Wildlife and Us

It has been little over a year since I am associated with wildlife photography closely. However over the year I have learned about various species, their behaviors, habitats and how to photograph them. Even though I am still in learning phase of being a photographer, one thing I learned pretty closely is the risk we, humans pose to the wild.

Here are few stereotypes I have found during this course.

Wildlife Photographers:

First set of people are amazing photographers and they have these B-I-G big lenses, so that means they are able to shoot best of the photographs from quite a distance. However not always, in some cases photographers for the sake for getting the most exclusive photographs takes their gypsies or go very near to the animal or bird they are photographing . So close that even the tiger you are photographing gives an exclamation like “Dude!!!”

Loved the road runner and coyote show..eh! well there has been cases when a bird had to run like road runner while coyote with better acme products is chasing it. Even a sloth bear was that unfortunate.

Again for some other weird reason in order to take breathtaking photograph, photographers become infiltrators, I am sure if birds were to have a political party it would have called for some strikes and hunger strikes by now. Few examples includes, cutting a bird nest to half so as to have a better view inside the nest. I wonder how you will feel if some photographer cuts down your house to take better picture of your morning life cycle. Another one is to clear off the area around the nest for better photographs thereafter leaving it exposed to predators and other harms. Some even go to the extend of destroying the nest so that no other photographer can take the similar picture, hmm! now that sounds familiar..right!.

Here is one guy who went to the extend of writing a book with this tactics:
Life Cycle of birds( A pictorial representation) By Bhagat Singh.
These has been a huge uproar in popular social networking site regarding this.

Wannabe Steve Irwins(not to insult the great personality in any way, he is a legend):

Few months back a guy who can’t help comparing himself to some legendary conservationist. He went to the extend of catching a very rare and endangered mammal(a Namdapha Flying Squirrel) inside a national Park and then pose photograph with it, injuring it in the process, taking it out of the wild and leaving it in ‘Care’ of Humans. However when confronted by members of INW(India Nature Watch, If you are a member of INW you know what I am talking about), the reply he gave was more shocking and can be considered to be a serious threat, not to mention he violated several protocols of Wildlife Protection Act(1972).

This is not singular case, there has been different instances where people who are attached with wildlife groups and agencies cannot keep their excitement level to low.

The Weekender :

After a hectic week in closed glass box called offices, many will opt for some refreshment over the weekend. What can be more relaxing than a fantastic resort down the bed of river with Himalayas all around you. Weather is cool and soothing, this is a perfect recipe of a weekend getaway.
But here comes the problem. You decide to play music from your car stereo with 11 inch sub in the middle of the jungle. The resort manager tries to convince you the sound will attract elephants which will pose the threat to both the resort and you. But you will be like “Dude, I have paid for this, so this is my right”.
Please pray to your god that you came out alive that night.

The Gypsy Tourists:

You took your friends and family to a jungle and you wants to see tigers. Since you cannot see a tiger in first two safari’s, you are pissed off and you curse your gypsy driver and guide for the same. your money is getting wasted. you curse for their incompetence and then it happens.

A tiger comes out and all you can see is the tip of the tail. you want to see more. You started behaving like you own it. Shouts at your gypsy driver and eventually when the tiger is about to go away, your gypsy driver chases it so that you get a better glimpse of the majestic animal. If you are lucky enough you will get close enough to the tiger to pee in your pants. Ignorant of the fact that, this irresponsible behavior poses a threat to both you and the tiger.
Thankfully, the supreme court has banned all tourists from entering the core zone of the tiger reserves across the country. So “no tip of the tail” anymore.

The other set of gypsy tourists talks. How does this pose a threat!
You talk, then you get excited,and you talk so loudly that there comes a huge ‘sssshhhhhh’ from all other fellow tourists around you. Any tiger reserve and you will be welcomed with this situation. I have seen tourist talking loudly and sleeping tiger walking up with face “Go away, you morons!!”. Even though that looked cute then, I am sure situation would be different if tiger decides to take things in its own hand…err…paws.

The awww so cute ones:

How many times have you seen a cute little baby of a monkey and made the expression like awww! so cute. Well, apparently not all can stop just with that expression. They cannot control their emotions and put out a pack of biscuits and chips out from the window to feed these animals. The point you forgot is, those are for you and not for the bird or animals whom you feel is starving and hungry.
Birds and animals adapted themselves to those situation and now knows that you will come to feed them and there have been instances when they attacked because they didn’t get food from you. Familiar with the situation??

So does this means, you should not visit forests. answer is yes and no at the same time.

If you respects wildlife and the jungle mesmerize you every time you visit. You do good study on animals and their behavior. The color of the bird amazes you and you more than happy to spot a very rare bird even if you were not able to photograph it. You maintain all rules and regulation inside the forest and help keep it clean and is genuinely concerned about it. Please visit, the forests need people like you.

If you are “oh! I don’t care”, “It my money”,”Do you know who I am?” in other word a self obsessed person who just wants a weekend visit/Holidaying/relaxing and not willing to abide by the rules and regulations, please do not visit the forest and spoil it. Take your car and 11 inch sub and go for a long drive maybe.

While I agree that government should take more measures and forest department should do their work, but it always like we should be more responsible towards others.This way both you and nature live in harmony(A word long forgotten since childhood). The supreme court does not get a chance to put ban on visit to core areas of the tiger reserve. Is this too much to ask???

P.S : This topic might feel controversial. Feel free to ignore in case you don’t like it.
P.P.S: The post is just my expression as you may take it, so I have refrained from posting links to actual incidents. If you are a wildlife enthusiast based in India, you should have probable already faced the situation or read about it.

Ranthambhore Diaries #1

June 17 to June 20 was an amazing weekend. I went to Ranthambhore again, mainly because it was raining tigers in INW and I needed more experience with wildlife photography.

But what happened on the trip was marvelous, We heard from some fellow visitors that T39(A 3 and half year old Tigress) had killed a big male Blue Bull (Nil gai) and seen near it and is expected to be there for next two three days.

Saturday was test on us as we got completely drenched in rain(No photos, cameras were kept safe).

Sunday afternoon we had superb time with T39 sitting just some feet away from us in the water but Monday morning was even better as she was sleeping when we reached the place, as time flies by she woke up, answered nature’s call, slept again, sat for some time, came down to have breakfast and like previous day went again to sit in the water.

It was a complete six hour fiesta between her and us(Photographers).

Here are two snap from the whole fiesta. More to come soon…..

T39 having water post breakfast :
Princess of Ranthambhore #2

T39 Relaxing in water after breakfast :
Thanda Thanda Cool Cool - Princess of Ranthambhore  #3

Dilemma

After over 3 years of using a Powershot, I thought of graduating to a SLR. I planned for a decent SLR but had no plan on lenses.. well I never had taken that into consideration.

Then Ranthambore trip happened. I went crazy over what to buy..from a TC for my Powershot to all possible cameras that I can buy at that point of time, finally ended up buying a Canon EOS 1000D and with some good advice, a Sigma 70 300 APO DG MACRO F4 – 5.6.

Ranthambore trip was a great learning experience, my first wildlife shot was of T39 tigress. I got so confused on either to take pic or watch the tiger go just feets away from me. So did not pay attention to details. Rest of the days in Ranthambore were good, learned a lot from wildlife photographers(Sagar Gosavi and Yogesh Rane).

Next trip was after a week from Ranthambore was Jim Corbett National Park and this time I tested my setup as a camera person . Well I found myself starting from scratch here in Corbett.

My few observation in regards the last two trips were :
1) Canon EOS 1000D is an awesome camera but not at all suitable for Wildlife photography.(1.5 fps in RAW is way too slow).
2) OS/IS/VR is somehow a requirement for early morning and late evening shots(Most movements happens in this time though).
3) ISO the more the better. Noise the less the better ( 1000D scores a good point her though).

In the last two trips I narrowed down on my short comings trying to fix them but still I need a basic setup to do wildlife photography(I might be carried away with the crowd though). Here is what I shortlisted and currently in a dilemma.

1. Canon vs Nikon : Being a faithful canon user for last three years I wanted to stick to canon but found in some cases Nikon provides exactly what i want.
2. Lenses (Sigma,Canon,Nikon ) : Sigma cheap and does great job, while Canon/Nikon are better and costs a lot

Finally these are my shortlisted cameras and lens :

Canon EOS 550D : Great camera with great feature but misses on fps.
Used Canon EOS 40D : Again Great Cam but 10MP(low resolution on high crops, ISO to 1600 only).
Nikon D5100 : Pretty much does everything but I have one or two inexpensive canon mount lenses which goes wasted if I chooses this.

I pretty much narrowed down on Sigma 150 500 F5 – 6.3 APO lens which means I need high ISO a lot of times.

Taking all into consideration I am confused like never before :-(

So please help!!!!

Post Ranathambore et.al.

My last post was on my first wildlife trip to Ranathambhore. Well it was an amazing trip, I did so many things that I never imagined to have done before.

Nevertheless I got hooked to wildlife photography, even leaving the photography part aside it is pretty amazing to watch wildlife at their best(in the wild).

I came back from Ranathambhore on 4th of April but I was so hooked to the whole thing going around me,I joined the same group again on a trip to Corbett national park(16th to 21st April 2011).

What I felt, the way I reacted been there remains treasure in my memory and there is no way I can explain that in a blog post. for that you have to be in Corbett.

Took some snaps which goes here :

My current action item is to create my own gear consisting 550D, Sigma 150 – 500 OS and a telephoto mic.

P.S : I manage to get GPS traces of about 700KM (in the jungle plus some rail track) in these two trips. Hope these goes to OSM soon.e

Brownian Motion

Before you start reading this post, I warn you its  boring and makes no sense  ..may not interest you but I am writing it because it does deserve one.

Evere since I went out of college I started looking to do something creative and something that goes with me rather than something imposed on me. I stayed in Kolkata for a while starting to look at things in a different way.The way which is completely new to me. Since this is the first time I am away from home. I started facing something which I didn’t consider a problem before, Well days past by and I had a surgery in my eyes so had to take a break .Problem is somehow I never got that interest back to go to Kolkata and start looking for what I was looking.

I joined a service MNC. I got posted to Gandhinagar, things were different again. Again lot of things happened to me when least expected. In this phase I really went through a tough time because the learning curve was way over my limit threshold.

By this time my contribution to open source is almost nill and I am almost a dormant person.

Gandhinagar period was over, I got posting in Mumbai. Interestingly this is the only place about which I knew nothing although I should have guessed something as this being such a popular place.

My friends from Gandhinagar helped me a lot. Initial days were tough out here and overall I realized that this city is so big and huge that I could easily get absorbed into it and can never be able get out.

My company has  a office in almost every single neighborhood. So the next thought in our mind after getting into mumbai is where will our office be.

When every single of my friend got a office together, I was left alone to go to a different one. Later after two months I am still where I am posted while all my friends are in different offices far away from where they were staying.

This is also when I started to do experimenting with what I can and how much I can. Because of a idle last year I was how ever a little bit apprehensive  with my confidence level.

I am now a software tester where all my friends are running behind development. However I am still in touch with some or the other opensource technology just as I wanted. So the experiment didn’t go wrong at all. I still in touch with coding just the way I wanted.

But somehow this “Just the way I wanted” makes no sense anymore because priorities as well as aspiration changes. So is the situation.

Mumbai taught me a lot of things in last few months. I saw people homeless in front of some of the mansions out here. I guess anything can happen in this city.

While all my friends have a fixed goal for next few years about their future. I am still in search for it. I don’t know what I will do in next few year to come. I like a lot of things that I want to do but they are completely different from each other and can never be persuade together.

Will I able to pursue any one of them? or will I have to leave them all and make a compromise with something else? Is it that you always need to make your mind understand that somethings you deserve and most of the things you don’t so dont worry be happy kinda things…….well I am completely clueless.

If this blog post didn’t make a single sense to you. well even I can’t make out what I have written.but this is what i am feeling/thinking/sleeping right now.

P.S : Tomorrow is the first time I am going for a outing outside Mumbai with my team. let see how it goes.

P.P.S. I hope to see myself working on a open source project soon with lots of if’s and but’s.

P.P.P.S: Ignore spelling mistakes.

Enter Title Here

It has been quite a while since I had written my last post.

There’s a lot to write about since I joined the company but I dont know how to .

Right now being posted in mumbai and trying to settle down to the new.

Hope things goes well this time.

Adieu Durgapur

So. today is  my last day in Durgapur, I will be moving to Ahmedabad for next two months.

Having some mixed feelings as this is the first time I will be out of my home town for long, best song suiting the mood now is  Tanha Dil by Shaan

Rally De Kolkata – My experience

Eastern region of the country witness a National Rally Championship after 4 years of dormant period.Since there was a gap,this rally was really hyped about. But even though it was rally de kolkata the stages were actually held in Durgapur.

Sept 17 : Initial plan for Day 1 was a 23.5KM dirt stage with two rounds in it.But since it was raining heavily in Durgapur ,It was until the last moment the stages were cut short by almost half (12KM) with two legs a 5.79KM and 6.22KM run thrice.17th was the pre event day.I was planning to attends the press conference but because of rain I reached late which was good,since most reporters left, I was able to chitchat with some rally drivers including Amitrajit.It was an amazing experience.

Sept 18 : The event was supposed to flag off from Hotel Ginger at around 7AM .I reached there when 4 cars already left.It was my time to hurry to the stage which is almost 50KM even from Durgapur.On reaching the stage , I made an attempt to reach the spectator point 1 but rain and dirt made a good mix and my car got stuck.However was able to reach the start point.The track was dry and hard , very good for pace filled rally ,which which everybody started . It was me first time witnessing a rally of this sort.I walked almost a KM ahead into the first corner and made a spectator point myself.It was hot,sun overhead so after SS1,it was not so easy to make to 6.22KM stage ,so went back home and kept an eye on the live updates. The track took its toll as news came by people were crashing some can’t keep the car in control and unfortunately Vikram crashed due to wrong information from the officals into Arjun Balu’s car .

Sept 19 : The stage on duel was suppose to start on 7:18AM and stage on gram at around 8:16AM ,Easy for rally cars but not for me.so stayed back home and kept an eye on live updates.Day 2 has seen most of the actions and upturns in leader board,including someone hitting a cameramen near FF.Most biggies were out due to mechanical faliures including some Gypsy’s.There was even a holdup somewhere in the middle of the stage.

Sept 20 : Day 2 has already seen Gaurav Gill in comfortable lead of 1 min and 17 sec ahead of Amitrajit Ghosh followed by Sujay in 1600cc Baleno. Spectator Special Stage was held in Jadavpur Stadium in Jadavpur ,Kolkata. The competitors lined up at around 3 PM.But Gaurav got stuck in wet ground  .His front wheel drive cars has enough grunt to make the pit deeper.But with help from his service crew,he set himself free. The SSS was tough on esteems who were already struggling with the 560KM of travel of which more than 460 was just Liason stages. Gypys’s flying and so are baleno’s but both cedia made the SSS really special. Gaurav clocked the 2km stage in 1:25 and Amitrajit in 1:27 . So Gaurav wins as he extends his leads by 2 more secs.

Some points to note :

1. 460Km of transport stages is too tough on cars .it could have been less.

2. Officials could have been a little bit more experienced,On Day 2 the top 4 cars almost got penaltied due to a silly mistake by a marshal .

3.Privateers suffered a lot because of last minute decision changes which sparked anger  in them(as far as current rally.co.in forum posts goes ).I also feels the same.More coverage and attention on privateers would have really helped the event.

4.As most participant are from  South of the country, number of entries were 38 as compared to 60 in K1000 Bangalore.

As an event this was great to watch.Hopefully we will be able to see it next year again. I learn’t a lot about cars,driving styles and met some great drivers  and my trigger happy me was really very happy.

Past few days (including mukti09)

Last few days were hectic to me as there was lot of things that was happening around me .

6th Feb : It was Mukti 09 day ,  a national level tech fest on opensource at NIT Durgapur . Me and Arindam had to do a talk cum workshop there .Our Pre Mukti talk was canceled due to bandh and got 3 hr slot , It was scheduled at 5:00 PM .

However we decided to go a little earlier because we along with Indranil Das Gupta and Yu Yu Din were suppose to go and visit Bijra High School .It was at around  12:30 PM when we reached there ,met with Indranil Das Gupta and Yu Yu Din and started for Bijra ,but before we left the campus we called Pradeepto and took him too .At around 1:51 PM Debayan called us up  for setup at fedora stall as they are lacking volunteers but we were already on our way to Bijra .

In Bijra , there were lots of stuff that were happening , Bijra school is getting lot of aids from different section of society and they are utlizing it for a good cause .Both Yu Yu and Pradeepto liked it very much . and lot more things were discussed .

We returned to NIT campus at around 4:30 PM and headed toward IT department where our ” A day with fedora ” were suppose to be done .We started a 30 min  late at around 5:35 PM .Satya came along but she was too tired as she just finished a talk .

There were some 50+ DVD’s that were distributed along with registration kits , I asked Debayan for 15 more DVD’s to distribute in the event just as we were on the start , Nevertheless we started with Arindam’s introductory talk on “Introduction to Fedora” , He had some cool slides where  he showed ” Freedom | Friends | Features | First ” of fedora project .He also showed some cool videos like ‘Truth Happens ‘ , A video showing new features of F10 ,starring stickster and gergdek .Next was my turn , I gave talk on “Myths about Linux ,Busted with fedora ” where i showed basic misconceptions on usage of Linux . A video on ” Why fedora ” by gregdek is shown along with the talk .

Finally we conducted a small workshop on ” How to create bootable live usb for easy use ”  . The local mirror of NIT was b0rked and Debayan mailed us regarding that a day before , anyways we continued with as much we can , and finally got 8 machine getting all that we need . Arindam hosted his local FTP server so that people find it easier to download .The workshop went alone and was quite successful .We faced a lot of questions , a guy from NIT agartala said the workshop was useful as  he can now got a solution to their connectivity problems . Finally we ended with the “Choice” video .

We had dinner there and finally returned home at around midnight .

7th Feb : Me along with Arindam ,Indranil Das Gupta and Yu Yu Din boarded the 6:14 AM train and went to Kolkata where IDG had to give talk . We went to IDG’s office and waited and finally went to Science City where talks were held . M Arulraj gave a talk on Open GIS . IDG gave his talk , I don’t remember the tittle of talk though . and one talk was on FOSS in bio informatics by Mr. Sudip Kundu .

Finally we all went to kafuluk at china town and had our lunch cum dinner there ./me and Arindam went to my house at sontosepur .

8th Feb : Woke up early and came back to Durgapur by taking 7:30 AM bus . It was “brigade cholo ” day , the bus we took was the last bus available as most buses were hijacked to bring in people . Reached Durgapur at around 10:30 AM and went back to NIT Durgapur at around 12 noon , On way to IDG’s talk ,we went where stalls were hosted , apart from Dominos and CCD rest were empty .IDG’s talk on “Indian FOSS Community was superb ” and at it was the last talk of mukti 09 .

NIT Lug guys did a superb organizational effort to bring up such a event and overall it was awesome to see so much participation .

Fedora Event pics are here .

Random Scriblings

Theres quite lot to  say :

1. Gave one more talk on OSM at mukti 09

2. Visited Kolkata Book Fair and help folks at IOTA stall .It was awesome .Detailed blog coming up

3. Fedora talk at mukti 09 on 6th .Event page up (need suggestions)

4.Visited bijra today and had lot of feedback (complaints) from them .

5. Got a lit of petrol almost decades after recent price cut for RS 50.

6. Harman Baweja still cant act .

7. Sign of twitter becoming mainstream in India .Read here.

First Barcamp and Tweetup at Kolkata

At last kolkata got its way to barcamp and tweetup , Though situation of the city made its presence on the people attending the barcamp.

I reached barcamp venue at IITKGP EXT center at around 10:15 AM .The preparation were still going on , However people started coming only after 11 . However organiser decided to wait for a little long for some more people to come up .

At around 11:30 AM things started , Sessions were superb , the timeline can be found here .

I did a session named “fun with JOSM” in which i introduced OpenStreetMap and JOSM and it did  earned some attention .

Some of the interesting session were by Shwetank Dixit , Amitabh Choudhary,YuYu Din,etc .

At around 6Pm things packed up .

on the note : IIT KGP guys did a good organising on there part ,wifi were working ,and food was good .

The Barcamp twitter followup can be found under hashtag #bckol ,

And hey #bckol is a trend in twitter : see here .

After Barcamp we decided to had a tweetup , There was a little confusion over the place but we decided to move to Mani Square for the Tweetup .There were seven people ,@subhodip,@aritra_m ,@indradg,@imba ,@epandu ,@yuyudin and @tathagata .

The tweetup followup can be searched under hashtag #tweetupkol

Indradg wasnt a twitter user but after the tweetup he is :)

The tweetup was superb as we come to know many people and it was fun .

Group Photo

So , The barcamp has finally started in kolkata and its our turn to keep the momentum up .

Fedora on mac ..rocks

It has been two months since i bought my macbook .I mostly use my desktop for daily work and mac OSX was serving me well . However due to need i started setting fedora on my mac . Arindam did that previously and his fedora installation was fine .

After installation , i found that apart from common issues like wifi and touchpad , sound was missing as well .

So decided on a google search ,which reaveled some post from forums . I tried them and everythings is working good .

Here is a small compilation of those methods .

1. Wifi and sound

these four are needed

kmod-ndiswrapper-1.52-30.lvn9.i686.rpm
kmod-ndiswrapper-2.6.25-14.fc9.i686-1.52-30.lvn9.i686.rpm
ndiswrapper-1.52-1.lvn9.i386.rpm
R151517.EXE

P.S : Well , rpmfusion.org is finally here and all these packages are transferred to rpmfusion.org . Please use

yum install rpmfusion-free-release rpmfusion-nonfree-release

and search for above packages . Plus with rpmfusion its better for updating .

Thanks to Thorsten for pointing me out .

now

mkdir wifidriver
unzip -a R151517.EXE -d wifidriver/
cd wifidriver/DRIVER/
su
# install ndiswrapper and the wifi driver
rpm -Uhv *ndiswrapper*rpm && rm -i *ndiswrapper*rpm
/sbin/modprobe ndiswrapper
ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5.inf && rm -rf wifidriver && rm -i R151517.EXE
echo "options snd_hda_intel model=mbp3" >> /etc/modprobe.d/soundcard
echo "blacklist bcm43xx" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
echo "blacklist ssb" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
echo "blacklist b43" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
# ndiswrapper is used for wlan0
echo "modprobe ndiswrapper" >> /etc/rc.d/rc.local
echo "alias wlan0 ndiswrapper" >> /etc/modprobe.d/ndiswrapper
/sbin/service NetworkManager restart

and reboot the mac .

Pommed helps in  controling the LED and keyboard backlight, soundcard, infrared remote and more. :

wget http://downloads.diffingo.com/diffingo-repo/diffingo.repo -O \
/etc/yum.repos.d/diffingo.repo
yum install pommed

pommed starts as a startup service .

For touchpad its synaptic that comes to the rescue .
The xorg.conf as of my machine is here :xorgconf




However after an update to 2.6.26-6 kernel , and subsequent update of ndiswrapper , even though wireless was working ,my sound got muted in kde  which was fixed soon .
And on KDE4, a red light appears from the headphone jack . It indicates that digital audio got enabled instead of analog .This happens if IEC958 module gets enabled . So sometimes it ignores a headphone plugged it . 
It can be switched off by :

 volume control > switches > IEC958 (dechecked ) . 

or It can be reset with a toothpick though if it remains on even while using mac osx ,better to do a google search for this or post in a mac forum 
Enjoying my mac :p