Tag Archives: Photography

Yer a wizard, Harry!

Last Sunday, I visited a small Harry Potter exhibition at the Philatelic museum. The exhibits were collectibles loaned from dedicated Potterheads and other enthusiasts.

Anyone who is remotely familiar with my interests know Harry Potter features near the top 3. Always. The books were a huge influence in shaping my reading habits and approach towards literature – particularly the science fiction and fantasy genre – when I was growing up.

At the entrance to the exhibit, which was contained within this tiny room.

There were themes in each of the seven books any teenager in the noughties could relate to – dealing with bullies, having a choice in life, nurturing friendships, being humble, coping with death and most of all, as cliched as this sounds, the importance of love.

My introduction to the series came in 2001, when someone bought me a copy of the “Prisoner of Azkaban.” Beginning in the middle of the series, I wanted to know who was Harry Potter, why was he so special among wizards, why was he living with the vile Dursleys, why was Sirius Black jailed if he didn’t kill Harry’s parents. More importantly, why were James and Lily Potter killed? Quidditch, I thought, was the coolest made-up sport ever.

I worked my way through the book in two days and immediately went in search for more at our local library. (e-books at that time were something that happened on Star Trek, probably.) When I was caught up with the “Philosopher’s Stone” and the “Chamber of Secrets,” the waiting game for the next instalment began.

“Half Blood Prince” is my favourite book because it builds up wonderfully to the finale everyone knew was coming in the final instalment. It does so by taking the focus away from Harry for a change and sheds light on Voldemort, the Black family and Snape. While waiting for “Deathly Hallows” to be released, I spent many hours over at the Leaky Cauldron message boards debating about Snape’s motives for killing Dumbledore, who was R.A.B (totally called this one), and which were the other Horcruxes? 

Musings aside, this was also a good opportunity to bring my new Canon 80D out on a field test. The exhibit was in low-light condition, which allowed for plenty of tinkering with the settings. I like to shoot RAW in manual mode because that’s the best way to learn, even though many people swear by the aperture priority mode.

The manual mode constantly makes you calculate and re-calculate your settings before you hit the shutter. You become more familiar with how aperture, ISO and shutter speed affect your picture in various light conditions.

The lens I used was the EF-S17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM, which is pretty decent for close-ups. The 80D has a APS-C sensor, which doesn’t as well as a full frame sensor in low light conditions, but it gets the job done without breaking the bank!

Few weeks ago, I took the camera out to the WTA Finals, which was another good environment to shoot in, given lighting and distance from the court. That’s for another time.

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Central Park in Spring

The word Spring is a misnomer when used to describe the current New York weather. While the last of the snow has melted, the temperatures are barely crawling past zero (in the Celsius scale) and dressing in layers is still the advise du jour; because even if it looks warm and sunny outside, it usually drops to near zero temperature in a few hours.

In this weather, Central Park looks quite charming in its post-wintry decay; the trees are still bare and brown, dried, ochre-colored leaves cover the off-road tracks, and only the slightest hues of green, from the new patches of grass growing, hint at the change of season.

Yesterday afternoon, a friend and I went to what she called “the more hispter side of Central Park.” In other words, this was the enclave on the Upper West Side populated by jogging/walking/strolling New Yorkers instead of starry-eyed tourists with their baseball caps, fleece jackets, sunglasses, and cameras hanging off their necks. We went an hour before sunset, which provided the perfect lighting for the photographs below. One of my photography professors remarked back in August last year that this light is referred to as “the golden light” among photographers – the perfect setting to take photos.

Overall, it was satisfying to see how these pictures turned out.

The path led up to the 110th Central Park West entrance

The path led up to the 110th Central Park West entrance.

The sense of decay among the trees was a remnant of the bone-chilling winter.

The sense of decay among the trees was a remnant of the bone-chilling winter.

This dusty pathway by the small water passage gave off the lost-in-the-woods vibe from fairytales.

This dusty pathway by the small water passage gave off the lost-in-the-woods vibe from fairy tales.

My friend Joanna.

My friend Joanna.

Another small water body; though the water here was quite filthy.

Another small water body; though the water here was quite filthy.

Back into the woods.

Back into the woods.

A fallen branch in the midst of the decay.

A fallen branch in the midst of the decay.

Another off-the-road, dirt path leading up to one of the main roads.

Another off-the-road, dirt path leading up to one of the main roads.

Deep in the woods. And my friend Joanna.

Deep in the woods. And my friend Joanna.

Decay.

Decay.

Despite the cold, the sky was gorgeous.

Despite the cold, the sky was gorgeous.

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At this point, we were pretty lost and it felt like fairyland.

At last, we found our way out onto one of the main roads within the park.

At last, we found our way out onto one of the main roads within the park.

Coney Island in pictures

Located in southern Brooklyn, Coney Island is a world unto itself with its bright lights and buzzing theme park, scenic beauty overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and the chatter of tourists flooding onto the sandy walkways. This is what the touristy area of the neighborhood looks like on a chilly Fall (around mid-October) afternoon:

1A warm welcoming sight greets you from beyond the fences once you get off at Coney Island station. If I’m not mistaken the lines D, F, N, and Q go there directly from Manhattan

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5Even in the chilly Fall, the area was bustling with people

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8The sunset was truly gorgeous. Initially it was cloudy and overcast and suddenly there was an explosion of reddish, yellow light across the sky and we saw a spectacular sunset over the horizon.

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