Monday, January 25, 2010

Canon – Service extraordinaire

Canon 40 D with 17-85 is lens

It was on my recent trip to New Zealand, that my main walk around lens started having problems. My Canon EOS 17 – 85 IS lens, was giving an “error – 01” when I tried to take wide angled shots, and worked fine from focal length 35mm onwards. Trawling the web gave me some answers, that the diaphragm motor is the likely cause of this problem. Canon Auckland informed me that they will take 3 weeks and about NZ $ 300 - 400  to rectify the problem.

Not having that much time on my hands, ICanon EOS 40 D with 17-85 is lens returned back to India, with a heavy heart, and fewer photographs. Once here, I contacted Canon Service Centre at Gurgaon. I was totally impressed by the response, the quality of service and the speed of service.

The pick-up point at Bikaji Cama was very responsive and professional. The minute the lens was ready, Canon Gurgaon called me, told me the cost and the problem. Within 30 mins, the service centre also calls me and informs of the same. What impressed me most was the fact that the person who did the actual service, had put a card, addressed to me, along with the repaired lens, giving his name and assuring me of the quality of the service. Thank you Canon.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Banded Swallowtail

The Banded Swallowtail (Papilio demolion) is a butterfly belonging to the  Family PAPILIONIDAE. This butterfly is having a wingspan of 9-10 cms, and is found in Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines.


The fore wings are black. A yellow band dominates the wing. At the wing tip the yellow band is split into spots.

The hind wings of are black and they have tails. The edge is wavy. The wing is dominated by a broad, yellow band. At the outer edge there is a chain of yellow spots. At the inner edge there is a hinted eye-spot.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Scarlet Mormon - Female

Scarlet Mormon or Scarlet swallowtail Scarlet Mormon - Female - 1 (Papilio rumanzovia), is a butterfly of the Papilionidae family. It is found in the Australasia ecozone, which includes  Celebes, Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The wingspan is 120-140 mm, which makes this a very large and impressive   butterfly, and a favourite amongst those who market these magnificent insects for commercial gain.
Scarlet Mormon - Female - 2The species exhibits strong sexual dimorphism, with the male resembling the male Papilio ascalaphus, but lacking the tail at the end of the bottom wing. The female is very colourful, and that is where the “Scarlet” comes from, as the females of the species have scarlet makings on the wings….

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Butterflies and droplets….

It was around June 2006 after I joined Flickr that I was introduced to the world of droplet photography, and it was after seeing the work of Adettera, who through her beautiful work  totally hooked me on to droplet photography. However, although I had the inclination and the inspiration, I lacked the necessary implements for the task. I lacked a proper macro lens, or a close-up kit…..

But nature works in mysterious ways, and it was after I got back from a trip and was seeing my photographs, I discovered that my “first” droplet photograph needed no extras, my camera decided that I was ready and took this pic……

Droplet & Butterfly

Monday, January 18, 2010

Vijay Stambh, Chittorgarh

Vijay Stambh, Chittorgarh Vijay Stambh (Tower of Victory) Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India is one of the key tourist attractions. Built by Rana Kumbha in 1440 AD to celebrate his victory over Mahmud  Khilji of Malwa, the tower took 10 years to build.

Vishnu, Vijay Stambh
Dedicated to Vishnu,  this 37.19 m high, 9 storied tower is a remarkable piece of architecture. It is built partly of red sand stone and partly of white marbleCarvings, Vijay Stambh and is enriched by numerous images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.

Narrow steps, Vijay Stambh There are around 157 narrow steps leading to the terrace from where one can have a beautiful view of Chittorgarh town and the fort. The uppermost floor has View of Chittorgarh been sealed off and is no longer accessible to visitors

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Divine Love

Of all the classic Shri Krishnalove stories that abound in India, the legend of Radha and Krishna  is one of the most famous, along with Laila & Majnu, Heer & Ranja, etc., 

A different kind of love story is, according to some, a continuation of the story of Radha & Krishna, where a young princess in Rajasthan, Mira or Meera, considered an incarnation of Radha is enamoured with her love for the Divine Krishna. Legend has it that while watching a marriage procession in Meera & Krishnafront of her residence. Mira, the child, spotted the well-dressed bridegroom and asked her mother innocently, "Dear mother, who will be my bridegroom?" Mira Bai’s mother smiled, and half in jest and half in earnest, pointed towards the image of Shri Krishna and said, "My dear Mira, Lord Krishna - this beautiful fellow – is going to be your bridegroom".
Meera Temple

That was the beginning of the life long love between this young princess and Krishna. At Chittorgarh in Meera Temple - InsideRajasthan, is the beautiful temple,  where this princess used to go to pray and sing to her Lord. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tailed Jay Butterfly

Tailed Jay

The Tailed Jay (Graphium agamemnon) butterfly holds a very special place in my heart. It was one of the first butterflies that I used to see after I developed a fascination for these beautiful but fragile creatures.

It used to be fluttering outside my balcony at Bangalore, trying to lay eggs I guess, on the Polyalthia longifolia or Ashoka tree. This butterfly is a very restless one and seldom sits still long enough for anyone to capture it on camera. I was lucky to get a good clear shot of this beautiful butterfly.

It is a predominantly green and black tropical butterfly that belongs to the swallowtail family, and was commonly seen in South India. I am yet to see this butterfly at Delhi, and have been looking for it…..

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Silent Lotus…..

Pink Lotus

Om Mani Padme  Hūm

The lotus is one of the most sacred flowers of the East, and is a living metaphor; of life evolving out of the mire of mud, rising through murky waters, to emerge and bloom, untainted and shining;  just like a wise mind rises out of the corruption of a materialistic existence and shines, becoming a lamp that lights the way for others…... 

Lotus The Lotus is a symbol of spiritual enlightenment and is itself symbolic of the many aspects of the path of enlightenment , as it grows from the mud (samsara), up through muddy water it appears clean on the surface (purification), and finally produces a beautiful flower (enlightenment).   

In Buddhism the white blossom represents purity, the stem stands for the practice of Buddhist teachings which raise the mind above the (mud of) worldly existence, and gives rise to purity of mind.White Lotus

An open blossom signifies full enlightenment; a closed blossom signifies the potential for enlightenment.




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Monday, January 11, 2010

Cheshire Cat

White Tiger Delhi Zoo

Looking at this white tiger sunning itself at the Delhi Zoo, and seeing the grin on its face, brought back memories of Lewis Carrol and Alice in Wonderland…..

Of course when one talks about grinning cats, one cannot forget the indomitable Garfield, so here is another addition to the exalted line of  grinning cats…..

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Leopard Lacewing Butterfly

Leopard Lacewing Buttefly - Female upper 

Female - wing pattern, upper surface

The Leopard Lacewing Butterfly, which is scientifically known as Cethosia cyane, ranges from India, throughout Southeast Asia. This species exhibits a strong sexual diamorphism, with the females featuring wing patterns with a gray or white background, whereas the upper surfaces of the males are a bright orange, yellow, or red. Both sexes are sprinkled with blackish-blue spots and lining veins.

Leopard Lacewing Buttefly - Male upper 

Male - wing pattern, upper surface

The caterpillars of the lacewing butterflies feed on the leaves of the Passion Flower Plant, of the genus Passiflora. The ingestion of the defensive phyto-chemicals of the plant  renders the larvae and adult butterflies  with a defensive mechanism that makes them unpalatable to potential predators. The adults also display a distinct warning coloration that advertises this fact. When handled, these tropical lepidopterans often exude a noxious odour generated from the ingested passion vine organic compounds.

Leopard Lacewing Buttefly - Male lower 

Male - wing patterns, lower surface

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The first moon of the decade......

First Moon of the Decade
It was a clear evening on the 1st of January 2010. I went up on my roof and took this photo of the first moon of this decade.
Why shoot the moon? Now that is something that is easy to answer, right from the rhymes and songs one hears as a toddler, when on the mothers knee, we eat our meals looking at the moon, to romantic evenings spent with ones partner, where the moon inspires poetry even out of the most prosaic individual..... the moon plays such an important part.
Most cultures still have a lunar calendar, where the moon and its phases are consulted and lives revolve around its phases. Anyone who lives besides will know, that all activities are based on the tides and their effects.
It was for these reasons as well as many more that cannot be penned down that I decided that my photography sojourn begins by shooting the Sun and the Moon.

The equipment used was a Canon EOS 40 D camera, a Canon 70-300 IS lens, a Kenko 1.4x tele-converter and a MAnfrotto 190 X PRO B Tripod.

The settings were ISO 400, Aperture f/16 and a shutter speed of 1/30.