Golden gate national recreational area near SFO…
Golden gate national recreational area captured in medium format film

The following two snaps are from the monochrome ISO 400 film… Again the results are just plain awesome…I can foresee a long love affair with film 😀
playing on the swing in monochrome medium format film

cafe pro bono palo alto downtown captured in monochrome medium format film

As a disclaimer, I would like to mention that I have post processed the images once they were scanned into the comp… but the results from the film cut my work in about half, because of the already awesome tones and local contrast from the film 😀

On the topic of scanning, I purchased the Epson v600 scanner to scan my film (getting the developing outlets scan is kind of an expensive proposition, even more so for the higher resolution scans I did.). I would break even on that guy just in under 10 rolls… Its a good scanner, but not a pro.. I had to color balance a lot of the color pictures scanned in from it and both the b/w and color scans needed quiet a lot of sharpening to be useful… Its still a pretty good scanner for the price. The accompanying software is ok and functional, but please do not turn on Digital ICE… it just craps all over the pics. The first roll I scanned was the monochrome, and the pics had weird artifacts in them with digital ICE. I turned it off at that pint and did not try it with the color film.

In the coming days I intend to shoot more and hope to learn to develop the b/w film at home… So stay tuned… This seems to be a fun journey 😀

I recently came across this blog… what an amazing artist. I hope some day i can come up with stuff that is half as good :D. Seeing images like the ones on the blog, my decision to step back into film seems a step in the right direction 😉

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P

For the rest of the pics click here

Golden gate national recreational area…

Golden gate national recreational area... sunrise over Golden gate bride with San Francisco in the backdrop

A really beautiful national park just moments from SFO (San Francisco) and a short drive from most of the bay area…
I have lost count now as to how many times i have been here… Sunsets,sunrises, afternoons, just about anytime. There’s just so much one can do here… hiking, biking,relaxing on the berach or just enjoy the awesome views (especially at sunset and sunrise)

Here are a few more i was lucky enough to get to this weekend… The purpose of the trip was to give my newly acquired medium format film camera a try… but I did have my 6d with me. I am eagerly awaiting the results from the film camera. The negatives are being developed as of now… Fingers crossed 😀

Sunrise looking out to the backwaters of the San francisco bay

looking out towards the golden gate bridge with San francisco in the backdop at sunrise

San francisco and golden gate in the beautiful gentle light at sunrise

Wish me luck for the outcome of my film trials, i am super excited 😀

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P
Heres the link to some pics i got from the past trips as well as the rest from this one…

The one that almost flew and more…

The one that almost flew and more...
Some great moments from the recent family trip down to Seaworld, San Diego. What an awesome place to spend a whole day at… plenty on fun for the whole family…
The opening shot is one of the killer whales at the Shamu show fully airborne during one of its acrobatic moments 🙂 For all the ones i manages to catch, there were plenty of even more amazing moments that i missed to capture just cus of the sheer thrill of the moment 😀

Next we headed over to the dolphin pond…. Boy did my lil one enjoy this 🙂 The dolphins were within reach and some kids even managed to touch them on a few occasions…
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This one is of the dolphin almost reaching for the red ball 😉

The cameras rested for a long time after the dolphins 😦 Theres just so much to do out here. Dolphin and bird show, otters, turtle bay, sea lion show… I just forgot my cameras in the bag 😀

The final exhibit we checked out was the arctic expedition… Awesome setup this is… lovely views of the walrus, beluga whale and our personal favorite… the Polar Bear 🙂
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Here he is after getting rid of all the cold water fresh out of a swim 🙂

Amidst all our runarounds at Seaworld, one thing does need a honorable mention… The tower.
Not just is it a great ride, it also helped immensely in guiding us to and from the various shows/ehibits 😉
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Thanks for your time…
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P

Heres a link to rest of the gallery…

San diego zoo…

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I cant tell you how happy my kid was on seeing an elephant… He saw one for the first time at the San Diego zoo… and he couldn’t take his eyes of it.
I have seen the SFO zoo and thought it was great but this beats it hands down. Took us a whole day to look at all the exhibits…

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Now I am from India and I have seen plenty of camels… but i have never seen this kind before. The camels in India look like this… It was quiet amusing for me my wife (our kid has never seen the indian camels… so he’ll be in for some amusement once he sees the ones back home 😉 )

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Next we came to the Jaguar enclosure… what a beautiful cat it is… Seeing it sit like this did make me think how caught up/tied down these guys would feel in the zoo…

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Next we happened to come up on the Lions when they were feeding. Made my kid super excited… and i had the opp to get some nice clicks too 😀

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Last but not the least… we met the newest member at the zoo (or so we were told)… this guy was just 10 days at the time the pic was snapped…

I did enjoy the lovely animals at the zoo… but every time i go there i have this haunting feeling of the incredible loss these poor souls are at… They should be roaming the wild instead of being trapped in these cages 😦

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P

For the rest of the shots click here

Someday… i’ll get it too…

Someday... i'll get it too...

Getting a beautiful star studded night scene has been a long time dream of mine… Seems im not done yet… I wanted to get a beautiful night scene with the Milky Way taking up the most of the sky. I seem to have a long way to go 😦

Here’s another one from this shoot…
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I thought i was ready… i had scouted the location (well, i have taken multiple sunsets at the Natural Bridges beach in santa cruz…) and was ready with my tripod at sundown… Remote (wired) shutter release inserted into the camera and the lens focused on infinity… As the sun set and the stars began to pop up i fired away… one long exposure after another. The pics did show stars but i seem to have lucked out when it came to getting the milkey way…
The closest I have ever come was this shot (again in santa cruz) back in 2011…

Aaah… anyways, i am not done yet… another day will end and another night will come… I hopefully will get the ever elusive (in my case anyways 😉 ) milky way some day… 😀

Tons of thanks to my wife and kid for the immense patience they showed couped up in the car while i snapped away like a mad man… Thanks guys 🙂
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P

If you cant go far… checkout someplace closeby :)

If you cant go far... explore some place closeby :)

Well, one day I got really bored… I mean really bored sittin home and was itching to photograph something. Having exhausted the various options in my front yard and having no idea where to go next:(. I opened up my favorite map site and started lookin around 🙂 Wallah this popped up… Calero county reservoir park.

It was fairly close by, so what the heck… packed some lenses, grabbed my camera and drove off…
Boy was I glad to have found the place :D… I have been back almost 5 or 6 time since. Its a great place to get sunsets, after noon shots or whatever. The landscape is really nice, not extraordinary… but interesting enough. The pic up top is from the most recent outing.

Here’s one I got some time back (my first time out with my nex7)… Got there just in time to get an awesome sunset…
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There are some very interesting landscape shots to be had here… interesting one tree hills, a nice pond with some nice backdrops. The following one is an interesting one tree hill snap I managed to snag:
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Here’s another beautiful panoramic snap…

So… the next time your feelin the itch to go somewhere but don’t know where.. just do some nosin around in the maps or just drive around on those back country roads… Who knows where you might hit your Calero park 😉

Happy shootin…
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P

My Oil paintings :)

My Oil paintings :)

Well, not really… I recently upgraded the display card on my comp (supports DX11) and lo and behold… The mystical oil painting filter got enabled in Photoshop (CS6). At first I was a little skeptical using this… but it grew on me. Not all pictures take well to this filter, but once you get the hang of it… the processed images take on a totally new persona.

the filter is especially good at handling areas that are either blown out or under exposed… noise is not an issue :). Bring out those noisy, not so well exposed pics and try to blow new life into them. Monochrome/Black n white pics don’t really lend themselves very well to this filter (or it might just be that im not tweaking em just right 😉 ). Even on the color pics its better to do the normal processing on the pic to make it look as good as one can

The following is another good example of what one can get from the process
The woods
This image had the sky blown out and the tree trunk under exposed. The oil painting filter really made the image pop…

Here’s another good example of what the filter can do…
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It really gives the picture a WOW factor 🙂

Do give the filter a try and don’t hesitate turning it on for pics with blown highlights or dark underexposed areas… even noisy ones… It takes care of all that for you 🙂

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P

PS: Click on the images for higher res images, if you want to see full resolution images, just click on the “O” in the list of sizes (look at the top middle of the screen once you click on the images).

Lumia 920… the photographers camera phone…

Lumia 920... the photographers camera phone...

Images like the one above are the rule rather than the exception. Caught this at the gurudwara (indian temple) in san jose at sundown. The camera caught the scene pretty much like what I saw there. Its images like this that bring out the true value of the image stabilized camera in the phone. It just is a cut above the rest. Even in bright sunny situations, the images have a good balance b/w the highlights and shadows. Things like white balance, color saturation etc are generally none issues.

The following images are a good roundup of what the camera does on the usual scenarios

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A lovely evening at this in the Almedan Quicksilver park, san jose.


 

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Another low light shot taken in Santa Cruz… and edited in the phone to get this look


 

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An example of a macro shot… Background blur can be achieved, but at really close subject distances


 

Here are two more sots that highlight how good the camera is in difficult light…

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This one was quiet a bit after sunset… The camera did push the exposure here a bit, the larger sizes are not that clear, but the colors are pretty much spot on. In face even a few stars show up in the picture. The phone did definitely capture much more than what i saw with my own eyes… 😀

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This one is another good example of how the camera handles extreme conditions, the exposure did come out pretty good here. (BTW I did use the auto fix tool on this picture to open up the shadows a bit. 🙂 )


 

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Another in camera pano… The camera does a good job of balancing the highlights and shadows for most cases


 

The shots above are a small subset of what the camera on the phone is really capable of doing. This is not a substitute for a real camera, but it does beat the lower end point and shoots. In simple words, im loving it 🙂

Do come back for more…

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P

To see more shots from the gallery click here