Friday, March 31, 2006,7:46 PM
DARTER - Snake Bird - an update
This is an update of an old post with fresh pictures.

Snake bird because the neck looks like a snake. Darter because it flies very very fast and swims as fast, Can be called a water bird. Body is submerged but neck sticks out of water.

Zoom it goes. Fish eater. You see only the neck darting towards you, ploonk the head goes in, catches a fish and plink plink it flies off very fast. don't know anything else about it. Please add information and correct me if I am wrong. Please click to enlarge, you don't see much in a small picture.

Nancy has contributed the following details Water bird of genus Anhinga, related to the cormorant and pelican, forming the family Anhingidae, order Pelecaniformes. They swim in lakes, rivers, or seas with only the head on the long neck showing above water, moving sinuously, then darting forward to seize a fish, the neck vertebrae being specially adapted for flexibility. The snakebirds are widely distributed throughout Central and South America, South Asia, and Australia, and vary little in colour.

The following information is furnished by ezee123 thank you so much and thank you Nancy.

The most distracting behaviour of the Darter bird is the drop dead behaviour. you will normally see it on high perches and if it gets surprised by anything the automatic response is to drop straight down, even through branches of the tree, to the water as if dead. You would be puzzled by this and presume that the poor bird has met the Maker.

These two pictures were taken in Ranganathittu, and rest of the pictures were taken in Kumarakom, my friend Sallu was kind enough to take me there, actually he insisted that I visit Kumarakom, and the ride was really rewarding. Thanks you so much Sallu.

Look at that, sheer beauty and elegance
I updated the post with new pictures, the older post pictures were taken from a distance. Now with Panasonic Lumix, I could go closer with a 35-420mm Leica zoom, Hi Thanks Cherian, I have written about the camera in a previous post 'New Camera'
Daylight Again
Sunday, March 26, 2006,10:19 PM
For Sangita

Sangita, I am sorry I took time, I had transfered the pictures to a CD and misplaced it. Goofs like always, and I don't have much information on them too, here are some more pictures of whistling birds or ducks
Daylight Again
,9:54 PM
Whistling Ducks

Whistling ducks are not ducks, they are birds, you can call them whistling birds, yes they do make whistling sound, They are not birds because they don't perch on tree branches, they are ducks because they are always in water, marshy lands. They fly higher than ducks and their feet are streched in flight, where as ducks fly a short distance not too high but their feet remain where they are, I mean not streched in flight.

What what ?? confusing ? They are ducks but they are not ducks they are birds but they are not birds. Something must be seriously wrong with me. I don't know anything else. Please tell me if you know something more.

Daylight Again
Tuesday, March 21, 2006,6:23 PM

Friends and their friends bring their cameras to me for repairs, I try to direct them to the camera service people. but no, they want me to take their cameras personally and get it repaired for them. The most common problem I had to deal with in the digital cameras is the CCD (charged coupled device, please correct me) Once its gone you have to either junk it or spend a fortune to get the CCD replaced, I always advise them to junk it as you can buy a new camera for the cost of the repair. Been thinking for a while. A Digital camera should be nothing more than a handycam, why is it so expensive ? All digital cameras offer a movie mode, easy to shoot which serious photographers rarely use. Why do they offer it? They offer this feature because a digital camera is primarily a handycam. I realised that the film camera makers who jumped into digital are taking us for a ride. They have a psychological advantage as we would trust only them, we have been using their brand of film cameras for ages. Digital SLRs use bigger and superior processors which can handle low light without grains, so do these handycams. You can buy two good laptops for the price of a Digital SLR body without lens. The additional lenses cost a mighty fortune. These digital SLRs are the biggest rip off. Believe me it is not wise to invest in the cameras which you cannot trust. Unlike the film cameras, anything can go wrong with a digital anytime without any reason. It will be a stab in your heart. Your pictures are not safe until you transfer them.

All these pictures were taken with Panasonic LUMIX DMC FZ30 with 3MP setting and lowest quality

CCD, the Processor and the autofocus technology. I thought I should check the people who have been in this business for donkey's years, SONY and PANASONIC, a serious photographer will have doubts about them as they did not make any film cameras.( Not to my Knowledge) One Model caught my fancy, Panasonic 8 MP, LUMIX DMC-FZ30, sounds very complicated, read the review, This camera has low light handling problem, still I decided to go for it as It was affordable. The most attractive feature which is not offered by any other similar 8MP digital was a 35- 420mm Leica zoom. I can't miss this, I told my friend Cherian to buy this camera for me.

Cherian, Reeni and their brilliant little son Sam are in Chicago. He is a software masala brain lots of bulbs glowing inside his head. Cherian is always too glad to contribute to my photography, wasted no time, bought the camera immediately from Butterfly Cameras, found a gentleman who was going to India, Within a few days the camera was in my hands. Cherian can pack Mount McKinley neatly in a box and send it to me. I had to go to Kottayam to collect it and in the process I met a very sweet family, Cherian's friend Sallu. Every thing was perfect, the camera was a joy. The padding material Cherian used for the safety of the camera was a beautiful shirt for me. Smart man he is. I had to test the camera, I wanted to go to Thekkady, but Sallu insisted on taking me to Kumarakom, close to Kottayam, It turned out to be a treat, the whole day was like a dream, meeting a sweet family getting a new wonderful camera and Kumarakom. I had to spend a lot of time to understand my earlier digital cameras. With Panasonic LUMIX all controls are so easy that I did not even touch the manual. All I had to do was to choose the quality of the image from the menu. I chose the lowest to accomodate more pictures in the card. Along with the joy of having 420mm Leica zoom, the other feature which works wonders is the image stabliser. These are some of the test pictures I shot in kumarakom.Thanks so much Cherian and Thank you Sallu for taking me there.

I was nearly 40 feet away in a boat which was rocking. Here the image stabliser helped me. I can't jump and take pictures, (Not in a boat) the stabliser has limitations.

Daylight Again
Monday, March 13, 2006,2:17 AM

OOOWAA, spoonbill ? does the bill look like a spoon ? Looks like a spatula I think. Clak Clak !! Stays mostly close to shallow water Big fellow, may not be as big as painted or openbill stork. Don't know anything else. Please click to enlarge, see the texture on the bill.

Like painted and openbill storks they too are not very good architects. Pretty shabby their nests are. they lay 4 to 5 dull white eggs. Thats all I know.

Nancy has dug up some information.
They use their spooned beak by weaving or waving from side to side through the water. Sensitive nerve endings allow the bird to feel when the beak comes in contact with food and it shuts its strainer. They munch on small fish, shellfish, insects, and shrimp and other amphipods..

When flying in flocks, the birds generally form a diagonal line. The head and neck are always outstretched. The wing beat is slow and long. They have been known to feed in both salt and fresh water. Here they are predominantly white, in florida they are pinkish. The bill is highly textured and artistic.
Thank you Nancy.

What a cheap camera you got there !
This is what I can afford Sorry spoonbilly, I said
I am not very happy with your finance minister, I don't like the budget this year, and why George Cloony ? I look more handsome.
I know I know
Sorry again spoonbilly don't know much about finances. I'll ask the Oscar committee and tell you.
Can I have your profile please ?
Click click click ....

Thank you spoonbilly
Just thank you ? Throw me a fish you idiot.
EEEEEEEE ! can't take chances spoonbilly, just saw a crocodile, I don't want to end up as his breakfast.
Do you know how much these fashion models charge for a picture ? and you can't even get me one lousy fish ? How unfair !
I know you are more handsome and elegant than a fashion model spoonbilly, sorry got to go, byeee see you next year.
Daylight Again
Saturday, March 04, 2006,6:21 PM

THEYYAM can be performed on any subject, social or religious, Here a page out of Ramayana is performed. On that day it was Hanuman. For some reason THEYYAM is performed only in and around Malabar Dist. It is quite different from Kathakali. The atmosphere is electric, draws large crowd from the neighbouring areas. Its a night long performancees of different characters.
Lot of fireplay is involved., it continues through the day, I don't have much information please contribute if you have any details on the subject. I have deleted a few posts and pictures as the page developed some problems, please view all the pictures in my album at Photobucket

Daylight Again
,6:29 AM

My friend Benoi on the far right first informed me about the THEYYAM, Change of plans, I was in Coorg, Dashed in to a bus to Taliserry reached there pretty late in the night, We went stright to the temple.
It was my lucky day as I came to know one of the sweetest of families I have ever known in Kerala, Mr. Sahadevan his brother in law Mr. Sudhakaran and family. They made my stay so comfortable that I felt I was not far away from home. This is the house, Benoi and I stayed on the top floor, a traditional kerala style., they have a very beautiful garden, Thank you for making me feel at home. And thank you Benoi for giving me this memorable oppertunity. I am very sorry for the delay in posting the pictures.

We had puttu and kadalai for breakfast, The brown is wheat puttu and the white one is rice puttu. It is used to be steam cooked in bamboo, now you have puttu cookers. Extremely delicious. thank you thank you all.

The rest is what I had on the way, a typical rice meal, Hot boiled red rice, more kolumbu, sambaar poriyal, jaggery payasam applam and curd. In kerala you get warm jeeraga vallam every where, I ask for it always. jeeraga vallam is water boiled with zeera, or jeera, cumin seeds ? please correct me. It will be yellowish in colour, now you get a glass of jeeraga vallam in fancy pink.

This is Adai , a kerala delicacy, sweet, steam cooked or baked in banana leaves ? don know I know how to eat. Don't eat the banana leaf, coconut banana and some dhal inside its very very yummmy, you will not stop with one. No oil, perfect.

This is pzham pori, I keep eating this all the time, fried banana, some times when you are lucky you may find stuffed pazham pori with coconut jaggery. pretty oily but very very tempting. You can't resist.
Daylight Again
,6:10 AM
THEYYAM - Morning

This too is from Ramayana, Sita and her two children, for pictures of Ravana and rest of the Theyyam pictures are in Photobucket

Friday, March 03, 2006,8:03 AM
They are me, I am them

This is roughly India for you, I am not trying to scare you off, We survive here and I love it. I am enjoying every bit of my life here, being one of them.

Please read my very first post
in Daylight Again

Wednesday, March 01, 2006,4:14 AM
Monitor Settings.
Have you ever asked yourself why colours fade when exposed to light ? They should not, but they do. Not every thing is good about the nature. We need a roof, and we protect our body from extreme cold heat and bright light. We don't see very saturated colours in very bright sunlight. The colours are there always, but our eye does not see the saturation. The moment we wear dark glasses all the colours look saturated.
Why do we wear dark glasses ?
To reduce the light reaching and hurting our eyes.
Why does it hurt ?
The pupil contracts to the minimum and can't close any further.
The sky is uniformly blue all over, north to south pole. You see saturated blue sky when the sun is behind you. As you turn towards the sun it turns white. It is blue all over but our eyes can't see it and it is more saturated than what we see.

There are certain filters called polarisers, and neutral density which photographers and cinematographers use to cut the light. These filters come in different shades of grey like ND1 ND2 ND3 ND4. You are actually making the camera wear dark glasses to get the saturation. Polariser when rotated cuts the reflection on the non metallic objects and brings out the saturation. Flowers look more saturated under cloudy sky, and polorizers are not very effective under cloudy conditions, actually you don't need them.

It is the ultra violet radiation which causes all the damage and makes the plain photo grey glasses turn dark. Such neutral density screens are available for computer monitors as well to reduce the radiation reaching the body. Believe me it is harmful, the worst being loss of hair. The pupils in our eyes are continuously under strain, it is more harmful to the eyes when the room is dark. The surrounding area should be at least half as bright as the monitor. But you don't need the ND screen if you can reduce the brightness of the monitor to minimum until the edges of the monitor just turn black. Its pretty tricky as the present day normal monitors don't handle finer shades of grey like the digital cameras as against the film. Very expensive monitors and digital cameras handle light shade ratio well, they come very close to film. Its a big subject I'll deal with it later. You always enjoy watching a movie in a theatre. Most of the soap operas on TV are uniformly lit as the TV cannot handle very low light. You'd enjoy serials like x-files more on the theatre screen if shot on film.

The clock on this page was white, I changed it to black for easy calibration. If the dial is grey, your monitor is too bright, it is harmful for your eyes. and you lose the saturation of colours. The fonts I use on my post are grey. All for a reason. As white against black would hurt your eyes. At the top you can see the 8Pennylane picture, which will give you shades of grey.

Please close your eyes for a couple of minutes every half hour. Eyes relax when the pupil is fully dialated. In the nights please switch on the lights a couple of minutes before you boot the computer.
Daylight Again