Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Flickr and the Green Bee Eater

I observed that I was spending more time in front of my computer and less time outside. I know that this is not healthy but photography assignments (and later processing them)  keep me chained to the desktop.
So I took my camera and went out on to the terrace.  I scanned the tree tops and within 10 minutes I spotted this cute little bird sitting on a branch, about thirty meters away from me. I got some shots and a little video clipping of my new little friend.
Later while processing the picture I was surprised to see the crisp and clear picture, considering the fact that I was using a point and shoot camera with no tripod.
This goes to prove that you don't need a sophisticated camera or high end lens to capture a good picture.

I uploaded it on my Flickr site and the picture made it to the Explore section of that day.

Once a picture makes it to the Explore section the number of hits just shoots up. As of date it has 7323 views, 276 favourites and 18 comments (all within 10 days)

The Green Bee Eater is found from Gambia to Ethiopia and in Asia from India to Vietnam. They predominantly eat insects especially bees, wasps and ants which are caught in the air by making sorties from an open perch. Before swallowing the prey, a bee eater removes stings and break the exoskeleton of the prey by repeatedly thrashing it on the perch.
They sun bathe more frequently than other bee eating species and sometimes bathe in water by dipping in water in flight. Now that is something I want to see.


Monday, January 9, 2017

They are also humans

It is very rare that one gets to meet a fellow blogger (at least for me)
So it was a pleasant surprise when I got a mail about a month ago from Dr Hema Hirlekar which said “I keep reading your blogs and just love your amazing photos. I have written a book and the launch is on Saturday 7th Jan. It would be really great if you could attend the function. Attaching invitation”

So I decided to attend the book release (again a first for me)
Before the book launch, there was a flute recital by the young and budding flautist Mr Azharuddin Shaikh. I enjoyed the light music. Later while reading about him I realized that he has to his credit a six foot long flute which he himself developed, probably a first in the world. 

The crowd was an elite crowd mostly from defence background. 

There were some celebrities too. I noticed Dr Mohan Agashe sitting quietly in a corner taking in everything. 

The book that Dr Hema wrote was titled “Life of an army wife”  

After the formality of the release of the book she read out some excerpts from the book. She made the reading very short, probably not very comfortable being in the limelight. As she was reading, I recollected some of the blogs that she had written a few years ago. 

I realised that signing those books was the difficult part for her as practically every one queued up for an autograph. 

Sale was brisk and I found many taking multiple copies, probably for relatives and friends 

Hema’s husband Shridhar made sure that everything went off well as per the flow chart. He even introduced me to Dr Mohan Agashe. 

The ambiance was good, with the golf course on one side. 
I found this poster mounted on the club walls. Probably an old one (going by the truck model) but very relevant even today. 

Made a one minute video on the book release, especially for those who could not attend it.
Later at home I started reading the book and found it interesting. Some down to earth facts from the life of a defence personnel and his family, sprinkled with some light hearted humour. I liked the simple illustrations in the book. 

The book is available on Amazon.

There is this part where she goes to the border with her husband and her child. (this is in the early seventies) From across the border two jawans came. She was apprehensive. “Were they theirs or ours? What would happen now” They came forward and saluted her husband and said “Baby ko le jaye?” (can we take the baby?) She almost turned back when her husband said “Jaroor” (sure)
She was shocked and looked at her husband who nodded and indicated that she should hand over the child to them. She was too stunned to react when the child was taken from her hand. All sorts of questions went through her mind “They are our adversaries. What if they don’t bring her back?” She voiced her opinion to which he replied “don’t be ridiculous, we are not at war. They are also humans like us” 

illustration by Dr Hema Hirlekar

I paused reading. I was comparing it with the present day situation at the borders. Indeed, they are humans like us. So what made things change in a few decades. . . . . .

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Kochi and Biennale Part 2

“So what is so great about a bathroom? Maybe it looks spacious” That was my first reaction when I saw this bathroom, one of the exhibits at the Kochi Biennale. 

I was standing at a corner and peering in. A sideways glance and I realized how the bathroom was made. Each tile, each item was made by paper rolls. Scraps of paper were cut rolled and glued, forming thousands of layers that make the papier-mache habitat.  

I just stood there in awe. The amount of planning and scaling that must have gone into it.  The creator, Dia Mehta Bhupal, originally from Mumbai, now lives and works in Hyderabad.  A young girl in her early thirties, has many creative work to her credit, and when she is not rolling papers, she is busy clicking, as photography is her first passion.

Moving on I saw these drawings by Orijit Sen. I was immediately drawn towards it and started taking photos. 

Somehow I liked the line work and it reminded me of Mario Miranda and R K Laxman. The subtle humour and the reality of the everyday life in India is very much evident in the drawings. 

I wanted to click more, but most of them were in glass cases, which causes reflections while clicking.  

As mentioned in Part 1, I was impressed by these kids quietly drawing on the stage. 

Their work was exhibited for all to see, a good boost for the kids 

Outside in the shade, there was provision for any kid to take up the oil pastels and start drawing. 

I wonder if this was a participant or a volunteer, but I liked her concentration.

More in Part III