Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Something out of nothing

Was at my cousin’s place at Angamali (Cochin) and had some time to kill as there were a few more hours for my flight.   While sitting outside in her courtyard I could see some leaves shining against the oblique sunlight.   I fetched my camera and clicked some pictures by placing the leaves in between the camera and the sunlight. 



The results were something better than what I expected and it reminded me of what Ambrose Bierce said “Photograph is a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art”



At the editing table I did a little bit of tweaking with the colour tones which further enhanced the quality of the pictures. 




While clicking these pictures, these two guys were having a quick bath. Later they perched on a tree and dried themselves. Captured that in the video.



It will be interesting to know that all these pictures were clicked in the noon sunlight, something like 11.30 am. Playing with the Curve option in Photoshop gives wonderful results.



Talking of Photoshop, there was this photograph that I clicked at a wedding which was a total wash out. Clicked in a hurry without changing the settings and this was the result.  


Later while processing from raw, I was about to delete the picture when I thought “let me see what I can do with this”
I played around with Photoshop and this is what I got :


I gave it a nice white background and enhanced it a little more.


Then I eliminated each character from the picture and got three more photographs. 




Selected a good music and gave it a punch by matching each picture with the beat of the music. The final result is appealing to the ear and the eye. (see video)

Talk of making something out of nothing. 


Friday, December 25, 2015

Big bigger biggest

Had  been  to  this  church  recently   and  I  was  just  stumped   by  the  lavishness  with  which  it  was  built. 



I am talking about the St George church at Edappally Kerala.  
Later on,  I  was  told  that  the  total  cost  for  building  the  church  was  somewhere  between  35  crores  and  50  crores (Rupees)  


I was just wondering about the source of the money. Obviously it has not come from thin air. Are the parishioners so rich?  Then I started hearing stories. 



An auto rickshaw driver of this parish wanted a date to be fixed for his first born child to be baptized. The vicar refused to baptize the child unless he cleared his dues of Rs 35000/- for the rebuilding of the church. The helpless man mortgaged his auto rickshaw,  paid Rs 30000/- to the church and got his child baptized.   



Also heard that the "fees" for getting married in this church is Rs one lakh.
There may be many parishioners who may be finding it difficult to make both ends meet, but are coerced to contribute for this “big church”  (there are two other churches already standing in the same compound) 
So it’s a case of big, bigger, biggest.

The Malayalam daily Mangalam says it has a height of 146 feet covering an area of 85114 square feet and adds “instead of making it a place of peaceful worship, they made it an eye-popping posh architectural extravaganza” 


While  I  sat  in  the  church  I  was  reminded  of  the  black  and  white  drawing in  the  Old  Testament  (it was our text book for the catechism class in school)


I was hoping that Jesus would appear once more and do something similar  to  chase away all the people responsible for this blunder.

The things people do in the name of religion.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Little Angels

Came to know about this school through a common friend. The Little Angels school, situated on the Undri road (Pune) is for the differently-abled children. 

I fixed an appointment and visited the school to have a look at their daily routine.  When I reached the school, they were having their regular outdoor activities. I found this boy, happy and content being in the swing all the time. 


One teacher told me that it was a big leap for many considering the fact that at one point of time they could hardly do any activity independently  and now they can balance and drive a cycle on their own.


Each one was an “expert” at something or another. This boy had mastered the trampoline and tried to go higher and higher with each jump


Jumping over small hurdles, co-ordination of mind and body. 


Throwing the coloured balls across the net was a fun event for many


I was surprised at the ease with which they balanced and skated around.  


Some of them looked forward to the daily practice of Yoga 



I was admiring the patience and resilience of the teaching staff as each student is in a different mood and need a lot of coaxing to get into some activity. 




The outdoor activities are held in the first session so that their pent up energy is released and they are calm in the classroom during the second session.

The class rooms may look small but that helps in giving individual attention to each one as the absorbing capacity of each student is different.



They have a class for vocational training in which the students are encouraged to make handmade articles 


The first school was started by Mr Jehangir Afshari in Mumbai about 13 years ago. The aim of the school is to give the children an opportunity to live independently away from their families. The second one (a pre-primary school) was opened in Bandra, and a training school was opened in Lonavala. 

Items made by the students  

At present the students in the Mumbai school are capable of taking the Govt. examinations i.e. National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) – X & XI and is also planning to do the same in Pune.

There was a cultural program in which stalls were put up by the school and it was good to see the students and the staff, turn out in their Sunday best. You can see more pictures in the video.


 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

If its October it is Oktoberfest



For all those who missed out on this year’s Pune Oktoberfest, here are a few snaps clicked on the three day event. The snaps are of two days as I was there only on Saturday and Sunday. 


As usual the beer counter was always full with no elbow room.


The difference I found (when compared to last year) was that the band was a wee bit better and they came up with a variety of songs played perfectly by the group. It was sad that I could not get a perfect ‘group photo’ of the band. The nearest I could get was this: 


Now who is missing in this? Oh yes the drummer boy, so here you have one of him 


And another one of the crooner: 


The guy on the key board was multi-tasking (without missing a note) You can actually see it in the video on YouTube



This year I had more video footage than still pictures. Will keep adding more videos as and when they are edited and processed.The second video is on Mamma Mia by Abba

Meanwhile our beer counter is still full 


For a change I found many Germans who had turned up and they were really enjoying the evening 


The food was good and I found that the service at the counter was very pretty fast and efficient: 




On the down side, space was a problem. I mean in a crowd like this how do you expect people to dance. 



But still I found many making room for themselves and enjoying the day



It was difficult manoeuvring through the crowd to get some good shots, but I managed to get a few 


These two (above) were really having some fun. Later on while adding the watermark on the pic I realised that the figure on his Tee shirt had some significance as it was the year when I landed in Pune. 

The scramble is still going on at the Beer counter. I think the design of the counter opening was too small, or was it that they were not expecting such a big crowd?  


This guy just saw me clicking as he was singing along, and I caught him with his full energy. 


Later there was a repeat, this time along with his friends. Each one with a different pose, but it clearly sends across the message – they were enjoying. 


I think I ended up clicking many pictures with their mouth open, a good indication of participation.