Friday, May 26, 2023

Things you see while cycling

I prefer to move around on a bicycle as it gives you the liberty to stop and observe things. Like I halted at this bridge to take in the nature and the activities around it.
That is when I saw this great Egret trying his hand at fishing. He did try a couple of times and the success rate was something like one in five.
There is this big park with a water body and an excellent cycling/jogging track around it. (Volkening Lake) Suits me fine as one lap around the lake adds a km to my daily target of pedalling.
You get to see many activities over here, like this man trying his hand at fishing.
He must be good at it as I did see his catch on my third lap.
You keep meeting joggers and fast walkers who are regulars over here.
I saw these young cycle enthusiasts who were trying to help each other in fixing a stuck bike
There is some exercise equipment fixed over there and at times one gets to see it in use.
It may be someone performing solo or maybe a group of students from the school nearby.
There are some who like to paint and the pretty flowers get transferred to their canvas
The thrill of maneuvering a sailboat with a remote is something different. I stopped to capture a bunch of enthusiasts having a gala time.
Spoke to one of them and he confirmed that there are no motors on them to propel them forward. It was just wind power and how you flip the sails that gives it direction. I was really fascinated by their skill, and their dedication to meet on a daily basis to enjoy the sport.
I had enough footage to make it into a ten minute video.
If you are lucky you get to see a variety of birds, like this blue heron was flying very close for a good shot
or this black bird in the bulrushes daring me to come any more close to him (probably he has a nest somewhere close by)
While pedalling alongside the main road, I observed these postal delivery vans zipping past, the only vehicles I noticed in the US with right hand drive.
They were perhaps so designed so as to allow the driver to get in and out without the fear of the oncoming traffic (where there are no road dividers) It also gives access to the postmen to reach the roadside postbox without alighting.
All that is mentioned above is capsuled into a short video so that you can see some of the action.
Then there are things that make you think from the design point of view, like why do some benches have only one armrest ?

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Istanbul Airport

Our transit airport was Istanbul and it was just luck that we landed there on 23rd April as it happened to be the National sovereignty and children's day for Turkey.
There was a small group moving around the airport singing and waving the national flag.
I liked the way they were singing with full gusto.
The song was catchy and it took me some time to identify the song. It was Ismir marsi or Marsi Ismir, a song from the Turkish National movement group to create the country of Turkey. It didn't take long for the spectators to join in. Some of them were in uniform and were capturing small snippets on their mobile while waving the flag.
The special stalls put up for children's day did attract some children but most of them wanted to pose with the guy on stilts.
The juice poured out from this fancy jug did taste good and his style of pouring was unique (see video) Also his attire reminded me of the Arabian night stories I read during my school days.
The next time I visit this airport, I must make it a point to visit this museum.
The mannequin in the stalls were the silent spectators to all that was going on around them.
While being there, I overheard some of them speaking Turkish and found that some of the words they spoke did sound like Hindi.  And then I saw this written on a waste bin. In Hindi the word for paper is kagaz.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Spotted Owlet

This is a young one of a spotted owlet and he is busy having a good look at the world outside.
The parents are sitting on the opposite branch and one of them keeps a constant watch on the little one.
When one is awake, the other one is asleep (almost)
Spotted this family in Wanowrie and the hole in the big tree was a perfect natural nest for them
If you wait long enough you can see how the young one keeps changing its position in the nest
While its common name is self-explanatory, it is interesting to note that the scientific name of this small owl, Athene brama, has been derived from two divine, mythological figures: a Greek goddess and a Hindu god. In Greek mythology, Athene (or Athena) is known as the goddess of wisdom, war, and liberal arts; and the goddess holds a special bond with the bird. Brahma is a supreme Hindu god, who holds the honorary position of being the Creator.
Although listed as ‘Least Concern’ (LC) in the IUCN Red List, it is important to understand how rapid tree-felling significantly impacts this species.  Loss of trees means the loss of tree cavities for owlets.
Owls cannot move their eyes, therefore, they have to move their entire head to look around and can turn their head 180 degrees. This is possible because owls have an extra vertebra in their spine. 
I am glad we have such huge trees and hope  we humans have the good sense of not cutting down these huge trees as many birds and micro organisms depend on them and help in sustaining life on this earth. Have captured a part of their moment and compiled it into a video.
Last month I was lucky to spot the nest of a pair of the Woolly necked stork.
This was a first time for me as I had never seen them before. My camera was running when the second bird landed in the nest. 
Inspite of their size, this Is one of the least studied species of the birds in the world.
Unlike human beings, their eyelids move from front to back and they do a lot of blinking.
Here too I got some good footage and made it into a video It was nice to see them flying gracefully.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Urban Sketchers at GPO

Good to see that artists have no qualms of sitting anywhere when they want to capture something interesting.
I am talking about the Pune Urban Sketchers who had a session at the Pune General Post Office.
This artist (Harshad) sat outside the premises but the red gate gave a good contrast to what he wanted to capture.
This is one of those old letter boxes from the British era which can be seen in front of almost all GPOs in India. I remember there was a board next to it saying that all letters posted in this box will have a "special cancellation stamp" on it. Wonder why they removed that sign.
Walking around the Post Office brought back memories, like this philatelic bureau from where I used to buy first day covers about five decades ago. (at that time it was situated on the left side of the entrance)
And these segregated boxes for Airmail / Local and rest of India. There was a time when the letters were delivered on the same day (if it was local) provided you post before the first collection at 7.30 am.
The age-old method of making gum by the Post Office as a "public service" is still being carried on. 
At the rear of the post office I noticed this wrought iron spiral staircase which still stands, but not in use.
Deepali has captured this well with her minimalistic but effective drawing.
Even though it was a Sunday, the sorting activity was in full swing and somebody did sketch them in action.
Sitting in the sunlight and creating a picture has its own advantages. (creativity while soaking in vitamin D)
One young man decided to capture the steeple of the 160 year old St Paul's church which was just across the road.
Participants were from all age groups and that is one way to discover the hidden talent in the young ones.
I like the improvisation done on this tripod whereby a board is attached to hold all the required material while painting, including a  packet of biscuit :-)
I was also fascinated by the medium of creating a picture. It may be a variety of colours with the modern pen or it may be charcoal.
Many in Pune are not aware of the existence of the Zero stone which is dug right in front of the GPO. (Pune was earlier called Poona)
The mandatory group photo at the end of the session. I was not very happy with this group photo as some of them were in the shade and some were directly under the sunlight (which is against the "rules" of clicking a group photo) But then I did not try to rearrange them as I knew this was a group who would be happy in creating a picture than being "in the picture" Good to see all of them smiling. 
Captured most of them in action and compiled it into a 12 minute video. All this activity reminded me of the Urban Sketchers I captured four years ago at the Botanical Survey of India. Something big is coming up for the Urban Sketchers in the first week of December. These three slides below will give you a better idea of the event.