Sunday, June 17, 2018

Cross-post from 500px #15 | Hands-on with the Raynox DCR-250 Snap-on Macro Lens

Finally I made a decision and decided to get a Raynox DCR-250 to satiate my desires to explore macro photography. I had been eyeing on this snap-on lens for about 5 years now, and clearly knew what to expect. The results are not at all disappointing, and to me this lens is the best equipment to start learning to shoot macro. Here are a few samples, cross-posted from 500px.

Macro photography is indeed tricky and requires patience, depending on what equipment you use. At the same time, it is quite tiring too. I think I need stronger knees, back and elbows. :)

Camera Shy by Vivek Pandey on

Morning Dew by Vivek Pandey on

The lone Ant by Vivek Pandey on

Planning for breakfast by Vivek Pandey on

Posing for the camera by Vivek Pandey on

Hanging in there by Vivek Pandey on

Side Eyeing Cricket by Vivek Pandey on

Monday, April 23, 2018

Cross-post from Instagram #2 | Various

And while the 2018 is slipping by fast, this is a mixed post from Instagram. Since January I've hardly been staying home, and there's suitcase with half of my stuff packed in there all the time. And with all that travel, here are a collection of sights that I saw through my eyes (with some filters added). 

And yes, a cross-post from 500px will follow soon!

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Cross-post from 500px #14 | Cross-post from Instagram #1 | Egypt

Back in 2012, the Egyptian section of the Louvre Museum had overwhelmed us. It felt as if almost whole of ancient Egypt had been brought over to Paris, and perhaps there wasn't much stuff left back in the country. But then, we were proved wrong. Egypt has a lot to offer, even if you have seen much in museums across the world.

Here are my top 5 conclusions after visiting this magnificent country:
  • Egypt is not only about Pyramids, Tombs, Pharaohs and the mummies. There are several other things to do, see and experience. 

  • There is no bounds to variety in food. And this is irrespective of what your dietary choices are.

  • Feluccas are the quietest boats I've ever been on. Highly recommended in the not so crowded sections of the Nile.

  • For an Indian traveler, Egypt being referred to as 'hassle capital of the world' is probably an exaggeration. We Indians excel in dodging touts and souvenir sellers.

  • Bollywood has quite some fan following among Egyptians. As an Indian, you would be dragged into conversations about Amitabh Bachhan, Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone.
It will probably take us one more trip to explore Sinai and a few oases on the west that we could not cover this time. Meanwhile here is a series of pictures from a recent trip to two cities of Egypt - Cairo and Luxor, cross-posted from 500px and Instagram.

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The Desert of Giza by Vivek Pandey on 500px.comRamses and the sky by Vivek Pandey on 500px.comAli, the Felucca boatman by Vivek Pandey on 500px.comSightings in Cairo by Vivek Pandey on 500px.comSunset in Luxor by Vivek Pandey on
Pyramids, Camels and the birds by Vivek Pandey on
Cairo by Vivek Pandey on
Cairo by Vivek Pandey on

Monday, January 01, 2018

Year end post

So here is the regular 'Year end post'. I have been drafting this since the beginning of December 2017, and the post will seem like a patchwork. But I think that is okay. All that matters is an update. Right?

2017 like every other year, just flew by. But the year was spent pretty well and I have no complaints over how it passed. Here are the top 10 highlights of this year, not necessarily in order:

  • Visited a one-of-its-kind medical museum at the Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok. Stood in the midst of hundreds of real anatomical specimens of the human body. An existential crisis followed thereafter.
  • Traveled to North Korea. Met the Indian Ambassador in Pyongyang under very strange circumstances. Did an AMA with Reddit India, and a short interview with News World India.
  • Discovered Kannur as an awesome beach holiday destination. Drove at the longest drive-in beach of Asia - the Muzhappilangad Beach. Overall, Kannur turned out to be a very pleasant surprise.
  • Lost a phone and switched across three smartphones in the same year.
  • Posted two short stories on Reddit. Two more drafted and shelved them to complete later.
  • Explored the rural Goan villages in an offbeat yet a cliche trip to Goa.
  • Took up a part time course in Business Management. The campus visit reminded of the college days, albeit most of the fellow students just like me were fat, balding and had smartphones to peep into all the time.
  • Visited Banaras after 17 years and witnessed the Ramlila being inaugurated by the current Maharaja of Kashi, from barely a few meters away.
  • Continued with my 1SecondEveryday Project this year too. I had only 6 misses in 365 days. Quite impressive, I must pat my back. :)
  • Did some touristy stuff in Egypt. Climbed inside the Pyramid of Giza. Saw the king Tut-Ankh-Amun resting in his tomb KV62. Roamed around in Luxor all day wearing a Jellabiya and took pride in the fake praise by the vendors and shopkeepers that I look like an Egyptian. A cross-post will follow soon on this beautiful country.

With so much that happened in the previous year, I just wish that the new year gets equally or more eventful. And yes, just like every other year I hope that some of those unfinished projects will see light of the day this year.

To end this post, here is a music video that has been running across our playlists very frequently, influenced by the recent travel to Egypt.

Lets begin 2018 with Boshret Kheir!

Sunday, November 05, 2017

My Mobile Phone History (2002 - 2017)

Last year when I switched to a new phone, I drafted a blog post with a collage of all the devices that I have used ever since I started using mobile phones. Unfortunately that draft post remained to be draft while I switched across four other handsets between then and now.

Here is that update image of my 15 years with phones. As you can see, it blatantly depicts how fickle I am towards the phones that I own. 

This post is simply for record keeping. I will post an update in the year 2020 to see how far have we gone from here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Cross-post from 500px #13 | Banaras/Varanasi/Kashi

My last visit to Banaras before this year was 17 years back. And in these 17 years, this city has not changed its soul. Banaras is still quite 'Banarasi'. People still go for a daily bath in the Ganges. 'Temple hopping' is still regular among locals. And the 'Ganga Jal' is still revered. People glued to their smart phones is still not a very common sight. And chewing paan is still in the culture.

Here are some captures from this vibrant city, cross posted from 500px. If you are travelling to this city for the first time or after a very very long gap, please factor in two days to level your mind and body with the eventfulness of this place.

Sightings at the ghats of Ganges by Vivek Pandey on

The Ramleela fair visitors by Vivek Pandey on

Sightings at the ghats of Ganges by Vivek Pandey on

The Ganga Aarti by Vivek Pandey on

Sightings at the ghats of Varanasi by Vivek Pandey on

Sightings at the ghats of Ganges by Vivek Pandey on

Steps to Ganges by Vivek Pandey on

Sightings at the banks of Ganges by Vivek Pandey on

Friday, October 20, 2017


This post is after a very long gap. And the sole purpose of this post is to keep the blog active. There is no significant news to share or a topic to rant about. The idea is just to post something.

6 months after that eventful trip to North Korea, nothing much has changed. The DPRK effect has reeled down. Just like how the intensity of nuclear radiation decreases as time moves on. But the impact of the exposure lasts for a lifetime.

Meanwhile there are several other thoughts that crop up in the mind. The ones that you think about once you are at the relative apex of the Maslow's hierarchy. Why are we living? What is good and what is bad? What is moral and what is immoral? How does all of this matter? What are we going to do by 'preserving culture'? How is religion helping anyway? These questions keep popping up, and at a point they start seeming nonsensical. Funny at times too.

Shyamakshi as well as colleagues at work have been troubled often with these questions at the lunch table - myself to be blamed. Some of them are smart enough to simply listen and keep quiet. Some of them agree, and add their questions to this list. And there are a few who make an attempt to explain the answers. According to them, their answers are correct. But then, the definition of correct and incorrect is also man-made, right? So then, how do we decide without a bias?

Maybe the idea is not to decide. The idea is just to live. And explore life. And be happy. It does not matter if we know answers to these questions. And it will not matter even if we do. Unfortunately the elements/entities/folks who made us did not provide us a flowchart to live our life. The one that can provide a path for each and every possible combination of decisions in life. The humans went live without supplementary documentation. That is why the world is a combination of happy-unhappy-satisfied-unsatisfied people. Maybe that was the intent.

I recently bumped across this video. It has made an attempt to 'answer' my questions quite well. 'Optimistic Nihilism', as it terms the idea - quite resonates with the way I look at life.

Keynes said once - "In the long term we are all dead". A bitter truth but quite profound. It does not matter if we win or lose. If we pass or fail. If we are right or wrong - or any of those man-made political/social/economical opposites. Sometimes it is just fine to be ignorant and keep happily floating.

Not just sometimes - almost all the time.