God’s Own State – Wayanad, Kerala

We had been waiting to go to Kerala sometime but kept postponing due to some or the other reason. A colleague of mine visited Wayanad in second week of August and showed me the photos. I was just out of words seeing the atmosphere there and decided to head to Wayanad the next weekend.

I had only 3 days before the trip for booking the accommodation. Checked with few resorts but all were running full on the weekend of 21st-22nd. So I moved to hotels; Green Gates looked like a decent hotel in Kalpetta with good reviews on internet as well as here on Team-BHP. Checked with them and booked a deluxe room for 2K per night for two nights (plan was to leave Bangalore Friday morning and come back Sunday evening). More on the hotel later. Continue reading “God’s Own State – Wayanad, Kerala”

2 Amazing Applications You Must Have For Ubuntu

There are zillions of must-have-apps-for-ubuntu kinda blogs.  Those are very useful when you are new to Ubuntu and looking for the best way to get something done.  Here I’m going to talk about two Ubuntu applications which I find are amazing and haven’t been mentioned by most of those blogs.

  • Ubuntu Tweak
  • Shutter

So here we go.

Continue reading further…

Refrain From Using Rupee Font For New Rupee Symbol

New Rupee Symbol

I saw this news article in today’s Times of India and was surprised to see such an article in a national daily.  This company Foradian Technologies is mis-leading people by coming up with a font for the new Rupee Symbol. They have designed a font that can represent the symbol (`) as the Rupee symbol.  That’s not how a currency symbol should be represented.  It should be a Unicode symbol and should get approved by Unicode Consortium first.  Dollar ($), Euro (€), Yen (¥), Pound (£) are all Unicode characters and not just fonts. This company –  Foradian Technologies – is simply trying to gain some mileage of this hype created around the new Rupee Symbol.  This is just a marketing gimmick to get the company in lime-light.

Continue reading “Refrain From Using Rupee Font For New Rupee Symbol”

How To Setup Thunderbird + Lightning + DavMail On Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx)

As the title suggests, I’m going to take you through exact steps on how to setup Thunderbird + Lightning + DavMail on Ubuntu 10.04 for your corporate email and calendaring (both hosted on Microsoft Exchange server) needs. Let’s save the debate on why did I chose this particular combo only for some other day. So let’s get started.

Thunderbird doesn’t come pre-installed with Ubuntu 10.04, so we will need to install Thunderbird first. We will be using the Synaptic Package Manager and the aptitude utility that comes with Ubuntu for all the installations. When I am writing this, the latest versions for Thunderbird, Lightning and DavMail are 3.1, 1.0b2 and 3.6.6-1032 respectively.

Setup Thunderbird

Install Thunderbird

Open the Synaptic Package Manager from System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager.

System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager

Search for “thunderbird”, select the entry “thunderbird”, right click and mark it for installation. Apply the changes.

For those who are more comfortable with text commands, fire up a Terminal from Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal and install Thunderbird using the apt-get utility.

$ sudo apt-get install thunderbird

A shortcut will be created for you in Applications -> Internet -> Thunderbird. You can either launch Thunderbird from there or just use the Terminal command “thunderbird”. Go ahead and launch Thunderbird.

Now we will setup the mail account.

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Panoramas… I Want To Do More Of Them !!!

If we go by Wikipedia definition of Panorama, it is any wide-angle view or representation of a physical space, whether in painting, drawing, photography, film/video, or a three-dimensional model. For me a Panorama is a view that you can enjoy only when you are physically present at the scene as no camera (none that I can afford at least) can capture that width. But still you will find amazing photos covering scenes as wide as 360 degrees. Such images are formed by stitching multiple images together using some stitching software.

Here, I am going to post some of my favorite Panoramas I have created so far and some small tips as usual :).  First let’s start with pictures.

NYC Skyline
NYC Skyline

The picture above is a stitched picture of 6 independent photos.  The photo was taken from New Jersey across the Hudson river.

Connor Tea Gardens
Tea Gardens @ Connor, Tamilnadu, India

I don’t really remember how many photos I had to stitch to create the Panorama above.  This place is tea gardens at a small hill station called Connor in southern part of India.

Continue reading “Panoramas… I Want To Do More Of Them !!!”

Why Do I Love Macro Photography?

Anyone who has visited my flickr gallery would know that I am an avid fan of Macro Photography (specially insects). Some people find my passion for shooting insects difficult to digest. What is so tempting about photographing insects that I can spend hours together behind a small creature to get that best shot? Well, it’s the beautiful patterns, or I should say the designs that the insects are gifted – and we are not.  These minute details are which I keep trying to capture as I can not admire those with my naked eyes.

Coming to macro photography, it is not as easy as it seems.  First you have to work with not-so-cooperative insects and second you need a powerful lens to capture them.  Also, either you need some sort of support to steady the camera (a tripod or a monopod or something where you can rest your camera) or you got to have very very steady hands.  I don’t have a tripod yet, so I try to utilize my hands as much as possible.

Here are some tips for macro photography –

  • Know limitations of your camera – each camera a minimum distance beyond which it can’t focus.  For example in normal macro mode, my Canon S3 IS can focus at 1 cm but not less than that.  In Super macro mode, it can focus at 0 cm too, nice.
  • Have enough light – for macro photography, you need to zoom a lot to get closer to the subject and hence need much more light than shooting at wide angle.
  • Get a tripod (I need to get it too) – As you are working at far end of telephoto range, a small shake can give you a completely blurred image.
  • Get a good macro lens – Normal point and shoot cameras are generally not equipped with good enough lens for macro photography.  You need a lens which can enlarge the image and still retain the sharpness.  I use Raynox DCR-250 lens on top of my Canon S3 IS.  This lens enlarges the image 8 times and is very good at retaining the sharpness of the subject.
  • Keep away from Bumble bees 🙂

Below are some of my favorite macro shots that I have taken over last 3 years.

 

Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis
Dragonfly
Quietly sitting Dragonfly
Flower
Flower - I don't know the name
Butterfly
Butterfly

And finally this video.  It’s much more fun when you can capture such wonderful macro videos. I wish I had a tripod.

You wouldn’t appreciate these lovely creatures unless you bend down on your knees and get to their level to see their world.

My First Attempt At HDR

One fine evening (some 9 months ago) I wake up in the evening (Yes, I do that) and what I see from my balcony is a beautiful scene created by mother nature.  Immediately thought came in mind to capture it forever.  But the moment I click, I don’t see the same beauty on the LCD panel of my not-so-expensive camera. If I try to capture the details in the sky, I miss out the details on earth and vice versa.

Then comes the thought to try something different, which I haven’t tried myself before.  Set the camera to exposure bracketing mode to take three different shots at different exposures (-2, 0, +2 in my case) and click click click.  I get three different images with different exposures.

I transfer the images to my Mac and use Photomatix to bind them one over another.  Photomatix does a great job (after some tweaking here and there) and it gives me this wonderful image which exactly looked like the scene outside. Bingo. I like the natural looking image I got.  I have seen some overly processed HDRs which look like some abstract art.  Here my motive was to get the image which looks as real as possible and to my surprise, I did succeed to most extent.

View from my balcony
Trying my hands at HDR

The original images used to create this HDR can be viewed here.

Here is one more attempt at HDR.  The image below was created by binding two separate images, which were not shot keeping HDR in mind (didn’t use exposure bracketing for these).

One more attempt at HDR

If you want to read further on HDR, there is a good Wikipedia article you can read here.