Black & White Photography

 A write-up with tips, techniques, conversion and photographs to get you started

"I’ve seen a sudden spurt in black and white photos. The facebook B&W challenge seems to have helped the “lets convert my photos to b&w” drive. Some photos are good..some not so good…some are  plain terrible

The approach for the photographer today is a bit different from the good old days when you had to make a choice at the store: do I buy colour film or black & white? Ofcourse there was a time when black and white was the only option available.

I remember telling someone a long time ago – the day they make a DSLR that shoots only black and white I’m going to buy it. Leica did manage something similar when they made the Leica M however they also priced it so well that I’d most probably have to sell my house to buy it.

Modern DSLRs do have a “black and white” mode however photos shot in that mode for some reason just don’t turn out right. They don’t look the same as T- Max 400 or Ilford delta 400....."

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Butterflies Birds and Trees in India - android app

PCI member, Dr Anand Narvekar's Butterfly egg images have been featured in an android app created by The Ladybird Environmental Consulting LLP 

The apps are nice - i downloaded them and they've got good information for someone who is starting out in nature photography and wants to ID common butterflies /birds / trees found in India. The apps also give additional details like habitat / bird calls etc

Nature photography and conservation go hand in hand and I see a lot of new photographers who've taken their first steps in nature photography struggle to get names and other details. Google helps at times however a lot of content on google is not really India specific and one does tend to get confused. I would recommend these app's as a must-have for all nature photographers.

I was also happy to see on the app some photos by Issac Kehimkar of BNHS so I believe the people behind these app's have done their homework. Dr Anand and Mr Kehimkar wouldnt give their photos unless they were sure about the usage though in case someone does spot any errors I'm sure the guys behind these apps would be more than happy to make changes. 

 Continue reading & download the app

 The apps cover 50 common butterflies / trees and birds found in metros such as Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi and Hyderabad. The apps have been developed to study climate change impact on urban biodiversity in these cities.



Camera Features / Functions Wishlist - What do you want in 2015?

I know the gods at Canikon will not listen but it would be interesting to see what you guys think about features & functions that should be there in cameras to be launched in 2015.

Most of my comments are for Nippon K?gaku however you Canon people needn't celebrate - things are pretty much the same in your end of the world too.

Here's what I want in 2015 (either Nikon or Canon will do - I'm willing to jump )

More buttons & dials - Canikon however seem to be moving into the touchscreen arena. I need a real camera please not something like an andriod app

Larger viewfinders - Why are we getting teeny weeny viewfinders that don't offer 100% coverage in models that are not top end?

Nikon - get rid of that G lens thingy and lets have those aperture controls on all lenses. Apart from me loving them, they also help a lot while using manual Extension tubes, reversed lenses etc etc

Small files - I want more megapixels and photos which are larger but i dont want each photo to be 100mb. No dear Canikon i will not shoot at anything less than the best quality jpeg settings and i will also shoot RAW - how you do it is your problem. You are forcing me to upgrade my PC, Ram, Hard disk and everything else by continuing to make your image sizes larger and larger everytime I upgrade the camera body.

Larger and more accurate LCDs - I'm tired of getting pics which look great on the camera LCD and don't look all that good on my monitor when i get back home. A better and more realistic LCD is more important than wasting money on researching things like in-camera angry bird video games.

Just one standard battery for all models

2 dials in all camera models - I Still haven't understood why entry level cameras cannot have two dials and require the pressing of some other button + turn the dial thingy to change aperture / shutter unlike higher end models where you have a separate dial for each setting. 1 plastic dial cant be all that expensive!!

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Join The Photography Club Of India

Join us & be a part of The Photography Club Of India - irrespective of your skill level, which part of the world you live in or the gear you own. The only rule is that you should be a hobbyist, amateur or professional "photographer".

Registration & Membership is free. PCI believes in complete transparency in its activities and there are no hidden costs. PCI is a “not for profit” club and will not contact you with spam or for any sort of commercial activity.

We recommend that you use your real name while signing up as it helps in interacting better

Membership Benefits:

Participate in forum discussions / Ask questions and interact with amatuer as well as professional photographers from across India / Share your photos and get inputs on how to make them better / Get access to the chat option on the forum / Get access to the dealer section where you can get discounts from dealers on Tripods etc (please note that these discounts are merely a facility being extended to PCI members by dealers and PCI does not have any commercial benefit from sales made by dealers) / Be a part of photography meet-up's and shoot together


Creating natural-looking High Dynamic Range images

A step by step tutorial by Sandeep Sulakhe with screenshots for post processing of High Dynamic Range (HDR) images with minimal noise.

"I intend to make this a collaborative tutorial, where you guys can post your questions, comments, feedback, and improvement to my workflow at any point of time. This way, by the time we finish the tutorial, everyone (including me) would have learned something useful that can be applied to our future image processing."

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Back-up your Photos

Questions, Queries, Answers and detailed steps on suggested methods of taking back up's of your photographs with inputs from a number of members on what they use and why.

"Before you actually start taking back-ups, think of a good naming / filing / labeling system that you will use...something that is easy to remember and recollect what it means. You can label your photo back up as "DroidSigma244XT#$%Victor" but if you cant remember what that means and which photos that refers to it aint going to help. Instead chose something that refers to the date and location or photo type.

One thing i learnt while i did an MCSE years ago was that all data storage devices have chances of failing at some point in time.  Secondly, everything that's online as well as digitized, at some point in time will face the chance of a data or security breach.

Which means that there exists a chance that your images may just disappear or get into someone else's hands at some point in time. Now you really cant do anything to prevent this from happening - what you can do is make it more difficult for you to lose everything in one go when things go horribly wrong.

You need to decide how important your photographs are to you..if you feel they are not important and you can afford to lose them, then dont bother with a back up or anything...but if you feel that your photos are important to you then please spend a fraction of the cost as well as time that you've spent in taking those photos, on taking a back up............."

Contiue reading to view suggested methods....

Kolakham and Darjeeling

Join Subhadip Mukherjee as he takes us through his journey titled "Kolakham Cancelled"

"Kolakham is a small village in Darjeeling district of West Bengal, it comprises for 20 – 30 families residing on hill slopes. Until a few years back this place was unknown but with the recent development of offbeat tourism this destination also is in the limelight. This is more of a rustic village where few Nepali families live.

Now we had to do the booking and Kolakham has no hotels of sort, all are home stay thus we need to get in touch with an agent in Kolkata. A quick Google search came as a shock when I realized that the nearest booking agent was barely located some 200 meters from my house......."



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Free Photography Ebooks

Every creative mind needs inspiration as well as reminders - it's a good idea to read a bit about photography techniques for those just starting out as well as for experienced shooters to revisit things they learnt a long time ago.

Topics include A Photographer’s Guide to Depth of Field, Creative Lens Techniques, Digital Photography Basics etc

You can download & read these Free Photography Ebooks HERE and HERE


Black Rapid type shoulder straps?

Do Black Rapid type shoulder straps really help? What's the best strap to use? Can you trust those black rapid knock-off's available in local markets for a few hundered Rupees? Click to continue reading...

"Personally, I have been using Kata Reflex-C and I have around 3 of them (2 in use and 1 as backup just lying around :p ). They are very comfortable and spreads the weight pretty well. I have carried them with 5Dm2+Grip+70-200 2.8 IS and they are pretty comfortable"

"So you know where I'm coming from, these are what I've used strap-wise: The OEM strap, a Matin Neoprene Strap, Crumpler Ultimate Disgrace, Kata Reflex C, BlackRapid, Gordy's Straps (neck) ....The only one I would never use again is the OEM strap. It's just plain painful"

Award Winning Photograph?

An interesting discussion by Gautam Pardake

"But staring hard at it, I can see a tilted horizon, which is bang in the middle of the frame. So are these basic rules [or guidelines] applicable only for those posting pictures online on forums. I am sure if Micheal Nichols posted this under a false name on DPReview before the prizes were announced, he would have been torn apart for these points...."

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An interview with Vikram Franklin

Vikram Franklin obviously needs no introduction to the Photography Club of India. He's someone who's work I've been admiring for quite a few years and convincing him to do this interview was a logical step when I figured we had a few questions for a landscape artist.

What sets Vikram apart is his ability to "see" potential shots as well as successfully identify what could be done better in photos.

Click here to