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Old 23rd November 2015, 18:24   #16
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Default Photologue: Journey through my lens - Ooty, Nilgiris

Road trip: Ooty, Nilgiris

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Had been to Ooty, Nilgiris couple of weeks back (14-16 Nov) with family, by car. Though the weather prediction was not good, raining heavily in major parts of TN and Karnataka went ahead with tour plan, successfully completing 650 kms round trip.

Started by 6 AM (Saturday morning), on the way had breakfast at Hotel Ramghad, Ramnagar. Took regular Mysore-Bandipur road, opting 36 hair pin bend ghat route, which was in great condition, well marked with optical mirror support. Reached Ooty by 1 PM after taking various breaks on the way.

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Immediately after having lunch and check-in, inquired about toy train timings from Hotel travel desk. There was a train from Coonoor to Ooty at 4.30 PM. Travel desk guy said chances of getting a seat/ticket is remote during weekend. Still wanted to try our luck, boarded a Coonoor bound express bus, reached Coonoor by 3.50 PM only to see rain and long que of people wanting ticket. Even ticket for standing and travel is sold out. Asked security guys can we see the train (my parents wanted to, as it is first time Ooty experience for them), he obliged and allowed us to go near the train. It was already full, not even space for standing inside general compartments. 5 mins before train's departure curiously asked security person and TC is there any seats left? Their reaction was "Can't you see people struggling to stand inside those match box like compartments?". By then crowd who didn't get ticket was disappeared. Again asked, any seats inside reserved compartments, I can see some empty rows (no show guys)? Train was about leave, they obliged my request, quickly arranged valid tickets for four of us by taking just Rs. 100 (hats off to them, no bribes at all). All these happened within 3-4 minutes and we were inside the train with valid tickets and two empty rows of seats. My parents thoroughly enjoyed the train raid till Ooty. Weather, scenes were mind blowing.

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Rest of the day was uneventful, had early dinner and hit the bed very early for much needed rest.

Next day, after having breakfast went to explore remote places of Ooty surroundings. Opted directions towards Avalanche, covering various scenic places, farms, lakes, Emerald dam, tea gardens on the way. It was leisurely road trip of 70+ kms (both ways) without any agenda. We were sure not to visit any crowded touristy places, just explore and enjoy Nilgiris surrounding. Weather was very good without any rain. Worth spending some quality time with family and car at those beautiful locations.

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After having late lunch, started roaming around Ooty city (Charring cross surroundings) giving enough time for shopping demands from Lady troupe. Slight drizzle throughout the evening increased as the hours passed. Decided to have early dinner from small but very good veg Hotel Abinaya (near Charring cross).

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Monday morning, after having breakfast started our return journey at 10 AM. Inquired road condition from control room as it was raining throughout night. Many said better go via Guddalur (including taxi guys). Parents, wife also wanted to visit places on this route. But road condition after Guddalur was worrying me.

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Decided to proceed via Guddalur, stopping at many beautiful locations on the way. Road condition was good, weather was good with light showers in some places, ghat section was amazingly beautiful with dense fog (carefully driven with fog light/blinkers on; watch out for oncoming express buses). Spotted lots of deer, bison, elephant, Malabar parrot, peacock at reserve forest limits. Only drawback was extra long distance and worst road between Guddalur and Teppakadu (Mudumalai forest limit).

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So covered both the ghat roads during this amazing trip. Reached Mysore around 3.30 (due to frequent sight seeing breaks), after having lunch at Kamath Madhuvan proceeded towards Bangalore. Brother advised to take nice road after reaching Kengeri over phone. It proved to be good decision, saved more than an hour to reach Bannerghatta road, because of rain, Bangalore's chaotic traffic condition on that day. Reached home at 7.30 PM.

Overall a very nice trip covering 650 kms. Good learning experience for me especially the ghats. Ritz (ZXI) handled very well throughout the trip, also gobbled all those extra shopping bags, veggies, plants what not inside his trunk.

Thanks to Team-BHP, special thanks to Lalu sir for his ready reference Ooty threads.
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Old 23rd November 2015, 19:10   #17
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Default Re: Photologue: Journey through my lens

You have the art, the craft and a great eye for composition. There is a 'umami' (borrowing the term from the culinary field) quality about your photos. Brilliant.
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Old 24th November 2015, 16:05   #18
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Default Re: Photologue: Journey through my lens

Wayanad, Calicut mini tour - 7, 8 Nov 2015

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This is not a road trip by car. Used bus, hired taxi (Wayanad-Calicut) and train for this mini tour. Just sharing one day Wayanad stay experience with few photos here.

November month was very busy in terms of travel. Every weekend was travelling to various locations with family entire month. On Sunday 8th Nov (before Diwali weekend) had to visit Calicut for a function. Just to make this trip more interesting asked wife's opinion about combining with Wayanad for a short one day break. Wife, daughter agreed immediately. Going by car was dropped as we had other plans and companions for return journey. So booked seats in KSRTC Rajahamsa till Kalpetta from Bangalore. Wanted a remote location for stay, far away from city life / crowded atmosphere. Wanted to spend a day and relax inside nature's abode. After few hours research (Team-BHP, trip advisor) finalized on Planet Green Plantation resort.

Saturday, 7th Nov: Reached Kalpetta around 5.00 AM. Hired an auto till the resort which was 4-5 kms from Kalpetta bus stand. Friendly resort guys continuously were in touch for directions, weather updates etc queries. After quick check-in formalities just relaxed inside room. View of Chembra peak was magnificent. Property was surrounded by coffee and tea estates, hardly any houses near by. Weather was very good without any rain. Just what all three of us wanted. After breakfast which was complimentary, started roaming around coffee/tea estates. For busy guys seriously not much activities to do here. But for those who just want to relax and enjoy nature's beauty this is the good place. Whole day was exploring places all by walk, almost 7-8 kms

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They too have indoor games/ badminton etc, also a mini library. Definitely will visit this place for a extended weekend tour soon, Chembra peak trek is also in pending list. Apart from food (opted vegetarian, even though good felt little over priced) service, calm atmosphere, friendly staff, clean room, amazing view of Chembara peak from balcony were the positive points about this property.

Sunday, 8th Nov: Morning around 7 AM, started towards Calicut. Hired Indigo taxi from travel desk. Driver was friendly, was explaining all the places near Kalpetta and Vaithiri. Asked info about Chembra peak trek from him. On the way visited sight seeing places, had breakfast (typical Kerala style appam stew etc etc). Reached Calicut before 10 AM, attended function. Famous Paragon restaurant were the caterers for afternoon lunch. Food was very good, again typical Kerala spread.

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Evening visited Tali temple, chips factory etc. 7.30 boarded Bangalore bound train with family, friends. Reached home next day morning 6 AM.

This was a quick escapade from busy Bangalore, but enjoyed fully whatever little time spent over there, also the food!

Sharing few pics:

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Last edited by Nempuguru : 24th November 2015 at 16:13.
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Old 5th January 2016, 11:27   #19
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Default X'mas vacation at my native Udupi-Kundapur

I was at my native Udupi-Kundapur during X'mas vacation.

It was leisurely, quite family trip of 8 days covering over 1200 kms.

Opted regular Shiradi ghat - Dharmasthala - Bajagoli - Karkala bypass - Manipal route for onward journey on Xmas day.

Return journey (on 2nd Jan) opted more scenic, deserted Brahmavar - Hebri - Agumbe - Sringeri bypass - Jayapura - Balehonnur - Aldur - Chickmagalur - Belur - Hassan - Nelamangala route. Sringeri to Chickmagalur stretch has lot of curves, but not much of vehicle movement.

Commuting between Udupi - Kundapura etc places opted rural roads, rather regular highway. Even covered some places by walk during cool morning time, kind of nature walk doing nothing just clicking pictures.

Some rural routes:

Athradi-Kukkikatte road
Herga-Parkala-Athradi-Patla-Pernankila road (further goes to Mangalore airport via Belmann, Kateel)
Perdoor-Kukkikatte-Kolalagiri-Arur-Brahmavara road
Basrur cross-Gulvadi-Mavinakatte-Neralakatte-Nempu road (further goes to Kollur)
Basrur-Ottinene-Hunsemakki-Guddattu-Shiriyara-Bidkalkatte-Barkur-Bennekudru bridge-Pandeshwara-Sasthana-Kodi beach road
Manipal-Perampalli-Santhekatte-Kemmannu-Padukudru road etc.

Sharing few snaps:

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Mini dam to prevent salt water merging with sweet water, near Basrur - Gulvadi, Kundapur

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Bennekudru bridge, connecting Barkur to Pandeshwara

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Kodi beach road, near Airody-Sastana

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Yakshagana, vibrant colorful folk art

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Seetanadi, Hebri-Agumbe road

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Agumbe ghat

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Tea estate somewhere in between Jayapura and Balehonnur

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Kukkikatte bridge over river Swarna, connecting Athradi (near Manipal) to Kukkikatte

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Old 8th January 2016, 13:14   #20
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Default Birds of Herga - Manipal, Udupi

Birds of Herga - Manipal, Udupi

Our house near Manipal is in a place which is neither city nor a remote village, called "Herga" belongs to Udupi municipality limits. This place attracts variety of birds throughout the year, may be due to surplus food availability from ponds/paddy fields, also due to calm atmosphere. I have spotted many species of birds here including migratory birds (certainly not to the range of Ranganatittu, Kokkare Bellur or any other bird sanctuary) .

With my limited knowledge have identified local birds like peacock, wood pecker, kingfisher, sun bird, starlings, maina, oriole, magpie robin, drongo, treepie, bee eater, heron etc. Also spotted Asian open billed stork, Malabar parakeet, white ibis, hornbill here which are not from this region. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Whenever time permitted tried capturing with limited zoom 70-300 mm Tamaron VC lens.

Posting few clicks:

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Asian Koel Female

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Common Drongo

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Maina

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Common Cattle Heron

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Sun Bird - Male

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Brahminy Starling

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Rufous Treepie

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Magpie Robin

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Spotted Dove

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Sunbird - Female

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Open billed stork

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Common Cattle Heron

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Brahminy Starling

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Bee Eater

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Brahminy Kite

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Common black headed Ibis

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Kingfisher

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Racket tailed Drongo

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Common Cattle Heron

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Sunbird Female

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Malabar Parakeet

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Hornbill

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Old 8th January 2016, 21:26   #21
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Default Re: Photologue: Journey through my lens

Amazing pictures
@Mods, do we conduct photography contests/polls for the members? If not, I sincerely suggest, we should have one.
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Old 27th July 2016, 15:59   #22
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Default Photologue: Journey through my lens - Kodaikanal, Palani

Monsoon Drive: Kodaikanal - Mannavanur - Palani

Visited Kodaikanal, Palani with my family and sister's family last weekend (July 23-25, 2016). Initially was wondering is this the right time to visit. Later it turned out the best decision. Weather update predicted not much rain, cloudy weather. Almost all the hotel booking websites throwing heavy discounts due to off season.

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This trip materialized without much planning. So one day earlier started searching for the info, planned the trip, booked a resort through OYO Rooms.

23rd, Saturday: 5.15 AM started from Bangalore. Opted regular Krishnagiri - Salem - Dindigul (took the service well in advance as suggested by many herein T-BHP) - Batlagundu - Dum Dum view point route and reached Kodaikanal around 1.30 PM. After Salem empty stretch of road welcomed us. Road condition is really superb even the ghat road. Took few breaks on the way as kids were with us. Throughout journey no rain, very pleasant weather. Hard to believe this is off-season.

Being Saturday crowd was more, not mad rush kind though. After lunch relaxed for a while and started roaming around lake by walk and by bycycle.

24th, Sunday: Woke up early and alone went for a walk via lake road to "Coaker's Walk". Weather was superb. Kodai city was still sleeping. Hardly around 5 people at Coaker's Walk. View was also very good with clear sky. Total 6 kms walk was re-energizing. Had a hot cup of tea at roadside stall.

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After breakfast, we headed towards Pillar rocks. On the way saw a narrow road leading to Fairy Falls. Took that route, but no glimpse of waterfalls anywhere. Ultimately that road connected to Observatory road. Here we met a old fellow, asked him about Fairy Falls. He started laughing and told in Tamil don't waste your time searching / visiting these so called touristy places. Instead straight away go to Mannavanur lake as you have your own car. You will definitely enjoy the ride through the forest, climate, beauty of the place. Mannavanur was in my list of "Things to do at Kodaikanal". I gave last preference for this due to time constraint as we had kids and a baby with us. After getting good advise from that gentleman we decide to head towards Mannavanur. We thanked him and started our journey.

Most of the sight seeing places at Kodaikanal are in this route. Best option is to visit Mannavanur first which is 32 kms from Kodaikanal. After visiting lake, return via Silent valley view, Guna Caves, Pillar rocks, Pine forest, Suicide point etc places. Total 70+ kms journey very refreshing, takes 4-5 hours.

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We decided to visit Pillar rock first, which was a mistake. There is a junction after crossing 4-5 kms from Observatory road. Right route goes to Mannavanur. Left goes to Pillar rocks, Berijam lake, Guna caves etc (on the way there is checkpoint where they will check if you are carrying any plastic bottles, beer bottles etc. They take it and dump inside a pit specifically meant for this). Skipped Guna caves etc as crowd was more. View of Pillar rock was not good due to heavy fog. Here we realized that we have to head back Kodaikanal as it is one way route.

Again we ended up near that narrow Fairy falls road, again took the Observatory road and the junction wasting 30 mins. Took right turn to Mannavanur. On the way visited Ganesha and Durga temple on top of a small hill. View from this place is very good. After crossing Mannavanur village proceeded further for 2-3 kms. There was a forest gate. Parked our car.

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Purchased entry ticket, paid camera fee. From this point lake is half a kilometer. One can easily go by walk. Even horse ride is available for 100 bucks. Spent some quality time near the lake. Kids very much enjoyed the place, lush green outfield. After 15 mins coracle ride we bid adieu to this place. On the way purchased fresh radish from farm. Lunch time was already crossed, it was raining lightly. Reached Kodai within an hour.

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Post lunch, rest decided to go for boating. But weather turned gloomy and started raining. After a short rain spell sky was clear. As our stay was very near to the lake immediately headed towards boating point. Hardly 5-10 people were there. 30 mins peddle boat ride was good experience, very less crowd made it more enjoyable.

After boating session time for shopping. No trip is complete without shopping if you are going with family . It went on for 2 hours. After having tasty paratha, lemon tea for dinner at "Tava Veg" we returned to our room for much needed rest. Spent hours simply sitting outside the balcony, looking at lake, experiencing chill clam atmosphere, inhaling fresh air.

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25th, Monday: As usual woke up early, went for a brief walk. Monday morning lake road was so empty that even this majestic person took the road for a walk.

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After breakfast, checkout we proceeded to Palani Subrahmanya Temple. Palani is 60 kms from Kodai, took us around 2 hours to cover. Ghat road is narrow compared to regular Batlagundu road, also more hair pin bends and blind curves. But totally deserted, very scenic. Not many refreshment point in this route. Reached Palani by 12 noon. Hot weather, sunshine welcomed us here.

Experienced cable winch train ride for ascending and descending from the temple. Visited temple, offered our prayers to the almighty, had "Annadanam" lunch. Started around 2.30 PM from Palani.

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Took regular Dindigul - Salem - Krishnagiri - Hosur route. After Krishnagiri it was raining heavily. Many places water logging, low light. So had to cut-down the speed. Reached Bangalore by 9.00 PM.

This unplanned monsoon drive was kind a surprise, much needed break from busy work life. Off season, pleasant weather, quality time made it more memorable.

Tidbits:

Kms covered: 1100 kms
Drive was shared by me and my BIL, majority by him as he is more comfortable driving rather sitting as a co-passenger on ghat roads.

Veg hotels at Kodaikanal: Astoria, Tava veg (don't try Hilltop Inn veg, bad food, especially north Indian food)

Places visited: Mannavanur lake, Kodaikanal lake, Pillar Rocks and other places on that stretch, Coaker's walk, peddle boat ride, coracle ride, bicycle (double) ride.

Distance chart:
Bangalore to Salem - 203 Kms (3.30 hours)

Salem to Dindigul - 176 Kms (2+ hours)

Dindigul Jama maszid cross to Batlagundu - 25+ Kms (30 mins, two lane road)

Batlagundu to Kodaikanal - 52 Kms (1.45 mins, ghat road)

Kodaikanal to Palani - 60 Kms (2+ hours, ghat road)

Palani to Dindigul - 56 Kms (45+ mins)

Camera used:
Canon 600D, 18-135 Lens
GoPro Hero 4

~o~
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Old 28th July 2016, 10:21   #23
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Default Photologue: Journey through my lens - Kodaikanal, Palani (Photos)

Some more photos of Kodaikanal - Palani trip

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View from Coaker's Walk

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Lake view

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Pillar Rocks covered in dense fog

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Beautiful Mannavanur Lake view

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Refreshing Lemon Tea

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Fresh Vegitables

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Palani Hills view

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Ghat section road repair work in progress (Kodaikanal to Palani)

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Winch Cable Train

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It's not Swis. It's Kodai.

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Old 31st July 2016, 19:57   #24
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Default Re: Photologue: Journey through my lens

More than photographer, you are one lucky traveller. I particularly liked the bird photography and the Indian Bison was a prized photo. One little query though. how do you PS your photographs? I found some of the photographs(particularly Landscapes) to be slightly high on contrast and highlight. I personally prefer a slight warm tone. But I know people have their own preferences in color. Its a very good photologue nevertheless
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Old 1st August 2016, 10:20   #25
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Default Re: Photologue: Journey through my lens

Thank you Dinesh6481.

As mentioned in my initial post I do very limited editing, also my knowledge is limited in using PS for photo editing (crop tool for cropping and curves tool to enhance midtone values). I use Mac at work as well as at home, may be due that some photos are more brighter when in seen in Windows, will correct in next updates.

Thanks again for the suggestion as well as appreciation.

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Originally Posted by dinesh6481 View Post
One little query though. how do you PS your photographs? I found some of the photographs(particularly Landscapes) to be slightly high on contrast and highlight. I personally prefer a slight warm tone. But I know people have their own preferences in color. Its a very good photologue nevertheless
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Old 1st August 2016, 10:34   #26
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Default Re: Photologue: Journey through my lens

You have a photographers eye, no doubt. Your compositions are very, very good. That is >50% of the requirement to take good photographs. Technique, good gear and luck are the remaining in that order. I would therefore not agree with the gent who said that you were a "lucky" photographer. I would call you a talented photographer. And i would seriously advocate you work on PP skills and some technique. It may not be long when your photos get exhibited in some premier site.

Last edited by earthian : 1st August 2016 at 10:35. Reason: house keeping
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Old 1st August 2016, 16:00   #27
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Default Re: Photologue: Journey through my lens

Thanks so much earthian for the compliments and suggestions. This will surely encourage in improving photography skills as well as fuel my hobby of exploring places.

Quote:
Originally Posted by earthian View Post
You have a photographers eye, no doubt. Your compositions are very, very good. That is >50% of the requirement to take good photographs. Technique, good gear and luck are the remaining in that order. I would therefore not agree with the gent who said that you were a "lucky" photographer. I would call you a talented photographer. And i would seriously advocate you work on PP skills and some technique. It may not be long when your photos get exhibited in some premier site.
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Old 3rd August 2016, 07:12   #28
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Thanks so much earthian for the compliments and suggestions. This will surely encourage in improving photography skills as well as fuel my hobby of exploring places.
Great snaps there. KA with its western ghats is a treasure of places to visit and enjoy. And the best part: many such places would be right under our very nose; in our own back yard!
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Old 3rd August 2016, 11:41   #29
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Excellent pictures. Simply amazing! Loved them. Some of them are good enough to win competitions I believe. Please keep them coming.
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Old 3rd August 2016, 12:06   #30
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Enjoyed reading the travelogue. Great photos.

Keep them coming!
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