Friday, October 28, 2011

Trust between human and animals

Was wondering what it could be, till I discovered that it was a dog and a very friendly one.
And so was this one.

Now don’t compare him with Sir Henry (below) who was majestically walking around the flea market with his master.  (yes that is what the master told us “His name is Sir Henry”)

If you think only kids can have fun at the fountain . . . . .  . .

then think again

And this little one at the fountain must be thinking “what a show off ”

But this post is not about dogs. 
Its about nature and being one with it.
Saw these nature lovers sitting on the bench patiently waiting.

 First he had to bend down and hold his hand on the ground for the squirrel to come and inspect what was in his hand. Slowly an understanding was developed between them and the squirrel became bolder (or should I say trusting) 
The same goes for the bird who kept landing on the lady’s hand, but not as frequently as the squirrel.  Our friend (the squirrel) had a pattern of getting on the bench. He would come close to the right side of the bench and then hop and scamper to the left side and climb up.  I was observing from across the pathway and tried my best to capture it on video with a hand held camera. The results would have been much better if it was on a tripod.  (you can see it in the video at the end of the post)
I wish I had taken their e mail address so that they could have a look at the video.

The Cathedral at Amiens is great (will write about it later) but moving a little further away from it, there are these canals and then there are the smaller ones.

 A cruise down the canal is worth the visit. Without going into the history of the place, I should say that it’s a beautiful place well kept.  The boats that take you around is very very silent. I could figure it out only later that it was running on batteries. What a way to avoid noise and air pollution. The boats have a special shape so that it will not damage the banks. 

As you glide down the canal you get a feeling that you are going through some fairy land. The flowers and the vegetables that you see on the banks are a visual treat. They have been cultivated since the middle ages by the hortillons or market gardeners and covers about 300 acres.

While cruising a Heron flew past us and perched itself on a tree. (is it a Lava Heron? bird lovers please help) 
Our Navigator was nice enough to stop the boat so that we could have a good look. It was good that he stopped as it looked like the Heron was waiting for us to send down a bucket load of bird poop on us. (we just missed it by a few seconds)

To enjoy that visual treat, have a look at the video. You can see the birds alighting on the sunflower, the butterflies flitting around, the complete works of the flora and fauna.
Can watch it at full screen as it is in HD.   (as usual allow it to buffer first and then replay for uninterrupted viewing . . . . . . . and enjoy the music.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

The casting scout

One photograph can speak a thousand words and that is so true in many ways.
One of the reasons why many photographers risk their lives to get some actual shots at the war front.
I came across a blog post in which the writer has raised questions about why a politician should be paid his full salary after retirement while a soldier should be paid only half his salary. The point that she was making was supported by a picture of a soldier who must have been badly hit in action. No its not a photograph that needs a foot note “viewers discretion is advised” but it’s of a man who is still proud to wear his uniform (and he looks smart in it)
Coming back to photographs in general, clicking candid photographs do give us a feeling of looking at life around us.
It could be of a child enjoying a joy ride,

or a small boy holding the camera the right way,

or a young girl writing  a quick note

or maybe a youngster helping his friend zip up her jacket

or an elderly couple gingerly crossing the road..

A good way of projecting a picture as eye catching is to have good lighting. And when I say lighting, I am not talking about expensive reflectors or spot lights. It can be the simple sun light and the placement of it. I saw this solitary young man reading the newspaper. It was a perfect shot and I thought “aha, a man on a bench, lost in his paper”

After clicking this I found that the punch that I was looking for did not come through. So I repositioned myself and clicked one more picture of our friend and this time it was more effective.  

I simply changed my position so that the sunlight was acting as a backlight. This may be against what you have read about the set standard rules “keep the source of light behind you etc etc”
Just experiment and you will get good results.
Backlighting and side lighting is very effective if done properly. These are some of the pictures that I clicked with the setting sun which acted as a side light.

It could be of people

Or of monuments and structures.

A simple thing like the smoke from the chimney can be captured well with back lighting

Or put the source of light between you and the object and you get a good silhouette

Sometimes you can place people by their head gear,

or by the way a person sits you can make a good guess as to which country he is from (even if he is sitting at an international airport in Europe)

Casting - Yes that is one other aspect that always goes through my mind. When I look at some people, it quickly crosses my mind, “oh this person can be cast as Mr Churchill when he was young” 

Or “when I make a movie I will cast this person as an upright police officer”

Hey,  I am not giving away all the casting photos that I have.

May be I would do well as a “casting scout” Do you think some one from Hollywood is reading my post ?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fluffy Omelets

Omelets are not my favourite as I still prefer mine with the sunny side up (bull’s eye)
But the Omelets made at Mere Poulard (Mont St Michel) is something worth writing about.

They are fluffy, thick and unbelievably soft.

I had to see how they were made, so went to their kitchen which is accessible for the tourists.

The complete process of making the omelet is there for anyone to see, but obviously the “ingredients” and “combinations” are kept a secret. (some say the white and yellow are beaten separately, and some say they don’t add salt)

They say that the copper pans are hand hammered.

Better than describing it here, it is better that you see it in the video (link at bottom)

What I liked about it is the way they beat the eggs, it’s a synchronized motion which is almost rhythmic and musical. So while observing them I had a germ of an idea “it would be wonderful to add music to their rhythmic beating of the egg” In fact its great when all three of them beat together but unfortunately I could not capture it.

Also observed that the girl was very neat with not a drop being spilled, where as the boys were ……… well all are not perfect, or maybe they are new to the task.

As for the price, I must confess that the omelet was a bit over priced.

While you try out the special fluffy Omelet, here is an interesting bit (for those who love history)

During the French Revolution, Mont Saint Michel became a prison. In 1815, a man named Mathurin Bruneau came back from America claiming to be Louis XVI's son and demanded his right to the throne! His uncle Louis XVIII wasn’t about to give up his crown. Officially, Louis XVII had died in 1795 but nobody was quite sure about this. Mathurin tried to prove his real identity by writing to his sister, the Duchess of Angouleme. She replied with a list of private questions that only her brother would have been able to answer. Unfortunately for him, he never did receive this letter (it remains today in the French National Archives). He spent five years in the Mont Saint Michel prison and died in 1825. So no one will ever know the truth!

A view from the top where some tourists came on horseback as a group.

And a view of the tourist vehicles parked down

For those who are dying to know the recipe, here is a link where somebody has explained in detail.

I think the secret is “freshest eggs” and “the way you beat it”

Now enjoy the 4 minute video. (for those who face problem in opening it here, can either click on the bar at the bottom on You Tube, or just go to YouTube and search for Haddock54 and there you will find Fluffy Omelets)