Friday, July 22, 2011

The game is to fill the frame

An example of shooting the beautiful nature, human feelings and emotion.
This is my very first blog on photography. My topmost hobby in which i am still far behind the standard. So when did all these started? Actually i don't remember it but with a vague memory i can tell you that once upon a time when i was a kid and when i say kid it means i was may be in 7th or 8th standard. I was going for some picnic or something and my father knew that i am fascinated by this little black mechanical device called camera. But he was not sure whether i can handle those expensive camera or not (We have lot of camera almost all generations). So he brought me a really entry level film camera, a Kodak one. In which you just insert the film and boom, its ready to shoot. Then later we got film SLR (manufactured by Vivitar) but surprisingly i did not like the quality of the picture and hence never used it after the first attempt. But it did served the purpose of Zooming in. Damn it is still in our almirah lying with Polaroid, Yashika, Kodak and Sony. Then came the era of Digital camera. The first one to hold was none other than Nikon coolpix. It was impressive indeed. When i took the picture of my sister i said what an amazing quality. At that time i did not know it is the effect of DOF but the composition was pretty impressive. But it was worse in night shoot. Now it was my time to loose the wallet to buy the camera. Being truthful to myself i spent more than average on a point and shoot and each and every shot was worth it.Thanks to My friend Sumit Sinha. He has the same camera. I carried it for more than 1.5 years and it is still being used at my home with surprisingly amazing results. Now my interest in photography and of course others appreciation took me to next level. After watching for almost an year finally i've got engaged with the Nikon D90 (A camera which made histories in photographers world). Over a period of time i learned a little bit of photography even though i am still struggling with the setting up the technical aspect of camera for getting a better picture as per the composition. So i am explaining a little bit of my Journey so far to know what makes a photo look jaw dropping.
  1. It's all about the composition: A better picture is always about what you can see and others don't. Look for composition. Think what you want your photograph to speak? What is in your mind which you want to capture? If you don't have a good composition and it is in your hand to create it, do so. Look for the drama like cloudy sky and its shaded. Try to avoid the noise. e.g. you are shooting a seascape and there is a one person walking or standing in the middle. If he is not fitting in the composition then it will be treated as a noise. wait for him to go away. One thing I've noticed a lot, when there are two people who think of composition before taking picture there shot will never ever be identical and both will come up with very good picture from the very same scene. In my case i see images everywhere and before shooting i think what i want this image to speak. Some time i am open but most of the time i am too shy to trigger the shutter. Which is in fact not a good attribute of a photographer. "The game is to fill the frame" indeed a very good line from an article. ( I am thinking of writing a separate article on composition tricks)
  2. An angle will make your photo look different : Just clicking the shutter is not important. lay down on the ground, climb up to the chair, keep your self at the level of subject, go behind, i don't know what all you should do but choose the angle which represent a complete different aspect of composition. Angle it very important. Don't just shoot until unless you are on the verge of losing the shot. If you have time choose a good angle or plan the angle. The moment you get your desire composition click it, that's how wildlife photographers do.
  3. Keep your camera perfectly straight and aligned during scape shot: Many times you will observe that people is shooting landscape, seascape and photo is tilted. Woo this is worst composition. No one want to see a tilted sea, mountain or just in case the subject which is straight. It will just make your photo look awesomely boring and never ever assume that you can straighten this in tool. Tool will drastically take away the photo sharpness and make it more worse.
  4. Light is the life of the photo: It is true that light is life of the photo. If you think a good photograph can be taken only on day time or full of lights, you are completely wrong. The lights in photo can be shadows, reflections, moon lights depending upon the scene. The best time for out door shooting is around sun rise and sun set. During that time you have a truly dramatic colorful sky and the light is not too harsh. I got a photo during sunset and the sky was layered with light brown, blue and yellow color. It was so amazing. Use your flash intelligently even in the day, Surprised, using flash in the day can give altogether a different exposure to your composition. Do not use full flash always. It will make your photo look flat. Decrease or increase the timing of flash compared to the shutter speed depending upon the scene.
  5. Know your camera: It is a myth that only DSLR can take good photo. Sometime even the point and shoot can give you an extraordinary results. Know your camera limitation otherwise you will be frustrated and tired of saying my camera can not take good quality pictures. Know how to set the camera for different composition and situations.Use slow or high shutter speed, small or medium aperture with optimized ISO. These are the three triangle to shoot what you want.
  6. Small Editing will add lot of flavour: Never think that you can take good picture in you camera only and you don't need any post processing. Even the pro photographer use to spend hours in processing their shot. A small editing like sharpening  tweaking the white balance and saturation will make your photo beyond what you shot in camera. That is why i always shoot in RAW.
  7. Use Stable platform for slow shutter speed: Humans are not made of metal with fixtures to stabilise themselves and keep it in same state until they want, not at all. Up to certain shutter speed with certain techniques we can stabilise our camera but do not expect too much from yourself. Even you wont notice it in camera screen but at the end you will loose the sharpness of the picture. Use table, wall, tree anything if you don't have the tripod (Choose your tripod wisely). If you are using tripod don't miss to use remote shutter release button or auto timing function. Never think that you have the fastest camera and you don't need a tripod. Unfortunately this will be the biggest joke of your life.
  8. Choose lens which supports your imagination: I know that it is kind of expensive affair but it is important. When i bought my Nikon D90, i choose the best lens available with the camera i.e 18-200 MM F/3.5-5.6 VR lens. It was perfect for me. A lens that can be used as a wide angle as well as telephoto lens. But over a period of time i realised that it is not sufficient for me. Because i like macro photography and bokeh. So at least buy which we can afford. So may be i will go for 35 MM F/1.8 or 50MM F/1.8 whichever i can afford. You see, all these money are worth of each photograph when you will see it later on computer screen and say WOW. That is the photography. Note: Never forget to use hood given with the lens they are required to filter the light falling on your lens which can add additional unwanted lights on you picture.
Conclusion:  Be imaginative, have the tools that support your imagination and know their boundaries. Enjoy Photography.

My Photography Tools : Nikon D90 Body, 18mm-200mm Nikkor VR lens and hood, 16 GB SD card, Slik 1703 carbon fibre tripod, Kenko Shutter release button.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Survive a day with Android Mobile phone

Well it is kind of obvious that whenever i suggest my idea around Android OS it is always backed by a little experience of Apple's iOS. It is because of 2 facts 1. I’ve used iOS a lot and that usage helped me a lot to utilize the full potential of other OS 
2. The iOS is built in an amazingly optimized manner that gives you an idea of how to configure other OS. In this blog i will focus around how to configure your android device (In my case HTC desire HD) to use it all day long without having worried about the battery drain. When I bought my HTC I assumed that the manufacturer must have designed and configured the devices in such a way that i can use it's full capability or at least all interesting feature which they demonstrated during their advertisement, can be used minimum for one day on full recharge. Truly speaking, it was my myth and in fact I think most of the user around the world wuld have experienced it. On a very first date when I setup my phone to use required features of HTC's in built applications, Android OS and the application I used in my day to day life, unfortunately my battery rested in peace within 5-6 hours of use and my brain blasted with anger. I yell at HTC design, this shouldn’t be happening. After this massive disappointment from device, I began my journey to survive my phone all day long without any interruption. To make this dream reality, I had to decide the top usage which cannot be compromised (obviously Other than calling, texting, emailing). Before moving further I just want to give you all an idea that why I use most advance and optimized mobile phone available in the market. My idea is to not carry multiple gadgets in my pocket for general use. One device should fit for most of my general purposes. e.g. Mobile phone, Music player, Camera, video recorder and a all time Internet connecting device. Over a period of time Mobile has evolved dramatically to meet all these needs for a consumer like me. Now you’ve got an idea about my usage. Now let’s move to the non compromised usage.

Top Non-compromised usage (On an average Day = 18 Hours)
  1. 60 min of MP3 player
  2. 2 still shots/day
  3. 60 min of Facebook application usage including 3G and Wi/fi
  4. 5-10 min of Twitter
  5. 15 min of Angry bird game
  6. 60 min of Voip over 3G and Wi/fi (Includes people other than my fiance :P )
  7. 5-6 Mb of application installation/Update on 3G and Wi/fi
  8. 30 min of Internet surfing while travelling to office and back to home
  9. 5-6 e-mail responses
  10. A very little 10 min gallery surfing

There are others too but not on regular basis.
Now it's time to optimize the android device. Well I read on several blogs that android is best in terms of memory utilization. I don’t know in technical terms as I am a dumb user who just wants to make most out of his device. I must tell you before writing further that while doing all these hacky wacky thing I thought if I have to do all these what is the need of buying a device where I cannot use most of its branding feature but peeps this is necessary for running your battery long. If you are OK with the short battery don’t go further this is not for you. Now, below are the points which must be used very very efficiently.

  1. Data Syncing – Data syncing plays very important role in battery life. You need to optimize the frequency of mails, social network, weather and other apps to be synced. Keeping it too frequently does not make any sense as no one want to stare the screen all day long (Not good for eyes and brain :P ).  Don’t use push service until unless highly required. 15 min is a decent interval to check email, same we use in our office outlook too. During off-peak time let it sync to bare minimum interval. HTC provide some pre-installed application especially for social networking like twitter, face book. If you are planning to use original application don’t forget to disable their data syncing. Some application run the data syncing in background be cautious while using them and set them up to not sync. Explore HTC data syncing all over the phone and disable whatever you don’t need.
  2. HTC sense – Most of the HTC owners and me too, are proud of this experience that distinguishes the phone from other available android devices. But believe me if it is not used correctly it be a curse for the battery. Sense has lot of widgets and features and most of them require full connectivity to internet and real time access to API’s. If you don’t care about the sense remove all widget and disable all feature that requires internet. If still you want it, use it with bare minimum sync interval. e.g. No one cares about real time weather condition on phone, disable it and sync when it is opened. Just in case you are bored about the sense UI, go for some beautiful launcher in android market.
  3. Display - 4.3” display looks too beautiful in every sense but good things never comes without heavy price and hence the display too. When you see the battery usage statistics in system setting you will be surprised to know the usage of display. If we can’t avoid it so why not optimize it. Simply adjust your display to automatic.
  4. Start UP - In app store there are several apps that have the property of starting up with device startup. If the undesired apps is running in the background, unknowingly they are sucking up the mobile battery. These feature can be disable in their option but if they don't have such option, decide  whether you really going to need these application or not. If not remove it. Have a look on Setting>Application>running application in your android phone and stop the application that you wont need.
  5. Hardware Usage – Don’t let them keep on if you are not using it. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and there are other hardware that we don’t need often. Just use quick setting and switch them off when not in use.
  6. Task Killer - you may have read this before also. Do not use task killer app, they are not going to help you in any ways. In fact they suck your battery more. How, when you close an application with task killer some application has the property to start up again and when they do this, apps use the whole process to run again and heavily use the CPU and drain the battery. Believe me I used it and not found helpful at all.
  7. Live wallpaper - This is very beautiful and unique stuff for android user. Somehow this eats up battery too. Be careful while using it. If the wallpaper seems to use a lot of graphics and data i recommend you to not use it or find some light live wallpaper.
Remember one thing, if you have really bad connectivity of cellular signal nothing can help you, week signal is really a bad thing for any mobile phone made on earth. Hope you will find this topic practical to use and understanding. For any feedback please write to my feedback email id.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My new companion - HTC desire HD

My lord, it was a tough, really tough decision to switch from the perfect Apple smartphone. In fact the association of  2.5 year was worth of countless feelings. A phone i have used most in the history of my mobile phone possession. It was more than just moving from a fruit company to a high tech company. The decision was to change my whole experience of using a smartphone. I am not a big fan of any brand and also i am not loyal to any brand unless they keep up with what i want from their creation. Before iPhone 3G possession, i never wanted to switch from my lovely Nokia N73 while i was in India. N73 was very reliable, durable, long life survivor and user friendly phone. Whenever the thought of switching my phone to a touch screen smart phone came in my mind, i was always betrayed by the touch experience of all existing devices. I still remember the day when i holded the iPod touch in Noida(India) and flipped some photos on it. It was an amazing experience indeed. Unfortunately at that time the iPhone was already launched in the US but there was no way for me to get it in India. While coming to japan, i carried one prime wish in my heart and that was to buy the iPhone. The moment i bought it, it was like a dream come true. Everything has some pros and cons and so the iPhone had. I used it a lot and often time i praised it and i blamed it. Lately the upgrade of iOS4 drastically brings down the speed of my iPhone 3G. This made my mind to change the phone and this cultivated the thought, "What is next". I kept my eye open for so many phone's announcement but i got the constraints of two things 1. Country 2. Keeping my Softback, Japan network. In 2010 there was the announcement of iPhone 4 but certainly the only impressive thing to me was the retina display. But my desire was more. It was expanded to blazing speed, high speed internet connection, a bigger screen, a different experience and moreover to everything get openness. Late in 2010, i saw the keynote of HTC desire HD. It looked nice to me. Later when it was launched in Japan. I saw it in a Softbank shop. I liked the phone but not completely and specially the low contrast super LCD display even if it has more pixel than iPhone 3G. I waited a lot in the hope that may be i will get some other better option. But it never happened at least till i bought the phone. I surfed over the internet watched the review and lately i got very good and positive feedback of HTC Desire HD except one thing "the battery is not up to the mark". But i was not surprised because when i bought the iPhone, i read same review and when i used it, i too felt same. My Nokia N73 was able to support me for long 3 days but i phone, barely two days. But a day came and i got completely annoyed by the iPhone and that made my mind to go for the HTC desire HD.  I also experienced the poor battery life in HTC desire HD. I complained a lot but did not got any good support from HTC. In this case the Softbank was very very supportive. They offered me an extra battery but i rejected the offer to not carry two batteries for one device. Then i surf over the internet and purchased an extended battery for HTC desire HD from mugen power. It cost me a lot but it was worth spending the money. Now, I am carrying an HTC desire HD, My new companion of day to day life. Don't worry, I will write a complete review on my experience with HTC desire HD in my later blog. Also the other expected blog's are "How to keep up your HTC desire HD a day long" and the "Top 10 must have apps for HTC desire HD".  So till then keep up digging my blog for more entertainment. See ya..

Monday, January 03, 2011

Useful & Best Mozilla firefox Add-on

Last year I've blogged about the CPU usage by the various modern browser on my laptop. The battle took place with the criteria of running a song on Youtube using flash. The winner was Internet explorer. I personally do not like this browser but somehow it managed to win the battle just in terms of CPU usage . If i compare it on several other criteria i am damn sure it will fall down dramatically. I am a great fan of Google chrome in terms of it's fast start up time,  page load time , useful shortcuts etc. There is one great drawback in chrome, i don't know if you have noticed it. If you run chrome for long time specially using flash it will choke your system and make it too slow. This particular problem took me away from chrome to Mozilla firefox and i am completely satisfied with mozilla's performance. Definitely firefox uses lot of CPU but when you compare the consolidated CPU usage (multiple tab) with chrome, firefox runs really well. However, you need to compromise a little with the performance of Firefox but i am too much satisfied with the fact that it is not sucking the memory like monster chrome. Moreover to that I've noticed it's really useful Add-ons. Chrome does have the same kind of Add-ons which they call "extensions". but as i am promoting firefox here i must list down some of its very cool Add-on which i personally found ultimately useful.

1. Adblock - These days information on the web doesn't come alone  (Except Wikipedia). They are always escorted by the annoying and disgusting advertisements. So how to get rid of them.. Here is the beautiful solution named Adblock. This Add-on even has the customization option to let you choose the site on which you want to see ad and where you want to block them along with the kind of ad (Text, flash etc).

2. IE tab -This is very useful add-on for accessing sites developed considering Internet explorer rendering engine (e.g. Microsoft web-outlook). User interface of Microsoft exchange server is not impressive in any browser except Internet explorer. This add-on use the Internet explorer rendering engine and give you the exact same result in firefox. So you are completely free from using Internet explorer. (I have no idea whether this will work on any other OS except windows coz they don't have IE).

3. Xmarks sync - Most of the time we access web and bookmark the interesting web addresses. But when you use several computers and several browsers you may end up in searching the same information again, syncing the bookmarks from other browser or emailing it to your own email-id. So how do we keep all our bookmarks even passwords synced across all the browsers and all over the places we use Internet. X-marks let you save your bookmarks on their server and you can sync your bookmarks anywhere using Internet. Most importantly it is available for all browser supporting the add-on feature.

4. Readability - We read lot of information on the Internet. We also get the clutter of non required item around the readable text. This is very useful add-on for user reading articles, news over the Internet. This  add-on extracts the text and required images in one screen and give you exactly in what your are interested. This was one of the best feature of Safari browser but now i can use this in Mozilla also. hurray..

5. Cybersearch - I am damn sure that everyone likes the very innovative feature of Google chrome, it's capability to give you the instant result of web addresses while typing the desired web address and searching from same address bar. Believe me you are not going to miss it while using firefox. All your needs will be fulfilled by Cyber search.

6. Facebook photozoom - This one is dedicated to all the facebook fans out there. I like to see the changed profile pic but i do not want to go to the album, i want to see the added photo but for this i don't want to go to album unless the commenting is required. So what should i do. Use this ultimate productive add-on. It will give you the whole picture on the fly. Only you need to keep your mouse on the photo. Amazing isn't it.

There are several amazing and productive add-ons in the store and all of them are useful in different perspective. I use the above listed one a lot and so wanted to share with you all. Hope you have found this an interesting and definitely useful. If you want to share some other add-on which you have used and  are useful don't forget to mention it in the comment section below.