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October 31, 2005

Fuming in Japan

00163.jpg
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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/15s / f/4.5
ISO400

Look at me. Here I am thinking that I am going to get this new series on Japan off to a good start and I forget to go ahead and publish the entry. What's wrong with me? Not half of what was wrong with my friend Jesse in this picture.

Days before I disembark from India to travel to Japan, I catch word that my dear friend Jesse and his relationship of eight years had ended. When I had arrived, I found him quite a few stops past his wits end. I was very happy to arrive and be there for him during this difficult time.

I'll never forget being in the laundry mat in Itabashii sharing a welcome jovial conversation. At any moment, something would click over and he would get the sourest of all looks on his face and exclaim something to the effect of, "how on earth could she do that?!?" He would lament and fume some more and then we would go back to sorting laundry.

I will tell you that even at his emotional bottom, Jess is a great man to travel with. You'll never meet a sharper wit or a more personable fellow in your life. He's a damned sharp cookie to boot.

 

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October 29, 2005

One Last Hurrah

00162.jpg
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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/60s / f/2
ISO / Flash400 / Internal

After a very long day at the office, I returned to the Taj exhausted. It was going on 11pm New Year's Eve and I simply didn't feel like partying anymore. I canceled my plans to attend one of the dance parties going on and instead retired to read my book and take my dinner up in my room.

At the goading of the staff they informed me that I would not be doing any relaxing and instead I would be taking dinner in the restaurant's North Indian restaurant and I would be sure to stay for the lucky draw. Somehow, I won the grand prize: a weekend stay at a resort in Kerela. I am sad to report that I never did make it back to India to claim this voucher (it expired in August.) But still it was a lot of fun to win something. Thank you guys for not letting me miss out on yet another fun experience.

I believe it was Vanita, another Taj employee, who took this photograph of me. Which is, to my knowledge, the only surviving photo of me in a silly hat.

A little less than eight days later, I would say goodbye to all the people and experiences that forever altered my life and after a brief stop in Malaysia would be greeted my some friends of mine in Japan.

 

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October 27, 2005

Turkey?

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/15s / f/2.8
ISO400

There is only one thing I would like to know: where do you get a Turkey in India?

 

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October 26, 2005

Christmas Dinner

00160.jpg
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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/13s / f/3.2
ISO (Exp Adj.))1600 (+0.3 EV)

I am not a food photographer but I wanted to capture this memory.

Things I can remember and name: Turkey and Cranberrysauce (in India? My how American culture has travelled!), pakora, stuffing, Chinese noodles with tomato sauce, & fish vindaloo. Garçon? And your finest bottle of water, please!

 

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October 25, 2005

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Tajmas

00159.jpg
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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/15s / f2.54
ISO1600

What do you get when you combine a mariachi band from Sri Lanka, fancy Hyderbadis, turkey and fish curry? Why that would be Christmas dinner at the Taj Krishna!

Definately one of the more lonely and quirky Christmases I've had on record. It's funny because holidays were never really all that important in my family yet it's funny how the deprivation of something can make you long for it all the more.

 

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October 23, 2005

Me and My Christmas Demon

00158.jpg
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Camera / AuthorKonica Minolta 7d / Amrita (formerly of Taj Krishna Hotel)
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/60s / f/2.2
ISO200

Firstly, my supreme apologies for the site's down-time this weekend. I suffered a minor hard-drive blip this weekend and had to rebuild the file system on the web server. Things should hopefully remain sane for awhile.

Secondly, this week will wrap up the series on India on the site. Nearly 150 images in total. Next up with be imagery from Japan! Now onto the image on hand:

I asked the hotel staff if they would please take a picture of me to send to my loved ones at home and abroad for the holidays as I would be staying over Christmas and New Years in Hyderabad wrapping up the project I was working on. Amrita and Pavitra were more than pleased to turn the camera on me for a change. However they felt that perching me on the couch in front of the decorations wasn't quite enough. The picture needed something...extra...

From which level of hell they brought the Christmas demon, I have no idea. But frankly I told them it was one of the scariest most terrible things I had ever seen. Of course it belonged on my lap.

As with most people I've talked to I'm not much for portraiture of myself but this is one picture that features my face that I get a good chuckle over.

 

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Me and My Christmas Demon

00158.jpg
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Camera / AuthorKonica Minolta 7d / Amrita (formerly of Taj Krishna Hotel)
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/60s / f/2.2
ISO200

Firstly, my supreme apologies for the site's down-time this weekend. I suffered a minor hard-drive blip this weekend and had to rebuild the file system on the web server. Things should hopefully remain sane for awhile.

Secondly, this week will wrap up the series on India on the site. Nearly 150 images in total. Next up with be imagery from Japan! Now onto the image on hand:

I asked the hotel staff if they would please take a picture of me to send to my loved ones at home and abroad for the holidays as I would be staying over Christmas and New Years in Hyderabad wrapping up the project I was working on. Amrita and Pavitra were more than pleased to turn the camera on me for a change. However they felt that perching me on the couch in front of the decorations wasn't quite enough. The picture needed something...extra...

From which level of hell they brought the Christmas demon, I have no idea. But frankly I told them it was one of the scariest most terrible things I had ever seen. Of course it belonged on my lap.

As with most people I've talked to I'm not much for portraiture of myself but this is one picture that features my face that I get a good chuckle over.

 

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Main > Diary

October 21, 2005

From the Brink and Back Again

The hard drive that serves this site, named toboot suffered a serious corruption issue causing me to have to rebuild the file system tree from single user mode. It looks like only a single bad sector, but reiserfs requires the entire file system to be rebuilt and that takes a lot of time.

I'm double-checking my back-ups and crossing my fingers that I can make it into next year. Then I project I will be able to afford to build another little server box to replace toboot. Here's for hoping!

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October 20, 2005

Vijay from the Taj Krishna

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/30s / f/2.8
ISO400

Vijay is an awesome guy. He and I would often have a good time discussing our observations on culture and humanity. He had worked abroad in Dubai and had seen some tremendous things.

I hope that I'll get to go back to Hyderabad someday to pickup our conversation where it left off.

 

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October 19, 2005

New Delhi - Jantar Mantar Rama Yantra

00156.jpg
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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 15mm f/3.5
Shutter / Aperture1/60s / f/8
ISO100

Here is a wholly unoriginal perspective on the large solar month sundial at the Jantar Mantar complex in New Delhi known as the Rama Yantra.

Here is a positively supurb collection of photos from this site by another author.

 

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Main > Diary

MT Updated to MT 3.2

I've updated the site to MT 3.2. Please let me know if you notice anything wonky.

I have to say the update was pretty painless. I'm exicted to see how the new junk folder system works out. I'm sure that will take all of five minutes to find out. I had over 40 spam hits today already before the update!

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October 18, 2005

Train Passing Srirangapatnam Fort

00155.jpg
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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/80s / f/5.6
ISO100

This was taken from the top of the prison fortress where British officers were kept by Tipu Sultan in Srirangapatnam, Karnataka (near Mysore).

I considered myself lucky that this train was passing as I had my camera raised. I thought the image looked better in B&W with a sepia cast and grain.

 

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October 17, 2005

Tickle Her With a Hoe

00154.jpg
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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm
Shutter / Aperture1/500s / f/5.6
ISO100

...if only web servers were as easy. I spent the majority of my evening (and a good part of my morning so far!) rebuilding my configuration files from the ground up. I am hoping that it is all going to be better than before. The differences will be subtle for sure. Sorry for the few hours of downtime.

I snagged the picture of this sign through the Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park, a refuge from urban Hyderabad, that is for sure. There were many more such signs strewn about the walking trails: some were Hindu themed, some funny, and some combining a little of both elements.

The "big men" (and women) all walk and jog through this park. Tall gates separate the great unwashed via a modest, but prohibitive, membership fee. Even still it was fabulous to see some nature every once in awhile.

 

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October 15, 2005

A Busy Week

It has been an extremely long, exhausting but exhilarating week. It started from last Thursday when it was time to travel to the Bay Area, California for my friends Steve and Amy's wedding.

Weddings are interesting moments. They are filled with periods of intense, ostentatious relaxation as well as emotionally charged points of terror and anxiety. Luckily, this wedding was primarily filled with the former variety: we toured the Sharffen Berger Chocolate Factory in Berkeley, roamed around wine country, played cards, and stayed in a nice inn.

Just about all of the negativity that weekend was either the result of my own doings or the doings on the part of the airlines. I had managed to drink a mammoth amount of beer at the bachelor's party and ended up having to take a drunken stroll around Sonoma around three in the morning in order to walk it off. The next morning, I awoke with a truly profound hangover. I guess I am just not professional when it comes to drinking. Likewise about the airlines it could be said that they are not very professional when it comes to flying.

Sparing the details of that particular Monday, it was important to be back on Tuesday in order to shoot our episode of Decorating Cents with Joan Steffend in order to have the kitchen made-over. However, our Frontier Airlines flight out of San Francisco had not even arrived yet. It had not even arrived yet from Denver and was delayed at least five hours. The airline could not decide if the flight would be continuing on to Minneapolis or not.

If it did and not barring any additional complications when it came time to reach snowed-in Denver, the new arrival time was set sometime after 3:00am. The HGTV camera crew was set to arrive at 8:30am. This drove me to try and be creative in getting home.

Having tried to reach the crew and notify them of the delay and failing I left the terminal for the ticketing agent to petition for alternatives. Using some magic I learned from my father I negotiated my way into a flight coupon that would be valid on other partner airlines.

The first airline I tried on my ticketing trick-or-treat was NWA who left me standing at the counter for 20 minutes before emerging from the back office only to inform me that they no longer honored "type 120" coupons from Frontier and that I would need to return to them in order to get the coupon re-issued in a more generic form called a "FIM". She assured me the work was mearly clerical and their part and would be no trouble at all.

An hour of waiting in lines and haggling yielded no FIM, and no further advice. I had the poor misfortune of getting the woman who hated her job and hated everybody else by extension and she even threatened to void the coupon I had because the last man was mearly, "doing me a favor I did not deserve." All the while the flight had been delayed even further. It was looking bad. The thought of an angry television crew standing outside the door of my empty house made me nervous.

I returned to my ticket trick-or-treating and finally found an airline that would be willing to take the coupons from Frontier. America West finally took me in and re-issued tickets to fly through Las Vegas. The final arrival time into Minneapolis was now set at 4:10am, but at least I would be getting there.

The good news is, I ended up winning cab fare home on the nickel slot machines in the airport in Vegas. The bad news is, I have positively no recollection of the filming of the episode. After landing in Minneapolis, there was just enough time for an hour and a half nap and a shower before the crew arrived. At least most of the house was clean. My only regret was not having cleaned the stove before leaving to California. Joan told us that a little dirt makes for better T.V.

It was rather surreal at times to have eight or nine people in this tiny house, poking around filming and recording things and trying to define, stereotype, and make you sound interesting to the at-home audience. It is going to be weird to see what a lanky dork I look like on camera. The magic of television.

The kitchen however did turn out beautifully. New paint, new shelving and storage, less clutter and more space. "All this for under $500!" Also, the magic of television.

While driving back from a victory dinner at Safari Restaurant, a place filled with warmth, good friends, and excellent food, we were waived down by a couple of large looming figures standing cold and angry in the rain.

I rolled down the window and inquired what was going on and this man told me that his car quit, he thought it was the alternator, and that he wanted a jump.

There is an ever fine line between street smarts and compassion. I returned with my car, a pair of jumper cables, and a Maglite and hoped my compassion would be met with open arms.

The man introduced himself as Darren. He was over 6'5" and pushing 250 pounds, with short dark-brown hair, thin mustache, and sharp eyes. The woman he was with was short, squat, with rough features and a soft rounded accent I immediately recognized as from a Native American reservation.

I pulled up my car nose-to-nose with his, flipped on the Maglite, and took out the cables. He told me the car wouldn't start and it was making an odd noise. I asked from where and as his finger met the beam of my flashlight I saw that the nail had been torn from the finger. I asked him how it happened and he said that he had mistakenly slammed the hood of the car down upon it a half an hour ago. It was still bleeding.

I asked them to turn on their headlights so I could judge how strong their battery was. They were dim. I hooked up the jumper cables to my car, started it, and connected the cables to his vehicle which made the lights brighten. He barked at his wife to try and turn the engine over. Nothing emerged but a sad little noise from the component that he had pointed at with that bloody finger.

Everything I have learned about cars I have learned from Tom Waits and and The Ghosts of Saturday Night, "You know it could be your distributor and it could be your coil." In this very Tom Waits vintage 70's Mercury, I guessed the round cylindrical object with one gozintah and many gozouttas that sounded like a coffee grinder was the culprit; it was probably the distributor and not the coil.

I softly informed them that I did not think the car would be going anywhere that night and offered them a ride home. The man then barked at this wife, "bring 'em the backpack!" She brought over the backpack and opened it for me and saw that it was filled with cutlets of meat from the local supermarket chain, "we'll give you some meat for a ride home!"

I told him that wasn't necessary and asked him where he lived. He lamented to me that the car was not even his, but his 500 pound friend who would break his neck when he found out that he had left his car so far from home. He said he lived on the northeast side of town, just past the University. The three of us climbed into my Mini Cooper.

He pointed at the center dash speedometer, silhouetting the crooked tip of his finger, "what can you get on that? The world-wide high-speed Internet?" he chuckled to himself.

I inquired what happened to his finger, and he said that it was broken and that he dropped a drill on it a few days ago. Under the street lamps I could see that it was still freshly swollen. I wondered how many more mangled digits he possessed.

When we hit the highway his mind began to run about how to tell his friend that his car was broken, "he's going to kill me, goddammit...he's going to kill me." And he pleaded that we stop at his friend's house, then his mother's house so that he could plead for money, "my per-cap from the casino doesn't come in 'till this weekend and he is going to kill me!"

His trick-or-treating from family and friends for money proved not to be as successful as my trick-or-treating for tickets from the airlines. As we neared the driveway to his house, he pleading to me with an ever faint whiff of sweet alcohol on his breath that made me hesitate, "can you help us out at all? I mean you've been sah nice and all...but anything?" By the time he turned around to expose the Leech Lake reservation emblem on his back to motioned for the backpack of meat again I had already produced the $20.50 that was in my pocket.

Driving home, all I could think about was the gulf of magnitude between his problems and my problems. It had been a busy week.

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Main > Photoblog

Long Exposure Fountain in front of North Point Watertower

00153.jpg
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CameraKonica Minolta 9
LensSigma 15mm f/3.5
Shutter / Aperture5s / f/8
ISO400

This is the last shot I've got of film stuff I took around a month and a half ago when I was last in Milwaukee. This is a cheesy long exposure shot of the fountain that stands in front of the Gothic North Point Water Tower.

I had my miniture 6" tripod and some time to kill, so I thought that I might as well see how it would turn out.

 

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October 14, 2005

Amrita and Pavitra

00152.jpg
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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/25s / f/5.6
ISO400

A rare double smile! I really loved the quality of the light entering this room in the hotel.

The Taj Krishna is this large pyramid of white stucco. Light would bounce off of this bright surface, diffuse, and enter through giant bay windows. It was soft and good for portraiture.

I took a lot of portraits in this room. It helped to have such beautiful and willing models.

 

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October 13, 2005

Amrita and Pavitra: Business as Usual

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/40s / f/5.6
ISO400

Often conversations would be interrupted by the urgent needs of guests. Socializing took a back seat to service. It was always busy at the Taj.

 

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Main > Diary

October 12, 2005

A Graphic Title

I finally sat down and added title graphics to the site. It's about time. What has it been, almost two-thirds of a year since we've been around? The font I chose to go with is called LaureHead. I chose it because it complimented SourFang's shape well and I've always imagined something "plodding" to be rather round.

Have I mentioned that I had web-browsers yet? Ah, yes I have. It took relatively major tweaking to get everything working across all browsers just so.

Hopefully I should have improved the layout a bit while I was tweaking things such as the clipping of content text within the main blog pages; the window and content size for pop-up comments, along with some other minor tweaks for browser's such as Opera that I really hadn't got quite serious about until tonight.

For all who check this blog (or most likely my photoblog) daily. My apologies for the late post today. I'm surviving on 2 hours sleep after having arrived in from Sonoma, CA and standing up in my good friend Steve's wedding. Congratulations Steve and Amy! I'm sure I'll have some pictures to post from that event soon...

I had to be back today in order to film an episode of Decorating Cents. They're doing the kitchen! Believe it or not, they've been working all day and I haven't even peaked in to see what it looks like. I promised I wouldn't ruin the surprise.

It's an understatement to say the house feels more cluttered than usual. You literally cannot walk from room to room without bumping into a light stand or an HD camera. Those are neat. I'll have to put one on my holiday want list.

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October 11, 2005

Pavitra Gets Help with Her Smile

00150.jpg
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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 50mm f/1.4
Shutter / Aperture1/25s / f/5.6
ISO400

Let me introduce to you yet another of my favorite people: Pavitra.

While I was sojourn in Hyderabad, it was Pavitra's job to make guests feel taken care of. It was through her and her co-workers that all of the guests requests and needs would filter, and each would be taken care of with quiet and careful efficiency.

Over morning tea, Pavitra and I would sometimes converse. She--along with other people I hope to introduce to you--added a sense of home and companionship to my many months away.

There aren't many people in the world in which you may find that a glance, gesture or a smile can stand in for an entire conversation but Pavitra was one person whom I shared such a connection. After I had taken the photos of some of the other people who had made stay special, I had asked Pavitra if I she would pose for a photograph.

Pavitra nervously set up as though she were waiting to undergo surgery. Amrita, another one of my favorite people from that generation of workers at the Taj Krishna ended my coaxing for a relaxed pose by trying one on Pavitra for her. I positively love the energy within this photograph and I wanted to share it with you all.

I was thrilled when Pavitra told me that it would be alright to share!

 

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October 9, 2005

Crossed Hopper

00149.jpg
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CameraKonica Minolta 9
LensTamron SP 90mm f/90
Shutter / Aperture1/90s / f/6.3
ISO100

This guy was about 5 cm long. He stood still just long enough in order for me to get good eye focus and snap the picture before he flew away. I love how the cross-processing gives this photograph the appearance of an old, hand worn biology textbook photograph.

 

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October 8, 2005

Cross-Processed Marshland

00148.jpg
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CameraKonica Minolta 9
LensSigma 100-300mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm
Shutter / Aperture1/125s / f/4
ISO100

Today and tomorrow are a continuation of a few cross-processed shots I took last month. The summer is slowly draining away. I hear it is supposed to be 0 C as early as this weekend!

Luckily, I'll be in San Francisco. My friend Steve from Melephant will be getting hitched. I can think of a worse way to spend a weekend then with friends in wine country during a happy time!

 

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October 7, 2005

Hey Man

00147.jpg
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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/125s / f/10
ISO100
hey-man-detail.jpg

Usually if you wave, people wave back.

I may have crossed a boundary with some on this image. I made use of the tools at my disposal and removed a distraction from the framing of this image. The original is here at left. Hopefully, you might never have known...

 

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October 6, 2005

Garlic and Potatoes

00146.jpg
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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/100s / f/5.6
ISO100

The focus is a little soft on this one, but I don't think it detracts from the photograph too badly. I personally like how the light falls on the stall-keeper's bowl.

 

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October 5, 2005

Sacks of Spices

00145.jpg
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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/100 / f/5
ISO100

There is nothing as attractive nor "rustic" look as big piles of food items.. I loved the way the light was falling on these sacks of spices and tried to capture it the best I could.

I recall trying a few shots here to try and get the proper depth of field and also to set the metering such that the background wouldn't overexpose.

 

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October 4, 2005

Curious Participants

00144.jpg
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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 15mm f/3.5
Shutter / Aperture1/50s / f/5.6
ISO100

The older man to the left stopped me to ask if I would take a picture of the young boy who is the subject of this photograph. He wanted me to show him what he looked like on the digital back of the camera. Next time, I will have to plan on bringing a polaroid with me. I wish I could give something to people besides an experience with an alien.

This image has been perspective and distortion corrected to square up facial features.

 

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October 3, 2005

Karnataka - Prayer Accoutrement Vendor

00143.jpg
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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 15mm f/3.5
Shutter / Aperture1/50s / f/5.6
ISO100

I was like the Pied Piper in this little hamlet. Wherever I went I had a flock of children following me around all trying to point out what I should take a photograph of next. I would snap and then everybody would make a clammer until I would show them the back of the camera, "oooooooh!" they would say.

 

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