THE MAJESTIC HIMALAYAS

AGAIN WE BEGIN!

It has been over a year since I wrote my last post. Now, as I look back I don’t know if I should be Sorry about that, or thankful for how time has taught and given me some of my most deviant memories. A LOT has happened over this last year. I have seen new Life. I have seen Death. And, I have seen everything in between. I have had life-changing experiences. I have changed places. I have had false promises and lies. I have had broken-trusts. But then, I have had some of the most awesome adventures. Met some of the most amazing people ever! So many earthly connects. In the coming posts, I will cherish life reliving all those moments.

Today’s post is dedicated to a Sherpa and a great friend whose memories and love I will cherish forever. Because, as they say …. “Some endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time …” This is a tribute to a man I respected and honoured, a wish, in some ways, that Tenzing Gorky, and others like him – people who felt unimportant here on Earth – realize, finally how much they mattered and how much they were loved.

THE MAJESTIC HIMALAYAS

Earlier last year, I took a trip to the Himalayas. The funny thing about the Himalayas is that it looks entirely different during different times of the year. As you can see, there’s not much snow during Spring and Summers. Right in the middle is the mighty Everest which is quite about always filled with white beauty.

I think this post comes a bit late, but my heartfelt cries and salutes goes to the family and friends of the people from the Himalayan Kingdom who lost some of the bravest souls during the Mt Everest Avalanche incident. My deepest wishes that their souls rest in peace!

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

TEXTURED PHOTOS

Are you also like me and love collecting textures whenever you travel from one place to another. I think monuments, old buildings, or for that matter anything and everything a bit oldy-goldy has an interesting texture to it. I have slowly started collecting them and maybe someday I will have a good number of them. This photo below has a combined texture of a wall of a monument, an old page from ‘The Bible’ and maybe one of Michaelangelo’s Gothic paintings. You might see that painting if you move about a feet or two away from your monitor. I don’t normally process all my photos with textures, but once in a while something really interesting pops up. What do you think?

St MARY’S CHURCH

Hehe, I don’t know why I have such an absurd title for this post but I found it funny enough :) I think it has got something to do with that Trinitarian formula and churches and Hollywood flicks. No matter how many movies I have watched having an element of Christianity in it, whether it be about exorcism or chasing away the ghost I always hear them saying this.

While inside the St Mary’s Church, Hyderabad I thought it would look something like those churches of the Western world from the Renaissance period. But, this had not much of those glitter and shimmer. Not many colourful glasses and panes, but simply wooden and cemented arches. Anyway, since I was already there I thought of taking a few pictures when the security guard nudged me from behind and said I couldn’t take pictures inside. “Oh cmon man! I am doing God a holy service by taking his beautiful picture and you don’t want me to do that?!!“, I thought. Moreover, there was no one inside. I think he was more interested in performing his exorcism on me and didn’t let me go ahead. Anyway, I had already taken a few pics by then Mr Guardy-doodle-doo! :D High-five!!

The Wild Armenian Beauty

Bonus post : ‘The World’s Greatest Swordsman’

Sometimes, it feels so funny to read your messages. I was away for some time, and after I came back I found someone write me a funny message. She said,”I like your posts so much. But, it seems you live in a cave and come out only once in a while to make us happy.” Hehe, now of course I am not a Neanderthal :D I was travelling the last few days and so I had little time to post on the blog. But anyway!

This gave me an idea. The idea of a ‘Bonus Post‘. So from now on, every once in a while, I will show some Ankur-Love, hehe :) I will post something bonus, maybe a bonus picture, a story, a video or something that makes you hobbits happy! :) As for today’s bonus post, there’s a funny story I found some days ago. I think you will understand the story better (more of a joke, actually :P ) if you look closely to the picture below. Oh BTW, you also get a wonderful story if you click on the picture too. Read on!

A young man climbs a mountain to a ledge, where there sits an old man with a sword in his lap. The young man says, “I seek the greatest swordsman in the World.

Without a word, the old man draws his sword and flicks it in the air at a passing fly. The fly falls to the ground in two pieces.

The young man says, “Surely you are the greatest Swordsman in the world!

The old man says, “No. Further up the mountain is a swordsman greater than I.

So the young man climbs up the mountain to another ledge where there sits an even older man with a sword in his lap.

The young man says, “I seek the greatest swordsman in the world.

Without a word, the old man draws his sword and flicks it in the air at a passing fly. The fly falls to the ground in three pieces.

The young man says, “Surely you are the greatest Swordsman in the world.

The old man says, “No. At the top of this mountain is the greatest swordsman.

So the young man climbs up to the top of the mountain, where there sits an even older man with a sword in his lap.

The young man says, “I seek the greatest swordsman in the world.

Without a word, the old man draws his sword and flicks it in the air at a passing fly. The fly buzzes away.

What’s going on,” the young man yells. “I thought you were supposed to be the greatest Swordsman in the world. You couldn’t even kill that fly.

No,” the old man says. “That fly is not dead. But that fly will never again father children.:D

 

The Wild Armenian Beauty

Does it also sometimes happen to you that you come across someone and instantly recognise his/her talent and start believing him/her to what first came to your mind?

In New Delhi, I had gone to visit a Kyrgyz friend. She brought along two of her beautiful friends. One of them was Nara. Now, when I first saw Nara, I thought she must be some Armenian actress. And, to add to my doubts she exuded a high level of confidence in whatever she did. We went to the Lodhi Garden and since I had the DSLR with me, I thought why not ask if I could take some pictures of her. It seemed a bit cheeky to ask but once I gained half of her confidence, she willingly smiled and started dancing :)

Now, I have never actually tried photographing models, so I didn’t know what I was really doing. Add to that, this wild girl dancing here and there, and playing around and making it hard for me to focus my 50mm. You know, she’s one of those girls that always seems to be posing. It seemed I was trying to photograph a dancing dolphin, hehe {I know that sounds a bit stupid, but that’s how I really felt! :P} But, finally thanks to my Kyrgyz friend’s help, I finally got some keepers!

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013 & HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

The World has finally ended :) … oops, :o I meant the Year has finally ended, hehe (you must be wondering why I am so happy with this ‘end-of-the-world’ phenomenon, huh! :P Well, there’s an exciting secret here. Wanna know that?? Ehh, read on! I will tell you that in a moment) But now, we have a whole brand New Year again. My heartiest wishes goes to each one of you and I hope you achieve all your dreams, and a lot of happiness comes your way :) For most of my readers in the West and most parts of the World, I am pretty sure there’s still a lot many hours left for the New years’ eve ‘Golden Hour’. Moreover, I am writing this post way earlier than when it’ll get published. But still, you know this bloke from India is wishing the very best for you! :)

YOUR BIRTHDAY TODAY?

Co-incidentally, today also happens to be my sister’s birthday. What a great time it must have been to be born today. The whole world is celebrating, rejoicing for the amazing things that have gone by the past year, and hoping the coming year is even more wonderful than the last. I am actually jealous, hehe. So, I thought of dedicating today’s post to her and to all those of you lucky people who were born today!

This is a picture of me and her that was taken recently. While going through my archives, I also found a picture that may have been taken about 20 years from today. That’s the one on the right. Wow! we’ve grown really fast, huh? I must say it feels so nostalgic to see pictures of our childhood and remember of all the naughty things we did. Awfully cute, hahaha! :D

Ankur Sharma

Okay, now for all those hobbits who couldn’t control their appetite for the secret :P Well, guess what. The Mayans are actually happy the World didn’t end this year. They wanted to party and invited me as the Chief-guest. Thinking that their jinga-la-la dance would be easy, I accepted it. (Click on that link. It might well give you your last laugh for 2012 or your first for 2013) Little did I know that they would also fall for the Gangnam Style, hahaha :D So how do you plan to celebrate your ‘Golden-hour’? New year wishes to you yet again!

India 2012 : The Apocalypse is Now

Have you wondered about all this Apocalypse and Doomsday predictions that have been coming up every now and then? Well, every-time I watch the News or anything, I must say I am really annoyed. Not that I believe in it but that media BS is still kinda fake.

Let me tell you what’s gonna happen. You see that tuk-tuk rider over there? Well, that’s YOU. Not really you as in you, hehe (I know, you don’t have to ride a tuk-tuk now! :D ) Anyway, you also see that sudden streaks of red, blue and white? That’s this ‘Apocalypse‘ crap. Within moments of it passing, you can once again enjoy the beauty at your back. And that’s how it is.

As for this picture, this is the beautiful India Gate at New Delhi standing strong and tall on this ‘D-booms-day’ :)

Pray for me Brother!

FREE SOFTWARE FOR RAW FILE VIEWING

In what format do you shoot pictures? RAW or JPEG? I think most serious photographers out there shoot in RAW. I personally choose the RAW format over JPEG. I think JPEG are for kids, hehe :) Well, that’s not my point. RAW contains a HUGE amount of light information when compared to a JPEG. So, when you are back from the field and are going through all of your shots, which software do you generally use to view and/or quickly select the keepers? For years, I have used Adobe Lightroom, Bridge and other such softwares and I have been very happy with those. Lightroom has the benefit of working with ‘Collections‘ where you can easily group pictures from different trips into smart folders (but hey, let’s not talk about Lightroom here. I will save it for later!)

Recently I came across this wonderful piece of free software called FastStone Image Viewer and I must say I am impressed. It can open any RAW file (be it NEF, CR2, ORF, DNG or whatever!) And, it isn’t like Picasa that it will automatically change its colour-tone (I think this has been a long pending problem with Picasa). If you haven’t used FastStone earlier, I recommend you at least try it once. (Hey, it’s Free! What do you have to lose?) Click here to get it now. Moreover, it fills the whole screen with the image and when you hover your mouse to the ends of the screen you can see the metadata and all such essential information.

 

PRAY FOR ME BROTHER

I will dedicate this post to the recent school shootings in Connecticut, US. How many of you have listened to the Oscar-winning musician A.R. Rahman’s song called “Pray For me Brother” (If you haven’t, just click on the link and listen to it. It’s melodious.) Sometimes I am worried if we humans have lost faith and compassion in ourselves.

Earlier this year, I met a photographer-friend from Nova Scotia who was here for a Discovery Channel project. It was his first time in India. What he told really touched me. He spoke of his extraordinary interactions with the common people and how humble and compassionate they were. No matter how much they had, they always had a smile on their face and tried their best to help him and he was moved by that. Whenever I look at this picture, I can sense what he meant. Every time I passed by this lady, she had a gentle smile and always wished the best for you. Such a beautiful soul!

12.12.12 : AGAIN WE BEGIN!

Yet again, it has been a long time since I last posted something. I apologize for that. But, I do have my own good reasons too. I had gone to New Delhi for about a month or so. Good news is, I have a lot of pictures from the trip :D Now, I am not the one who will join the ‘post-a-day‘ brigade and start posting a picture everyday {Hehe, then I will have to declare myself photo-krupt = photo+bankrupt in just a few days! :P } But what I can definitely tell you is, I will try to post more often.

For those of you who may know (and those who don’t ;) ) from September-end till mid-January, India goes into something what I call the “celebratory mode“. That being said, there are lots of festivals during this period in the calendar. From Ganesh Chaturthi in the South to Durga Puja in the East; from Diwali to Muharram and from Guru Nanak Jayanti to Christmas to Makar Sankranthi, there are so many things happening that my friends often complain they become fat during this part of the year (eating sweets, of course :D ). So in-case you’re planning your Great India tour, I just gave you a few reasons! (Oh wait, I actually skipped so many)

Talking about Diwali, it is regarded as the festival of Lights. Beautifully decorated clay lamps are lit, firecrackers burnt and sweets are exchanged between family and friends. This picture of the Buddha Statue in the centre of Hussain Sagar lake in Hyderabad, India was actually taken last year. It has a funny story behind it.

I was strolling around the lake when a drunkard sat across a bench opposite mine. Seeing a camera in my hand, he started laughing hard and saying something in a language I wonder even the martians won’t understand. Maybe he was asking me to record him and make a kindergarten movie! :D Although not sure, but I hear that wine is an integral part of the South Indian culture. I left that fella in his own funkadelic world. Here’s another picture of some colourful lights from outside a temple.

Beautiful Shimla

You can absorb some amazingly beautiful scenery when travelling to Shimla. But that said, you’ll have to travel by the Kalka-Shimla Railway. There are a lot many options available though – by air, or by the road, but the rail is what I’ll definitely recommend. Anyway, who wouldn’t want to see these awesome landscapes, isn’t it? Hehe, I would warn you though, the rail goes at tortoise’s speed. But hey! I think it’s more a delight when all that’s outside your window is heaven.

It’s actually a 96-km long track from Kalka to Shimla with about 102 tunnels and 988 bridges. Can you believe that??!! And the longest tunnel, more than a kilometre long is at Barog. I had a delusion, I was travelling through the Black hole :D Oh by the way, the train conductor looks really handsome, more like an Army-Colonel-with-chest-filled-with-medals. I took a picture with him. You can see it here (Maybe you’ll need to log-in with your Facebook account) My friends warned me from uploading it, saying I quite look like a clown, hehe. But, I’ll go ahead and embarrass myself :D What do you think?