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July 31, 2005

Sunset Upon Lake of the Isles

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News: I am on vacation until 08-Aug-2005 gathering more photos and tramping around the island of Honshu, Japan. Pilot to co-pilot, everything A-OK: autopilot engaged.

Posting has been reduced to three days per week plus once on the weekend until I return. But you know, please still leave your comments. I love hearing from you and I'll do my very best to respond when I get back to the 'States.

 

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July 29, 2005

Fatehpur Sikri - Archways

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/25s / f/2.8
ISO3200

News: I am on vacation until 08-Aug-2005 gathering more photos and tramping around the island of Honshu, Japan. Pilot to co-pilot, everything A-OK: autopilot engaged.

Posting has been reduced to three days per week plus once on the weekend until I return. But you know, please still leave your comments. I love hearing from you and I'll do my very best to respond when I get back to the 'States.

 

Posted by jordanh at 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack |

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July 27, 2005

Fatehpur Sikri - Khwabgah Complex

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 30mm
Shutter / Aperture1/160s / f/4.5
ISO100

News: I am on vacation until 08-Aug-2005 gathering more photos and tramping around the island of Honshu, Japan. Pilot to co-pilot, everything A-OK: autopilot engaged.

Posting has been reduced to three days per week plus once on the weekend until I return. But you know, please still leave your comments. I love hearing from you and I'll do my very best to respond when I get back to the 'States.

 

Posted by jordanh at 12:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack |

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July 25, 2005

Fatehpur Sikri - Panch Mahal Rear View

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/200s / f/6.3
ISO100

News: I am on vacation until 08-Aug-2005 gathering more photos and tramping around the island of Honshu, Japan. Pilot to co-pilot, everything A-OK: autopilot engaged.

Posting has been reduced to three days per week plus once on the weekend until I return. But you know, please still leave your comments. I love hearing from you and I'll do my very best to respond when I get back to the 'States.

 

Posted by jordanh at 12:00 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack |

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July 24, 2005

Mika's Knees

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/40s / f/3.2
ISO100

Aimee cooed on and on about how cute she thought this shot she took of Mika's knees was.

"Mika's knees! Mika's kneeeees!!" she would say.

 

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July 23, 2005

Proudest Mika

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/50s / f/3.2
ISO400

Today we have a guest poster: the magnificent Aimee!

Today and tomorrow we have these terrific shots of our friend and ally, Mika! Excellent work Aimee!

 

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July 22, 2005

Fatehpur Sikri - Building Near Maryam's House Sandstone Wall Carving Detail

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/160s / f/4.5
ISO100

Imagine that the entire complex has carved details about as ornate as this is here. The undertaking is unfathomable.

 

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Fatehpur Sikri - Maryam's House

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTameron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 35mm
Shutter / Aperture1/250s / f/5
ISO100

Fatehpur Sikri was one of the unexpected delights along my travels in The Golden Triangle area. It was by far the coolest total experience I had at any one tourist destination. It had everything including the most interesting architecture I had seen in the country thus far.

It is amazing to think that all of this disconnected stone buildings were living, breathing spaces utilized by humans. I wish we had pictures as to what they looked liked back in their heyday.

 

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July 20, 2005

Taj Mahal from Agra Fort

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/400s / f/4.5
ISO100

I was debating on whether or not I should include this picture in the blog postings because it really isn't that ascetically pleasing but I decided to anyway because I find it interesting.

The Taj Mahal really is quite big. Bigger than I expected it to be after a lifetime of people telling me to expect it to be smaller than it actually is. The pollution of Agra also continues to be quite an amazing and sad human feat. I couldn't wait to leave that place.

After getting one last look at the Taj from Agra Fort, I recall acknowledging, "this is where Christiane Amanpour always gives her reports from India from...I always wondered where that perspective on the Taj was." Now I know.

 

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July 19, 2005

Agra - Agra Fort Khas Mahal

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 15mm f/3.5
Shutter / Aperture1/100s / f/10
ISO3200

My apologies for the late posting today. It's been a wild week. I've only slept 7 hours out of the past 96. I'm prepping to go on another vacation (destination: Japan with my brother, Mt. Fuji here we come!), and it has been crazy trying to tie up all the loose ends before I leave town.

This photograph is a fine example of the quality of carving to be seen at Agra fort. In many ways, I appreciated the fort more than the Taj Mahal...although I am not sure it is fair or possible to compare the two in any meaningful way.

Looking back upon the metering values for this shot, I probably could have turned down the ISO by at least two stops; but I am pleased well enough with how this shot turned out: grainy off the camera or not.

Having that hard light stare directly into my 15mm ultra-wide created a bright spot caused by internal reflections to appear to the upper right of doorway. I used the color replacement tool to knock that down and the standard double HSL-adjustment layer technique to convert the image to a monochromatic one. Final touches were accentuating the grain with my favorite scanned T-Max grain field and a levels adjustment.

 

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July 18, 2005

Agra Fort - Moat

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/160s / f/9
ISO100

Many of India's ruins are filled with a sense of past glory. Here, the Agra Fort gives one this impression as well.

The fort also provides a splendid view of the air pollution, either from looking down the moat, as we have here, or later when you can look towards the city.

 

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July 17, 2005

Minnehaha Falls

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 24mm f/2.8
Shutter / Aperture1/100s / f/5.6
ISO100

Minnehaha Falls, "laughing water," for the sound the creek makes as it gurgles from Lake Minnetonka to the Mississippi. The falls—the last major hump before reaching the mighty river—are only a short 20-minute bike ride from my house.

 

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July 16, 2005

Friendship is the Key to Happiness

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 24mm f/2.8
Shutter / Aperture1/25s / f/4
ISO100

An actualized person can be comfortable and secure when alone, but we humans are social creatures and having friends than can spontaneously break out into song is the true key to happiness.

That is exactly what happened last weekend at one of our many summertime get-together events. Singing can start as quickly as Mika (at right) turning and remarking, "Aimee, I would like to sing you a song..."

Mika made an excellent assortment of food. There was cous-cous and gazpacho, fresh guacamole and chips. Jer made freeze squeezed lime juices and Chun Hua brought a beautiful assortment of cut fruit served in a watermelon rind. I brought a cheesecake with strawberry rhubarb sauce made straight from my garden. It was an excellent time made and had by all.

 

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July 15, 2005

Taj Mahal

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 15mm f/3.5
Shutter / Aperture1/500s / f/8
ISO100

Disappointingly, this distorted shot was just about the only full-frame view of the Taj that I thought was worth keeping. Next time, I'll have to find out when it's not busy!

 

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July 14, 2005

Taj Mahal - Kids on the River Beyond

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 100-300mm f/4-5.6 @300mm
Shutter / Aperture1/300s / f/10
ISO100

"I wonder if they hang out here often?" I remembered asking myself. "Do they find some friends and say, 'hey man, let's go hang out at the Taj!'"

As I was overlooking the river at the rear side of the Taj Mahal, I spied these kids playing down by the river. They were just within reach of the longest lens I had in my back, so I tried to catch a picture of them. I think the perspective compression adds positively to this otherwise completely mediocre shot.

 

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July 13, 2005

Taj Mahal Minaret

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 15mm f/3.5
Shutter / Aperture1/300s / f/8
ISO100

I overheard from a guide that these minaret used to be open to the public before someone jumped off and committed suicide. Dreamily he recanted the tale as the person taking their life over a broken heart. "Fitting," he said, "for this monument of love."

It sounded like cheese to me; but hey, I guess they have to make their tip somehow.

 

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July 12, 2005

Taj Mahal Grand Iwan Inlay Detail

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 100-300mm f/4-5.6
Shutter / Aperture1/800s / f/8
ISO100

I hadn't seen a lot of shots showing the detail of the Taj Mahal so I set out to capture a few of my own when I was there. This is one of the few that I really liked.

If you run your hand over the inlay work, it is as smooth are polished marble. Those artisans really knew their craft.

 

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July 11, 2005

Apex of the Taj Mahal

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 100-300mm f/4-5.6 @ 150mm
Shutter / Aperture1/640s / f/8
ISO100

After returning to Hyderbad for another week's worth of work, Jim and I stole away again for a bit of a holiday. This time we headed up north to New Delhi to tour what is referred to as The Golden Triangle: that is, the route that is formed by visiting New Delhi, Agra, & Jaipur.

We set out for Agra first. We braced ourself for the pollution and for the throngs of tourists. For the pick-pockets, desparatos, and petty thieves. We couldn't have underestimated all of these factors any less. Scummy is the ultimate understatement when discussing Agra.

By the time we made it through the traffic and argued and pushed past the scam artists and "guides" we made it to the Taj. It was glorious: despite the largest crowd of tourists I had ever seen, anywhere.

Jim and I were grumpy; I do recall. I was annoyed with the people. I was so annoyed I put the longest lens on the camera I had and shot the highest place I could spot. Only sky and building, no people.

I made a mental note to try and figure out exactly what those little eye-hooks were for when I next reviewed this shot. Perhaps to facilitate cleaning in some way? I've searched and searched but so far I have come up empty. Does anybody else have any ideas as to what they are or were used for?

 

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July 10, 2005

Bouquet of Fire

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 15mm f/3.5
Shutter / Aperture8s / f/3.5
ISO200

The fireworks show this year for the Fourth of July in Excelsior Bay was spectacular. Not only was the weather perfect, did we get a good spot in the bay, and there were no mosquitoes but they even shot some things into the air that I had never seen before.

My favorite was a shell that deployed five or six different parachutes that glowed with fire. Suspended down from each descending parachute were a tiny strings of fireballs. It was out of this world! Quite a few people sounded their horns in applause.

I wasn't sure if I would be able to get any good shots of the fireworks or not from the deck of the boat. The rocking motion of the water made it difficult to get anything worth keeping, even at high ISO sensitivities. In the end, I decided to try not to fight the motion of the boat but to see if it could work for me instead.

I had my camera setup on a cute plastic tripod on the aft sundeck and played with various exposure lengths. This image is one of the results. I really like the formation of the shells. It reminds me of a bouquet of flowers.

 

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July 9, 2005

Lake Minnetonka - Boats Wait for the Fourth at Big Island

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/160s / f/2.8
ISO (Exp. Comp.)800 (-1 EV)

Going out on Lake Minnetonka always reminds me of my childhood spent on the water in Tonka Bay. Going out on the Fourth of July to see the fireworks shot off the barge in Excelsior Bay brings back all sorts of memories.

Some things are still the same. Boats still line up around Big Island to wait for the show. People still talk about how Big Island is haunted. It still can take all evening at minimum wake to cross the lake in the ensuing traffic after the fireworks are over. People still toot their horns for the big shells.

Some things are different. Things seem less innocent. Our trip off the dock in Wayzata was hampered when Tara reported a bag full empty ephedrine bottles in the public restroom. There are more boats, more people. I am more aware of the gray-haired scum cruising around with girl's that could be their daughter's age.

It is still the best way to see fireworks in the whole country. You can put your boat nearly under where the shells explode and your entire field of view is filled with colorful fiery explosions. There are no mosquitoes. The lake breeze is comforting and cool.

Thank you Brad and Tara for having us out this year!

 

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July 8, 2005

A Women Walks Through the Countryside in Karnataka

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/125s / f/3.5
ISO100

As we were standing and stretching our legs in the golden light of the sunset, a woman crossed the road from behind and without any acknowledgment continued walking down the road in front of us. She set the scale perfectly for the scene and so I took this photograph.

 

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July 7, 2005

Karnataka Countryside

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/160s / f/4
ISO100

Indian roads are so poor and as such there is an inclination to get out an stretch every so often. Some of the places in the countryside are so beautiful, it is even more of a pleasure to stop and rest.

 

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July 6, 2005

Hoysala Temple VI - Girl II

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/160s / f/3.2
ISO100

After I clicked the first picture, she smiled. I immediately snapped this second shot.

I hope she is doing alright, I hope she smiles like this often.

 

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Main > Diary > Development

July 5, 2005

A Day Off, Photoblog Improvements

Today, I added a number of improvements to the photoblog.

First of which is I am now paginating the photoblog archive using MTPaginate. I found this article very useful in setting up the template. I may tweak the formatting or the pagination division a bit in the future, but for now it is a vast improvement over having all of the entries (and images!) load onto a single page.

Second, I added a strip of photos to the bottom of every photoblog individual entry. This should hopefully encourage people to want to browse the collection a bit more.

There is a propensity in MT to overload the Body, Extended Body, & Excerpt fields in order to create web log entries that are not simple articles such as entries for a photoblog. Having only three fields, or "columns" if one were to view this as a loosely typed database, can put you in a sticky situation when it comes to marking up and presenting your data to the user in different presentation contexts.

As a result, I've found more than once that I've had to resort to using Javascript to reach into the DOM and tweak the markup that is stored in one of those fields to change a link, etc. when that field is presented to the user. What makes this approach even more kludgey and is that then you introduce a whole slew of compatibility problems that must be solved between IE and Firefox. Only the Apple heads know if my site looks even halfway decent on Safari.

Browser compatibility feedback would be much appreciated.

This is the last day of my four-day holiday weekend. No work, just recreation. Life is good when life is on vacation.

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Hoysala Temple VI - Girl

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/160s / f/3.2
ISO100

A continuation from yesterday.

I don't know her name, but I know the Rs. 10 made her happy. She was bright, knew a few English nouns and verbs; perhaps from tourists or from other villagers. The lines in her face tell a sad story.

I learned how to count to ten Hindi, I would count to three when I was about to take a picture. I only got to two when took this shot because I didn't want her to change her expression.

 

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July 4, 2005

Hoysala Temple V - A Boy and His Crab

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/200s / f/2.8
ISO100

Sixty shots into the photoblog, two weeks already spent in India and I haven't mentioned the children yet...

Children are one of my favorite parts about traveling. It seems that no matter what culture you enter the people you encounter that hold the least suspicion and the greatest willingness to share are the kids. They have the spark of life. Poverty has an especially cruel means of extinguishing this spark.

All too often in India I would encounter wanton children, sometimes purposefully disfigured for their task, forced to beg at the hands of a beggar master. Life indeed can unfold like a Rohinton Mistry novel and having read no amount of sad literature can prepare you for the savagery that can lay out in the open.

Perhaps the worst case I encountered were two teen aged children in a parking lot in Agra. Their backs, shoulders, and hip joints had been strategically broken and fused so they were forced to crawl in an eerie crab-like movement. Who could do such a thing to another person? Do they do so out of hunger themselves or for cruelty sake?

I will admit to posting this picture more for the text than for aesthetics's sake. This little guy really had a way of pulling at my heart strings.

On the way into the temple complex I was hounded by a flock of begging children. Outside the gate of the temple, they sat and waited for their pale prey like cats in the bushes stalking two fat mice. I hate giving out money, food is a different matter but I found myself without, so I had made up my mind to resist even making eye contact when I left.

It was this little guy that stopped me in my tracks. He had in his hand a little crab and he paused and squatted to show me. Then his sister intruded, "rupee? Sir? Rupee?"

The photographic urge buzzed in my head. I replied, "photo, rupee. Photo, rupee?"

"Acha."

I knew I didn't have a lot of time so I set the camera for aperture priority at f/2.8 and snapped away. I wish now that I had got a little more depth of field but I wasn't sure how long he would sit their with that little crab in his hand.

After I took their pictures I gave them each Rs. 10 which made their eyes grow as large as dinner plates. You should have seen the flood of children come after me then! So much for not handing out money...I can only hope that it went towards something good.

 

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July 3, 2005

Happy Independence Day!

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture10s / f/22
ISO100

Friday was a great, great day. There was cooking, there was photography, and there were even fireworks.

Aimee even humored me and drew funny shapes with sparklers while I took pictures. The technique, I discovered, isn't that difficult. All one needs to do is set the shutter speed to expose the background properly with a small aperture, light incendiary, and have fun!

Happy 4th of July everybody!

 

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July 2, 2005

Alien Mom Attacks!

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/13s / f/6.3
ISO3200

My mother and I own and operate a small, plush toy company called Soft Toy Concepts. Our lead product is a soft, plush infant puppet doll named Blanky Soft Baby. Although making toys are fun, it is a lot of work and often we put in extra hours.

I took this picture earlier this week on the same evening I returned from a business trip for my primary employer from San Francisco. We had to critique and generate a list of product corrections for one of our designs and send them off to our manufacturer. This process can be tedious and often my mother and I get a little batty.

This was the result.

 

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July 1, 2005

Hoysala Temple IV - Temple Interior, Ceiling

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 15mm f/3.5
Shutter / Aperture1/8s / f/3.5
ISO3200

This was the only picture that I took of the interior that showed any clue as to how the interior was embellished in times of old. Here you can see on this ornamental ceiling pineapple traces of red pigment or paint. I am sure that if this place was blazing with candles it would have been even more spectacular to see.

The magic capture value for the temple interior seemed to be about 1/8s f/3.5. Any more shutter time than that and the shots became far too soft. I think it was because I was shooting on so wide a lens that the anti-shake system in the Minolta was working so well.

 

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