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The Apple Effect

Apple A lot of you may think this is a case study on Apple, if so I suggest you move on – this is my experience with Apple devices and my views on their products. Let’s start from the beginning, I never cared much about the iPod even though it was part of pop culture, just me being uninterested in listening to music, like playing it though 🙂 – then came the iPhone, again way over priced and I was an HTC guy so again a no show, of course at that time I was not even aware of the Macintosh PC devices, please note I am a windows fan for life (a lady in my office calls them Massintosh)

My first introduction to an Apple device – the IPhone gifted to me for my wedding by my brother Ameet, the device was fascinating, you must understand I had never used a touch phone before this – I spent a lot of time getting to know device; read up manuals/blogs/sites etc – in about a month since I had the phone I was what you call an Apple fanboy, I downloaded every possible application that 16gb phone ipad1could handle. I also started promoting the device as the greatest device ever, next came the IPad gifted to us (M&M) by the family, again the same cycle reapeats, getting information and downloading apps. By now I was a fully grown full-time Apple slave/marketer – recommending the devices to anyone and everyone and also creating a self dependency where I had to get my daily Apple fix, going to their website, hunting for upcoming product stories, signing up as a developer and so on. for a few years this dominated my life.

The Ipad MiniNow to the present – a couple of months back like every other man on earth I also heard about the new devices Apple was to introduce, I really was not very keen on getting drawn into the world, but eventually because of my Ipad being over 2 years old and running and outdated OS decided to look at the Ipad Mini, my loving brother Ameet and his Dad Dipu are Apple salesmen in disguise pretty much hard sold it to me, next I did my round of diligence also, contemplated buying the 4th gen Ipad instead but eventually due to budget constrains went for the Mini. The very loving Mrs. gifted it to me and to be very honest from day one I was as hooked to it as I was to my old Ipad – knowingly or unknowingly the vicious cycle had started all over again.

Twist in the Tale – A few days back an event forced me to rethink my entire Apple addiction, I was contemplating which laptop to buy for my personal use, first thought, Macbook, but then I got thinking, yes the devices are great, they do change how you interact with the internet & multimedia but they are not for the general public, very clearly the company caters to a luxury segment and I am not part of that segment – I use 3 programs on my HP and am happy with it – all I use Apple devices for is calling and surfing the net, I just can’t see myself spending 70k for a device that I could buy for 40k – of course if it drove my car, made me jump tall buildings in one leap and played Gears of War, I would thiMac Book Airnk about it, but it doesn’t. Now add to this Apple constantly upgrading devices to keep Steve Jobs legacy going, my biggest fear is that in 6 months the Mini will be obsolete – you would think they would give it a year at least, imagine buying a laptop with a one year lifespan…doesnot make sense…

To conclude if I had not received the iPhone and iPad as gifts I would never end up purchasing them, they are way to expensive – agreed quality comes at a certain cost but critical mass comes free or at affordable rates – Google, Facebook, Microsoft are all examples of the same – think about it what would phones, tablets, PCs be without the above mentioned companies – anyways this does not mean I am bitter and throwing my Ipad Mini – only an idiot would do that – On the Mac Book and Mac Book Air, if I win it in some contest great else it’s a know show. Please Note this article is also to prove my Sister in law wrong, she thinks I am an Apple Fan boy (WTF). Finally all said and done, I definitely will use an Apple device, but my addiction to all things Apple is done and dusted – like one South Indian Star said and I quote “Topic Is Over”

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2013 in Bikes & Builders

 

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The Mobile Photographer

Off late, I have been obsessed with Instagram, the popular photo sharing tool on my phone. To be honest, I got into phone photography a little late, only a few months back – 2 reasons for this, I own a DSLR so thought using the mobile is beneath me and I had an iphone3G with a 2MP camera covered with dust, so totally avoided taking pictures with it.

My reason to get a high end phone was the camera which accompanied it; currently I use an HTC Sensation XE with a 8MP camera.  I end up using my phone for both, taking pictures and processing pictures on the go, these are images taken earlier with my DSLR. Yes yes I know some of you are saying why post production on a mobile? The answer is pretty straight forward – it is “simple”, Photoshop is fairly complicated and time consuming; layers and more layers, I am all for Photoshop only if I have ample time on my hand, 99% of the time that is not the case.

For shooting while on bike rides, I mostly use the phone’s default camera , it starts up the fastest and hence, my next favourite application is Panorama. The phone makes it so easy, at least 3-5 slide panoramas are just a click and moving the camera left to right, very intuitive and opens a whole lot of options for the rookie panorama photographer. What stands out in all these apps on the mobile is the fact that they come with default effects, Black and White, Sepia, HDR and so on, these are the kind of effects you would only find in a high end software a couple of years back. Personally, I do a lot of correction, mix and match using applications, filters, cropping till I get the right image. Once done, generally the images go up on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – just so convenient using the mobile, no searching in directories and so on…select check boxes and upload one time.

There are multiple schools of thoughts basis mobile photography, there are people who love it and some who say it is a gimmick – let me explain why. Like I mentioned earlier, the current generation of phones offer multiple corrective tools and filters. These help make average pictures look rather dramatic Instagram is a good example of the same. The purists believe there is no effort there; the shot is not setup, the lighting is not adjusted, post production skills are zero and hence even if the shot is nice it is still gimmicky. I disagree just because it is easy does not take away from creativity and effort. Take mail for example, it use to be a painful process until e-mail came along now it’s easier, of course this does not take away that like the original mail the email has to be written/typed, similarly a picture need to be taken.

I still use my DSLR on weekends and will continue to do so, the control it gives me is phenomenal. The phone on the other hand is like a higher end digital camera that I carry around everywhere. Most pictures you see around this post have been taken or treated using my phone while i was riding my trusty Bajaj Avenger. I would highly recommend using the phone to shoot candid shots and difficult to reach areas (I know what you are thinking and that is not what I meant). Below are a few tips that will help you snap some really awesome images using your mobile –

  • Like your DSLR know your phone camera, the newer ones have similar functions, DOF, ISO, Scenes etc, check settings on your phone for more
  • Activate the Grid and use the rule of 3rds very important for all rookie photographers
  • Try and use the phone the same way you would use a DSLR, look at the lighting around you, create the composition in your head and then shoot.
  • Touch Screen phones allow you to focus on objects just by touching the screen, check how that works on your phone
  • Use filters on multiple applications till you achieve the desired effect on the image
  • Crop ruthlessly, mobile devices attract a lot of distractions in the background, it is the nature of the beast, ensure you cut them out as required.
  • Share your pictures in social networks, beyond the morale boost it will keep you clicking
  • Follow professional photographers on various social networks, try imitating them, there is no shame in that.

I hope you guys enjoyed reading the post, do share links to your pictures in the comment section below, my instagram ID is mihirshah1975 if you are there drop by to say Hi!

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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The Photography and Bike connection

To start with, I think we are both wannabe Photographers and Bikers. At some level, both these hobbies are interconnected.

Let me explain. Both these can only be enjoyed to their fullest once you are financially secure – that would be between 30-50 for most people; the excitement and adrenaline rush one feels riding the bike on an empty road is equal to a great picture taken; like a camera, a bike needs constant attention and customization, this to fit your style of shooting/riding, both activities are social and get you to meet new people who share similar interests. The list goes on and on….

I generally carry 3 cameras when I mix both riding and photography; an Olympus SPUZ 565, Nikon D5100 and my handy telephone camera, currently it is a HTC sensation XE. It is a pain to lug all these around with additional lenses for the Nikon but the end result is definitely worth the effort. I would like to emphasize all hobbies or past times do require effort; people generally have a perception that one can pick up a hobby and magically he will find Utopia! Reality check does not happen………..you have to put in effort. That being said, I have been learning about photography for about 4 years now. The facilitation started pretty much after getting married and seeing awesome wedding pictures clicked by a friend (the gorgeous pictures were of the Mrs. I look scary on camera). Anyway, after a lot of R&D and debates, I bought a super zoom Olympus SP 565 UZ camera, read up everything there was to about camera and photography. To give you an idea I was familiar with words and phrases like aperture, depth of field, HD, FPS, Shutter Speed 1/2000, bulb, macro etc. From then on it’s been a snowball effect, pretty much live with my camera; I don’t take that many pictures though.

By now you are hopefully getting where I am going with this. Post the purchase of our bike, both my photography and riding have merged together seamlessly; the locations I discovered while travelling across the city are absolutely amazing. Check out some of my work in the gallery below. Beyond that, it has also gotten rid of my reservation with communicating with strangers. I end up speaking to people about both the bike and taking their picture; also strangers will randomly come and help you when you are juggling trying to change lenses while holding up the bike.

About the pictures – I generally shoot using the P mode on both my camera; this is where you control the aperture and the camera does the rest for you. I find pictures with controlled depth of field to be more dramatic, I try to follow the rule of thirds and general best practises but most times the discipline eludes me. I shoot because I enjoy doing it not because I want to boast about my technical genius with the camera. Over the last few months, I have found my zoom lens to be an invaluable tool; this especially when I am shooting from bridges or getting in a portrait from across the road. The Olympus has now been restricted to shooting panorama and macro images (the Nikon is just so much better). I am still figuring the ideal way to carry my camera stand on the bike… currently the bag I have does not support a stand. Once that is done I pretty much will be sorted.

Do share your riding experiences and images if you enjoy either of these hobbies. I hope to cover a lot more of photography while adding to our riding, food, movies and other escapades as we publish more articles on the blog. The street Panorama is where we live – do enjoy the gallery and leave comments.

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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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