Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The dreams - what motivates us! (Jaisalmer - Part I)

Jaisalmer Backpack Nirvana
Sab kuch milega - Jaisalmer

Dreams are always the first step to reality. Most great personalities have been great dreamers first. They dreamed and imagined what the world will be like if their dreams come true. Their dreams were what motivated them and contribute to human societies.

I am not a great and my dreams are pretty much limited to understanding myself. As you all know travel is that part of dream and what can be better than realizing a ‘travel dream’.
Long before I got a job and could travel with my will, a failed attempt gave birth to this dream. My father’s transfer to city of Jaisalmer got cancelled and with that the dream of seeing in person the famed ‘sonar kella’. As it happens with most of dreams, this one took more than a decade to be realized.

Jaisalmer Backpack Nirvana
Jaisalmer Fort

Once the travel bug bites, you get addicted. You want to travel all the time. But that does not happen in reality. Even for a die-hard travel buff who wants to visit every place on earth, there are places which they definitely want to visit.
For me Jaisalmer is one such definitely place.

Early morning in month of March, and Jaisalmer gives you a glimpse of what is coming, the summers and more broadly what will feel to be like in a very warm globe. Having heard earlier of fort stays, I too booked a room online with not much idea of what to expect.
It turned out to be more than I could have bargained for that price. A room right inside fort, behind the alley of Rani Mahal, next to big cannon.

The heat was to be respected and time for this feeling to sink in. I decided to park myself in one of the balconies with some grapes and the see the city as the kings of those times might have done. You look at the city and see the multitude of people who might have been dependent on the king. The decision kings make affecting so many people. Then slowly you realize, Oh! That’s something like me. Now if you think it through, in your adult life, you will have at least 10 people who somehow are affected by the things you do. Those 10 people each will know 10 more people who are affected by them and so on. You kind of get the picture.

To put into perspective, in earlier times, the kingdoms were built or killed by what dreams their kings saw. In today’s time too, believe me or not, we are directing most resources towards what our governments dream. And if you listen to news, you probably know the effect of good vs. bad governance.

So where does that leaves us at individual level? Do we stop dreaming?
No! Go back to the previous example of affecting 10 people and they each affecting 10 more people. So even at individual level, you have the power to dream and be a change agent for many.
I am not here to preach what kind of dreams you see or what kind of changes you want to bring. My only request is that you affect and motivate many people even if you don’t realize it. So all your acts matter. Make good use of them. And if you are already a dreamer, help others dream too.
You will create a reality that is more than what you dreamt of.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Neelkantha Mahadev

Backpack Nirvana Rishikesh
Lone Tree

Since childhood I have been intrigued by mythology. To me they were fairy tales going beyond human imagination and giving teachings of rightful way to live your life. And blessed I am with Hindu mythology, look at so many gods As BBC narrator once said “Why settle on one when you can have thousands”. But if you ask me to settle on one, I will choose Shiva. To me he is more human that god. He has a family to take care of along with completing his duties towards his acetic followers. But what I like most about him is his love for mountains. It seems he loved watching the world from above and observe it as an onlooker, as a third party. His judgement would not be clouded by worldly attachments. 

Look at all the places dedicated to Shiva and you are bound to head to Himalayas. One such place close to Delhi is Neelkanth Mahadev Temple in Rishikesh. 21kms by car or 14 kms by road from Ram Jhula is an excellent place nestled among lower Himalayan foothills. 

Though you may prefer car or jeep, I will advise once on foot even if it is downhill journey. You will be passing through Rajaji National Park, with some jaw dropping views of Rishikesh city. The route is full of wildlife, with different insects, birds and specially langoors keeping you entertained all the way. The place remains generally empty with the exception during Shiva Ratri and month of Saavan when devotees from all over India pour into these mountains. This will be good time to catch up with some really interesting people and hear stories from inside India which never breaks into prime time.
I have climbed this route many times and never have been disappointed. I have discovered something new, be it in a form of hidden waterfall, spider and bird show or a realization within which changed the way I look at life.

Backpack Nirvana Rishikesh
Morning View While climbing

Backpack Nirvana Rishikesh
Climbing Style One

Backpack Nirvana Rishikesh
Climbing style two

Backpack Nirvana Rishikesh
Climbing style three

Backpack Nirvana Rishikesh
Night Scene of City with Ganges

Climbing this route makes me realize that we do not need to destroy this beautiful environment to call ourselves developed. None of us have understanding of any animal or plant language, then how can we say our encompassed listening to their side too.
The views I was talking about while climbing are getting frames of more and more buildings. Each next time I climb, I see more and more buildings. Each next time I climb, I see more forest being cleared up for man-made structures. There are people I have met, who are veterans of this route. They have seen more destruction than me and are very skeptical of new generation’s effort to save our natural history.

You all must be aware of the legend why Shiva got the name Neelkantha. He drank poison and gave us a toxic free environment.
How can we contribute to that legend. We can also get rid of toxicity from our lives. We can stop being part of blind consumerism. We can stop the wastage of time and resource of things that will not matter to things we love to do. Each one of us has the potential to make this world a beautiful place through our talents. It’s just the question of realizing and utilizing it. 
As Amish said in his famous Shiva trilogy – ‘Har Har Mahadev’, can be very true if we can act towards it. 

Everyone is Mahadev!

Backpack Nirvana Rishikesh
White eyed oriental

Backpack Nirvana Rishikesh
Micro waterfall

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Light - Camera - Practice. Chasing Light.

In my last post I talked about – photography is all about chasing light. That does not mean, we need to run after street lights, tails lamps etc. Chasing light for us photographers means understanding light.

Hold on! You said you will make us a better photographer and now you are turning us into physicists.
Not exactly, we don’t need to understand photon and stuff. We just to understand the basic and how it effects a photograph.

So let’s go back to school and recap how we see things.
Light from a source, reflected by an object is captured by our eye.

 Now we add in a camera in front of the eye and the scene is recorded on device sensor.

So let’s first understand the major factors to consider and then we will see through some examples to put theory into practical perspective.
Source – Natural vs. Artificial light- For us natural light source is sun during the day and moon at night. Artificial light is anything from candles to bulbs to external flashes.
Understanding the source is important as it will help you determine the overall mood and other aspects of a photograph. And there is no good or bad light source. If you ask a landscape photographer, he will tell you natural light is the best. If you ask the same question to a studio portrait photographer, he will swear by artificial light.
Direction of light- The second thing to consider is the direction of light. It simply means at what angle the light is being reflected towards the camera.
Color Temperature – What! Colors don’t have temperature. I agree. But just to remember there are warm colors and cool colors. Just imagine a color and if it makes you feel cold it is the cold color and vice versa. Imagine color blue and immediately your mind perceives sky, water bodies and make your feel cold and relaxed. Whereas shades of red/orange will make you feel warm because your mind associate those colors with warm things like fire or sun.
Enough of text, now let’s get to examples and dissect them to understand lighting in each situation.
(Disclaimer – I shoot exclusively with available light, if you are looking for advice on external flashes and lighting systems, I am not the correct guy to follow)

Natural Light Backpack Nirvana
Natural Light
Here you can see that the light is natural (from sun), being blocked by something which is allowing partial light to fall through, coming from top left direction.

Artifical Light Backpack Nirvana
Artificial Light
 Here the light source is in front (candle), with light being reflected by the metallic surface.

light one backpack nirvana
Light Direction One
Here the light source is again in the front.

Here the light source is on top with beamed light falling on the subject.

Here the light source is coming from top right, as you can make out from the direction of shadows. The intensity of light is also hard and close to subject, which you can make out as the bell on right got more light than the left one.

Leaving three four images for you guys to dissect in comment section. Give it a try will be a good exercise.

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Learn to see like camera Blog Post - Click Here

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