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. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Pune Oktoberfest 2022

You can dance in any style as long as it blends with the beat and the music.
I am talking of the Oktoberfest held in Pune this year and the live band.
The one on the keyboard was versatile and at times I spied him with an accordian.
Many turned up in the German traditional outfit and were willing to pose for pictures.
There were photographers galore and the bigger the camera the more willing the people are ready to be clicked.
As for these beer spouts, I wonder if they are real pressure gauges.
First time I got to see a portable Beer dispenser. Away from the madding crowd quietly dispensing the Beer.
I liked the innovative T-shirt of a Beer stall by using the local language (Marathi) Loosely translated it means,"How about having a round of drinks today"
These transparent glasses are a good way of advertisement. Keep staring at the names till the beer is over.
Meanwhile there were frequent sorties to the beer bar for a refill.
Some even had long banners unfurled to catch the eyeballs
Saw this couple enjoying the music and they were light on their feet, so I dedicated a video totally on them (and sent them the video link) Don't miss the expression on that child's face at the bottom corner
In fact I captured many in action and made three small videos. Video 1 Video 2 Video 3 There is some more footage of the band and if time permits, I will upload them too. If you see most of the pictures above in fancy colours, it is because of the psychedelic lights that were used at the venue (and a nightmare for photographers) I mean just compare the two pictures below. It is the same singer Gisele in both the cases but see the difference the lighting makes.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Stop Motion video

Of late I have been trying my hand at Stop Motion animation and found it very interesting and challenging. This morning I saw this crocheted Unicorn that wifey just completed and was wondering "how can I animate this?"
I almost gave up the idea when I found that the tail was touching the ground and that gave me the idea of how to make the tail swing.
I have been using the toys and items used by my grandchild and every item has a potential of being in the stop motion video. For example this auto rickshaw can go very well with the lego toys.
One of the soft drinks that comes in the tetra pack is another item that you can play with. If the drink was in a darker colour like red or orange, the visual appeal would have been greater. To make it more appealing I stuck Mr Buster moon on the backdrop.
I wanted some heavy weight that would go into the M&M's container (so that it would not shift its position every time I rotated it). After searching high and low in the house, I found my cylindrical power bank which fitted perfectly in it.
Keeping the object back in its original position is very critical and that was a tough call for me to snip off a section of the tetra pack and keep it back after every shot.
The usual practice for any movie is to write the story line and then animate accordingly. But for me I keep changing the story as I shoot. For example this station master was waving the green flag as the engine was approaching but as the engine passed him, his flag fell down.
As I had fixed the flag delicately with a toothpick in his hand, I was in no position to refix it, as the slightest disturbance to any of the items in the scene would require reshooting the whole story from start. So I changed the story wherein he goes to his cabin to get a new flag.
Another example of changing the story was that I overlooked the blue bowl on the left side of the screen while making the M&M's video. So I included it at the end of the story by adding it in the right side of the frame.
Shooting a stop motion video is easy and any one can do it provided you have the patience. (yes patience is the key word) You don't need any high end camera. It can be captured even with your mobile camera and with the help of the light from a reading lamp.

Some basic tips:

All non moving parts should be fixed/taped down. If using a mobile camera, keep it on Airplane mode and the Auto lock to 'Never'

Adding the right sound effects makes a lot of difference, like the steam engine approaching or the popping sound of the lid of the M&Ms container.

I used the Stop Motion App to make these videos I have not used any props / armature for these videos and plan to proceed this way. It is the idea that matters.