Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Season's Greetings!

   Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy n Prosperous New Year 2013 !!

(Image Credit: happynewyear2013.org )

Ram Kishore K

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Trip to Hogenakkal Falls (from Bangalore)

09/ 30/ 2012

  This is about a one day trip which we made to Hogenakkal Falls from Bangalore.

    A series of  water falls formed by the river cauvery at the Hogenakkal Village in Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu. It's one of the most popular tourist spots and is frequented by people of the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Most common activity here is just to take a long bath in the gushing waters and taking a coracle ride along the river Cauvery.

Getting There
   Distance between Bangalore and Hogenakkal is approximately 180 KM and it takes around 2.5-3 hours.

The most preferred route to Hogenakkal is
Bangalore ----> Hosur ---> Krishnagiri ---> Dharmapuri ---> Hogenakkal

It's the four lane NH-7 till Dharmapuri, which narrows down to 2 lane(still better) once you deviate towards Hogenakkal shortly after reaching Dharmapuri. Distance from Dharmapuri to Hogenakkal is 45 Kms.

We started around 9 Am and reached around 12:15 including a 30 minutes break at Krishnagiri.

Photo taken somewhere above the main falls.

Being a Sunday, Hogenakkal was packed with tourists. Vendors brimmed either side of the street leading to the main falls. Freshly prepared fish is one of the hot selling stuffs here. If you are a veggie and if do not want to test your tummy muscles with makeshift food, then better carry your own food as you wont find a good hotel here.

A fish stall.

   Few more snaps from the journey.

And my favourite snap !

 If you are in Bangalore or plan to visit Bangalore, Hogenakkal is a awesome place worth visiting too. And do not forget your sun screen and goggles !

Ram Kishore K

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kumarakom - The Backwater Retreat !

Aug 21-22, 2012

     This is about a quick two days trip that I made to Kumarakom late August. I had traveled down to my native Tirunelveli to spend a few days away from the bustling Bangalore city and made time to visit Kumarakom well known for the splendid backwaters.

Tirunelveli To Alleppy
     I took Hapa Express Train early at 6 in the morning, that plies between Tirunelveli and Hapa, connecting Alleppy (aka Alappuzha) on its way. It took about 5.5 hours from Tirunelveli to reach Alleppy which is the nearest city (for my route) to Kumarakom.

   Alleppy Railway Station

  Reaching Kumarakom From Alleppy
              It's the Vembanad lake that bisects Alleppy and Kumarakom. One can reach Kumarakom from Alleppy by Bus/Tax or Ferry. I had earlier planned to take a government operated ferry from Alleppy to Kumarakom. (You have to travel by Auto to reach the Boat Jetty from Alleppy railway station ~  15-mins). I'm not sure if you could really travel by ferry from Alleppy boat jetty to Kumarakom, my earlier research on the internet suggested me to travel to Muhamma boat jetty (~18 Km from Alleppy Railway Station) to get to Kumarakom. Kerala, known for its frequent Bandh, was on strike that day too. (I believe this time the bandh was held by the people who ferry the boat). I had to either hire a taxi or travel by local inter city bus and I opted for taxi.

     Taxis to Kumarakom from Alleppy can cost anywhere between Rs800 to Rs 1200. It took nearly 45 minutes to reach Kumarakom. I had booked a room with Kodianthara Heritage Home in Kumarakom. It was already 2 Pm by the time I reached my resort.

Kodianthara Heritage Home
     I zeroed in on this resort after reading a lot of reviews on the internet. I also chose this one for its value of money and I did not regret !

    I enjoyed the ambience, food and hospitality shown by Crispin's Family. With  Crispin beside you, you never have to worry about getting around Kumarakom. He's there to help you.

  Soon after reaching the resort, I was offered lunch in authentic Kerala style! With just a day and a half to spare, I planned to cruise through the backwaters on a motor boat (the reason why I came here) that Crispin had arranged . Ferries charge you around 400 per hour and it economical if you travel in groups. It took just 5 minutes by road to reach the boat jetty from the resort.

Heading towards Vembanad Lake.

Encountered quite a few house boats on the way.

The trip across the Vembanad lake was rather boring. The lake was enormous and after a while you could only see water around you with resorts lining up the shore line. I requested the boater to take me through small villages usually connected with one another through narrow channels, lined with tall coconut trees either side. He did !

Videos taken at the Vembanad lake.

    After a nice 2.5 hours cruise, I headed back to the resort and called it a day. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary was first in my itinerary for the following day. Managed to wake up a bit early that day and  took few snaps in and around the resort.

  Tapping toddy from the coconut trees.

One of the many thoughtfully decorated interiors of the Kodianthara Resort.

            Had my breakfast at the resort and headed for the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is approximately 5 kms from the resort and I hired an auto who charged around 60 Rs. The Sanctuary is maintained by KTDC and has a tourist interpretation centre and boating. Couldn't see much of birds though, as It was already 11AM by the time I reached there and all the birds have already left for work (lol !). One gotta be there atleast by 7Am for bird watching. I decided to go boating once again, but this time on a much faster/smaller motor boat. I had to shell out a whopping 450 rupees for the boat, but it deserves every penny for the scenic ambience he took me through.

 The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary (reception)

House Boats docked along side.

My position as seen on google map.

Local fishermen at work.

   Few more videos taken at the backwaters at Kumarakom.

      After all the fun, reached the resort just about noon, had lunch and packed my bags to travel back to my native. Took the state bus service from Kottayam town for my return journey.

Kumarakom, really was a memorable journey !

Ram Kishore K

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lal Bagh Independence Day Flower Show (2012) !

Been to the Lal Bagh Indepence Day Flower Show. Managed to reach there during the early hours of the show to evade crowd and it worked !

Open August 9, 2012  - August 15  from 8 am to 7 pm

Here are few pictures taken at the show.

Photography geeks thronging around the bubble vendor to capture a candid shot.

Pics from inside the glass house that hosted the show.

Few pics from the stalls around the glass house.

A vendor convincing his customer to buy his stuff.

Ram Kishore K

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Macro Photos using Revers Mount

      Below are some snaps made using the reverse mounting technique. (All photos are resized down by 50%). Click on the image for a larger version.

A ten rupee coin.

A QWERTY keypad on a mobile.

The shoulder of 18-55mm kit lens.

Textures on a a 500 Rupee bill..

Textures on a 500 Rupee bill.

A sliced Orange.

Toor dal.

Watch out for more interesting posts and travelogue !

Ram Kishore K

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reverse Mounting Lens For Macro Photography

    You are probably reading this post, if you are looking out for a cheap alternative to a dedicated Macro Lens on your DSLR. You landed at the right spot !

    Of late, I've been hunting for a dedicated macro lens to enhance my macro skills. I was taken aback, getting to know the hefty investment it would take to own decent macro prime lens. At least, a serious hobbyist like me, would think twice to get one of that sort.

   A little bit of research on the web and I came to know about the reverse mounting technique. All it would take is a reverse mount ring that would fit the front of your lens (any) to the body of your camera.

A reverse mount ring 52mm and 50mm Canon prime.

What lens can be reverse mounted ?
   Technically you can reverse mount any lens including your kit lens 18-55mm. But that would not be just right for a macro as the working distance would be too close, that you'll end up blocking sufficient light from your subject. That said, the widely used lens for macro using reverse mount is the 50 mm prime lens, the one which is widely used for Portrait Photography. The magnification is quite reasonable with this glass. Also, the prime weighs lesser on your wallet (you can get it for under 120$) and the reverse mount for a little over 10$ (depends on the quality). However I was offered a deal that I would get the reverse mounting adapter free if I get the 50mm prime (Canon). I made the deal !

Reverse ring attached to the front of Canon 50mm. (52mm filter thread)

Now mounted to the Camera's Body.

What do I loose?
  When you reverse mount your lense, you loose all the benefits of AutoFocus, Image Stabilization (VR in Nikon) if the lense has it and aperture control. This is because the electrical connectivity of your lense will be cut off as it's reversed. So it's left to you to control your camera.

The Trick
   Once reverse mounted, you'll have to rely on your hands for focusing.Move back and forth to focus the subject. Suggest you use your tripod to rule out hand shake as it may be well pronounced at such magnification. 

  One common problem that most people face while reverse mounting is the shallow depth of field. The dof is too shallow that major areas of the image remain out of focus. And now that you loose all your camera's ability to control aperture, you have to find a manual way of changing the aperture. Unfortunately, the 50mm prime does not have an aperture ring at its disposal. So how do I change it ? " Look for the DOF preview button on your camera body".

How to Change the Aperture on a Reverse Mounted Lens ?
   Well, you can't !. Yes, you read it right, you cannot change the aperture as long as you have the lens reverse mounted (unless you have a dedicated aperture ring on your lens). But here's the trick. Un mount the lens from its reverse mount position and mount it in its normal position. Now change the aperture as you would normally do (possible in Manual and Aperture priority mode). Set the aperture to a higher value over 9 and then press the DOF preview button on your camera. You can see that the aperture actually closes down for the brief moment while you press the button. With the button still pressed and camera ON, remove your lens. The lens will retain its aperture opening and is ready for the macro. Some entry level DSLRs do not have a dedicated DOF preview button. But, they can be configured using custom shortcuts. Make any customizable button as the DOF preview function's shortcut using the camera's settings. With the right aperture set, you are good to go for that perfect macro shot !

Aperture narrowed down to 9..

Look out for the next post for Macro Shots made using this setup.

Happy Clicking !

Ram Kishore K

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- Ram Kishore K