Longitudinal India Trip part 6 – Jataras by Veeresh Babu

For over 7 years Veeresh has photographed trees in Hyderabad, or to be specific, the interaction between man and woman and trees. Thus we see trees with a religious significance, a tree to worship, to stand humbly before.

However, we also see other uses a tree can be put to, and one might add, in a uniquely Indian fashion. Thus, we see images of a tree used to advertise a locksmith’s services, or a tree to serve as a barber shop, or trees being used as a storage prop. Or even being used as a news agent!

Trees of Hyderabad was initially shown at the National Centre for the Performing Arts’ Centre for Photography as an Art Form, Bombay, between April 21st and 30th 2018.

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Longitudinal India Trip part 5 – Images of Hyderabad Trees by Veeresh Babu

For over 7 years Veeresh has photographed trees in Hyderabad, or to be specific, the interaction between man and woman and trees. Thus we see trees with a religious significance, a tree to worship, to stand humbly before.

However, we also see other uses a tree can be put to, and one might add, in a uniquely Indian fashion. Thus, we see images of a tree used to advertise a locksmith’s services, or a tree to serve as a barber shop, or trees being used as a storage prop. Or even being used as a news agent!

Trees of Hyderabad was initially shown at the National Centre for the Performing Arts’ Centre for Photography as an Art Form, Bombay, between April 21st and 30th 2003. I am proud to be able to host this unique gallery.

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How to use Adobe Photoshop to add water drops on a picture

The following simple steps will teach you how to make an image look as if someone had splashed it with water. In order to do this you will use a series of filters, layers, as well as other minor adjustments to create your drop shaped objects on the image. In the end you will learn how to make them look like more realistic by adding shadows and highlights.

Step 1
First of all you will need to open up in Photoshop the image you want to splash with water drops. Start Photoshop and open the image by going in the File menu and select Open.

Step 2
First of all you will need to duplicate the Background layer. After you have opened the image you want to edit in Photoshop, you will see in the layers palette that there is only one layer, called the Background layer. It contains your original image. Press Ctrl+J on your keyboard to duplicate this layer. Now if you look in the Layers palette, you will see two copies of the image: the Background layer and the newly created layer, called Layer 1.

Step 3
Now you need to add a new blank layer above the layer you have duplicated. Press the following keyboard combination Shift+Ctrl+Alt+N. Name the newly created blank layer. You will see that in the Layer palette, Layer 2 is placed at the top of the Layers palette.

Step 4
Press the D key to reset the Background and Foreground colors. This will make white as your Background color.

Step 5
Make sure that Layer 2 is the selected layer in the Layers palette. Once selected, it will become highlighted. After you have selected it, press Ctrl + Backspace to fill the new layer with the Background color (in our case the color is white).

Step 6
Now you will see that your image will have turned white completely. Next add some noise to the white layer. Go to the Filter menu which you will find at the top of the screen. Select noise from the list that pops-up and then Add Noise.

Step 7
Photoshop will display the Add Noise dialog box. Move the slider situated underneath the preview window to the far right (it will give you a value of 400%). Make sure you have both the Gaussian and Monochromatic options selected.

Step 8
Click the OK button in the Add Noise dialog box. You will now have an image filled with black noise.

Step 9
It is time to apply a new filter on the image, blur. Go to the Filter menu and choose Blur from the pop-up list. Select Gaussian Blur from the options.

Step 10
Photoshop will show you now the Gaussian Blur dialog box. Underneath the preview window you will see a slider. Move it to the right (increase the Radius value in the box above the slider) until all that is distinguishable in the picture are large dark and grey blocks.

Step 11
Remember, if you edit a smaller image, you will a lower Radius value (6 or 8). If you apply these changes to a larger image, you will need to raise the Radius value accordingly until you obtain the same effect.

Step 12
Select OK from the Gaussian blur dialog window so that your changes will take effect. The nest step is to apply a threshold image adjustment. In order to do this, go to the Image menu at the top of the screen, select Adjustments from the list and then Threshold.

Step 13
By adjusting the Threshold setting, you turn everything in the image either white, or black. You will use it to create the basic water drop shapes. You will see a slider located at the bottom of the Threshold dialog box. Click it and turn it to the left or to the right to increase or decrease the number of black areas in the picture (these black areas will be your water drops in the end). You increase their size and number by dragging the slider to the right and you decrease them if you drag it to the left.

Step 14
It is up to your choice how many water drops you want in your final picture. When you have agreed on the desired water drops, click OK to exit the dialog box and apply the settings.

Step 15
You have added these black spots in the image that will eventually become your water drops. But there is a problem, as you can see: adjusting the Threshold settings will leave harsh, jagged edges and the water drops you want to create should, of course, have smoother edges. You will have to apply the Gaussian Blur again to solve this problem. Press the Ctrl+Alt+F key combination to apply the Gaussian blur.

Step 16
By pressing the above key combination, Photoshop will show you the Gaussian Blur Dialog box. You can adjust the settings by moving the slider. Since in the previous use of the blur filter you have used a very large pixel value, you will need to apply a smaller amount of blur.

Step 17
You only have to use a small amount of blur. You will see that your water drops will have smother edges with a value of just 0.7 to 0.9 pixels.

Step 18
Click the OK button so the Gaussian blur will be applied to the picture.

Step 19
At this point you can select only the water drops from the picture and delete the rest (in your case, all the white parts of the image). Select all the black spots using the Magic Wand. You will find it in the Tools palette, or by pressing the W on the keyboard.

Step 20
Be sure to have the Magic Wand tool selected. Look up in the Options Bar situated at the top of the screen and be sure not to have the Contiguous option checked. If this option was selected, you would have to select each black spot individually. You will be able to select them all at once if this option is not selected.

Step 21
At this point you have all the black areas selected. What you really need is to have the white parts of the picture selected so you can delete them. To do this, you will need to invert the selection (by inverting the selection, Photoshop will select all that is not currently selected in your picture you are editing it will select the white parts of the image and deselect the black spots). Use the Ctrl+Shift+I key combination to invert the selection. Now all the white area will be selected.

Step 22
The next step is to lower the fill of the black shapes layer to 0%. You will find two options: Opacity and Fill in the top left corner of the Layers palette. Both of these settings control the visibility of a layer. You should remember that if you set the Opacity’s value to 0%, you will hide the contents of the layer, but also any layer style which had been applied to it. If you use the Fill setting, it would only hide the layer contents (in this case, any layer style which had been applied to the layer would remain visible). What you want to do in your picture is to hide the black spots, but to keep the layer styles visible. You will accomplish this by setting the value for the Fill option to 0%. You will see that your black spots have disappeared, but they are not gone completely. This step allows you to apply some layer styles.

Step 23
In order to add a Drop Shadow layer style, click on the Layer Style icon which you will find at the bottom of the Layers palette. A list of layer styles will appear. Select Drop shadow from it. Lower its Opacity down to about 40% and set the Angle to about 120.

Step 24
On the left of the Layer Style dialog box you will see the Inner Shadow words. Click on that button and the option window for the Inner Shadow layer style will appear. Change the Blend Mode to Overlay by clicking on the down-pointing arrow which you will see to the right of the Multiply setting and selecting it from the list.

Step 25
On the left of the Layer Style you will see the Bevel and Emboss setting. Click it to bring up the Bevel and Emboss dialog box. You will have to modify a few more settings in this window: first of all change the Technique option to Chisel Hard.

Step 26
You should also modify the Soften value to around 12 pixels. This will give the water drops a smoother look. Then raise the Depth value to around 600%. Near the bottom of the dialog box you will find the Opacity setting of the Highlight Mode. Change it to 100%.

Step 27
Also another thing you should modify is the Shadow Mode to Color Dodge and the Shadow Mode’s color from black to white (do this by clicking on the color swatch and selecting white from the setting window).

Step 28
At this point, after having almost finished adding the water drops on top of the picture, you can delete any drops you do find necessary. Their presence may block an element from the main picture or there are simply too many of the, Use the Erase Tool to do so. You will find it in the Tools palette (or by pressing its shortcut, the E key).

Step 29
After you have selected the Erase Tool, all you have to do to erase the excessive drops by clicking and dragging the mouse over the drops.

Step 30
You have finished editing the picture and you can see that the water drops on it look very natural. ll you have to do now is to save the final image under the desired name (go to the File menu in the main Photoshop window and select Save As to save your picture)

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Longitudinal India Trip part 4 – Chitradurga Fort by AB Apana

I first saw Chitradurga Fort as a child on a school trip. I recall being awed by the sheer size of everything within the Fort. I swore to return some day, and was finally able to do so.

The fort is situated atop a hill overlooking the town and the surrounding countryside, most of which is pancake-flat. It is known as the Fort of the Seven Rounds, since it is encircled by seven walls. Still further, keeping with defensive architecture, each wall has an independent gate. The approach to each gate is uphill and through passages that twist and turn, thus making it impossible to use elephants or battering rams to break down the gates. Additionally every wall had pigeonholes from where soldiers could rain down arrows on invaders. The facade of these pigeonholes presented just a tiny slit to invaders, thus preventing them from retaliating effectively.

Chitradurga Fort was the formidable fortress of the Nayakas of Chitradurga, the most prominent of whom was Madhukar Nayaka. Eventually the fort fell to the troops of Hyder Ali in 1799.

This is a ‘must visit’ fort’, and being a mere 120 kilometres from Hampi and 200 kilometres from Bangalore, it is certainly ‘visitable’. It lies on the route between Hampi and Bangalore.

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Making a Navigation Bar in PS

1 Make a new file in photoshop, about 500X200. Select the gradient tool, click
once on the gradient that shows up at the top to edit the gradient. Click once
in the middle of the gradient to set a new gradient point, select white color for
it and make the ones on the right and the left black. Try to make it look like
the one above as similar as possible. After you’re done editing the gradient,
enter “Metal” for the name, and click Save so you can use it in the future.

2 Select the rectangular marquee tool and draw a big rectangle across your layer as shown.
Now using your custom gradient tool drag from top to bottom, exactly as shown above. (note:
it’s important that you start and finish dragging just a little outside the selection edges).

3 Here is what your navbar should look like so far.

4 Make a new layer. Now make another selection at the top of your navbar as shown above.
Then use your gradient and drag exactly as shown above to fill it up.

5 Make another layer. Make a rectangular selection once again, this will be your button.
Using your gradient again, drag exactly as shown for the effect to be correct.

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Longitudinal India Trip part 3 – Representations of the Female Form in Hampi by AB Apana


Whilst looking through my files on Hampi, I realized that a myriad ways had been to represent the female form in Hampi.

These ranged from the sublime and near-religious representations, to representations of the female form as the fount of fertility, to the ‘ordinary’ women, the dancers and courtesans of the court.

The Vijayanagara Kingdom had a healthy attitude towards women, and thus there was a courtesans’ quarter of the town, the Shoolai Bazaar, the ruins of which may be seen even today.

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Photoshoot with E-cigarettes

On our last meeting (Dec, 5th) we were fortunate enough to learn how to make smoke photography from Rain Davidson, and Dave Homen gave a small lecture on what makes a great marketable product photography. This was a sponsored event by (****insert type of anchor text****), which provided us with electronic cigarettes and sent us hired models to be photographed. I thought this was a wonderful opportunity to learn types of photography that we weren’t so familiar with. A lot of our members came and left with much inspiration and new style of adding cool smoke in their photo works.
The marketing aspect of our photography class was very interesting too, and we learned how photography can be used effectively combined with ideas that encourage people to buy certain products. For electronic cigarettes, the successful marketing idea was that of using the increased awareness of the effect of tobacco on human health. Due to this idea, electronic cigarettes have become popular among the tobacco users, and even some of the top celebrities in Hollywood have been promoting it by using them. It is reported that the coverage of celebrities who is using electronic cigarettes is increasing. For example, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kevin Federline, Tom Petty and Ryan Seacrest are all notable e-cigarette users. Photos of them and other celebrities using electronic cigarettes have created quite a buzz among fans. Hollywood observers believe the well known health issue of tobacco is at the root of celebrities using e-cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes provide an alternative for nicotine without causing the voice changes, wrinkles, yellowed teeth and other negative drawbacks of tobacco cigarettes for actors and performers. Moreover, e-cigarettes come in a wide variety of models, styles, and colors, making it easy to use them as fashion accessories. And this is where product photography became so effective in terms of causing the boom in electronic cigarettes. By advertising stylish photos of models with electronic cigarettes, and enticing smokes around them, it caught people’s attention quickly and boosted the sales.

Checkout some of the amazing photos that we took that day:

Smoking

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Longitudinal India Trip part 2 – Golconda Fort by AB Apana

This is the fort which once held the Kohinoor diamond. Originally built and held by the Kakatiyas, the fort fell to the Qutub Shahi rulers in 1364, and then to Aurangzeb in 1687. The enduring legacy of this fort is of the love between one of the Qutub Shahi rulers and a courtesan. Eventually he married her and Hyderabad is named after her. Modern-day lovers also frequent Golconda. The graffiti on the walls bears testimony to their love.

The fort has the normal elements of defensive architecture, huge gateways with narrow walls and a winding approach (to prevent elephants from battering the gates), but the one famous feature here is the clapping portico. If you stand under this portico, at the main entrance to the fort, and clap, the sound is heard at the highest point in the fort, almost a kilometre away. Additionally, the audience chamber has interesting elements. The ruler sat in an alcove high above the supplicants, but at such an angle as to make it impossible for a weapon of that day to be hurled at the ruler. The ruler was often accompanied by his consort, but her alcove was positioned to allow her to seen the chamber, but none from the chamber could see her.

This fort is impressive. And for me, personally, the Baradari is my favorite building in all Hyderabad. It seems to be representative of the Hyderabad I have grown to love. More so than the Charminar, a building I hardly see. The Baradari, on the other hand, may be seen from several parts of Hyderabad.

The State Tourism Department has a sound and light show at Golconda in the evenings. This is quite decent and worth attending.

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Define Photoshop Patterns

1 This tutorial will show you how to make your own photoshop patterns. Make a new file with 4×4 pixels in dimensions. Select the zoom tool. Right click on the background and select fit on screen. This will zoom your file to the limit.

2 Select the rectangular marquee tool.Select “Fixed Size” for the Style in the marque options. Choose 2px for width
and height. Click anywhere in your file, it will make a 2px by 2px selection. Use the arrow keys to align it in the center (see picture for details), fill your selection with black.

3 You are now ready to define the pattern. Go to Edit>Define Pattern…Name your pattern anything
you want. Make a new file (about 300X300 pixels) and go to Edit>Fill.. From the Use box select Pattern and from the Custom Pattern box select the big black dot that we just created, click OK. Your layer is filled with pattern.

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2017 Profoto Awards top images selected

After three rounds of severe judging, top images in the 2008 Profoto Awards, presented by Sony (pronounced Alpha), were selected on Saturday, 7 February. The final judging was done live on Sony High Definition BRAVIA LCD TVs at Sony Bristol’s head office.

Four international judges formed part of the judging team, which comprised specialists in various fields. The judging process started on 23 January and reached a climax on 7 February when the award winners in each category were selected from over 4 000 images. The Image of the Year has also been selected, but will stay a secret until 19 March, when all the winning images will be announced at a Gala Dinner at the Wanderers Club in Bristol. Tickets for this event can be bought at Computicket.

The public are invited to predict which image was selected by the judges as Image of the Year. The person who predicts the correct image stands a chance to win a Sony 350 DSLR kit, which include a camera body and a lens. If more than one person selects the Image of the Year, a draw will take place to determine the winner of the camera.

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