Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Calcutta Polo

Some photographs of the Ezra Cup Polo competition held in Calcutta in December 2011. For more Polo photographs  please do visit my web site www.sujoydas.com

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Himalayan Homestays: Spiti Lhalung Village

The village of Lhalung (3800 metres)  is now connected to the district headquarters of Spiti, Kaza, by a motorable road but is also possible to walk to Lhalung from Komic and Demul. We stayed at Khabrick Homestay in Lhalung run by Tashi Khabrik and his charming wife Dolma.  Tashi is extremely knowledgeable about the region and also works as a trekking guide in summer for treks across Parang La  to Tso Moriri and other areas in Spiti. He can be contacted at tashi.bodh@yahoo.co.in and +91 9418962704. Lhalung has a splendid monastery on top of the hill and for tourists visiting Dhangkar, a visit to Lhalung just an hours drive away is strongly recommended. Alternatively, the Spiti left bank trek starting from Lhangza passes through Komic, Demul, Lhalung and then onto Dhangkar.

The village of Lhalung 

The Serkong monastery above Lhalung village -  a hidden gem!

Tashi, Dolma and their little girl outside Khabrick Homestay

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spiti Homestays: Komic Village

On a recent trek in Spiti in October 2011, I had the pleasure to stay in some very pleasant home stays. One of them was called Kunga Homestay in Komic village at an altitude of 4500 metres. Kunga Chorden, a young lad of 23 years who runs the home stay with his wife provides very comfortable accommodation with good food. Kunga later accompanied us on our three day trek from Komic to Dhangkar. His phone nos are 01906 200050 and +91 9459981295. He can be also contacted through Mr Ramesh Lotay of Spiti Holiday  Adventures in Kaza at +91 9418439247/ +91 1906 222711. Ramesh Lotay is also on e mail loteykaza@yahoo.co.in

The village of Komic 

Our room at Kunga Homestay 

Kunga Chorden who runs the Kunga Homestay and also guides treks in the region 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Photography Tips and Tricks

After my two posts on tips and tricks for mountain photography in this blog, I am giving below some general tips for everyday photography which I am sure would be useful. 

Tip 1: Add people to a landscape
Add a subject to the foreground of a landscape shot to give depth to the photograph.  An example of this is given below

Tip 2: Use fill flash in daylight
When shooting people, in strong noon day sun use the pop up flash or even a speedlight to fill dark shadows especially under the eyes and bring out details. This ensures that the background is also exposed correctly and not washed out. An example of this is given below:

Tip 3: Kick the “I’ll fix it in Photoshop habit”!
You need to ensure that the photograph is taken in the camera not fixed in Photoshop – so white balance, exposure, lighting, focus etc all need to be bang-on! If you are not sure of the exposure bracket! Check the histogram on the LCD display to ensure that exposure is correct.

Tip 4: F8 and be there
Basically this famous photography axiom asks you to be ready to shoot. So rather than adjust white balance, aperture,  shutter speed , metering modes, focus modes etc  before taking a photo, you to need to set all this before hand. On a normal sunny day, I will usually set the following before I start out: WB auto, ISO auto set to maximum of 800, aperture priority around f8 or so, and matrix metering, AF-S for single focus. This allows me to shoot in most situations provide the light is reasonable. And, if I have time I would  bracket three to four exposure either by using auto bracketing  or manually -0.3, -0.7, -0.1, +0.3, + 0.7. This usually nails the photograph right in the camera.

Tip 5: To reduce noise at high ISO make sure your exposure is bang on target!  
Modern day cameras allow you to shoot at very high ISO’s like 1600, 3200 and even 6400 on top end models. However, the major drawback at high ISO is noise. So, one way of reducing or minimizing noise is to make sure your exposure in spot on. If you have underexposed even a little bit there will be ample noise in the shadow areas which is always difficult to get rid off. So try to ensure a correct exposure by shooting, maybe, a number of photos at different settings so that at least one is correctly exposed. This is an example of a photo shot an ISO 1600 but due to correct exposure there is hardly any noise:

Tip 6: On a tripod turn VR or IS off
This is a mistake which I have made a number of times. If you have a camera on a tripod you don’t need to switch on VR or IS as the camera is likely to be rock steady and does not need any vibration reduction.  Often in a hurry we forget this and shoot with VR or IS on.

Tip 7: For critical photos use RAW
When you need to use photographs for magazine stories, prints, exhibitions etc raw is the way to go. You can convert raw files using the correct version of Camera Raw with Photoshop and with proprietary converters like Capture NX2, View NX for Nikon.

 Tip 8: If you can, take along a small table top light weight tripod
Ideally most photographers would recommend a full heavy weight tripod but is difficult to carry around and also in some situations difficult to set up. So I have a small Slik table top which can also fit into a jacket pocket which I use when I need support. The Joby Gorilla pod is also an option and has the advantage of flexible legs!

Tip 9: Don’t put the camera away at dusk or at night
On the subject of tripods if you have one with you then photography at night and at dusk becomes a distinct possibility. Long exposures makes the world look a lot different and details in the dark night sky can often produce stunning effects.

Tip 10: Less is often more!
The proliferation of social media and the free photo web sites have made it possible for everyone to post their photos on the net even if they don’t have their own web sites or blogs. However, in their enthusiasm to post photographs of a holiday or journey I often find a facebook album of a hundred photos or more. Similarly, picasa web albums sent to me to review have similar number of photos. Usually with so many images the impact is lost and the good images get masked by the mediocre ones. So it often helps to edit tightly, remove duplicates and similars, weed out all photos that are not in focus, overexposed or underexposed, badly composed and leave the best ones for the viewers! Most of my albums rarely have more than twenty photographs and the majority have between ten and twelve!

Happy shooting!  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Angkor Wat Photos

These are some photographs from Angkor Wat Cambodia. To view the rest of the album please do visit  my web site www.sujoydas.com 


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