Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spiti Photographs

This is a small collection of black and white photographs from Spiti. For more photos please do visit my web site

Komic village

Rooftop at Tabo

Ki monastery

From the Dhangkar monastery looking at the Spiti river

Spiti valley below Ki monastery

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Value for money lenses for Nikon

Many photographers migrating from point and shoot cameras to a DSLR camera often complain about the huge investment required to be made in DSLR lenses. So to help them I am listing below some value for money Nikon lenses,  many of which I have used myself.

35 f1.8 DX – USD 200
This is a DX lens which will act a normal lens (50 mm) on a DX body. The lens has a built in motor so it works with all DX bodies. It is extremely fast, sharp and light and warrants a place in every shooter’s bag. For more reviews of this lens please see and 

40 f2.8 DX Macro USD 280
A new introduction to the Nikon DX range, the lens provides macro capability with good speed and portability.  For a review please visit

50 F1.8 AF-D – USD 120
I bought this lens when I had film cameras and continued to use it in the digital era. With a DX body it does the work or a short fast telephoto and is amazingly useful in low light situations. Light and small it can also fit into a jacket pocket and is tack-sharp. For a review of this lens please see . It does not have a built in AF motor so you need to focus manually on Nikon D3000/3100/5000/5100 etc.

18-55 VR DX USD 120-180 (refurbished to new)
This is a highly underrated lens. Often supplied as the “kit lens” with the Nikon DX bodies it is light, sharp and extremely versatile. It also focuses as close as 9 inch which is suitable for close up work. The lens has Nikon’s vibration reduction technology allowing exposures as low as 1/10 of a second without shake. The lens is available at various web sites like new as well as refurbished. Though the build quality of the lens  is inferior to other Nikons, nevertheless it presents a very good value proposition.   For a review of this lens please see . I used this lens for many years before upgrading  last year to the  Nikon 16-85 VR. 

55-200 VR DX USD 150-250 (refurbished to new)  
This lens has for long been one of the hidden gems in the Nikon DX range. It has been superseded by the 55-300 Nikon VR but still retains value and offers excellent bang for the buck. For a review of this lens please see . It was made in both the VR and non VR versions and the VR version is preferred. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Spars Lodge at Simla

On my recent visit to the Spiti valley I stayed for two days in Simla at the very comfortable Spars Lodge, located near the Museum and above the Hotel Oberoi Cecil. The lodge was built by Arindam Joshi in 1996 and has eight  bright and sunny rooms with a  beautiful view of the Simla hills and the valley below. The lodge is extremely quiet but yet not far from the heart of Simla. The very pleasant walk from the lodge to the Simla Mall would take around twenty minutes.
The dining and sitting area of the lodge 
Arindam is a gourmet cook himself and his menu has all sorts of delicacies which are usually not available at a hill station. We had poached trout for dinner, deliciously cooked with apple pie and ice cream for dessert!
Arindam Joshi who runs the Spars Lodge in Simla
Rooms start at Rs 700 for singles and go upto Rs 2200 for large suites.
For a stay at Spars please do contact Arindam Joshi at or 0177-2657908 /98163-72323.
Highly recommended folks!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Yarchagumba Murders at Nar, Nepal

In 2009, seven Nepalese villagers died mysteriously while foraging for a fungal aphrodisiac worth its weight in gold.  Read  the story in Outside Online September 2011 issue:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Mountains of the Everest Region: Part II

Everest and Nuptse from the plateau below Kala Pattar

Ama Dablam and Dingboche village

The trail from Dingboche to Dugla

Cholatse from Dugla 

Kwangde at dawn from Namche Bazar

Thamserku as seen from near Kyanjuma


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