Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sri Lanka - Part II

In Sri Lanka, there is nothing called 'Night Life' (may be it exists in Colombo, but the areas that we toured - there was none). After Lion rock exploration in Sigiriya and that ummilicious lunch, it was almost evening and we did absolutely nothing but having dinner and sleeping. 

Day 02: Polonnaruva - Medieval Capital City

2nd day early morning we started for Polonnaruva - Medieval capital city.

The glory of Anuradhapura was destroyed by the south Indian invaders compelling the Sinhala monarchs to establish the capital in a different location Pulatthinagara - modern Polonnaruva. The architectural features, sculptures, paintings and writings on stones have its own identity. Polannaruva type influenced not only by Buddhism but also by Hinduism as well. The UNESCO declared Polannaruva a World Heritage SIte in 1982.

Site map of World Heritage City of Pollanaruva 
At the entrance, there are ruins of Hatadage, details of Hatadage is shown in the below image:

Description of Hatadage
In the left hand side of Hatadage, there is Vatadage which is in much better condition till date.

Vatadage from outside
Description of Vatadage
Vatadage from outside
Inside of Vatadage
Stone sculpture at Vatadage
One of the four Buddha statues of Vatadage
Where many things of Vatadage is still recognizable, sadly in Hatadage there is only ruins. These old temples are evidence of Buddhism influence.

A temple inside Ancient city of Polannaruva
A temple inside Ancient city of Polannaruva
There are two Siva temples inside the city, which show the influence of Hinduism. Here I tried to capture only few major things, apart from these there are many items lying there with their own rich history.

Royal palace inside Ancient city of Polannaruva
A Stupa inside Ancient city of Polannaruva
There is a rock temple of the Buddha in the Ancient city of Polannaruva called Gal Vihara.

Buddha in sitting position in Gal Vihara
Buddha in sitting position in Gal Vihara
Buddha in standing position in Gal Vihara
Buddha in sleeping position in Gal Vihara
The Code of Disciplinary, Gal Vihara
Gal Vihara - Rock temple of the Buddha
Here ends our tour of Polannaruva. After that we had our much awaited lunch in a good restaurant, ummm - awesome food. I'm in love with Sri Lankan food.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sri Lanka - Part I

February 2012, I went to Sri Lanka for a week long trip - with a company of one of my very good friends. I have a very good Sri Lankan colleague, he helped us to decide our itinerary and also offered his cousin as our tour guide. 

Tour map
One fine evening we took-off from Abu Dhabi airport. The flight was a great disappointment. We booked our ticked in Etihad, later we came to know that the flight is operated by Sri Lankan airways - that was fine. But the plane was 3+3 tiny domestic one (I don't remember the airbus model number) - very limited space was there for cabin baggage. Majority of the passengers were forced to put their baggage at their foot-space - so we. After that we hardly had any breathing space. At the end of 5 hours flight our body was in trouble. 

Anyways, our humble guide Roshen was in the airport on time with a good Honda car. We started our journey from Colombo Bandaranaike international airport, destination Sigiriya.

Day 01: SIGIRIYA - The Lion Rock

After reaching Sigiriya in the late morning, we took a shower in the hotel and went out to explore the Lion rock.

Sigiriya is a unique landscape city, created in the 5th century by King Kashyapa embracing a 200 m rock out crop and its surrounding with nature driven architecture composed of buildings, pathways, terraces, ponds, fountains, paintings and sculpture. There are more than 1000 hand written poems on the mirror wall written by visitors to Sigiriya from 7th to 14th century. The UNESCO declared this a World Heritage site in 1982.

Site map of World Heritage city of Sigiriya
Canal surrounding the Lion rock
The canal was made for security purposes. Till date, there are crocodiles in the canal.

The Water garden
Description of the Water garden
The Lion rock
If you notice the Lion rock carefully, you will observe that the rock was sculpted in a shape of a Lion. The left side of the rock is the face of the Lion. More clearly visible in the below snap:

The Lion rock
Access road to the top of  the Lion rock
The Mirror wall (brown color, plain surface) and access stairs to the top
The Mirror wall was designed to reflect light and to protect the city. The shine due to well polish of the wall now almost gone, still if you observe carefully (in practical) - you will see it. 

Description of the Mirror wall
Paintings in gallery behind the Mirror wall
The whole face of the rock (behind the Mirror wall) appears to have been a gigantic picture gallery. The paintings would have covered most of the western face of the rock, covering an area 140 m long and 40 m high. There are references in the graffiti to 500 ladies in these paintings. However, many more are lost forever, having been wiped out when the Palace once more became a monastery − so that they would not disturb meditation.

Paintings in gallery behind the Mirror wall
View of Sigiriya city from the Mirror wall gallery
The tall Buddha statue in the above image was far away from the Lion rock. I utilized my lens's full zoom to achieve this.

Lion's Paw terrace
Description of the Lion's Paw terrace
In the Lion's Paw terrace, you can notice the front feet of the Lion. From there the stairs will lead you to the top of the Lion rock - where gardens and palaces are there. We were too tired to climb further. I know - it was stupid not to see what's there after going there. May be next time.

After Lion rock visit, we had an delicious lunch in a nearby restaurant. We were so hungry that there was no time for capturing images (actually that was the case every day). If you have a little bit attraction to spices and spicy food then take my words - food will be the numero uno item which you will enjoy the most in Sri Lanka. Atleast, that was the case with us.

See high resolution images of my Sri lanka trip here in Flickr.

See other parts of my Sri Lanka trip:
Sri Lanka - Part II
Sri Lanka - Part III
Sri Lanka - Part IV
Sri Lanka - Part V
Sri Lanka - Part VI

Please feel free to comment. All comments (criticisms & appraisals) are welcome. Please do not reproduce the images for commercial purposes without prior permission.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My last weekend in Dubai

Last Thursday it was a public holiday in UAE and as usual for us (me and all my colleagues) - it was not. Fortunately (!) management allowed us to leave an hour before normal time. I planned to utilize the weekend in Dubai for some long exposure photography with my friend - it was due for quite a few days. Thursday and Friday night we captured few snaps. Here are my captures
Dubai Skyline from Jumeira beach
Mosque at Dubai creek
Dubai creek
Burj Khalifa from Jumeira
Burj Khalifa from Jumeira
Full resolution images are in Flickr and 500px.

My weekend is over and 'm already back to office, but you still have the Sunday left - enjoy your time with family and friends. 

Please feel free to comment. All comments (criticisms & appraisals) are welcome. Please do not reproduce the images for commercial purposes without prior permission.

Monday, November 12, 2012

How to make border of an image in Photoshop

Many times we are need of a border to our images. How to make these borders quickly? In a few simple steps I will show here.

If you are using Lightroom as your picture manager (which I do and highly recommended), then while exporting your RAW file into JPEG (or any other format), you can make sure that the image opens in Photoshop afterwards. You can choose that in 'Export' window, under 'Post-Processing' tab.


Alternatively, you can choose to open the image directly in Photoshop from file menu. 

Once then image is opened in Photoshop, go to Image -> Canvas Size (short cut: Alt+Ctrl+C). The following window will pop-up:


The original size of the image will be on display. Increase the Width and Height by 1, 2, 5 or 10 (as per your choice) pixels, choose the desired color as well. Here I took 10 pixels all-around and Gray colored canvas extension:


After applying these, the output will look something like the following image:


You can opt for multiple borders, just by repeating the above steps with different (or same) values to have the final image as per your own taste.


If you try to record your actions on Photoshop and save it to apply for your next photos - unfortunately that will not work successfully with all the images as your images are having different size and different aspect ratio as well. If multiple images have same dimension and same orientation then the shortcut will work for that set only.

Happy Diwali

Wish you all a very happy and prosperous Diwali. May the festival of lights brings lights to every corner of your life.



Thursday, November 8, 2012

My first D-SLR - Addendum 01

With the recent launch of Nikon's D5200 (an upgrade of 18 months old D5100), Nikon introduced its 5th D-SLR in 2012. Though it is difficult to understand Nikon's aggressive business strategy but it was a big year for them.

Anyways, when I wrote My first D-SLR back in September-2012, I left D3200 out of my discussion. D5200 being introduced, I thought it would be wise to update my article up-to-date. Here it goes:

ADDENDUM 01


Read the introduction here: How I concluded to buy D5100.

When I finished My first D-SLR Nikon's D3200 was already in the market and on 06-November-2012 Nikon (Europe and Asia, not US!) introduced D5200 - as an advancement of D5100.

These 2 models were not discussed earlier in my article, here I would like to share what I feel about them. Please note that, this article is not a lab test report of all these camera bodies - whole and sole my personal opinions only.

I asked myself a question: Given a chance, would I like to have either of these 2 (D3200 or D5200) as my first D-SLR ahead of D5100 or D7000? The answer was a straight and big NO. Obviously the next question: Why?

Let's keep D7000 out of this for the sake of simplicity, till date D7000 is the numero uno advanced entry-level DX camera and stands ahead of all these kids in many regards (D90 falls short to D7000 - refer to any pro sites like DP Review and you will get the same conclusion; D300S is not an entry level camera - though DX but it is a dedicated advanced camera).

So, it is about the superiority of 18 months old D5100, 6 months old D3200 and just born D5200.

What advancement does D3200 and D5200 have over D5100?

  • D3200 and D5200 deliver 24 megapixel image whereas D5100 delivers 16 megapixel image,
  • D3200 and D5200 equipped with EXPEED 3 processor whereas D5100 is equipped with EXPEED 2,
  • D5200 (not D3200) has 39 focus points whereas D5100 (also D3200) has 11 focus points,
  • D5200 offers 5 fps (frames per second) against 4 fps by D5100 (D3200 also offers 4 fps).
These are the three major features where these three cameras differ with each other.

Are these differences substantial?

Theoretically YES but practically NO. Please note that, I'm not trying to defend my purchase of D5100. Anyone would like to defend his/her purchase, no one will admit that it was a mistake. But I'm not trying to do anything like that.

24 megapixel vs 16 megapixel

If you lured just by megapixel count of your camera and you have an opinion like more the pixel count better the picture then you will definitely argue with me. But do you really need that 1.5 times more megapixel count? Do you really have any business with that? Did you already realized that your each RAW file will be of 24 MB if you shoot with D3200/D5200?

So what?

Let's come to the points. We (you and me) do not need a 24 megapixel image. Where are we going to post our images OR how we are going to use our images? Mainly we will post our images on web and for that 24 megapixels is a waste. Even if you print your image then it is never bigger than A3 or A2 size - 16 megapixel image is completely perfect for that size. When I do my image processing, I connect my laptop with a 21" monitor - there it looks perfect. In no web services you are going to view your image in bigger scale than that. Let'c consider that, you are going to use the camera in a (bit) professional way - for event or wedding photography, there also your client do not want an image bigger than A2 size (if printed) and in majority cases it will be for web and will remain in soft form only.

The pain lies somewhere else, apart from eating your disk space at a monster rate with 24 MB image each, there is another concern. Just for your information: at present moment, only my RAW files captured a space of 65 GB (since August-2011) - mine is 16 MB RAW image each with D5100, the JPEGs and TIFFs sizes are additional. Now the concern, do you understand the fact that bigger your RAW file size - slower the process of your engine will be! Your computer will take lot of time to load each image and also to load your customized changes - Photoshop/Lightroom will cry! My engine is a vaio i5 with 4 Gb RAM - it is just OK for me but not enough. It makes a sound like crazy while image processing - I'm considering to upgrade the RAM to 8 GB just because of this issue. Now imagine, how it will behave with 24 MB RAWs! 

To get more clear views, I recommend you to read some more on the web about practical life experience with Nikon's D800 which captures at whooping 36 megapixel. Seriously you have to upgrade then your engine - a SSD drive will be compulsory (an expensive affair). Are you ready to invest so much when it is about your first time?

Remember, D7000 captures at 16 megapixel only - no one complains about the pixel count of it.

EXPEED 3 vs EXPEED 2

EXPEED 3 is the upgraded version of EXPEED 2 (it is the image processor of the camera) - definitely must be better than EXPEED 2. But D7000 and D5100 have EXPEED 2 inside them - there is nothing to complain about their image quality.

What I'm trying to say here is, may be EXPEED 3 is better than its older counter part but does it compulsorily required to possess? Here I do not have much to say - you better think and decide.

39 focus points vs 11 focus points

Ofcourse this is a major advancement of D5200 (same as in D7000) and a good feature - good to have. If you start as a beginner then my words: less is good. with 11 focus points (in D5100 also in D3200) you learn better composition and better focus techniques for still photographs (there is a custom setting option in D5200 to shoot with old 11 focus points). As you do not have plenty of resources, gradually you learn to master the trick of using your limited resources smartly. But you will feel the limit of less focus points while doing sports or bird (dynamic wildlife) photography.

5 fps vs 4 fps

Seriously, there is no defense of D5100 (4 fps) here. The advancement is really great - particularly when you are in sports or in wildlife. Actually the more fps count along with a better AF system is the only criteria where D5200 outperforms its predecessor.

D3200 or D5100?

D3200 does not have anything interesting to offer above D5100. 24 megapixel image is of very limited use (or of no use!) and the EXPEED 3 engine is as good as EXPEED 2 (I believe). On the other hand D5100 have many advantages over D3200 like it can do bracketing (compulsory for making HDR images), it has articulated LCD which is a handy feature, etc. Also the D5100 comes with a little bit less cost tag than D3200 (after price revision).

D5100 or D5200?

Nikon took D5100, added the megapixel count and processor of D3200 and the focus points of D7000 - result is D5200. We (you and me) do not need that 24 megapixel count and EXPEED 3 (as I mentioned above). Therefor, its all about having 39 focus points along-with 5 fps - this might prove like substantial but remember only one feature will cost you substantially. Is it wise to pay only for single useful feature?

I would have appreciated the D5200 if it has inherited some the very useful feature of D7000 like an in-built focus motor which could have open a wide range of compatible lenses, or may be a weather seal which would have made it less vulnerable to dust/rain/snow, etc. 

Less you invest - less you regret! As I already mentioned that, it is hard to understand Nikon's marketing strategy, but it is not so difficult to see that Nikon reduced the prices of DX cameras (D3100, D5100, etc.) substantially. Over a year or two, expect the same with the newly launched models too. That will be the moment, when you will feel the punch. After playing 2 years with a D-SLR, you will be at an advance stage - may feel an urge to upgrade. Then the obvious thing will come in your mind is to sell your previous one, but as the price of the model dropped - you will hardly get anything from selling. You will be in dilemma - whether to sell your first (beloved) D-SLR at a cheap price or to keep it. Better to invest as less as possible in the beginning and mastering it first, rather than investing big.

I will save the extra money with D5100 and will buy a 18-105 lens instead of the 18-55 kit lens. If I have money then I will buy D7000 not D5200. Or, after mastering the first D-SLR if an upgrade is required then FX like D600 can be taken into consideration (if budget permits).

Wish you good luck with your first D-SLR. It's not the camera which captures a great picture - it's you who makes it great. Wish you all Happy Photographing :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

পূজা পরিক্রমা ২০১২ (Durga Puja 2012)

In last 10 years, it was only second time that I was in my home with family during Durga puja festival - the numero uno bengali (bong) festival.

শিউলি ফুল (Night-flowering Jasmine)- the flower of durga puja (along with lotus)
Traveled as much as possible during the entire festival - from one pandal to another and captured as many as possible. Now it is the time to share with you and to make you familiar (who is not) with Devi Durga or in our mother-tongue মা দূর্গা.

মহা সপ্তমী (Maha Saptami)

We were in Krishnagar (district town) and covered all the major pujas there. 
Ray Bari, Krishnagar
@ Ray Bari, Krishnagar
@ Ray Bari, Krishnagar
RAJ Bari, Krishnagar
@ RAJ Bari, Krishnagar
@ RAJ Bari, Krishnagar
@ RAJ Bari, Krishnagar
@ RAJ Bari, Krishnagar
Pandal of Ghurni Tarun Sangha 
@ Ghurni Tarun Sangha
@ Ghurni Tarun Sangha
@ Zodiac, Krishnagar
@ Zodiac, Krishnagar
@ College Street, Krishnagar
@ College Street, Krishnagar
@ Mangalik, Krishnagar
@ Mangalik, Krishnagar
@ Malopara, Krishnagar
@ Malopara, Krishnagar
We also visited the famous Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math and Sree Sree Sidheswari Kali Mandir:

@ Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, Krishnagar
@ Sree Sree Sidheswari Kali Mandir, Krishnagar
We ended up the day with Square Park at Kalyani A-block:

Pandal of Square park, Kalyani A-block
@ Square park, Kalyani A-block
@ Square park, Kalyani A-block

মহা অষ্টমী (Maha Ashtami)

Maha Ashtami is the most important day of Durga puja, all devotees offer prayers and express their wishes on this day. This day I was only in my home town and visited few major pujas.

@ Central park, Kalyani
@ Central park, Kalyani
@ Central park, Kalyani*
* Photo credit: Sudipta Das

@ Kalyani (behind Bhusan's sweet corner, Central park)
@ Kalyani (behind Bhusan's sweet corner, Central park)
Pandal of Manimela park, B-7, Kalyani
@ Manimela park, B-7, Kalyani
@ Manimela park, B-7, Kalyani
@ Congress road, Kalyani
Pandal of Uttranchal, Congress road, Kalyani
@ Uttranchal, Congress road, Kalyani
@ Uttranchal, Congress road, Kalyani
@ B-2 bus stand, Kalyani
@ B-2 bus stand, Kalyani
Pandal of Nebula, Kalyani
@ Nebula, Kalyani
@ Nebula, Kalyani

সন্ধি পূজা (Sandhi puja, end of Maha Ashtami and beginning of Maha Navami)

This part is my favorite and I like it most if it happens in night. This year the timing was perfect - midnight. I always try to attain this part. During Sandhi puja usually I'm at the nearest puja pandal i.e. Chittaranjan park.

Sandhi Puja Aarati, 2008 @ Chittaranjan Park, Kalyani

The last time when I attended Durga puja back in 2008, that was also in midnight. In 2008, I captured a small video along with other still snaps, this time I captured only stills.

@ Chittaranjan Park, Kalyani
@ Chittaranjan Park, Kalyani
@ Chittaranjan Park, Kalyani
@ Chittaranjan Park, Kalyani
@ Chittaranjan Park, Kalyani
@ Chittaranjan Park, Kalyani
@ Chittaranjan Park, Kalyani
@ Chittaranjan Park, Kalyani
Prayer
@ Chittaranjan Park, Kalyani
@ Chittaranjan Park, Kalyani
@ Chittaranjan Park, Kalyani
@ Chittaranjan Park, Kalyani
@ Chittaranjan Park, Kalyani

মহা নবমী (Maha Navami)

On the eve of Maha Navami - the 3rd day of Durga puja, we were in North Calcutta. We visited few old and famous pujas there. I forgot name of few, which I will update later if my memory decides to help me out in future.

@ Harihar Ghosh Road, North Calcutta
@ Someone's house (Barir'r puja)*
 * First time I have seen the Ganesh idol and Karthik idol swapped respective place; I guess it was on purpose and uniqueness of this particular puja.

@ Someone's house (Barir'r puja), North Calcutta
@ North Calcutta
@ North Calcutta
@ North Calcutta
Shobhabazar Rajbari (1 of 2)*
* There are two Rajbari's at Shobhabazar - situated on opposite side of a road facing each other; one is known as Baro Shobhabazar Rajbari whereas the other one is known as Choto Shobhabazar Rajbari. I don't know which is this one. But I visited both and pictures of both are shared.

@ Shobhabazar Rajbari (1 of 2)
@ Shobhabazar Rajbari (1 of 2)
@ Shobhabazar Rajbari (1 of 2)
Shobhabazar Rajbari (2 of 2)
@ Shobhabazar Rajbari (2 of 2)
@ Shobhabazar Rajbari (2 of 2)
@ Shobhabazar Rajbari (2 of 2)
@ Shobhabazar Rajbari (2 of 2)
Pandal of Sanghatirtha, North Calcutta
@ Sanghatirtha, North Calcutta
@ Sanghatirtha, North Calcutta
@ A Temple adjacent to Sanghatirtha, North Calcutta
Pandal of a puja, North Calcutta
Pandal of a puja, North Calcutta
@ North Calcutta
@ North Calcutta
@ Someone's house (Barir'r puja), North Calcutta
@ Someone's house (Barir'r puja), North Calcutta

Pandal of a puja, North Calcutta
Pandal of a puja, North Calcutta
@ North Calcutta
Pandal of Beadon Street, North Calcutta
@ Beadon Street, North Calcutta
@ Beadon Street, North Calcutta
@ Beadon Street, North Calcutta
Pandal of 'Amra Sobai', Ramdulal Sarkar Street, North Calcutta
Pandal of 'Amra Sobai', Ramdulal Sarkar Street, North Calcutta
Pandal of 'Amra Sobai', Ramdulal Sarkar Street, North Calcutta
@ 'Amra Sobai', Ramdulal Sarkar Street, North Calcutta
@ 'Amra Sobai', Ramdulal Sarkar Street, North Calcutta
@ 'Amra Sobai', Ramdulal Sarkar Street, North Calcutta