Macro magic




Someone once said, “All great things are only a number of small things that have carefully been collected together.”

When we take a picture of a mountain, a garden, a farm or the sea, we sometimes overlook the small flowers, dewdrops, rocks, pebbles, animals and insects that also, along with others make up these beautiful landscapes.

A macro photograph is a style that focuses completely on one subject. Say you are taking a flower; everything else other than the flower is left blurred. Meaning, the depth of field is narrow.

For a macro photograph, either the lens is used to the optimal to get a large image of the subject or the photographer simply gets as close to the subject as possible.

In my experience, a macro photo that I just clicked typically leaves me getting all philosophical, thinking about life, God, creation, existence, and so on.. 🙂



Nuts and bolts of Photography


When you click the right picture, do you feel a sudden stroke of ecstasy? Like something struck you in the head and you just can’t wait till you get back home, download the picture and see it on the big screen of your pc or even the TV? Well, I’ve had my moments of bliss, more often now than earlier.

I love photography and it is not until recently that I came to realize it. I have the least idea about its technical side and have so far been clicking only on instincts. I did put some effort into reading a document about ‘photography as a science’ and have so far managed to finish only three pages out of fifty eight. (science is just not my cuppa!) J

One day, a co-blogger and friend mentioned about four basic principles of photography.

He just gave me four phrases – golden hour, depth of field, soft lighting and high key/low key lighting and left it to me to find out what they meant. So I went to good ol’ wikipedia and found some very simple explanations. It made a lot of sense and I could relate it to my thought process while clicking.

I then went back to my collection and checked if some of my earlier photos reflected these concepts. So here for record and my own reference, I am putting down what I read, along with illustrations from some photos I clicked.

  • Golden Hour – The golden hour is defined as the first and last hour of sunlight during the day when a specific photographic effect is achieved with the quality of the light during these hours.



  • Key Lighting – Lighting for total illumination of the photo requires 3 points – key lighting, fill lighting and back lighting.

 In key lighting, low-key lighting is a style where the light is focused on certain parts of the object (which is being photographed) in such a way that it enhances the features that make up the outline of the object and leaves the rest in shadows.

Alternatively, high-key lighting is a style that has very little dark areas or shadows.

(I do not have photos to illustrate this; will update as and when I click some.)

Back lighting – Lighting that is used to illuminate the subject from the back. The camera and the light are facing each other.





When the backlight is very intense

(precisely 16 times more than the key light)

it produces a silhouette.





Fill lighting – Lighting that may be used to reduce the contrast of a scene and provide some illumination for the areas of the image that are in shadow.  


  • Soft lighting – Soft light refers to light that tends to “wrap” around objects, casting shadows with soft edges. The softness of the light depends mostly on the following two factors:

              o Distance- The closer the light source, the softer it becomes.

              o Size of light source- The larger the source, the softer it becomes.

The softness of a light source can also be determined by the angle between the illuminated object and the ‘length’ of the light source (the longest dimension that is perpendicular to the object being lit). The larger this angle is, the softer the light source.

  • Depth of field – This refers to the part of an image that appears sharper than the rest of it showing that the focus of the lens is on that particular portion of the image. This makes the rest of the image a bit blurred. Mathematically, the depth of field is determined by the distance between and camera and the object, the focal length of the lens and what is called the f-number of the lens. In digital cameras, the dof is determined after the image is made.





 Each of these fundas is a vast field of study in itself and cannot be mastered in a day. But understanding the basics adds so much more to the whole experience of clicking.

Thanks a ton to Twisted Dna and Wikipedia.



Orkut Applications


 This post is more or less a continuation of the previous one, Web 2.0. It is about Orkut- another stunning example of the Web 2.0 revolution.

Orkut, as we all know is an online community which stimulates the “social animal” in a person. They define themselves, “orkut is an online community designed to make your social life more active and stimulating.”

Orkut strikes the right key with its users. You can find it as a minimized window on any 18-30 year old Indian’s desktop, at least once a day. Why so?

Orkut or any Web 2.0 product/company for that matter cannot be successful without constant user need perception, up-gradation and feedback. It is a never ending loop. There are so many portals providing similar services that differentiating becomes inevitable for sustenance.

When I first logged on to orkut in 2005, this is what it had –

Ø friends list and related features

Ø testimonials

Ø communities

Ø photos up to a certain limit

Ø ‘scrapping’ and messaging

Ø a simple search facility

Gradually they added these –

Ø videos

Ø photos up to any limit

Ø optional profile lock to keep away curious strangers

Ø recent updates from friends feature

Ø ‘ask friends’ feature for common messages

Ø blog, picasa incorporation feature

Ø integration with gmail (where ids from orkut are directly updated to one’s gmail address book

All these add-ons are certainly a result of the ‘loop’. They found that people needed to share more photos with their loved ones, so increased the photo limit; they understood that integrating the mail ids on orkut with gmail would reduce the effort to check/cross check mail ids each time; they recognized that by showing ones’ profile updates his friends can find out that he has read a new book or got married, found a new job or traveled to new places; they accepted that one needed his own privacy on a wide reaching public utility, one needed to feel free to express himself within his own boundaries!

What do I say? ‘That’s Google’ or ‘That’s the power of Web 2.0’?

The recent update from Orkut is called “Orkut applications”. It’s a huge step. Now one can share applications like games, music, videos, slideshows, books, jobs, and what not! You name it and they’ve got it!

Its like integrating all other Web 2.0 portal ideas in one, shelfaris, slide.coms, snapfishes, monsters, cricinfos, bollywood4us, again, you name it!!

Of course, in the process the users gain, but what’s in store for business?

Tim O’Reilly put it aptly,

“Web 2.0 is the understanding that the network is the platform and on the network as the platform, the rules for business are different. The cardinal rule is this one – Users add value. Figuring out how to build databases that get better when more people use them is actually the secret source of every Web 2.0 company.”

Need I say more?