The anatomy of a memorable photo – What works for me.

Everything starts with a goal and so does this post. If you are looking to document your trip, then just jump in, point your camera, get one of those shots everyone else has, pack your bags and call it a day.

However, if you looking for something different, you’ll need to do a little more.

Like a computer programmer is taught to start with an algorithm, A photo needs to start with some planning. This becomes vital when you are shooting a cityscape. While people have various techniques, here is what I do and it works for me.

Before heading to any new destination, I start by scouting the location. The first of which is looking for photos. With a combination of Google images and flickr, I have a rough idea on the types of photos you can get at the location. Sometimes, I supplement this by looking at the map, even the satellite images of the place, which gives me an approximate idea of what is in store.

Armed with this information, I gather any additional information I might need. Things like the weather (for clothing and my shots) , timing of when the place is open, additional resources that I might need to get to / around the location and specific rules that might apply (some places do not allow tripod’s / bags, neither do they have places to store them, parking etc.).

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Because Narain Karthikeyan deserves it.

From the rumors and hints being dropped, India will have another reason to celebrate, maybe as early as this weekend.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the new torch bearer deserves this honor. But before we go all out, let’s remember the person who started it all, when the climate was very different.

Back in 2005, Narain Karthikeyan became the first Indian driver to get a seat in F1. And 2005 was a very different time period. Sponsors in India were still weary of the international scene, there was no Force India F1, there was no Indian GP and there certainly was no chartered course for an Indian driver. I do not know of any other drivers from India who decided to pick a driving school like Elf Winfield and then went on to compete in the international scene, even in the junior races.

But braving those odds, Narain managed to secure a ride. Driving for a back marker team, I did not expect too much from him, but he did shine. Call it blind faith, but I did and still do believe that Narain would have done well had he found a stronger team.

In the following days and weeks when the Indian media hails the new blood, celebrate, but spare a moment for the man who made it there, with a much smaller fan base, a much smaller group of sponsors and managed to create history.

As much as I hate Nascar, I know this. If Narain does start racing in that series, I will be there cheering him. The man deserves it and that’s the least I could do as his fan.

Schumi steals Christmas and Narain talks Nascar.

With Schumi going to race for Mercedes GP, he essentially stole the headlines. At least in the rest of the world.

While I’m excited that he is back, I’m torn between picking him, giving up my allegiance for Ferrari and Massa. It’s as difficult as picking a Belgian beer at Monks Kettle.

To make matters more shitty, Narain is now talking about Nascar. No seriously.

I do understand that there are lot of idiots fans who pay good money to watch people drive in circles. Add the possibility of tapping the Indian market for fans, advertising opportunity and having the first Indian in Nascar, it all makes sense. Narain could be making good money, but by driving in the most barbaric racing series, he would be pushing fans like me away.

Arghhh! This is supposed to be fun.

Dangerous curves ahead for F1 as a sport.

A couple of days ago, I wrote about how F1 might turn into the new A1GP, if Button decides to go the McLaren route. And it looks like that’s happening while I type.

Earlier today, James Allen had this to say on twitterdangerous_road_ahead

See update on Button story, reports he’s on verge of signing £6m a year deal with McLaren

Later this event PST, like clockwork, The Guardian ran the story.

Add that piece of the news with Brawn GP, which will now be Mercedes GP, are looking to sign Nick Heidfeld. Mercedes GP have already signed Rosberg, who races under the German flag.

This leaves us with two teams, both of which have drivers from their country. Lotus is still in search of that elusive Malaysian driver and so is Force India. If both those teams go the national route, almost half the grid will look very different.

As I see the situation right now, this cannot be very good for the sport. But stranger things have happened. What are your thoughts?

The iPhone camera is finally useful.

bbrgApple took cellphones to the next level with the iPhone. Tom, Dick, Harry and my grand mother have one and they created a great revenue generation scheme with their apps. One of the parts where they screwed up was with the camera.

If you are one of the few people, who does not own one, a google search will tell you about how bad the camera is, so I’m not getting into the details.

To give you a rough idea, I’ve always found myself in the “Never edit a photo” crowd. I took pride in composing “good” photos and sticking to that. There have been times, when I’ve cropped pictures and played with the RGB settings, but they were rare.

All this changed when I had a bad camera on the iPhone.

Over the course of the past few months, I’ve managed to play with a few free photo editing apps for the iPhone. Darkroom, ArtCam Lite iEasy Photo Lite, PS Mobile and Best Camera. It’s true that all those apps, save Best Camera, are free, but I find myself going back to Best Camera over and over again.

The reason I’ve noticed is a) the ease of use. The filters are easy to apply, easy to access and there are just enough filters to not get lost. It’s an iphone and Best Camera keeps it simple.

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“What drives an individual to think of collecting money ?”

distress This is a very touchy subject and I got flamed (email fights in layman terms) by many of my buddies coz they did not understand my point. I was not trying to say that they were cheaters, I just wanted to logically think.

After a big disaster like the Tsunami, there were loads of people who wanted to help. I did my part, went to a dinner organized by the Indian Student Association, spent a day working with the Sri Lankan Association in town and things like that.

But there were buddies of mine, who decided that they wanted to collect money from others and do the work themselves.

What struck me was the question “How does one think of collecting money ?” There are a million organizations the world, right from the Prime Ministers office in the affected countries right down to local organizations who already collect the money. Given that a percentage of this money is wasted or stolen, I still decide to contribute to these organizations.

But how one earth would an individual collect the money, even if he did, how does he know that the money is spent or given to the individuals who are acctually affected and not the by standers who are there just to loot people. Government organizations have a lot of red tape and yes it does take a while for the money to be distributed, but we can be assured that a huge percentage of the money will go to the needy.

In contrast, one of my uncles decided that he wanted to goto a resturant, buy food in packets and distribute it near the beach. In the end he was disgusted, because there were fights and he came to the conclusion that he spent more money on looters and opportunitists than on people who acctually deserved it. The problem was as an individual he had no way of identifying who was affected and who was not.

The second point is that it takes a lot of leg work to acctually distribute the money that one personally collects. Its a lot of responsibility, given that the money was given for the specific purpose of helping the affected, not just for the homeless or the needy. It takes a huge organization like the PMO (Prime Ministers Office) to acctually identify the affected and as an individual this is a daunting task.

So here goes my question again “What drives an individual to think of collecting money ?”