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My DSLR Journey begins August 26, 2011

Posted by Swami in Uncategorized.
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There is way too much information to digest to be an expert DSLR user. However I often feel that it is important to start off gently (even if it is not entirely accurate).  I read a few sites one site (reference below) and I think I have a good preliminary understanding of what I need to do to be a proud owner of Canon T2i (Rebel Series)

Here is what you need to know if you are a neophyte DSLR user.

There are 3 things that you need to know at least a little about – ISO Speed; Shutter Speed; Aperture (F-number)

ISO speed

Use Low Settings – in sunny conditions; if high you will see graininess
Use High Settings – in cloudy or interior (low light) conditions
What is it for?: Quality of light particles that will register
General Recommendation: go as low as you can go (100)

Shutter speed

Use Low Settings – will let a lot of light come in, this might be preferred if the object is not moving
Use High Settings – moving object photography; delivers increased sharpness even with unstable hands!
General recommendation: go as low as you can go to allow sufficient amount of light, if the object is moving use a very high shutter speed (see simulator below)

F-number (Aperture)

Low – use for portrait; the width of the “plane of focus” will cover only a small width (also referred
to as depth of field). Fewer items will be in focus, very targeted (items before and after the plane of
focus will look blurred and your object will be nicely highlighted. Plane of focus depends on where the
subject/focus is on
High – use for landscape; the width of the “plane of field” will be big. Practically everything will be in
What is it for? Targeting your vision on the focus plane
General Recommendation: Use 8 and above for landscape; use the lowest possible F-number for
portrait; Zooming in would increase your F-number

General suggestions/recommendations:

  • Use aperture priority when you are new to DSLR
  • Don’t need RAW format when you are starting out or if you don’t plan on photoshopping photos
  • Protect your sensor with your life (make sure nothing falls in there, if you want to change lenses
  • multiple times make sure you close the sensor; get the new lense; remove cap; then install lens – v.important
  • You don’t need a DSLR to test the above piece of advice http://camerasim.com/camera-simulator.html

Hat Tip: http://www.cameraporn.net/2007/12/24/aperture-iso-and-shutter-speed-the-good-kind-of-threesome/

That is all I know and frankly the only pics that I’ve shot with a DSLR was to show off my ability to spot red trucks at a distance while my friend (camera owner) was driving !


Is it time? January 3, 2010

Posted by Swami in Uncategorized.
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Is it time to say goodbye to blogging when you forget how to “reach” your own blog, so you google and come up empty ?

Nope.. Don’t worry bloggers’ world, I’m not quitting, I’m not really that smart…

Other than that, I’ve added 10 more new year’s resolution this time – overall I have about 237 resolutions to work on!!

Happy New Year peeps…

Jayakanthan revisited July 18, 2009

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Meant to do quite a few things and ended up doing something else. That I am now used to.  While talking to Balaji somehow the topic went to Jayakanthan. I’ve never really read Jayakanthan except one short story about widow remarriage, which I liked a lot and decided that I need to read a lot more of his work. So downloaded a few of his stories and printed them with a resolve to read them all. Well I never did read them all.

Today I again found the link http://www.scribd.com/doc/3181674/Tamil-Stories-Jayakanthan-Sirukathaigal and read one more of his stories (called Thuravu). What I like most about it is that it is simple, not preachy, not weepy/sentimental, and it is a fast read. There are no “punch” dialogues or any other extravagances, the story is told very efficiently. And I find that he treats his characters with kindness and I like that –  based on the two stories that I’ve  read so far I’d be surprised if I encounter a villain in his stories.

The short story that I read today was about a little kid who decides to renounce everything and go to Himalayas and become a saint. In places it felt like I was reading about myself; for instance I think to myself that everyone dies in the end so {I might as well enjoy the life that we have as much as we can – or no worries if I lose X amount of money in the stock market etc..}.  I have a feeling that these thoughts are more common in the India than anywhere else. Overall it was a satisfying experience and this time I might finish the rest of the stories as well.

BTW, Jayakanthan is Jnanapith award winner which is quite a feat considering that he is a school dropout! I think he was brought up by communist leaders and he considers himself a communist – I like him enough that I wish he weren’t one though :-). But I find nothing about his politics in his stories (He has written a separate book on that ver topic A Literary Man’s Political Experience which might be an interesting read as well). If you like short stories and can read Tamil, I’d urge you to give this a shot, you might enjoy it.

Anyway that is how I wasted my Saturday – I wouldn’t call it a complete waste though as I managed to get some work done, did a few chores,  wrote a blog post, etc.

new found respect for kamal… July 13, 2009

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was watching hey ram today and it is impossible for me to name a more committed artist. it is relatively easy to do new things if u’ve done nothing of note, it is even easier to do what he does in the western cine field. He’s trained his fans to expect different thigns from him, even that is understandable but he goes the extra step to deliberately compromise his talent by starring in crappy movies in order to make enough money to do what he wants.  he is living life as if he is playing one of those video games jumping every now and then to catch a pot of gold so he can progress to the next level.  amazing clarity of thought, and well-defined mission in his life.

PS: grew up as a Rajni fan, hence the new found respect

the easy-way-out June 28, 2009

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methinks, foolproof systems turns us into fools. For instance, if I knew I will miss out on something that interests me if I did not focus, then I’ll focus hard but if I knew I can rewind and watch the segment any time I want to, well then the incentive to focus is substantially weakened. I believe the ability to rewind has made it acceptable to be less attentive.

There is an interesting story in a book that I read recently called “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely. The Chinese commander Xiang Yu in 210 BC on his quest to defeat the Qin dynasty did something remarkably counter-intuitive. While his troops were resting on the banks of the river, he set fire to his entire fleet of ships that brought his troops to the battleground. To his puzzled and panicked troops he calmly explained that they had no other choice except to fight their way to victory or perish.  Incredibly enough the troops fought ferociously and won 9 consecutive battles and obliterated the main units of the Qin dynasty.

I’m constantly reminded of this story, for different reasons. This time it illustrates to me that it is very hard to resist the lure of “the easy-way-out” and it takes some serious thought to avoid be trapped by this. It is effortless to push the rewind button repeatedly and “watch” the program or the movie or whatever it is that it might be or leave the directions to the GPS knowing full well that it is very forgiving of your mistakes. I’m allowed several attempts to get it right, so I allow myself the liberty of not being focussed.  It is this non-linearity* that trips us up – a little GPS is better than no GPS which surprisingly is better than a lot of GPS. The trick is moderation but there aren’t courses to remind us about this.

I have a feeling that many of us often take the easy-way-out on severa such things, without fully understanding the consequences of living in a fool-proof system. Being aware of this helps – but only to a point. A better way would be to design a system that will remind us of this impulse (i.e. if you knew you were walking in an area with quicksand, you might want to tether yourselves to some tree – so that you can extricate yourself. Of course coming up with analogies is always the easiest part, finding a working system is hard work but it is also interesting and maybe something nice will come out of this !!)

* – non-monotonicity to be more precise and nerdish.

wonder why Buffett’s after railroad stocks? February 27, 2009

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Buffetts buying railroads that carry coal & goods though; but i s’pose it aint very different

amusing: changing relative prices February 27, 2009

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In Prof. DeLong’s inbox:

In Agatha Christie’s autobiography, she mentioned how she never thought she would ever be wealthy enough to own a car – nor so poor that she wouldn’t have servants…


what has the sports world come to….? February 1, 2009

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Federer weeping after losing the Aussie open, Arizona cardinals in the superbowl….nothing makes sense anymore

kamasutra for geeks January 25, 2009

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happy new year January 2, 2009

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Happy 2009 to all. 2008 was a memorable year, lots happened but becoming a dad was definitely the highlight.
My one and only new year’s resolution is to be at work before 9 in the morning. I sense that would be a better way to handle things as I might be able to plan my time better. Leo Babauta’s blog convinced me to do just one this time. You can read more here… 9 rules for forming a habit

What’s in your wish list?