Thursday, 13 September 2018

Mobile Landscapes

Secret Ivory Resort

Landscapes have been one of my favorites in photography after Birds and Macros. But, I have never been a great fan of mobile photography until recently.

Though I used to take some photos using my mobile with some decent outputs, never had taken it seriously, for various reasons. That changed recently, when I bought the Huawei P20 Pro with its critically acclaimed camera.

What you see here are from the phone camera, some shot in RAW and processed in Adobe Lightroom for Android.


I found the dynamic range on that one quite good, for a small sensor in the mobile phone . It was shot early morning during the golden hours, with the sun well behind. The cottage was well in the shade. All I had to do was use the native the HDR settings and push up the shadows in the native editing tool.


Due to the recent rains in some parts of the Western Ghats, some of the water bodies that were dried up have come back to life. Not sure how long it will sustain, but why not enjoy the view while it lasts! The gentle breeze creating a nice texture in the water and reflecting the trees as a mosaic.

Valley View

While on the way to Kallatti village in the Nilgiris, just stopped briefly in a place called Sholar. The valley view from there was way different from the common scenes of the Ooty that most tourists would have seen.

Lake - RAW

There was a lake somewhere near a dam and the evening hours brought out some incredible colours of the water and the landscape. This was shot in RAW and converted to JPEG.

Lake - JPEG

Yeah, exactly the same scene, but this one is the JPEG right out of the phone camera. The colours are more saturated and vibrant. Cannot say that the colours are true or accurate, but I guess it looks livelier nevertheless!

Old Lighthouse - Pondicherry

How does the camera do in low light situations? Well this was one of the biggest selling points of the phone, and it lived up to the hype - mostly, I would say.

That's a regular weekend at the Pondicherry beach. The place is always full of life and relaxation. A distant away from the hurried life!

Gandhi Memorial - Pondicherry

Another landmark at the Pondicherry beach is the Gandhi Statue.

Panoramic City View

For most of the times I found myself shooting a panorama shot and this is one such shot from my work place. After weeks of gloomy weather the sky opened up to the blue hue and I did not hesitate to make use of the it.

The regular view

May not be exactly a postcard view, but that is one picture that is etched into my mind. This is the one I wake up to everyday and I wish it remains!

My outlook of the mobile photography changed completely with these photos. What do you think?

One Panoramic View - 3 states!

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

The Neighbours

The Neighbourhood

Back with a  after a very long hibernation. Not sure if I will continue, even though I would very much want to.

This time around, a shorter blog with some of the beautiful neighbours I share my home with. Now, I am not talking about the people, but about the others.

As a depart from the norm, the blog is neither about photography, nor about any of my travels. But you will be seeing some photos of the neighbours and the neighbourhood for sure, although it may not be strictly a very good photo.

The morning alarm. This guy is most often the one that wakes me up, hence the moniker!

Common Tailor Bird

The Noisy Neighbour. Keeps shrilling at the top of the voice most of the day!

Ashy Prinia

The high flier. Rain or Shine keeps soaring high!

Black Kite

The elusive fellow. But on this rainy day decided to get a bit social and posed for photo for a long time!

Southern Coucal

The singer. It is always a treat to listen these fellows sing in that melodious tone!

Red-whiskered Bulbul

The common type. I am yet to come across an apartment devoid of these types! A common fixture.

Blue rock Pigeon

The beautiful ones! No matter how small or how short lived, these fellas make the place more beautiful and colourful!

Spotless Grass Yellow

Great Eggfly

Lemon Pansy

Well, hope you enjoyed been introduced to some of my beautiful neighbours.

Note: I have not been able to make justice to the beauty of the birds, due to my lack of proper equipment for photograph them. But will definitely make amends sooner and make sure you are treated with better photographs of these friends!

On a rainy evening!

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Bird Watching at Ranganathittu

Bird watching @ Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

Road trip to Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

Here are some bird photos from Ranganathittu

It has been a while since I joined the Birdwing team for a birding / photography trip. So thought it would be a good time to join when there was a trip planned to Ranganathittu Sanctuary. Incidentally my last trip with them also involved a visit the sanctuary.

Once decided, I checked with my friend Dinesh in Bangalore if he would like to join and he agreed after making some adjustments in the work schedule. Santhosh was the leading this trip and the plan was to meet up with him and a couple of others somewhere in a common location and join them in their car to Ranganathittu.

I travelled from Chennai to Bangalore the previous day and stayed with Dinesh the previous day itself, so there are no delay due commutation. We were planning to meet around 5:30 in the morning at Corporation Circle. Since we were staying in Electronic city, we thought it would be quite difficult to reach there so early in the morning. The public transport did not have good frequency at the hour and the taxis / autos are also not so reliable at that hour. So we both decided that we will change this to a bike trip as well! We informed Santhosh that we will be coming in motor cycle. He was fine as long as we can make it safe. We decided to meet near the NICE road and proceed from there.

We all were on time the next morning at the NICE road. After a quick introduction, we dumped our bags in their car, since it had some space, and started on the journey. I am sure the trip would have been complete without the “thattu idli” at Bidadi. We stopped there for our breakfast briefly and had the famous and tasty thattu idli and proceeded on our journey. There were quite some travelers like us who were making use of the weekend to escape to Mysore or to other nearby locations.

Still the traffic was not too bad and it was good drive. We stopped only one more time, after travelling for about 100km, for a short break. The stay was planned at Amblee resort, which was right on the banks of Cauvery. We could not have asked for a better location for a birding trip. Staying in the resort itself will give plenty of opportunities for bird watchers. We reached the resort around 11:00AM and decided to walk around the place to check on the birding activities. We were not disappointed at all. They also had some captive birds among which Emu was also one. But they also had left the Emus roam freely without actually putting it behind a cage or restricted area. That was good.

After spending sometime in the resort, we had a good lunch on the banks of Cauvery. Apart from the dining hall, the resort had placed a few tables outside, right on the banks of the river. This was one of the most pleasant experiences of the trip. Food was reasonably good but have to mention that it really takes a while for them to prepare and bring the food. So it would be better if you order the food a bit earlier and not wait till you are really hungry.

The Sanctuary will be open for visiting from 3:30 PM in the afternoons. So after lunch, we drove in Sanothsh’s car to the sanctuary, which was only about 10 to 15 minutes’ drive from the resort. They have a very nominal entry fee or Rs.25 / person and Rs.30 for vehicle. There is no separate charge for cameras, however if you are using a DSLR and using a lens that is 500mm or greater, then better be prepared to shell out another Rs.500. Any lens lesser than that will not have any cost. Since I was the only one who was carrying a 500mm, we had to take a separate ticket for that. At this point I want to mention that, in Ranganathittu, you really do not need a 500mm lens. You can get very good close up photographs even with 300mm or 400mm lens.

The place is a very well maintained one. The garden or park before getting into river / backwaters also provides plenty of opportunities for bird watching / photography. We spent about 15 to 20 minutes in the garden before heading to the boating. You will have to take separate tickets for boating. We took a open boat for ourselves, so we can get some good photos. The boat ride was a good 60 to 90 mintues which provided plenty of opportunities for watching the winged beauties. Since it was their nesting period, we were able to see almost all the birds involved in building nests. Some of them were even nursing their young ones. It was a well spent 90 minutes in the boat. We finished the boating around 5:00PM and returned back to the garden, where spent another few minutes in watching birds. We were able to spot the elusive Paradise Flycatcher here.

Following are the list of birds that we spotted in the 2 trips we made to the sanctuary.

White-browed fantail flycatcher
Tickell's Blue flycatcher
Asian Paradise flycatcher juvenile male.
Painted Stork
Open billed Stork
Spot billed Pelican
White throated Kingfisher
Common Kingfisher
Pied Kingfisher
Stork billed Kingfisher
Oriental Magpie Robin
Pale billed flowerpecker
Common Tailorbird
Indian Grey Hornbill
Marsh Harrier
House Crow
Jungle Crow
Common Myna
Jungle Myna
Brahminy Kite
Black Kite
Stone Plover
River Tern
Purple Heron
Black capped Night Heron
Indian pond Heron
Purple Heron
Red Wattled Lapwing
Little Cormorant
Indian Cormorant
Purple Sunbird
Great Tit
Cattle Egret
Little Egret
Intermediate Egret
Great Egret
Common Iora
Lesser flameback Woodpecker
Grey Wagtail

White browed Wagtail
White breasted Waterhen
Black headed Ibis
Red naped Ibis
Green Bee eater
Red whiskered Bulbul
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Eurasian spoonbill
Gold fronted leafbird
Coppersmith Barbet
White cheeked Barbet
Oriental Darter

Apart from the birds we also spotted the Flying Foxes and Mugger Crocs.

We returned back to resort by 6:00PM, refreshed ourselves and reviewed the photos for sometime. While the resort itself is a very beautiful place and lot of birds also call the trees in the resort their home, I cannot say so about the kind of crowd that it gets. We had a group of 20 guys who were there only for party and were playing very loud music, drinking and having a camp fire on the banks of the river. While there is nothing illegal about it, I felt these kind of activities spoil the serene atmosphere of the place. This is just my perspective of the crowds that come in. Others may choose to differ.

The next day, we had planned to visit the sanctuary again. It opens around 8:00AM, so we thought of having an early breakfast and reach the sanctuary on time. To our dismay we came to know that the breakfast will be available only from 9:30AM in the resort. This is another let down for us. So we decided to start about 15 minutes earlier than we had actually planned and have breakfast outside. Thankfully, there was a small eat out right before the turning into the sanctuary. We had a quick breakfast there and proceeded to watch the birds again. This time, we were unable to get an open boat, but the covered one we got did not pose any problems.

After spending around 90 minutes there, we headed back to the resort again. We had planned to vacate the place before noon and were planning to reach Bangalore by evening. We reached the resort around 10:30 AM and started from the resort by 11:00AM. We stopped at Mandya on the way for lunch and then proceeded on the journey back. Overall it was a wonderful road trip as well as a very good bird watching trip.