DIY Wall Hangings

My wife and I were decorating our new apartment this month and we wanted a large picture as a focus point on the living room wall. I wasn’t too keen on getting one of those generic photos from IKEA or Banta so we decided to use one of my own photos.

I had two options, either get a framed canvas print or get it printed on foam-core and then make the frame myself. I’m always on the lookout for DIY projects so the latter sounded more interesting to me. I found this neat tutorial online on how to make one of these large sized pictures and mount it on a wooden frame. If you’re interested in doing something similar I’ve listed the steps on how to go about it;

1. Choose an original file. You can use a photograph you’ve taken yourself or any other source but its important that you use the original file in maximum resolution and at least 300 dpi, this will reduce the amount of pixelation in the final print. I was blowing up a picture (taken on my 5 year old Nikon D60) to 90×60 cms and and I was happy to see that there wasn’t much degradation in quality.

2. Once you’ve got the file for printing you can select between Canvas prints or Foam-core backed prints. I was already getting some prints from Artech so I preferred to let them do all the print work since I’ve dealt with them before.

frame 01

3. According to the tutorial in the link you can use wood strips to give the foam-core extra strength and rigidity. I didn’t want my frame to protrude too much from the wall so I went with a thinner wooden frame. I bought all the supplies from ACE Hardware; wood rafters/strips, sandpaper and caulk.

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4. Measure, cut and sand the wood frame to the size of your foam-core. I know a V-joint looks prettier than a simple butt-joint but it would not be visible anyway so I chose the latter method. Apply a layer of caulk to the strips and press them into place on the frame. They should set in about 30 minutes. Once the frame had bonded with the foam, I applied double-sided tape to 8 points on the frame and fixed it to the wall. I didn’t use nails or screws since the entire thing is very lightweight and I didn’t want to mess up the wall with more holes than necessary.

Including materials, this picture cost me less than 8 KD so this I guess this is a fun and cheap way to decorate your home with your very own artwork.

home

Street Photography with the GX1

Shooter in the hallway

Shooting discretely with a DSLR is not something that can be done easily and that’s what I’m loving about the mirror-less system cameras. They’re great for Street Photography. On a recent visit to the Liberation Tower I was just shooting images of people on the tour and it felt great to capture random moments without drawing attention to myself. Here’s some of the better ones from the bunch.

Looking at Kuwait

Instagrammer

Composition

Communication

 

Tour of Liberation Tower

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This weekend my wife and I went on a guided tour of Kuwait’s Liberation Tower. The trip was organized by Aware Center and we were lucky to get seats for the tour although we weren’t so lucky with the weather. As we approached Kuwait City it was clear that the haze was not going to clear up during our time there.

Lib tour 4

The guide took us to the third level where there’s a bridge that leads to the elevators that access the main tower. The tour would only go as high as 150 meters as there’s sensitive defense communication systems on the top levels and entry is restricted.

This is going to be a long post so click on through for more..

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Looking Back And Looking Ahead

Red Arrows in Kuwait

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!

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM

Sigma lens review

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…

Continue reading “Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM”

‘High’ Above Kuwait

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.

Above Kuwait 01

Above Kuwait 02

Above Kuwait 03

Above Kuwait 04

Above Kuwait 05

Above Kuwait 06

Above Kuwait 07

Above Kuwait 08

View on my [Flickr stream]

Export Certificate from Indian Customs Department

Lumix passport

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.

Gear box

On vacation in Kerala

image

I’ve been busy with family matters lately and then some stuff in Kerala too so there won’t be many posts in the next couple of weeks.

If you wish to keep track of the interesting places in Kerala you can follow me on my Instagram feed

Google Plus Photowalk – Kuwait Edition

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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]

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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.

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You can browse the rest of my photos on my photo set on Flickr

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.

prime 35mm

Love to Hate Instagram?

 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.

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