Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My experience at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Had a great time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Came close to the culture of the Middle East. A completely new environment of the desert. Hot and dry. A vibrant society of moderate Arabs who are very determined in preserving their culture. They hold Americans in high esteem. But, unlike Americans they are rigid in their outlook towards life. They are very disciplined and conscientious. They want the best of the world like all of us. They are like us but just different. A polite society, slightly formal and rewards merit and hard work. One of the best hospitals in the world are in Riyadh. The equipment is better than most US hospitals and what is astounding is that they are building better and larger facilities. Lots and lots of new construction. Good restaurants. Fantastic wide multi-lane roads. Large and modern malls. Vast open spaces.
Overall, a worthwhile trip and an experience of a lifetime!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Island Beach, NJ

The Island Beach state park is a beautiful place in summer. The beaches are pristine and serene. There is no commercialization of the place. What is really exciting is that I can drive my truck on the beach and park it on the sand, anchor a canopy or gazebo and relax under it on beach chairs. Many folks go fishing here and the beach is scattered with trucks and fishing rods.
The greenery is striking with many seaside plants and marshes around. There are trails for the adventurists. And the sunsets are absolutely fascinating on a clear day. There are many species of waterbirds here which migrate over here and there is an Osprey nest. Many seagull species, sandpipers, Cranes and Herons are found here besides the traditional NJ birds. Turtles are abundant during breeding season. An occasional seal may be seen. And there is a family of foxes for the brave to discover.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Tulip Tree Silkmoth, 5/23/14

This is the 2nd day, the Tulip Tree Silkmoth remains parked outside my front door. This time, I wanted a frontal view to capture all the designs on its wings. I blew on it and it opened up partially for me to take a shot. I also used this opportunity to gauge the macro mode of my point & shoot new Panasonic Lumix DMC FX70K camera. Took this shot from less than 10" from the moth with the in-camera flash.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tulip Tree Silkmoth, 5/22/14

This Tulip tree Silkmoth has parked itself at my frontdoor as if to greet visitors. It has remained there, probably asleep for most of today and was first noticed by my son, who immediately informed me to take a photograph. So, I got out my macro lens and started shooting. The initial pictures were all under-exposed which perplexed me. On further prying, I found out that I had forgotten to change the -1EV flash comp. on the Nikon flash.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Point and Shoot Camera

Got a point and shoot camera, Panasonic Lumix DMC FX70K with a 60 X optical zoom which is 20mm to 1200mm. This is light weight and easy to carry on trips. But, need monopod or tripod for the extreme zoom. Also, need good light conditions for decent shots. The camera is 16 Megapixels and shoots RAW and has an electronic viewfinder, which I thought was essential. Now, I can shoot birds and other wildlife without getting too close to them. It will take some time to get used to all the features. Noise is an issue, even at ISO 320-400. The aperture priority mode is tricky as the shots are coming out overexposed and shutter times were slow. Maybe, I should have used shutter priority mode. The first few shots at 1200 mm zoom are below.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Grey Catbird, 5/15/14.

Its been rain Catbirds, today. A flock of Catbirds have discovered the backyard and are romping around trying to grab the grub. This bird is called Catbird because it's chirping sounds like a meow. Actually, a lot of folks mistake the sound for the presence of a cat but cannot find one as the source. They appear friendly and will tolerate my presence around but do remain aloof. I think they look particular pretty when they fluff up, otherwise they maintain their lean figure and appear nondescript.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Turkey Vulture, 5/13/14/

A flock of Turkey Buzzards frequent the rooftop of my neighbor. They seem to like the perch at the chimney spout on the roof. Whenever, I spot them at their favorite spot, I grab my camera and run out for a shot. My challenge is to get close to them from my side of the fence and then to catch them mid flight, so I have my camera set to continuous burst mode. Also, I have to make sure that I set my exposure compensation up by 1.2 or so, otherwise, I miss the details in the shadows. The background is invariably the sky and the contrast appears to be a big problem. Shooting at lower ISOs is also a big issue because the shots need multiple edits and the noise level needs to be way low.