Its been a long year and quite eventful on the personal and work front but sadly the blog has taken a big hit. With so many blog posts in the draft phase and hundreds of photographs still unprocessed I’m not sure how or when I’ll get around to it.
I’ve been thinking about making my blog more about my interests in photography, cooking and building model kits. Another idea I’ve had floating around is to start another page just for my photography alone and keep all the other stuff on this page.
Anyway, hope I get more time to update stuff on this page in the coming year. Happy New Year everyone and have a great time in 2014!
I recently got in touch with AAB World to get the new Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM (that’s a mouthful) for a review on the blog and they were glad to provide one. When Sigma announced this new lens there was a lot of buzz in the photography world as this was the fastest zoom lens for APSC sensor cameras ever! This new lens belongs to their ‘Art’ series and is really a high quality lens.
The lens is available for both Nikon and Canon mounts and they’re sold by AAB World, who are the local dealers for Sigma. The price is KWD 229.950 and comes with warranty and it’s not much more than buying from the US.
Now this post isn’t really about the technical aspects of the lens as there are better reviews like this one and an entertaining video review from Mr. Kai but rather what you can use this for in every day life. So I’ll focus on things like ‘What can you do with it?’ and ‘Why should you buy this lens?’. This is going to be a long post so click on through for the rest…
I was cleaning up some of my camera’s SD cards when I came across some photos I’d taken a few months back. I was on a night flight bound to Kuwait and I was probably a little high either from the stopover in Dubai or the in-flight drinks so maybe that’s why I forgot I took them.
Anyhoo… the following were some of the good ones in the bunch and my favorite is the first one here, I wanted to get a clear shot of the moon but with three layers of glass separating me from the air the ghost moons were unavoidable.
A few years ago I had posted about getting an export certificate for your camera gear to make things easier at the customs counter at the airport. On my vacation trip this time I realized that it was time to renew my certificate and I got another one issued from the customs counter at Cochin Airport.
A lot of friends who’ve got camera gear have asked me in the past and also this time for more information about the Export Certificate. Thanks to the friendly staff at the customs counter I’ve gathered some information here which should be useful to NRIs visiting India.
Indian Customs Department Travelers Guide.
You can download and print a handy Traveler’s Guide published by the Indian Customs Department. [link]
1. Who can apply for an export certificate?
Any NRI can apply for an export certificate for the number of items in his possession that is intended for personal use. Refer to document for more details.
2. Are there any charges for getting this certificate?
No, the certificate is free of charge and the customs officer in charge of the respective airport will issue the certificate after inspecting your items and recording the serial number/specific details of the items.
What are the items that require an export certificate?
The certificate covers personal items such as gold, jewelry, photography, videography and expensive electronic equipment. Refer to document for more details.
What is the advantage of having a certificate?
Since the certificate is issued by the customs department this is valid for all points of entry in India and each time you travel you need not spend time at the red channel explaining why you’re carrying all this gear. For example, this is some of the stuff I had in my Lowepro 250 this time. Since I had my previous certificate I just needed to show them that what I was carrying was listed in the document.
During the weekend I attended a photowalk organized by a group of photography enthusiasts, Kuwait Photographers on Google Plus. It was my first photowalk and was quite an enjoyable experience. If you haven’t heard of photowalking read [this]
Due to unstable weather conditions and extreme heat it was decided to have the walk inside Avenues Mall and the organizer arranged for permission to shoot inside the mall. The mall authorities had some restrictions so we couldn’t shoot a lot of things inside the mall and there was a time limit as well.
The group had a varied set of gear from mobile phones to full frame DSLRs and even a rangefinder Leica M9!. I chose my Nikon body with my latest prime, an AFS 35mm 1.8G and it came in handy in the low light environment.
For some reasons a lot of people seem to be against Instagram. Some of the most common reasons I’ve heard are “Its not real photography”, “any monkey with a mobile can instagram” and “Filters don’t make you a great photographer”.
Personally, I’ve been uploading more stuff to my Instagram account than my Flickr account lately and with the new video feature it gets even better. A 15 second video, if done right, can be a great way to share things around us.
Over the past couple of months I’d accepted a few projects that involved shooting over long periods of time and that meant shooting continuously in scenes with few chances of a battery change. Nikon originally didn’t make a battery grip for the D60 but there’re a lot of third party companies who make a compatible battery grip for this type of body.
I looked at a lot of online reviews and the top contenders were Opteka, Targus and Meike. Ultimately I went with the Meike as I found it more suited to my usage and it didn’t have as many parts as the other brands. I also found that the textured pattern on the Meike grip was closer to my camera body texture.
Why do you need a vertical grip/ battery grip?
1. Do you shoot for long hours and go thru more than one battery per session?
2. Do you have large chubby hands and find that all your fingers don’t have room to grip on the camera body?
3. Do you shoot in portrait mode for the majority of your session?
Flickr and its CEO recently created a storm in the photography community when they announced the changes in the ‘Pro’ and free accounts. I currently have a Pro account which expires in November and if I switch to the free account option which offers 1TB of space, all my photos can still be uploaded in maximum resolution. After a lot of negative press, Yahoo reinstated the ‘Pro’ account for the same rate of 25 USD a year but I haven’t decided if I want to pay just to avoid ads and get stats for my photos.
Flickr Android Ap. Flickr also released their Android on the same day and I’ve been playing with it on my Nexus 4. It works pretty good and I get notifications on comments and interactions with my contacts and group members on Flickr.
It also has photo processing features similar to Instagram and you can upload them to Flickr from your mobile once you’ve tweaked it to your liking.
My friend, the Geek is back with another Star Trail session in Salmi desert. I missed the last couple of outings due to work and family related schedule conflicts. This time around I’ve booked the day well in advance and made sure there will be no interference from the aforementioned parties.
Hopefully I’l get better shots than last time as I’ve understood what I was doing wrong and now am prepared to take some proper sets of trails. The photo posted here is by Q8 Geek.
For more info on the outing you can head over to [his site] and get in touch with him to register your name in the group. Also join the [Facebook event] if you’re interested in getting any updates for this event.