Take52 Challenge: Week 17 – Markings

Last week’s challenge was themed ‘Markings’. Another easy one really considering ‘Markings’ are omnipresent and so naturally one that I found challenging 😛 Do you see a pattern here? I certainly do! Oh well – when in doubt – ‘Use the Kid’ I say 😉 They’re generally adorable and make great pictures 🙂 So that’s what I did, although this time Junior wasn’t a keen subject. He doesn’t like being ‘Marked’ but luckily is easily bribed 😛 I applied the red mark you see on his forehead, (a ‘Tilak’ we call it in local lingo) with powdered vermilion. We use it on auspicious occasions and it signifies a Blessing from whatever deity we’re in the mood to worship on the day! You know we have like millions of those right? 😉 The pic on the right is the final post-process result (I increased the blur significantly in PS leaving just the mark sharp to fit the theme), but many friends in the group liked the original (on the left) better because his eyes are in focus and they are rather dreamy – even if I do say so myself 😉 But I admit my extreme bias 😀 I’m still undecided on which one I like best, but I’m glad I got some PS practice!

And as always I travelled back in time to find more markings – this is what I dug up…and as usual…Nature comes up Trumps! 
And here is a little ditty that came to me when I was thinking of how Markings are ubiquitous.
Leopard spots and tiger stripes
Pretty birds and rusty spikes
Marks in red and marks on gold
Treasure maps and ancient scrolls
Painted roads and painted faces
Spades and Clubs, Hearts and Aces
Beetles, rings and butterfly wings
Markings on most everything!

Take52 Challenge: Week 16 – Formless

The 3rd and final catch up post of the Challenge!

When I saw last week’s theme, I sighed in relief! Formless in my head was easy to do – Light, steam, sky, smoke, fire, fog, water…any number of formless things presented themselves!! What I should have realised is that a paucity of ideas and an overload can cause the same reaction – a paralysis of action 😛 As I dithered between this and that, the group erupted with fantastic & innovative interpretations of ‘Formless’. And although it matters not a jot (this is a Challenge not a Competition), I wanted to do something different. I can be stubborn like that. Thankfully the old ‘noggin’ didn’t let me down and I decided to go with Bokeh…the effect you get when you deliberately ‘unfocus’ Light. I remember the days when I first got my DSLR and went rather ‘Berserk over Bokeh’ 😛 (how’s that for some trippy alliteration?). It had been a while since I arranged a shot at home and I had fun setting up the lights and adjusting my subject for the best results. Ultimately I liked two different pictures for two different reasons and had to rely on Photoshop once again for some merging action. I’m enjoying the fact that this Challenge has got me working on post-processing again. It’s a vital part of Photography and great fun!

Here’s the result…

Formless 

And as always some more perspectives on Formless that I like…

Take52 Challenge: Week 15 – Classic

The second of my catch up posts. Just one more to go and then I’ll be all caught up – fingers crossed 😛

So – Classic. A good solid word just like it’s meaning. Meant to last, perhaps outlast us all, and open to interpretation. And once again, a tough challenge for me! I did have a few ideas, but with preparations on for the long Easter weekend we had planned in Ooty – my heart wasn’t really in it and my thoughts – predictably scattered 😛 When we left for Ooty – I felt not a little disappointed about missing my first week since the Challenge began…I had so aspired to completing this one ‘come what may!’ Once we were in Ooty however, I was so enamoured of the ‘Birds & the Bees’ that it didn’t matter much anymore. How fickle our memories!

And then, whether out of desperation or inspiration…an idea struck. I would use the pictures I had and interpret them ‘classically’. Oh I know! It was a cop out of sorts…but hey I did take the pictures and see myself through one more week 😀 The resort we stayed at is a bird-watcher’s paradise! Flocks of Bulbuls, Swallows, Sunbirds, Sparrows and the elusive but stunningly pretty Oriental white-eye. And so armed with a Bird and a Bee and a little magic in Photoshop, this is what I came up with…a literal translation of the classical phrase “The Birds & The Bees”…here they both are, doing what they do best – Spreading the Love 😉

The-Birds-&-The-Bees

 Here are a few other ‘classic’ shots from my collection – some of which I took for the first Photography Challenge – 52 Weeks, that I was ever a part of – started by my friend A 😀 And here I am again, part of another! The circle of Life and all that 😛

What’s your kinda classic? Do share 😀

Take52 Challenge: Week 14 – Peephole

The first of my promised catch up posts for the Photography Challenge I’m part of on Facebook.

Week 14 – and I’m hanging in there but I must confess I was quite at sea with the theme. I think I was overthinking it and so was predictably lost 😛 Also, those couple of weeks had  that old ‘restlessness of spirit’ rearing its head again, and I wasn’t ‘with it’ for a while. And yet ‘peephole’ isn’t the most difficult of subjects…of course I was thinking & looking so hard that I forgot to ‘see’ the peephole in my main door 😉 We had some great pictures in the group as always and I despaired of ever getting the right shot…until I remembered our trip to the farm for Junior’s Birthday and an idea presented itself 🙂

This is what I love most about the Challenge – other than the fact that it has made me keep my camera close at all times – that it forces me to think and to persevere & of course the unexpected thrill of finding the right picture when I’m on the verge of giving up! So it was that for the first time in this Challenge, I went with a picture that I had already taken. Here it is and you can decide for yourselves whether it fits the theme.

Pigeon-holed!

Here is another shot that I also liked…although may I say that I’m not very fond of Pigeons. They are incredibly dumb birds…but they make good pictures 😉

Pigeon-hole

And then my friend S (who’s also part of the Challenge), fashioned a simple but effective peephole with a printed page, taped it to her camera and clicked away with amazing results – so of course I had to try it! Turns out I’m not as skilled a ‘Peeping Tom’ as I aspire to be 😉 I took a lot of pictures mostly of the flowers in my balcony…of which I’m sharing one here. Couldn’t get my hands on printed paper (go figure!) and so used a coloured one instead. And then of course having finally ‘seen’ the peephole on my main door, took one through that and played around with it in Photoshop. I love the Oil Paint filter in Photoshop and how it transforms a picture into a painting 🙂

Turned out to be a pretty fun Challenge after all 🙂 And all this talk of Peepholes is making me think of Alice in Wonderland for some reason :p A rabbit-hole is a sort of glorified peephole after all non? And look what adventures she had 😉

Here’s to Adventure People!  

Monkton Mondays!

It’s been a while since I was away…you know how it goes…you go a vacation and no matter how short, it takes days to prepare before and weeks to get back to routine after 😉 Or at least I like to pretend it does 😛 So it was, after our Easter weekend getaway in Ooty – a hill station in the Nilgiris, in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. Detailed post will follow just as soon as I can get through the ton of pictures I have to sort through. 

I must also write that this will probably be my last Monkton post for a while. As much as I enjoy them, I’ve been doing them for so long that I’ve used all of my favourite pictures and unless Mr. Monkton does a fresh lot of illustrations, I feel like I’ll be forced to repeat many of them. I’ve been toying with the idea of using illustrations from the The Happy Page while waiting for new pearls of wisdom from Mr. Monkton. I love how their minimalistic illustrations manage to convey a myriad of emotions 🙂 and they fit rather well with my Blog title and theme. Unfortunately…I can’t seem to think of a cool alliterative title (I have a thing about alliteration as far as titles go :P), so all suggestions are very welcome!

Although I’ve been away from the Blog, I’ve been busy with the camera and am still very much a part of the CameraShy Take52 Challenge. Will update those posts as well during this week. We’ve had some interesting challenges these last two weeks 🙂 And so to the start of another week, just a few days left and we’ll be in May – almost half the year done in the blink of an eye! As of now the things that occupy my mind are getting a dog (although that’s perpetually on my mind!) and our trip to Kabini in June and then Goa – for a month long break after – by which time hopefully the Monsoon will be in full swing and we’ll be rid of this wretched heat! Tomorrow, Junior has a ‘Leadership Summit’ in school – can’t wait to see what they’ve come up with 🙂 And so let me wrap up this last Monkton post with a big Thank You’ a la Monkton…To all of you for reading and for making writing a joyful experience – I’m very grateful! I hope you enjoy the Tin of Good Things 😀 

pVaQAVPQu7

I know I will!

Happy Monday People 😀 

Take52 Challenge: Week 13 – Delicate

Delicate – such a deceptive word. I’ve always thought that. Like petite. It conjures up images of things easily broken, damaged; suggests a lack of inherent strength, of ‘hardiness’ – in both things and people. And although in many cases this may be true, in many others I find that the inherent strength of the delicate (whether objects or humans), far exceeds that of the obviously strong – whether physically or mentally. Christie used women in ‘delicate’ health all the time and they never seemed to die on their own! No indeed – they never died until someone tired of waiting and went about murdering them 😛 Perhaps that’s where I first learned to beware the word? 😉 And if you’ve ever worked with babies like I have, you’ll know all about their iron grip!

This past week – Delicate was also the theme of the Challenge. I didn’t want to go the obvious route (when do I ever?!), but explore the ‘delicateness’ in the abstract – our minds, our hearts, our thoughts, our dreams, our egos – seemingly fragile yet capable of herculean strength when needed. I thought of the dream catcher I brought back from my trip to the Grand Canyon. It has hung from my bedroom window in every house I’ve lived in since – swaying gently in the breeze, filtering my dreams, protecting me from nightmares or so I like to think 🙂 I love it though and I love the thought of it and it seemed to fit the theme. It did help that it had a few delicate beads and feathers! I added the quote because it’s a favourite but also because I’m still learning to let ‘negative space’ just be! I’m working on it, I promise 😛 Here it is…Delicate Dreams…

Delicate

And once I was done with the Challenge, I decided to take a few shots of the weeds in the gardens – another deceptively delicate species 😉

What’s your take on ‘Delicate’? Share! Do! 

Take52 Challenge: Week 12 – Score

I was in Goa for the week this theme was announced and busy with things other than the Challenge. The most obvious interpretation of the word – “Sports” is NOT something I’m interested in at all; and so this was the toughest challenge for me so far. I struggled to come up with ideas and when I did, it was almost always too late and someone had posted before me! I took many pictures of my son playing cricket, but I couldn’t find any that hit the spot. I came back home to Bangalore 5 days later…with time running out and still stuck. In desperation I took a few shots of a Beer Mug with ‘scored’ glass but it didn’t feel right. Then while cleaning out my junk drawer I found my eye-test result and as it so often does – something clicked! And so I took this picture for the Challenge. It is my first monochrome submission and I’m quite happy with it 🙂 

Eye-Score

Of course in keeping with Murphy’s Law…once I was done with this picture, I began to get a few more ideas and on delving into my archives, I found a few pictures that seemed to fit the theme! What would you have shot for this theme? Do share!