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Boilermakers!!

Posted by on Nov 6, 2018 in blog | Leave a comment

 

What a memorable weekend!! Did that really happen??!?

A last minute business trip to Michigan offered up the opportunity to visit Purdue for Dad’s Day Weekend and I could not pass that up. The dear wife’s prodding helped snag a miraculously available room at the Hampton Inn in West Lafayette and I was all set! The drive over from Detroit was rather unremarkable and devoid of topographical character, but… flat roads do make for fast travel :).

Hanging out with Tamara, getting ‘real food’, walking about campus, grocery shopping (yes! grocery shopping!), visiting her sorority, meeting her friends, going to the game (what a game!) all seems like a beautiful dream right now… just went by so fast, sigh. Feeling proud about how Tamara is coping with college.

We (especially Tamara) are very excited that she is making her first trip home for the Thanksgiving Holiday in 2 weeks!

Ruminating

Posted by on Oct 28, 2018 in blog | Leave a comment

Just feel like posting something new and reigniting the passion for new content and pictures on the site. Hey, it is fall and time for me to reflect… sigh. So much has happened over the last year and a half… many new milestones reached including sending Tamara off to college!  Super proud of her taking on an engineering program @ Purdue! Nandini, Aditya, Ollie and I are getting used to the new normal but we definitely miss having her around. We did get to see her briefly in California over fall break and I am headed to West Lafayette next weekend to hang with her. She seems to love college and is coping well with her engineering program  although she says “Indiana is nothing like Colorado”.

I took on a new role at the company and feel refreshed and energized again! The past year has felt hectic with little time for anything although I did “Ride the Rockies” this year, a 450 mile bicycle ride over 6 days in the Colorado Rockies… LOVED IT, definitely a memorable event and I hope to do it again. Have vacation plans @ Whistler Blackcomb later this year, it will be our first ever ski vacation! More soon… hopefully.

 

Appa & Amma

Posted by on Aug 19, 2017 in blog | 3 Comments

It has been eight and half years since my mother passed away. When she died, the sense of loss I felt was dwarfed by the sight of my Dad grieving; they had been married for 54 years and clearly, his loss was so much deeper than mine. During her last years, Amma had suffered through a range of ailments brought on by diabetes and Appa dedicated himself to her care and well being. Appa was inconsolable when she passed away, it felt like a part of him had been ripped out and he had lost his purpose for life.

I have always felt blessed to belong to a family like ours. I was born the youngest of three brothers, being the youngest meant that I got bullied by them, but always pampered by Appa & Amma.  I am convinced that I was their favorite son! 🙂 Over the years, our family has stayed close and the bonds continue to grow through our children.

My Mom was a vivacious person bursting with enthusiasm, cheer and energy. Her generosity and friendship knew no bounds, but she was also sensitive with a keen sense for people. Courageous and adventurous, with a natural instinct, she excelled at everything she took on. Her cooking skills were extraordinary and she always had a knack for getting things perfect in the kitchen.

My father was ten years older than mom, I always remember him being the voice of reason in our home. Calm, soft-spoken and wise, always! Dad was a very down to earth man with simple needs and completely free of malice. A sharp intellect combined with discipline and hard work was the cornerstone of a long and very successful career in Aeronautical Engineering. Appa was a voracious reader and he loved to write as well. I am in awe of his kindness, wisdom and sense of humor. His was a life of sacrifices for all of us.

Earlier this week, Appa passed away at the ripe old age of 91. He devoted his last eight and a half years to us, his children and grandchildren.  He missed Amma so much during this time. Godspeed to him so he can be with her again.

I am ever so grateful to Appa & Amma for everything I have now and  can only pray that I  live up to a fraction of the standards they set for us. Here’s to cherishing their legacy and doing everything possible so Appa & Amma will be proud!

Fresh!

Posted by on Sep 17, 2016 in blog | Leave a comment

Grabbed my camera when walking around the nearby park with Ollie this morning. Here are some (intentionally) overexposed flowers rendered in black & white. Used my Canon 7D with my 100mm F/2.8 Macro for a shallow DOF.

From the garden

Posted by on Sep 16, 2016 in blog | Leave a comment

Ah! feels good to be taking photos again. Our new home has a splendid garden which evoked long dormant gardening senses. Roses, Calendulas, Gaillardias, Rockets Larkspurs and beautiful Stonecrops in full bloom right now. Bougainvillea too!! These were taken in September of 2016 using my Canon 7D with a 50mm Macro. The wife has promised the 5D Mark IV soon!

The Uinta!

Posted by on Feb 11, 2015 in blog | Leave a comment

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I feel like I have been on a never-ending shopping spree since Thanksgiving 2014. Yes, much was spent on clothes,  luggage, audio speakers, camera gear and more clothes!

I decided that I ‘needed’ another camera bag and ended up getting one from Gura Gear (www.guragear.com). I have been drooling about their products for a a couple of years and I was particularly interested in this bag. I needed to travel to Monaco, French Riviera for a sales conference (lucky me), I had my justification, voila! Truth is, I have been wanting a bag that would accommodate my camera gear while also being able to carry my laptop for work.

The Uinta is pricey and set me back by $400 but I am very happy with it. I took it on my trip and for the first time I carried a lot of camera gear on an overseas trip. Clearly a lot of thought and quality material has gone into constructing the bag. I loved how easy it was for me to get my gear in and out of the bag without having to set it down while hiking/walking. I bought it with the small and medium ‘pro’ modules and the Tripod Hydration system, gives me enough space for all the gear I am likely to carry. On this trip I had my Canon 7D body with the 24-105mm USM attached, a 50mm Macro,  100-400mm telephoto, 10-22mm EFS, Speedlite 600, batteries, chargers, the Canon G15 and my Tripod (3LT). Besides this, I had my work Laptop and iPad too. The Uinta handled the load really well. Compressions straps, loops to make sure straps are not hanging loose, easy to grip zippers, module organizers plus a host of other delightful features left me feeling good about the purchase. I looked at this super detailed review by Mason Marsh and am grateful that people like him take the time helping people like me make educated decisions.

This bag is everything it claims to be and more. Loved using it on our travel to Monaco and Southern France and I came back even more convinced. Photo above is courtesy of www.guragear.com

Fall by the house

Posted by on Nov 15, 2014 in blog | Leave a comment

It was that time of the year when clocks roll back an hour and revert to standard time, I was dropping Tamara to school one early Friday morning and was treated to a spectacular sunrise by the Cherry Creek Reservoir. Usually, such spectacles are repeated for a couple of days (something to do with weather patterns and high pressure ridges around here) and so I woke up early the next day with my gear to photograph the sunrise by the water. As you can see in the picture below (and true to the rule above) I was treated to beautifully lit clouds catching the first light.  I got lucky, once the sun was up I found a clump of cottonwood trees right by the lake shore sporting rich fall colors. The morning sun created some magical lighting for the trees to really show off their colors. I loafed around the area for a couple of hours, lost my car keys (and then found them!) and then proceeded to lose my gloves (found them again!!) before wrapping it up for the day. Maybe I should have bought a lottery ticket that day. At any rate, I  feel really blessed to be living so close to such beauty.

 

Summer 2014

Posted by on Aug 28, 2014 in blog | Leave a comment

Pradeep Ullal got me thinking about my website/blog again today, it was time to get off my butt and show that the site still has a pulse. So here are a few lines and some pictures about our summer.

Late spring and early summer (May and June) were a blur for me mostly because of a very interesting and successful playoff campaign by the San Antonio Spurs. After years of playing at a high level and getting close (especially in 2013) the Spurs came through winning the NBA championship! That was some redemption!!! I don’t think anyone could have scripted it any better after such devastation in 2013. The afterglow this time was especially sweet given how dominating the Spurs were in the finals.   I am still gloating and can’t get enough of it (still feeding off of YouTube highlights every other day). Every rabid fan has some weird superstitions and so yours truly spent much of May and June vacuuming floors, doing sit-ups and push-ups during Spurs’  playoff games because it helps the Spurs win! In the end, it obviously worked and was so worth it! Side benefits too… no six pack yet but at least the floors were clean 🙂 . Ben Golliver does a fabulous job of capturing the Spurs 2014, here it is for posterity.

June brought travel to some new places, I had a business trip to Tokyo & Beijing with my customer and that was fun albeit short and hectic. Was blown away by how clean the city of Tokyo is despite the dense population. Beijing was a nice experience as well although the air is thick with pollution. We got lucky with some rain that cleared the air and actually improved visibility so you could see beyond a mile. Didn’t have much time to be tourists but we saw the Asakusa Shrine in Tokyo and got half a day walking through the forbidden city in Beijing. Came back from Asia only to travel a couple of times to the west coast (San Francisco) ensuring June was not a very healthy month (workout and eating wise).

The fourth of July weekend brought a trip to Jackson, WY for a cousin’s wedding. Got some good family time and met many relatives but it was also quite spectacular to be around the Grand Tetons. We spent 5 days in all including one day in Yellowstone National Park. The rest of July brought more family time (my in-laws were visiting from India) and we hosted an uncle and aunt from DC and in general good times were had. We visited Red Rocks and took a tour of the Coors Brewing Company to see how Beer gets made in large quantities! Tasting was fun!

August has been mostly slow (work-wise) with lots of people taking time off. Aditya began his internship at Children’s Hospital and has been learning to use the local transit system all on  his own. Tamara began high school! Can you believe that? Wow.. time flies and I wish I could roll back the years. I found a new gang of cyclists in the neighborhood that I ride with when I am in town, its been great because I am slowly getting back into shape again.

We go to Taos, NM in two days to visit family over the labor day weekend. Here are a few pictures so you can see how my summer went, click on any to view larger image.

Cheers 🙂

 

Blurry trees!

Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in blog | Leave a comment

 

Young Cottonwoods by the Lake

Young Cottonwoods by the Lake

So, I was playing around with some effects using ‘Pixelmator’, (a really effective alternate photo editing tool to the more snooty Adobe products) when I came across the motion blur effect. It gave me some ideas to try when I am out with my camera and tripod the next time. Here are a couple of pictures where I used the motion blur at 90 degrees; I think the same effect can be achieved/replicated using a camera and tripod by using a pan/tilt tripod head and taking a 2-5 second exposure of trees or other vertical objects while at the same time moving the camera up and down along the vertical axis. I will post some images once I have had a chance to experiment.

Pine Trees covered in Snow

Pine Trees covered in Snow

Three Legged Thing!

Posted by on Mar 16, 2014 in blog | 2 Comments

I still remember buying my first Tripod back in the mid nineties from ‘Gulrajani’s Camera Shop’ on Brigade road in Bangalore, India. It was a Manfrotto 190B, made in Italy and still considered an iconic and classic beginner’s tripod. Over the years and as any fellow photographer would acknowledge, I have acquired a few tripods in the quest for ‘that additional capability’.  That said, I still have my Manfrotto and use it occasionally, even giving it some TLC recently by taking it apart, cleaning, greasing and putting it all back together again looking good as new.

Over the last couple of years I began a renewed quest for a really good ‘travel tripod’, (yes, it was yet another missing capability). Like most avid photographers would tell you, such quests usually almost always end up with a Gitzo (high end brand owned by Manfrotto) and I too was inevitably headed in that direction. Over the past few months I had five models shortlisted and three of them were made by Gitzo. I needed a tripod that would be something of a fantasy in some respects… it had to be light (sub 3 lbs), compact (17 inches or less folded) and have the sturdiness I was looking for. Inevitability this involved a functionality compromise of some sort or the other. The process of elimination proved challenging because of the disappearance of brick and mortar stores where I could get a good feel for the models I had shortlisted. The Denver, Colorado area has a dying breed of Camera stores and even those that do exist have a very limited inventory of gear they carry. I had to rely heavily on research by scouring articles, images and videos online (thank goodness for people that take the time to publish their reviews online).

My research left me somewhat surprised that so little has advanced over the past 15 years in the world of quality camera support. The usual players were still around save a couple of new companies (like ‘Really Right Stuff’) but none of them seemed to be driving innovation aside from taking advantage of new materials (like carbon composites). I came across a British startup called “3 Legged Thing” and was immediately drawn by their fresh ideas and desire to disrupt a well established space. Their approach to tripod design was long overdue and the results were clear to me, I found a model without having to compromise on functionality. This company of  only four people from Stagsden in England sound like a they are on a mission to take on and change a well established space and by the looks of it they seem to be succeeding. They can’t make products fast enough to meet customer demand, stocks even at BH or Amazon disappear quickly. The downside is that I have not been able to find a physical store that has any available for testing. I decided to take a chance and order one of their Tripod Models (named Brian!) going purely by specifications, user reviews and virtual look and feel. As you can see, I want to like this product very much and I surely hope I am not disappointed. I will post an update once I have had a chance to use it.

Meanwhile, here are some pictures of the Tripod that is on it’s way to me.

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April 3rd 2014 Update: I have had the tripod now for a few weeks now although I have not been able to put it through serious use (damn, the day job!). But I now know enough about it t0 provide a brief review. What I like about it is that it is light, compact and sturdy and that combination of features is not easy to come by at an affordable price. There are a couple of other nifty design features that I find useful; one of the legs unscrews and attaches to the head to become a monopod, the other feature I like is that the centre column can be removed making the tripod lighter and more stable with the bonus of getting your camera really low. The product is finished quite well, the head is surprisingly good and I love their quick release plates! I am not a big fan of the rubber that is used to grip the screw locks on the legs, they feel cheap and slip around a bit. The bag that came with the tripod is really good and is something I look forward to using during my travels. For the money I think this is a great buy and I’d definitely recommend it if you are looking for a compact travel tripod.