Farmhouse and Photography

I make it a point to take my camera along whenever we visit our Farmhouse. We go there almost every week, but the sights (vibrant flowers and beautiful Sunsets) and sounds (unbelievably quiet compared to the noisy city we live in) never fail to impress me. And there’s something about capturing a place through photography that shifts my perspective in so many ways – When I have my camera with me, it’s as if I’ve taken off my usual boring brown glasses and have worn a bright, magical pair instead. I begin seeing beauty and mystique in everything, even the mundane. Then, it feels like I’ve become someone else altogether, not the same old, nutty Manasa, but someone more artistic, fairy-like even.

Just as much as writing down everything that’s bothering a mind, lessens its burden; Just as much as confiding worries in a good friend helps in casting worries aside; Just as much as meditation or a long walk brings peace for a little while, I bet photography has healing powers too; It takes the focus off one’s own life and lets us zoom in on something else.  At least for me it does.

“Get over yourself and see, really SEE, the World around you. Nothing remains forever, not even the worries. So try to capture these fleeting moments as best as you can.”, whispers my camera to me. And so I click away….

These are some of the pictures I took on a few recent visits to our Farm –

… Of the produce

…. Of the Flowers

…. Of the kids having fun.

… and of all the mundane stuff that makes this life beautiful….

Love,

Manasa.

Weekend Photography

In January, the Blogathon took precedence over everything else. I hardly read or photographed anything that couldn’t be used in my daily posting. I only recently finished reading the book for the month -“Emma” by Jane Austen. I will be posting my experience (yes, my experience reading it, as this book, is so widely read and reviewed, that it doesn’t need another review) reading it. Another project, “picture365” fell by the wayside, if you haven’t noticed already.

With this project, I wanted to post a picture with a few notes related to it, everyday. Although I never took a break from photography, I stopped choosing one picture and writing about it, a few days into the marathon blogging. I should have known. I can only focus on one thing at a time. I always think I can multi-task and try it too, but end up doing a shoddy job of every task but one.

Hereon, I will do one project a month and not several, like I’m bound to try at the beginning of a new year. This month and the months leading up to my sister’s Wedding, I will be focusing on Photography. I will try to improve my skills and learn a few tricks to take better pictures of the Bride and the Groom, my kids in their best dresses, the turquoise beaches and gigantic buildings of Dubai, where the Wedding will happen. Your best wishes and forbearance (’cause I might be posting many many pictures to show my progress and get your feedback!) and my dear husband’s gift to me for completing the Blogging Challenge – a book called

Tony Northrup’s DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography [Kindle Edition]

 will help me get to where I wish to be.

By the way, I’m loving this book, and can’t wait to share the things I learn as I read, with you all.

Here are a few pictures I clicked over a perfect weekend.

(The pictures were taken at our home and farmhouse)

Horticulture Expo, Telangana – 2015

I love to click pictures of flowers, especially Roses, as you may have observed; I love long early morning walks that take me along a path lined with trees; I love plucking fruits and veggies off the plants and eating them right away or bringing them home to cook. I’m a Nature-lover through and through. But gardening? I have a love/hate relationship with it! It is something I wish to be able to do, but, in which I have failed so miserably, so often.

Many a times I have prepared the soil, sown the seeds, watered the seedbed for a few days and rejoiced at the sight of the saplings emerging gingerly out of the soil. But they have always shriveled and died in the end. Never have I been able to nurture them.

I have given up on the idea that I too am capable of growing a Vegetable Garden someday. It’s simply not my thing. That’s my Mother-in-law’s forte. Thanks to her passion and patience, we grow a lot of the veggies we consume.

So she and I (along with the kids) decided to visit the Horticulture Expo. on Necklace Street, by the Hussain Sagar Lake (remember the post I did yesterday, about “Eat Street“? It is close to that.) in order to buy a few flowering plants, seeds of veggies and fruits and big pots. The entry was free; we were charged only for parking our car.

The more we walked, the more there was to see. Orchids, Bonsai, Pots of every size and shape, tools required for gardening. Even Organic veggies and fruits were on display and for sale. My mother-in-law was left spell-bound; she couldn’t decide on what to buy and what to leave behind. Medha and Madhav were ecstatic to be out in the crowd and were found to be running around, checking out balloons and bubble-makers. Thank God we had taken Madhav’s stroller along, we could fit a few plants in the storage space, apart from strapping him to one place!

Then a woman came, offering to carry the plants and pots for a 100 rupees. She was with us the whole time, poor thing, carrying the stuff we bought, on her head and placing them down on the ground whenever we paused to purchase at a stall.

We bought a lot, enough to fill most of the space in our car. Mother-in-law had to be dragged out in the end as I was beginning to feel tired, managing a couple of high-energy kids. I was feeling hungry too (there wasn’t much to eat inside).

She will probably go again, but I had my fill (of myriad colors, flower arrangements and the buzz of the crowd).

A Night @ Eat Street

I love Eat Street. It has a bunch of eateries to suit every palate, from “Sultan’s Biryani and Kebabs”, that specializes in Mughlai cuisine,  to “Wok of the town” that serves Indo-Chinese food. And there is a Subway and a Pizza Hut too, which means, there’s something to eat for everyone.

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But what attracts me to this place isn’t just the food, but the whole dining experience. It is an open-air food court and a Fair, beside the Hussain Sagar Lake.

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I always enjoy relaxing there with my family, a slice of Tandoori Paneer Pizza in hand, gazing at the opposite shoreline, all lit-up and dazzling, throwing colorful reflections on the lake. The cool breeze and the excited chatter around makes one forget that we are just a hop, skip and a jump from the bustling main road.

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When we were last there, I took the opportunity of our visit to practice some Night Photography. At first I kept clicking pictures without paying much heed to the shutter speed, that is, the time it takes for the shutter to open and close to capture a picture. If it closes too fast, not enough light enters the camera, which means, pictures shot in the dark appear darker. By allowing the camera’s shutter to close slowly, more light can be allowed to enter.

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Prasad suggested I needed to allow my camera to focus before pressing down the shutter release button, so that I reduced the shutter speed.

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I tried that, and the pictures slightly improved in their quality, even though they still appeared grainy.

I dream of the day when I am taking pictures like a pro and using this post to show where I’m coming from!

P1100359I have read in photography websites and books, that a good photographer never uses the flash and makes do with whatever light is available, because using a flash adds an unnatural light to a picture. I get it, but sometimes I just don’t care about what the purists have to say! If breaking a rule means I get a good picture, then break a rule I will!

I did get some good pictures when I (Finally!) turned on the flash.

P1100376 P1100381By the way, I believe it is very VERY important to capture the everyday fleeting moments before they are lost, than to fret over the quality of the pictures or the minutiae of Photography!

A quiet Sunday here.

How are you all spending your Sunday? I hope you relaxed a bit and are ready to take on Mr. Monday (I have a love-hate relationship with him!). Me? I bade good-bye to my parents who left for Dubai this morning (I miss you amma appa!) and spent a quiet afternoon with my family at our farmhouse.

I carried my camera along as usual, but left the SD card at home, which is highly unusual, because I always make sure I have everything ready before I head out. Its built-in memory was full, so I had to use the camera on Prasad’s Samsung phone.

Am I crazy to be clicking pictures ALL THE TIME? Maybe.

I might’ve mentioned this before but photography helps me notice the beauty around me. In fact I SEEK out beauty (like looking at a Rose from up-close to capture the delicate layers formed by its petals, like noticing the lines in the sky formed by beams of light as the Sun sets behind clouds) just to make my pictures pretty. In my photography mode, even the mundane (like the transmission lines) appears stunning.

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I hope you enjoyed looking at some of the pictures I took…

 

 

 

 

Morning walk in Secunderabad

Slowly but surely, I’m falling in love with Secunderabad, the city in India we relocated to from the US. I’m beginning to appreciate the difference it makes to have family around to help us care for our kids. I love the food scene here- So many restaurants and cuisines to pick from. I also enjoy not having to worry about cleaning the house or ironing my clothes as such services are easily and cheaply available. I can’t tell you how much time it saves me. Now what I do with all this free time is a material for another post. But what I really want to describe here is how much I enjoy my morning walks.

Every morning my husband and I go for a walk along Gunrock Enclave, where we reside, and within the adjacent Army colony. We leave our 11mo. old with his grandparents ’cause he doesn’t have a say yet! But our daughter insists upon coming along; her idea of a walk is being pushed around in a stroller. We believe she joins us just to soak in all our conversation like a sponge and, maybe, to spill them all to our family! Anyways…

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Flowering plants like sweet-smelling Jasmine and Bougainvillea of every hue imaginable line our path and welcome us. Gargantuan trees like Peepal, Neem and Teak form arches with their branches and provide shade from the Sun who can be pretty radiant in Summer. He spills his early morning rays on the vast expanse of greenery that surrounds us. I remind myself to carry my phone along, if not my DSLR camera, to capture the play of light with color (I love watching the sun’s rays filtering down to the earth through the bough of a tree and try very hard to shoot it!). In March we even spotted a few peacocks perched on tombstones in the adjacent graveyard. Such beauty has to be cherished and preserved, on photographic paper atleast, before buildings and people invade its space.

Such beauty also brings out the best in all of us walkers and make us greet one another with a nod, a smile or a “Good Morning” and reminds me of the walks we used to take in the US. Prasad and I enjoy our time together and talk up family matters, the cute doings of our kids, about how awesome it would be to turn a corner and find a Starbucks Coffee Shop with its distinct aroma (We don’t have one around!) and about what goals we have already achieved and what needs to be pursued.

I’m glad we live in a locality that isn’t noisy, crowded or messy like most of the rest of India is. I’m also glad I take the time to enjoy life’s little pleasures like an early morning walk.