Take52 Challenge: Week 20 – Random

Random! A favourite word that appeals because of its inherent promise of aimlessness and the unpredictable – both qualities that for better or worse characterise me and my attitude toward Life ๐Ÿ˜› I tend to ‘go with the flow’ on most things, until I drift into something that ‘hits the spot’ often unexpectedly, taking me by surprise and leaving an imprint that rarely fades away. Most things that have brought me great joy and comfort in Life have as a result been, I like to think, through the ‘random machinations of the universe’ ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m probably completely wrong of course, especially if you happen to be a believer in the ‘great design’ and the fact that ‘everything happens for a reason’ ๐Ÿ˜›ย Has that ever happened to you? A random happenstance that turns into a life-changing event?

What crossed my mind when I first saw the Theme, was the Sky. It’s classically random – a myriad hues from dawn till dusk and into the night. Luckily, we had unexpected pre-monsoon showers here in Bangalore that week and I was able to get decent shots of the moody skies ๐Ÿ™‚ Also last week ‘The Great Indian Circus’ as I like to call our Elections ๐Ÿ˜› drew to a conclusion and as a result there were random firework displays that I caught from my balcony!ย 

And just because I love quotes, here’s a random one that I fell in love with ๐Ÿ˜‰

โ€œThe sky was as blue as orange could get. I love sunsets at noon, and forks disguised as spoons.โ€ย โ€•ย Jarod Kintz

Take52 Challenge: Week 19 – Pure

Once again I’m playing catch up with my posts. School is nearing its end and there seems to be a flurry of events to attend that leaves me with time for little else. As a result, I haven’t been as involved in my photography as I would like, but am happy that I have at least managed to get that one shot per week for the challenge!ย 

Pure – a word with many meanings and abstract enough to pose quite the challenge. We had a lot of baby pictures posted, because that’s what invariably comes first to mind in this polluted, complicated adult word that we inhabit – the pureness and innocence of children ๐Ÿ˜€ The light in a baby’s eyes is so clear, authentic and guileless…what could be purer? I had initially thought of water as my subject, but couldn’t make that happen to my satisfaction, which is when I thought of the ‘pureness’ of prayer and was promptly stumped by how to translate this into an image!ย 

That’s when I remembered the little angel figurine I had picked up on my visit to Phoenix in 2008. I bought it for my son, who had not yet entered our life but would soon and turn it upside-down in the best of ways ๐Ÿ™‚ He was an answer to many prayers and so the symbolism seemed appropriate! Yes I know, on occasion, the ‘sappy me’ takes over ๐Ÿ˜› So I placed a lit ‘diya’ in front of the angel, not only because Fire is the great purifier in Hindu culture butย also because I love diyas ๐Ÿ˜‰ And so I had my shot ๐Ÿ™‚ I like how it turned out…let me know what you think!

Take52 Challenge: Week 18 – Down

For last week’s challenge, the theme was ‘Down’ – another word that can be interpreted several ways. This Challenge is so educational in so many ways! I was once again uncertain about what I was going to do, although staircases came immediately to mind. I even went hunting for one, but no gorgeous spirals live in near proximity ๐Ÿ˜‰ and so had to think again. The picture I finally went with, is not special in itself, but important to me because it’s the first time that I was bold enough to take pics in the Mall with my DSLR! I’m very conscious and nervous when it comes to ‘street photography’, just scared of giving offence where none is meant I guess. So taking a picture of people on an escalator was quite the Challenge. I kept thinking someone would come over and object or that Junior would raise a ruckus, but ‘All’s Well that Ends Well’ :) Then Junior got into the act and made me take the second picture! I hope this will nudge me along in the right direction as far as taking ‘public pictures’ goes. I love that kind of photography and want to get better at it. This time I didn’t really have time to delve into my archives…

Meanwhile here goes…

And just coz 3’s my lucky number, here’s one of a sunset that I took a while ago…

Sundown at Bangalore...
Sundown at Bangalore…

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 ๐Ÿ˜› Do you see a pattern here? I certainly do! Oh well – when in doubt – ‘Use the Kid’ I say ๐Ÿ˜‰ They’re generally adorable and make great pictures ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜› 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? ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I admit my extreme bias ๐Ÿ˜€ 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!ย 
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 15 – Classic

The second of my catch up posts. Just one more to go and then I’ll be all caught up – fingers crossed ๐Ÿ˜›

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 –ย predictably scattered ๐Ÿ˜› When we left for Ooty – I felt not a little disappointedย 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 desperationย 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 ๐Ÿ˜€ The resort we stayed at isย a bird-watcher’s paradise! Flocks of Bulbuls, Swallows, Sunbirds, Sparrows and the elusive but stunningly pretty Oriental white-eye. And so armed with aย 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

The-Birds-&-The-Bees

ย 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 ๐Ÿ˜€ And here I am again, part of another! The circle of Life and all that ๐Ÿ˜›

What’s your kinda classic? Do share ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ˜› Also, those couple of weeks had ย 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 anotherย 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Turned out to be a pretty fun Challenge after all ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s to Adventure People! ย 

Take52 Challenge: Week 13 – Delicate

Delicate – such a deceptiveย 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 ๐Ÿ˜› Perhaps that’s where I first learned to bewareย the word? ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 capableย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜› 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

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!ย 

Monkton Mondays!

I keep meaning to write and when I finally sit down to do so…I see it’s been 3 weeks since I last did! I could apologise but I’ve been busy having good times ๐Ÿ˜› I mean…one has to occaisonally go about and do happy blog-worthy stuff no? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Lets see…last I posted was just before we left for Goa for Junior’s spring break. What followed were four glorious days of fun and frolic with friends and family ๐Ÿ™‚ Break was longer but I had carefully choreographed the visit so it sou;don’t exceed my tolerance threshold! Make of that what you will ๐Ÿ˜› but if you’re anything like me and/or know me well, you’ll understand why I can only manage short bursts of joy in Mom’s home! Believe me it’s better that way for the both of us ๐Ÿ˜‰

Back home in Bangalore and we still had a weekend before school re-opened, so we visited the Banerghatta Biological Park and took a safari. There’s also a zoo which we avoided on advise from most friends who said it was totally avoidable. The safari was great fun though, and although the animals are in a controlled environment, it’s nonetheless exciting to spot a lion, a bear and a tiger…lolling around and sleeping off the dry summer heat ๐Ÿ™‚ Junior was beside himself with joy and I’m always happy to get that perfect shot. In June, we are off to Kabini – to visit the Nagarhole National Park. I’m super excited at the thought and am crossing every part of my body and mind in the hopes of seeing a tiger in the wild!! I’ve heard one once in the Kaziranga National Park and the sound still gives meย gooseflesh in the best possible way.

This last weekend Junior turned 6 ๐Ÿ™‚ He still isn’t bothered about parties and so we did a cake-cutting in school, the day before and spent his Birthday morning visiting Martins Farm and playing with the farm animals there; while in the evening we saw Aladdin – a musical play where we met several of his classmates and they all had a ball running around in the manner of headless chickens ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜› I think they all enjoyed the goofing around more than the play!ย You know how little boys can get! And whileย I was looking for books as return gifts, I discovered Tullika. I’d heard of Tullika of course – an Indian Publishing house that does fabulous children’s books but didn’t know that they also offer special Birthday packages! Ordering the books was a piece of cake thanks to the prompt and extremely helpful Aneesha ๐Ÿ™‚ I picked my books and sent them a list and sat back and relaxed. They sent me the books wrapped in gorgeous wrapping paper that matched the book covers complete with printed Thank You cards!! They even sent Junior a free book as a Birthday gift. Truly awesome service Tullika!!! Thank-You once again, especially to Aneesha who co-ordinated with me ๐Ÿ˜€ Cannot recommend them enough!

Add to all of the above,ย planning a trip to Ooty on the 17th of this month, my ongoing Photography challenge and reading East of Eden…and you know I’ve been a busy bee! Wellย that brings us unto today…the first day in a long time that my mind feels peaceful enough for aย return to a routine. Hubby’s Birthday is coming up on Friday, but since no gifts are to be given nor expected – it’s all cool ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜› And so to Mr. Monkton…It seems only fitting that I should dedicate this week’s post to Junior – who brings me more joy than I imagined possible and more hope that I believed existed. He makes all sadness bearable and all happiness happier ๐Ÿ™‚ And there are times when I look at him and wonder what it is in me that deserved him…whatever it is…I treasure it and I treasure him โค :* Now enough with the sappiness and lets get to it!

a-birthday-blessing-edward-monkton-6006096-0-1342798896000Happy Monday People ๐Ÿ˜€

Never miss a chance to dance in the rain!ย 

Take52 Challenge: Week 11 – Unlucky

This was a tough one! Bad luck doesn’t always make for great pictures – or so I thought! Turns out I was wrong. Of course ๐Ÿ˜› We have some fantastic pictures on the site…a blend of concepts and techniques that make for fascinating viewing! As always the process of learning continues.

So of course I was thinking about Luck and what it really means. Some people believe Luck is being prepared and ready to seize an opportunity as it arises. Some people, and I must include myself in this category, use it to define events, good and bad, over which we seemingly have no control. Perhaps the lack of control is an illusion? A question of perception? But when I think how minuscule we are, how ruled by circumstance, how reliant on the judgement and skill of others like us, in most situations, then I have to believe in some mechanism or underlying unifying force/aura/energy, call it what you will, that nudges the Universe in any one given direction. Of course our choices have power! They can sway the Universe too, I just feel that ever so often they are acting in conjunction with the ‘Unknown’! Or perhaps that’s just me indulging my dramatic side and my penchant for the mysterious, for Fantasy ๐Ÿ˜‰ Whatever the reason, I do believe. Coz how else can you explain why one person wins the million-dollar life-changing lottery, while others spend millions of dollars on lottery tickets that don’t win them a penny?! I think Luck adds a fun dimension to what might otherwise be a humdrum existence…being prepared all the time is very wise indeed but I’m not sure it’s much fun ๐Ÿ˜› Well not for me anyway – I’m much to instinctive to ever be prepared; but I’m prepared at all times to be instinctive ๐Ÿ˜‰

And on that very confusing and rather silly note, lets just get to the pictures shall we? ๐Ÿ˜€ I know, I know – I ramble…it’s what happens when adult interaction is at the minimum ๐Ÿ˜› The first things that I thought of were ‘black cats’ and ‘salt spills’ and in the absence of real, live cats, I decided to practice my photoshop skills and superimpose a stock image of one on to a picture of the Moon I had taken recently. Then in the same vein, I added some text to my picture of spilled salt which I had carefully arranged to spell Luck. Although I liked the way they turned out, none of them seemed right. Then I thought of the Snakes & Ladders game that is a current favourite with Junior and since Luck and games are so closely linked in our psyches, I decided to go with that. I used my Macro lens (it has become quite a favourite of mine even when I’m not actually shooting Macro), and clicked away! I quite liked the result. Let me know what you think, will ya? ๐Ÿ˜€

And here is the picture I took for the Challenge…

Unlucky-Dice

Here’s to a Lucky Weekend People!

May the Luck of the Draw be always in your favour ๐Ÿ™‚ย