Sunday, April 19, 2020

Magic of music

We are going through difficult times and I thought I will share something different which can inspire you in a different direction

There is nothing like music which can change the mood of a person. You can be transformed from one mood to another just by listing to your favorite track. One such place you can find this plenty of is in Indian classical music be it Hindustani or Carnatic music. Both are based on ragas. While the implementation can vary, fundamentally at its core is ragas which are a melodic framework where certain notes or swaras are to be used while going up and coming down. These swaras with the way they are placed together can evoke emotion which is why the ragas have time of day when they should be played

Indian classical enjoyment certainly goes up when you do some active listing. Today I want to share one such case with you. If you already know theory of Indian classical you can skip this and directly go to the track but if not read on.

There are many beats system in Hindustani classical music tala (literally meaning clap) which are rhythmic beat that measure musical time. One of these is the teen tal. Check out a brief introduction below.

An artist may play a set song or may freelance depending on what they are playing. Let's layer the complexity on this, the artist has to adhere to rules of the raga and tala. If they are playing a set composition then the notes or words must end on a certain beat 'know as sum' and if they freelance in between, like a jazz musician, then they must do it within the constraint of the raga and tala and finish on the correct beat.

With me so far. Good, lets add a bit more complexity to this, a percussionist playing the tala  can change speed to twice the speed or four times the speed. This in Hindustani music is called dhrut. So a faster version of theen tal is dhrut teen tal. It sounds like this

The artist now performing may speed up with the beat and end at the right note or slowdown enough that the beats go by fast enough and they end on the right note creating a contrast between the two. All this while adhering the rules of the raga and if there is a song then within the rules of the song.

Now lets come to raga. I am sharing with you a performance of Rag Desh by Buddhadev Das Gupta - Lilting Melodies 

This has all the elements I just mentioned. This is an amazing rendition of Raga Des. This raga is an uplifting raga which is true for this track as well. If you have great speakers or headphones then listen to this on that. The song is like walking down mountains where there is light rain. It starts off slow and as we start following the trail of water coming together which leads you to a small stream which is when the beat starts.

Then as you follow the trail of the stream it slowly picks up speed to a point where it joins a river and then the river becomes faster with many rapids and finally ending a beautiful waterfall.

Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta was a real jewel of Indian classical music. You can read about him here

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Some Photos during Lock down

It's been a while since I picked up the camera and this lockdown gave me a great opportunity to pick up the camera and create some images. It's a good exercise to keep the mind sharp and skills refined. I am also trying a few things in terms of techniques. Here are some images I made recently

These flowers were looking very beautiful and I wanted to create a nice soft image so I pulled out my macro lens and got really close so as to create this dream image

Shooting details ƒ/4.5 Lens 105.0 mm Shutter speed 1/100  ISO 200

The actual size of the flow is actually really small about 2 millimeters in size. See image below get some idea about the size.


To add a bit of punch to the image I added a flash to the camera right and put a small diffuser on top of it and added a shoot-through reflector at the camera right. At a shutter speed of 1/100, the ambient light was completely cut out. I varied the flash intensity from 1/128 power to 1/32 depending on how much the aperture was open.

You can find the rest of my images on my flick stream here.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Photos from a recent photos shoot

Recently I was on did a portrait session. The session started off with some simple headshots for the client. One beauty dish on camera left with the strobe at half power. The beauty dish is just of the frame on the camera left


Following this, we did some outdoor shooting before heading back into the studio. I stuck with the same beauty dish this time with casual clothing just moved the light closer to the wall. Below is one image where I made the image by firing the strobe. But it was hurting for the eyes for the client I shot mostly shot using the modeling light, instead of the strobe.
One Light portrait
Beauty dish one light setup

The last setup was even more dramatic one light coming from a 5ft umbrella fired straight at the face at 1/4th power. This produced nice soft light but her hair was blending into the background. 

Dramatic Lighting Portrait
One Flash firing through 5ft umbrella
To overcome this I added a second light at the same power with a really small light modifier about a rectangle lunch box size and moved it behind her to light up the hair to get some separation

That helped produced the below image

Two light setup. Second light to light up the hair to bring separation

Played with dramatic lighting. Share your thoughts on what has been your experience playing with different lights