Sunday, June 14, 2020

Nisarga and Pune

Looks like cyclone Nisarga spared Mumbai but Pune did get some powerful wind by which some 60 trees fell in the city. It even uprooted our Kappa (tapioca) which was planted in a grow bag. 

The usual yield of Kappa is better than this but I salvaged all that I could get from the uprooted plants. 

Wifey made the traditional dish with it, and it went well with the fish curry. 

With all that rain lashing around, I was happy to see the drumstick flowers holding on well. 

Talking of grow bags, I just tossed some watermelon seeds (and a mango seed) in one of the spare grow bags in our garden. I was happy to see that they took root within no time. 

Won't it be a good idea if we planted all the seeds that we discard from our kitchen? If there are no pots at home, just toss them where there is some mud, maybe on the road side when you go for your drive.
Within three weeks tiny watermelons have appeared and very soon I will have to give them some support when the weight increases 

As for the mango tree, I don't see much future for it in the grow bag. But let us see how far it will grow.  The  mango season is coming to an end and it is the right time to make some Uppumanga (mango in brine) 

On a lean day, (if the lockdown is reimposed) this will go well with the rice. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Manga Chutney

I saw this Ammachi on YouTube making Mango Chammandi on the grinding stone and I couldn't help salivating. 

To our bad luck, the mango tree outside our bedroom window did not yield any mangoes this year (except for two mangoes) 

It could be due to the unseasonal rains. Talk about wrong timing, that went hand in hand with the lockdown.

To pluck the mango, I borrowed an idea from a DIY video I saw on FB about the different uses of plastic bottles.   

We did the grinding in a mixer as Ammachi's grinding stone was something that is not seen in many households now a days. 

For my part, I did the grating of the coconut (apart from plucking the mango) 

The final product looks yummy and we are waiting for lunch time to feast on the chammandi. 

The second mango is earmarked for next week.

Sunday, May 17, 2020


"I have completed it, what will I do now ?"
"What have you completed?"
Wifey hangs this bag in front of me proclaiming that she has finished making it. 

This was something that she was working on when she was not busy in the kitchen. I think it took her about ten days to complete. It is a perfect bag for a three year old. 

Fixing that lining was the tricky part (for me) as I was  assigned to do the machine stitching part (and hemming where required)  

I had clicked some pics earlier when the work was in progress 

I like the colour combination. 
Giving it a rectangular bottom was a good idea as it will make it easier for a child to search for an item inside the bag.
Now I wonder what her next crochet project will be. 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Accessories used

Many a times people have asked me about the equipment that I use while covering an event. 
My idea of capturing an event is to present it in the most natural form. Which means, shoot when the subjects are not looking at the camera, or in other words candid pictures. You may have to wait for "that moment" to click the right and lively frame. Look at the two pictures below and you can judge for yourself. 

picture clicked at "that moment"

posed picture clicked by the "photographer" 

And if it is a picture where all are looking at the camera, then make it a lively picture:

For an outdoor event, I use two cameras. One for still photographs and one for videos. To make it hands free I use shoulder straps. These can be used as a single strap (for one camera) or double strap. 

Your camera is safe tethered to the end of the belt.

Reminds me of an incident when I was covering the Oktoberfest a few years ago at Pune Race course. I was using these shoulder straps with two cameras hanging on both sides. A guy walked up to me and said "you are the most dangerous guy in this party" I asked him why, to which he replied "there is no saying which camera you will pick up and start shooting"

For capturing videos I use my mobile phone (iphone 6s plus) I have been using this for the last six years and I find that the image stabiliser is very effective. To hold the mobile, I use a mobile holder. This can be screwed onto one of the shoulder straps. The mobile holder has three cold shoe mounts  and some 2 and 3/4 threads by which one can attach lights, if required. 

While using the mobile for shooting, do not zoom in. The minute you zoom in, you are compromising on the quality. 
The sound recording quality of this mobile is not very good so I use an external mic. Care should be taken that a TRRS adaptor is used which is compatible with the iphone socket.  

I have used a Boya mic. The advantage of this mic is that you don't need batteries for it to function.
It is advisable to use a "dead cat" (wind jammer) on the mic as it cancels external wind disturbance. 

After capturing the event, I mix the video clips and still pictures to string them up to make a short video. The software used for this is imovies and it comes free with a Mac or iphone. If you are using Windows, then Movie Maker is good enough and it comes free with Windows.   
As far as possible keep the video short as the attention span of the viewer will not be more than seven to ten minutes. 
Additionally, I use a reusable cable tie on the holder to strap on my mobile charger. This comes in handy to charge the mobile without interrupting the shooting.

The final assembly will look something like this :

Coming to the camera, you will be surprised to know that I usually use a point and shoot camera. They give equally good results. It is not necessary to use a DSLR or a mirrorless camera. This three minute film was captured by a point and shoot (Canon SX60 HS) and that too without a tripod (hand held) 

Photography is nothing but playing with the light. While clicking, I prefer the back light. It makes the subject stand out with perfect outline. 

Another tip, always, always use a lens hood. It makes a lot of difference in the final result. If the camera doesn't  come with one, buy it separately.  I bought an additional lens hood for my Canon SX 60HS 

The barn door effect is always a plus point while shooting. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Regatta and Sketching

The thrill of sitting out in the open and painting to your heart's content. 

The 92nd Regatta practice was held at College of Engineering Pune (COEP) last month. The Urban Sketchers of Pune held a sketching/painting event when the action was on. 

This was perhaps the last outdoor event held by the Urban Sketchers before the lockdown 

The college students were in full form, waiting for their turn to practice as the Regatta was to be held in a weeks time.  

As always noticed in the Urban Sketchers, the participants are from all age groups. 

Any point is a vantage point, as long as you get a clear vision without any obstruction 

Sometimes, sketching the sketchers is also a challenge and the results can be very impressive. 

As the sketchers were busy, the participants went about their regular activity 

Like the way these two were sitting. They were looking in the opposite direction but doing the same activity - sketching.

Some of the regatta participants were interested in the art form and were closely following the process of catching the action on paper. 

Exactly two years ago, I had covered another sketching activity by the same group. It was at the Heritage building of Moti Mansion in Pune. 

After sketching, the new members introduced themselves.

 The mandatory group photo along with a glimpse of their Sunday morning effort 

I had made a short video as soon as the event was over, but could write about it only now.