Monday, August 31, 2015

EVERYDAY VIEW OF NEW YORK , TWEAKED.....


ASPIRATION
Morning sky @ Hackensack,
 juxtaposed with scenes from New York. 

Time to say 'good-bye' to the current phase of our stay in the USA. Our stays here have so far been underlined by  serious events. When we reached  here in 2010, soon after our elder son's marriage, father of our daughter-in-law expired. This time - it was just the opposite - we were here to witness arrival of our grand-daughter. A girl for the 1st time in our family's lineage after two generations.

IN THE SHADOWS
(Street scene ,Broadway)

We were mostly indoors during the first part of our stay. Going out was either for shopping or to  hospital. During the later phase of our stay, went around to various locations for photography, the last one being a night  through streets and avenues of New York. Here is a collection of  my photos tweaked by Photoshop.

TOWARDS THE LAST LAP
(Street scene ,Broadway)

It is difficult to photograph street scenes in night. From moving cars, hindered by traffic ahead. And... without tripod. And... when one section of the frame is very bright, the other is not. Another problem I faced was garbage on footpath and vehicles for their  removal parked here & there.  

 CITY REFLECTS....
View across Hudson river ,from North Bergen


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

MONOCHROME SKY , GREEN EARTH ........

@ POCONO  STATE PARK, PENNSYLVANIA 





 Earth covered with green grass, wild flowers blooming. 
Sky covered with slate-coloured cloud.

This park on top of Camelback Mountain, Pennsylvania is at about 1980 ft height. The view reminded me of Mahabaleshwar, though the height of this hill resort of India is more than twice that of Camelback mountain.


Sun-set's splendour we missed.
An orange glow lit up the gap between the mountain range and cloud.


The observation point offers nearly 300 degree view, with Rim road, clearing at the top,walk-arounds. The observation point is a good picnic spot too, which benches and tables placed  facing both the visible ranges of hills on western and eastern sides.

View of mountain ranges,  winding road at a distance and 
a few glimpse of the Water Park among the trees near by

 This 'Mountain Back' is about 1 hour 45 minutes drive from our residence @ Hackensack - 82 miles or 145 Km. We drove along I-80, sometimes quite free, clogged with traffic occasionally. Crossed Delaware water gap - difficult to photograph while the car was speeding .The road up the hill was winding, as expected. We had little traffic during our climb up. There were traces of rain during the evening and many car owners started descending one after the other.

 Cars descending the winding path 
as the evening cloud threatens shower.


An arch-shaped cross-over seen from I-80, 
captured @ 65 mph (and PSed !).



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD @ HACKENSACK ( NJ )




Sun rises above  eastern horizon while  neighbourhood at Passaic Street sleeps

View of south east horizon

View from our balcony here is awesome . Specially, when the sun rises in the morning. Again when the sun is near the western horizon , a part of Hackensack is sunlit, yet in the distant south-western horizon, the tall and very tall buildings are under part shadow, part lit-up.


 A closer view of our neighbourhood.
Greenery spreads  till the horizon.


Our block has Prospect Avenue in its front -cannot be viewed from  our balcony. What we find is a slice of Passaic Street and nice cottages along its eastern edge. Then lot of greenery till the eastern horizon. Not many buildings can be viewed surpassing the green canopy of trees.


  For a few minutes every clear evening, buildings acquire a blazing tint 

The western horizon is blocked by the neighbouring buildings. The south-western horizon has a completely different 'personality. Trees, buildings, cars running along Expressway 80 ( connects Hackensack to  George Washington Bridge ) . Still further away are the sky-scrappers of Manhattan.  Different at different hours of the day. Different under different conditions of the sky.


Manhattan as the sky pours over. 
Neighbouring buildings in RH side block the Western sky


Lighted buildings in the south western horizon 
on a clear evening/night is a view beyond description.
( Courtesy - Ruby Chatterji)

This sky-line looks so wonderful at night. Can be hardly captured in my DSLR camera, as we do not have a tripod here.Miss a  binocular very much.


Rain-soaked neighbourhood.Bad photograph- re-touched

Wonderful was the day (11th August) when it rained since morning.The sky was covered with thick cloud. Manhattan often invisible. The very 1st few photos were spoiled because I messed up the 'Focus'( AF) setting .

Neighbourhood under canopy of cloud.



Friday, July 24, 2015

A CAR-RIDE THROUGH HELSINKI

A GLIMPSE OF A SCANDINAVIAN CAPITAL - HELSINKI




Dome of Helsinki cathedral, designed by a German Architect, Carl Ludviq Engel.
Opened in 1852 AD. 
Belongs to Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral of the Diocese of Helsinki.

A family situation took my wife, Ruby Chatterji, and me to Helsinki in April,2015. We stayed in a sunlit suburb of  Helsinki . Bright , long days welcomed us . The neighbourhood was having small and large living quarters, roads and footpaths nearly empty. Trees  green with young leaves. Lots and lots of flowers - so very different from a typical Kolkata neighbourhood.

Memory of Finland's past . 
Kept at Helsinki's South harbour area

During the only weekend we had, when the sun was in the Western part of the horizon, we were taken around for a couple of hours, which include a stop at a strolling area around back-water of the sea. We  visited  Helsinki Cathedral and the drove past  Kauppatori - the market was closed at that hour,  Central Business district neighbouring Rauttatientori ( railway Station)  etc.

[ Note - Rautatientori (Rauta = Iron, Tie = Road, Tori = Market/Station. Literal meaning: Iron-Road-Station aka Railway Station )].

A street scene - 13/06/15. Helsinki

A not-so-large Helsinki 'eye'

Remarkable were the cobbled roads and trams. We may visit Helsinki once more during September-October,15 when I plan to enjoy couple of tram rides and at least one ferry ride. I feel attracted by cobbled roads of Europe.The one etched in my memory is a lane with cobbled surface of Geneva and photos of those of Vienna.


                            Looking forward to  a tram-ride along the cobbled roads of Helsinki !


                                                          & a walk along this cobbled road.


Here are some photographs Ruby and I took during the car-ride and the stop-over at the water-front. The day was so bright, people enjoying the scenery and the environment - words cannot capture the spirit.

Walk along (back)water-front of Helsinki.
Sibelius Park.



Summer bloom.
Flowers in bushes of neighbourhood of where we stayed in Helsinki.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

'OUTDOOR GALLERY' OF PAINTINGS OF SHEKHAWATI REGION OF RAJASTHAN

FROM MY RAJASTHAN VISIT DIARY - NOVEMBER,2014.


       Ladla Street , Manadwa

For a year or so, we were planning a trip to the Shekhawati region - to savour the display of paintings on buildings of this region - under current Jhunjhunu district. Mandawa and Nawalgarh were our choice for visit and photography. In the internet, what I found about Dr Ramnath Poddar Haveli Museum of Nawalgarh  impressed me a lot ! It was, however, built in 1920s, therefore, not old enough from my point of view. Later, during the visit,   we  found Goenka Haveli of Dundlod contain excellent examples of Shekhawati paintings .



 Adorned corridor, 
Dr Ramnath Poddar Haveli Museum of Nawalgarh  

Stylised painting of Krsna, Goenka Haveli, Dundlod.

Owners of the painted buildings  were mostly rich traders. 19th  and early-20th centuries saw proliferation of this practice numerous examples of which stand out to-day. As the owners have shifted out of Jhunjhunu district, building maintenance has become costlier by-the-day, many of the buildings lost the charming paintings on the external walls. I noticed that some owners raise  a portion of the expenditure for maintenance by selling tickets for viewing the courtyards and occasionally,  a specially painted room . Example - a room which has paintings done with gold. Owner of one building ( presently called 'Khemani House' - earlier owned by Laxmi Narayan Ladia)  at Mandawa allowed us to enter the inner courtyard and photograph the well-maintained paintings - but such welcomes are rare and not expected either ,specially if the 'haveli' is inhabited.

 Khemka's Haveli, Mandawa

Initially, I wanted to capture as many scenes from Ramayana , Mahabharata and Bhagavata Purana as possible. When in the location itself, I found many interesting subjects beyond traditional mythological scenes .

 Krsna & Radha in kite flying contest !
Dr Ramnath Poddar Haveli Museum of Nawalgarh  


 The Raghunatha temple in middle of Mandawa town has fine examples of paintings in Shekhawati style. This temple may not be very old  , but, a must-visit for those love paintings. Here. I shall add that quite a few hotels here - transformed from old havelis - have decorated both  the exterior and the interior  with paintings in Shekhawati style , thus adding colour to this town's ambiance.

 Vishnu & His Avataras. 
Raghunatha temple, Mandawa.

War scene from Ramayana .
Raghunatha temple, Mandawa.


Painting from Hotel Shekhawati , Mandawa.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

STUMBLES @ FAMOUS TEMPLE SITES, INDIA.

AS MURPHY'S LAW CATCHES UP WITH ME .....


Ranganayaki temple @ Belur. 
100th photo at this temple complex when 
battery of 1000D  rang the 1st alarm-bell !

Photography in India's temple sites has so many problems -  I recount here some of the problems I have come across personally . Trustees do not allow photography at several temples . Example - Jagganatha temple ,Puri, Lingaraj temple complex,Bhubaneshwar . The idols @ Srinathji temple , Nathadwara and Jagdish temple ,Udaipur  are so exquisite ! But, photography is strictly prohibited at Nathdwara . Deity's photograph at Jagdish temple also cannot be clicked. I visited Ranakpur 2nd time after 2009. The core area of Chaturmukha/Adinath temple is out-of-bounds for photographers, thus robbing the photographers from clicking  best of the wall-reliefs! in November,2014. Well - the Trustees here has not yet been as restrictive as those of Jain temple of Mount Abu. Such restrictions take away the joy of being among architectural wonder like Chaturmukha/Adinath temple or Lingaraj temple complex,Bhubaneshwar

  Rich engraving   on pillars - total 1444 nos* -
of Chaturmukha/Adinath temple, Ranakpur.
The double-line chord is there to restrict photographers ! 

@ Belur, Halebid and  Ranakpur , I have faced major glitches  To-day, I can look back with  some amusement  and a lot of regrets. I might have avoided these problems with better planning which have left big gaps in my collection of photographs. It may be interesting to write a few lines on each of the incidents  as a part of my travel diary .

Panel of Kedareshwar temple Halebid.
Last shot before battery of 1000D went  to sleep !

 Batteries of  my Canon 1000 D and Ruby's s3is almost simultaneously reached 'zero' level within 10 minutes   of  our reaching the temple site.Both the cameras faced 'Low Battery' situation with freshly charged ones - indicating  drained out batteries  s3is needed 4 pencil batteries which could be easily obtained  from a local shop just across the temple. But, Canon's LP-E5, that started malfunctioning after only 5000+ shots, continued to trouble me till I  could purchase a new battery at Mysore day after next , i.e, after we covered both Belur and Halebid.While at Belur, I managed  370 shots with 3/4 intermediate charging @ slightly far away Hotel room and from the temple-adjacent shop from where I purchased pencil batteries in the morning.

My sincere thanks to this shop-keeper 
( Opp. to Belur temple)

@ Halebid, I could manage 150 shots through 3 re-charges. Thank goodness - Canon s3is continued to function smoothly. So, we could leave with photos of all that caught our eyes.

But, at Ranakpur, both in 2009 and 2014, we were not so lucky. We reached Ranakpur after 4pm in 2009. By the time we booked our accommodation , bought tickets and entered the  Chaturmukha/ Adinath temple, it was 4.25 pm. We found out, after 5 pm, the authorities do not allow photography inside this temple ! Bad 'cops' were after my camera from 5.05pm - but a good 'cop' allowed me to click a few more photos till it was 5.15pm . Outside , in three other temples, we could continue till sunset, but, I still have regret for not having reached the location by 3 pm ! That was when I thought I should return here to click without tension.

From  Chaturmukha/Adinath temple 
- image-size only 1.03 MB !

This year in November,2014, we were @ Ranakpur again. Reaching there by  11 am to find we cannot take photographs inside the temple till 12 noon. So, we had an early lunch and covered the smaller temples After completing photography @  Suryanarayan temple, I realised  I had an incorrect camera setting.I corrected the same, shot some more  photos  ,but,  during the re-setting, mixed up the sizing. After reaching Jodhpur in the evening, I realised that the photo size selected was  'SMALL' !!

 This Bhairava-like deity'photo was taken 1n 2009. 
Would have loved to visit him in 2914 too !

My regret compounded when I realised  I completely missed one of the smaller temples - Parsvanath temple - which has exquisite examples of Hindu/Jain Iconography. This was covered no doubt  by Ruby, but not 100% .Some of the wall-reliefs I wanted to click were not there !

  Ravana emerging from Lanka  - 
painting @ Raghunatha temple, Mandawa. 
Needed heavy dose of PS to bring out clarity.

The last of the glitch was at Mandawa when , for no apparent reason,  stitch on left side shoulder  of my relatively new shirt, tailored by Raymond's gave away. The  stitch was repaired by a tailor opposite to Raghunatha temple.I stayed put in the car as I felt shy about walking around with a camera in a vest. Therefore, Ruby went ahead with her canon s3is  - but, later I found , the temple was adorned  with excellent paintings of stories from Ramayana & KrsnaLeela, but, lighting was poor. Canon 1000D was indeed needed.



* Note - Reference taken from : https://thatandthisinmumbai.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/the-jain-temples-of-rajasthan/.


Monday, December 1, 2014

WONDERFUL OSIAN - A MEMORABLE VISIT TO THIS TEMPLE VILLAGE

  AESTHETICS OF  OSIAN TEMPLES' ART !


View of cluster of temples  around SachchyiaMata temple.
History of these temples date back to 8th century AD.


 This cluster of temples welcomes visitors to Osian at its entrance.

 Idol of Sri Sri SachchiyaMata.
This temple was reconstructed during 12th century AD.

 I have read about  Osian temples being compared those of Khajuraho.  Did not find much details on similarity  though.  Our November,14 visit to Osian was indeed an eye-opener about the rich temple art here !  Structurally, Khajuraho and Bhubaneswar temples are much bigger - often  materials of study for students of  Hindu temple architecture. But, wall-reliefs and ornamentation of both Sachchiyamata complex and Jain temples' complexes  are aesthetically a class in themselves .The deities and the human figures are built delicately. Faces and physique, postures and expressions, ornaments and clothing, composites and symbols - everything measure upto a very high standard og artistry.

  In the three temples @ SachchiyaMata's temple's level, we have three manifestations 
of 'Varah Avatar' of Vishnu.  Here is one where Vishnu has four hands , 
Bhudevi resting on his left upper arm.

...... and here, subjugation of  the 'Nagas'.

Salutation of the 'Nagas' - 
inner roof of temple adjacent to that of SachchiyaMata.

The Sachchiyamata complex is built atop a small mound, with stairs running from the street level, with a break in between , where a few other small temples are located. At the top, idol of Sachchiyamata has been placed at the centre of a cluster of temples, with one temple attached with the central one having significant relief work on its roof. Two modest-sized temples are on Sachchiyamata's right and one more on the left . Photographers' delight - somewhat obstructed by deep blue-coloured fabricated barriers .

 Art of juxtaposition - 
Gods, beauties, sages and composite animals  placed  side-by-side.

 Siva-Shakti Iconography, the traditional rows of animals  and  imageries of flow of life
 have lost sharpness, thus a part of their appeal.

Closer observation will charm the visitors. We find Vishnu, his Avataras, Surya, Indra, beautiful women, sages with strange expressions and mythical animals in combat placed in deep-set alcoves. Each relief has mark of very matured and superior artistry. Faces, hair-style, dresses and poses speak high about the art of  Pratihara dynasty. Dr Asha Kalia , more than 30 years ago, wrote a book on Osian art - wish I had access to this book before my visit.

 Combat between composites & human beings adorn  the east-side wall of 
Lakshmi-Narayan temple, on LH of SachchiyaMata temple.

 Close-up of 'Slaying of  Hiranyakashipu' on the east-side wall of 
Lakshmi-Narayan temple, on LH of SachchiyaMata temple.

Two  temples @ lower level of SachchiyaMata complex. 
Well-known desert  beyond  green boundary of Osian village in far horizon.

My wife and I have captured in our camera  whatever appealed to our eyes aesthetically. For extensive details, please refer to Dr Asha Kalia's pages in the Internet, in case her book is not available in your neighbouring Library.