Monday, February 18, 2013

Gorillapod to the rescue

Wifey told me “You know how it is when you go to the theatre and miss out the start”
I said “Yes”
“Well that is what you did with my dance. You missed recording the start”
“But dear you know how I was multitasking on that day. Dashing down a flight of steps and then operating the camera is not an easy task”

Well let me start at the beginning.
Clicking pictures at weddings is fun and you tend to get some interesting shots if it’s a fun wedding. But when it comes to capturing the same on video it’s a different challenge.
Had the opportunity to capture a wedding held in Goa. On the day of the Sangeet there was a lot of dancing and I had to take care of the music part (co-ordinate with the DJ) as well as capture the action on video. I thought I will somehow manage both by telling the DJ exactly when to start the music and side by side roll the camera. But at the venue I found that the DJ was actually sitting two floors above the dance floor. Now this was a tricky situation and I was wondering how to do both. To compound the problem I was supposed to shake a leg with wifey for a particular song. I don’t think anyone faced a situation where you had to be behind the camera as well as face the camera.  After racking my brain I came with a solution - the Gorillapod in my camera bag. It’s a smaller version of a tripod but the legs are flexible. It comes in handy when you want your hands free.

You can practically wrap it around anything, a railing or a tree trunk or around your rear view mirror.

At the venue, the closest place that I could find to fasten it was the railing around the stage.

For the first two songs I managed to get the action that way, but soon realised that climbing up and down the ladder (to reach the DJ) was eating into the actual shooting time. So finally I carried the camera up with me and did the shooting from top. Now this was something like a top view of the complete action which did not do justice to the performers.  I was hoping someone would take some decent shots from the front which I could mix with mine to get a reasonably respectable compilation.
Luckily for me, Ms Siddhi came to my rescue. She said she would send me whatever she has captured.

After a lot of splicing, joining, overlaying music etc, I came up with this short video.
I have added only 3 songs here in this video. This shows how one can splice and mix the inputs from two cameras effectively. I have retained the original soundtrack, so that the crowd’s reactions and cheering is not lost.
        A special mention about Martin’s entry. One moment he was standing there sipping beer and before I could zoom out he leapt on the stage. Very agile and quick I must say. Being Spanish, doing the Senorita song must have been easy for him.  
There are only three more songs in which I have some footage from Ms Siddhi. The rest of the song and dance will be with the “view from the top”
So if anyone else (who attended the wedding) has canned some shots, do send them across via We Transfer so that I can add them in the next volumes.  Happy viewing.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Reis Magos (Part-II)

I had seen Mario’s work in many magazines and books, but the ones displayed here is something a Mario fan should not miss. I went about practically clicking each and every caricature, sometimes laughing aloud at the humor depicted so wonderfully in the cartoons. These are from his dairies before he became famous as a cartoonist. His detailing of the finer points in the everyday life of a Goan is remarkable. He started getting into trouble at school for sketching catholic priests in his cartoons.

The sermon from the pulpit with generous showers. (the pulpit is no more functional but you can still see them in the old churches)

He was probably one of the first Indian cartoonists to use crow quill.

 In one of his interviews to Gauri Gharpure, he mentioned “What is life just sitting at the desk? You must travel a lot when you are young. That is very important.”

He is one guy who did not have any formal education in this field but his knowledge of anatomy was great and that was the reason why his cartoons always stood out.

His Miss Nimbupani and Miss Fonseca were a regular feature in some of the magazines of yesteryear. 
His drawings now adorn many places, one of them being the Goa railway station (Madgaon)

 I had clicked one of his creations in Hotel Mondegar (in Mumbai) about 7 years ago and uploaded on Flickr.

Coming back to the ones in the Fort, a detailed description of him at the entrance:

These are drawings of a typical bachelor’s room (both male and female)

If you just look at a part of it (any part) you will find all those little things that are bound to be there in a bachelor’s apartment.

Then we have the city types and the village types:

The emigrant is from Bombay and hence Bomboicar

If you look at the body stance of each of the characters in the picture below you will understand what I mean by “knowledge of anatomy” 

And the language of Mr Johnson and Mr Bandorkar.
Mr Johnson: “A trifle more elegance in the rhythmical motions of your lower limbs Bandorkar”
Mr Bandorkar: “Arey? Vat you saying man, why phor such much language?”

He is one of those Indians who got all the three national awards: Padmashree, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan.

A self portrait:  

What I have put up here is just about 10% of the pictures that I clicked. So ye Mario fans don’t miss this place.

A typical adieu by Amul
The first part of this can be seen here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Reis Magos (Part-I)

For a long time, I had been thinking of writing about Mario Miranda and his work, but some how I kept postponing it for some reason or the other.
Now I have the perfect reason to write and that is the historic Fort - Reis Magos in Goa.

Visited this place last month and I must say I am really impressed. It is a perfect example of how a place can be restored with out loosing its identity.  Thanks to Gerard da Cunha, who has done a wonderful job in bringing the place alive. In the first instance you may get the impression that he has done nothing, and that exactly is the highlight of the restoration – to maintain its original identity. In his own words “old monuments are just like corpse but unless you use a building you cannot maintain it. We can reclaim our heritage and earn from it”
The income from the entry tickets may not be substantial but think of the tourists that come from all over the world helping in the economy of the state.
Old materials and old methodology of restoration has been used to give the fort its air of authenticity.
I was also impressed by the staff present at every point, quietly doing their work. After you buy your entry ticket, there is a small vehicle which takes you up to the main gate (as its a steep climb)

Just before the main door of the fort there is this banyan tree. Its interesting to read the history of the tree.

It grew as a parasite on a coconut tree, eventually strangulating it. In 2008 the coconut tree caught fire. Without a core the banyan tree began to buckle and collapse. It was trimmed and held with steel ropes and a reinforced concrete column was cast in the hollow of the tree. The tree stabilized and the stays were removed in 2010.

Just as you enter you will notice a big hole in the roof. This was used to shoot (or throw hot oil) at the enemies who managed to reach that point

Inside the fort, time stands still and you are transported back by about three centuries.

I saw this canon which was mounted on carriages. These gun carriages were copied from the original that were found in Diu fort.

This was how it used to look before restoration.

There were originally 31 canons of which 7 are now left.
A close up of one of them shows some inscription, probably the date of manufacture and the insignia.

Reis Magos is the Portuguese name for the three wise men from the Bible.
The view from the top is magnificent with the Mandovi river in the forefront.

While we were going through the place there was this friendly parrot who was very interested in my friend’s camera.

I showed my camera to the parrot, but he did not even look at it. Nowadays even the birds know the difference between a DSLR and an ordinary camera.
 On the way out one has to go down a flight of steps (about 100+) and its real steep. Thankfully hand rails have been provided for safety.

Coming to the best part is an exhibition in the main hall and that brings us to one of my favourite cartoonist Mario Miranda.

More on this in part –II,  meanwhile a preview of the pictures that are coming in  part-II