Falling Strawberries

Apple inspired Newton for his life’s work. But how can photographers test his theories? Naturally by dropping a fruit into a container full of liquid and taking photos as the forces meet and create splashes! And, what fruit inspires photographers? Strawberry, of course! And thus, we set to work.


A splash.

To successfully capture the moment the strawberry hits the liquid surface or the splash right after, a shutter speed of 1/800sec or faster is required. First, we need to check lighting conditions and see if we can achieve correct exposure at such shutter speeds. (I switched back to AE mode knowing at F1.8, camera will shoot at 1/800s or faster) Once checked, its best if we switch the camera to ‘continuous shooting’ mode. With this mode enabled, we can keep firing the camera as the strawberry is released to the moment when the splashes have died down. Of course, a lot of photos must be shot for those one or two really good. And that’s all we need for this experiment 🙂

Field test with Canon 50mm F1.8

My gear-set went an upgrade, thanks to Jayeeta and now I have a Canon 50mm F1.8 lens in my arsenal!! A long-standing wish since the day I first learnt the advantages of a wide aperture and low F-value, the 50mm F1.8 is a prized acquisition.

To add cherry on the cake, it’s an early spring in NorCal (with a little rain thrown in haphazardly) and it couldn’t be a more awesome opportunity to get cracking on macro photography. To add my 2-cents to a web full of reviews of 50mm F1.8 lens, I will let photographs do the talking. Let’s start the field test with a stop at UC Davis Arboretum for flower photography and to welcome spring 2012. Here are a selected few and I hope you enjoy them.

The Purple Diffusion

Winter Grey

Rain affected

Hint of Spring '12


The village landscape.

Light-painting is a fun and simple photography technique based on slow shutter photography. Pop open the shutter for a long time i.e. for more than a second in a darkly lit surrounding and move a hand-held source of light e.g. flashlight/phone flash and draw patterns to expose your camera to a beautiful photo! The wikipedia entry also mentions about moving the camera instead of the light source but I feel that technique is better described as Intentional Camera Movement (ICM). Here are the steps to light-paint:

    1. Setup the camera on a tripod.
    2. The camera will face problem focussing properly later in the dark when we start painting, so we will setup the correct focus first and switch to manual focus so that the camera focus remains unaltered. Stand at the place where you will light paint and use a remote control or ask someone to half-press the camera to let AF do it’s thing. Once correctly focused, let’s switch to manual focus and we’re all set.
    3. Now we will setup the camera settings. We need to shift to manual exposure and set a long exposure of a few seconds or more. For the attached photograph, I used an exposure of 30 seconds. Shutter speed needs to be varied based on how long will it take to draw the pattern. We will vary the other parameters (F or ISO value) for the correct exposure.
    4. Switch off the room light and that’s it, we are all set. Time to light-paint.
    5. Trigger the camera and paint in the air to your heart’s content. Have fun!

We used our phone’s flash to light-paint this time and finally, Jayeeta helped me post-process in Photoshop to add color to each pattern but black and white light-paintings are equally awesome! Before I end, I will refer a few fellow photographers who are great with this technique.

I follow the work of Danny Turcotte of Catch Light Photography who specializes in light-photography. Recent works by Mathew Johnson were also lot of fun! Jayeeta’s photographs are here.

Thanks for the winter!

Winter in Kolkata is always fun. For a city that records a temperature of 100F or above continuously for 9 months a year (March to October), yes.. a temperature of 65F IS winter!! But what makes the winter of Kolkata absolutely fun is the christmas celebrations.

In a show of large contrasts, the sweet smell of rosogolla carried over from Durga Puja is replaced by the aroma of cakes. The city starts to tell stories of its British past and sweet toothed Bengalis must buy a plum cake from Flury’s.

The streets are lighted up and modern western fashion reappears after months of ethnic dominance. The men start dressing up in suits and women are dressed to kill 🙂 And Santa is back with his bag of goodies! My project52 photograph for winter is the following collage:


I didn’t stay till New Year’s or a visit to the zoo would have been inevitable 😀 Stay classy Kolkata, see you later!

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