Purchase Rethink 1

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Have you gone through this phase like I have done? On many ocassions, I have purchased a device after doing a good amount of background reading and deciding for quite a few days / weeks / months.

Then, once the initial euphoria of the purchase is fades after a few weeks, I start to think if the puchase decision was correct.

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Peacock Pansy Wing Closeup

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Last year, I got a few pictures of the wings of a Peacock Pansy butterfly. Posting a resized image (but the complete image) and a crop of a portion of the wing, showing the details. It was only after this and other such photographs I realized that the colours are made up of small scales.

Taj Maintenance

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The Taj Mahal in Agra, India is a beautiful building. To maintain the beauty of the building, the Government of India spends a lot through the Archaeological Society of India. Maintaining such old marvels is a big task.

After returning home from my recent visit to the Taj, I looked at the images at 100% magnification. On the main dome of the Taj, I noted that a lot of hooks have been inserted. Initially puzzled, it took me some time to realize that these must have been placed to ease the task of maintenance.

Supposed the building has to be scrubbed or repaired, it will not be possible to erect a scaffolding around it. Instead, using these hooks, it will be possible to lower a person safely and get the work done.

Good work.

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PS: I also noted that the building has a metal plate running from the metal spire to the earth. Essentially a protection against lightning.

Titled

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Our company has an internal social networking site. One of the groups there is the photography group. I am a part of that group and post images and comments.

One of the most common comments that I have seen in the group is that of tilted horizons.

As I had these comments at the back of mind, during my recent visit to the Taj, I tried my level best to not introduce a tilted horizon. But, in many of the images, I was not successful. I got caught up in the beauty of the Taj so much that even after trying a lot, some of them came out with the Taj slanted.

Thanks to tools like Gimp that I have not introduced another wonder to the world — The Leaning Building of Agra.

Invoking Camera Raw from Photoshop

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I recently saw an interesting video. While the usual practice is to use Adobe Camera RAW to process RAW images and then take them to Photoshop, this video mentioned that it is also possible to go the reverse way.

Once an image is loaded in Photoshop, it is possible to edit it in Adobe Camera RAW be launching it from the Filters menu.

But why would launching Camera Raw on a JPG image be beneficial? One benefits of this method is if you have a photo that is too bright. For example, suppose you have a picture when the subject appears white as the subject was near to the camera and flash was used.

By processing the photo in Camera RAW, the overall brightness of the image can be changed and the ‘whiteness’ can be reduced to a certain extent, to get a better photo.

Photo Fail at the Taj Mahal

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I recently visited the Taj Mahal. One of the most breathtaking moments is when we enter the monument complex via the entry gate. Till we enter through the gate, the Taj is not visible due to its walls. Seeing it framed in the entry gate is a magnificent sight.

This is the most common place for all tourists to stop, pull out their cameras and start the shooting schedule. I did the same. I wanted to capture the Taj, framed inside the entry gate.

And the attempt was a spectacular failure.

I was standing under the entry gate, which is made of Red Sandstone. In comparison, the Taj is made of while marble. As for the lighting conditions, it was very bright and was mid afternoon. I also tried using the in-camera HDR option, which was better at capturing the details of the entry gate, but did not capture the Taj properly.

To save on space, I was shooting in JPEG only mode. While this was one factor which has prevented me from processing the photo, the biggest factor was the light. After asking around, it seems that my choice of evaluate metering was also incorrect. I should have used spot metering instead and exposed for the Taj, rather than the entry gate.

Auto-playing Videos on Websites

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Earlier, we used to have animated GIFs. Now we have auto-playing videos. On many websites, I find auto-playing videos. While I understand the need of the websites to start playing media, I get irritated by such videos.

On visiting a web page, we start reading text on the page. But with auto-play media, we have to scramble as we suddenly start hearing music and voices. And such media are making it hard to turn them off.

In fact, even on a site like LinkedIn, videos posted by people start to auto play when you spend something like 2 seconds on the post – which is the time it takes to read the title of the post.

Tilted Horizon 1

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The company I work in, has created social media groups using Yammer. One of the groups that I participate in actively, is the photography group. As many people post images on the group, we get to see a lot of variety and also a lot of creativity.

Once in a while, the common complaint mentioned for the photos is the tilted horizon.

During my recent visit to the Delhi and Agra, I took many pictures. On review, I found that many of those images have a tilted horizon.

While taking a picture, either we do not realize that the image is titled or we take a tiled image for the sake of creativity, but when viewed, the eye is not comfortable and immediately detects the tilt, what with angled buildings the like.

Python Pickle – Fragile

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Recently, I was working on a text analytics application to search documents using Python. To reduce the time taken to display results, I split the application into two stages – corpus creation and search.

In the first stage, I parsed the documents and stored them into a corpus, using suitable pickle files. In the second stage, I loaded the corpus data from the pickle files and performed search using the user provided text.

But I faced some difficulty handling pickle files.

Apparently, pickle files store a ‘context’ when they are written. And this ‘context’ created trouble.¬†When I created a pickle file from a separate program and tried to read it using my text analytics application, it gave an error. The solution is to either incorporate the corpus update functionality in the main application, or to update the context information such that it matches that of the main application.