My first birdwatching trip

Last weekend (Nov 4 -6) was amazing and it was my first bird watching/photographing trip. Before I start with the trip itself, remember I spoke about my confusion on my gears(what to buy and what not to buy). Well, I finally settled with an used Canon EOS 40D and just before the trip I got myself a Sigma 150 500 APO HSM OS lens.This combination is awesome as 40D has some amazing ISO performance even at 1000+.

So, Now the trip.

Rather than a normal travelogue like boarding a bus, getting down there, boarding a car, getting wooed out by the sight and sounds of the jungle and reaching the resort…oops I mentioned all of them. This more of a note that I am writing about my first birding trip.

If you are still guessing, well…I went to Ganeshgudi, a beautiful jungle near the city of Belgaum in Karnataka.

Three days of ultimate awesomeness with some medium weighing gears and 12 hours of continuous walking, looking and photographing birds. I managed to record some 24 species of birds including some rare species like Malabar Trogon, Crested Goshawks and Great Horn bill(this was not recorded, all I could hear was the sound of its wing flaps..gives goose bump). My 40D went b0rked in the middle of the trip with its exposure and metering not working properly. So most of my photos were taken with an exposure compensation of -2.

Still some photos came out good and they are here

The only mammal I was able to spot and photograph was Malabar Giant Squirrel. the photo is here

So, my first birding trip with my new gear and some unexpected challenges that came out with it. I guess I am learning a lot more that I expected.

P.S : Please ignore grammatical errors and other minor mistakes.

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

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

Mapping party@ Durgapur and neighboring places (16th and 17th Oct 2009)

There has been a discussion between Indranil Das Gupta and us regarding the problem we face due to lack of GPS devices and some more mapping parties in Durgapur area.

On 16th and 17th we decided  to map  Durgapur and neighboring places. Primarily Kushal wanted to map his village and we decided to help him to map his village Ukhra and also map Durgapur . IOTA resource center at WBSU(Barasat) extended us a  helping hand by lending us three Garmin Etrex Vista H. So with the new gps’s in our hand we now had a total of 5 GPS.

On 16-OCT-2009 :We went to Ukhra on 16th to map the village.Me,Arindam,Kushal and another guy from that village joined the party. Since we had two bikes and the village was small.We completed all major roads and even some narrowest living streets within  an hour.

Here is how Ukhra looks like now as compared a complete blank previously.

On 17th Oct 2009 : A resource person from WBSU was suppose to come during the event but he didn’t make it though .So We started around 1 Pm. I was a little late but Arindam,Harsh,Sonu,Ratnadeep and Bama started.

start

start2

Ratnadeep and Bama became the local team.They mapped Fuljhore (where they live) along with neighboring areas.While the rest of the team went on cycling covering edges of Bidhanagar area.

way1

way2

I met them in Muchipara and on my way I mapped some of the important point of interest.

IMG_0728 2

I had the etrex H GPS devices, so distributed them and we split into individual teams.

IMG_0730 2

I had a Moped while rest were in cycles.I tried and mapped some far away place like PCBL,Durgapur Bazaar etc. Arindam and rest took charge of mapping the area with details. Sonu knew the place very well and helped us a lot with that.My GPS clocked 34.4 KM after more than an hour of mapping. Our meeting point was BCET gate.

IMG_0736 2

We met and decided to head over for some food as day long traveling was taking toll on us. We accumulated the total distance covered which was something around 100KM’s. Bama requested us to take a GPS to map his city in Bankura so we lent one of ours. So some good  amount of data was accumulated  during the session. Since it was a festival day we decided not to do a editing session and it was dark already. Me and Arindam took care of the edits which will keeping pouring  during the weekends.

Here’s some of what has been done.

Durgapur before edits :

map

And here is durgapur after basic edits of 17102009 data

map(4)

Here are some pics of Edit in progress.

josm_edit_in_prog

Another Edit in Progress screenshot:

eip

There will be a follow up post soon as edits are done.

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.

Mapping party in Kolkata_Aug 2009

On August 9th,2009(Sunday) we are having a mini mapping party in Sontoshpur/Jadavpur area of Kolkata.Its a 8hr mapping spree with socializing afterward.

Check http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Kolkata_Mini_Mapping_Party_August_2009

So If you are in Kolkata at that time and have interest in OSM, Please do join the party

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 .

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