Friday, May 25, 2012

Two films about photography and photographers

The Strange Case of Angelica (2010)

When I was in my teens, and at a romantically impressionable age, one time, I went to flea market that sells books of all kinds. It was ofcourse far away and I had to take a bus. I have always loved Russian literature, probably more than anything other, for some reason that is elusive to myself even today. So once there at the market I found a book by Alexander Pushkin. I did read Pushkin before, but not this one. It was a collection of stories I never read. The book itself was very beautiful, bound in red colored faux leather and was engraved with golden leaves. I might still have it on my attic. Have to see. So the book had a story 'Queen of Spades'. Its the story of a German named Herman  and how his obsession to gambling relegates his life into a strange predicament. I might have read the story a thousand times, may be even more. That story ultimately lead me on a introspective meandering as to what an obsession can make a person do and the things that he is normally not capable of. 

Recently when I was seeing The Strange Case of Angelica, I experienced the same undercurrent of macabre, strangeness and veiled horror. It is directed by Manoel De Oliveira, who is a kind of very niche, avant garde film artist. The film actually has the pace of a book and the characters gradually become a part of the story which is for a change relaxing than the regular hollywood fare. Personally I could draw a lot of parallels between the Countess and Angelica, how they are related is beyond my understanding, but somehow they feel the same. 

Btw I couldnt really make out what camera was being used by the protagonist. It looked mostly like a Leica, may be an M6 or M7

If you are looking for a silent sleeper film with veiled horror and sudden jolts then probably this film will appeal to you. Make sure you watch it without any expectations, only then you can understand the fine nuances of the film. And remember 'Herman is a German, that is all'.

The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

To begin with, I did not read the book but I have always been a great fan of Clint Eastwood. I heard about the movie a long time back but couldn't get the opportunity to see it until recently. I personally have a fond preference for movies that were made from novels - Seven Years in Tibet, A River Runs Through it,  Out of Africa, The Horse Whisperer. 

Nikon film SLRs are exclusively featured in the movie. So no prizes for guessing. Its actually a bunch of two or more cameras of I am not wrong. Ofcourse all of them Nikon.  

Excepting the story (which is excellent ofcourse), the performances, music, locales and especially the dialogues make this movie a very memorable one.  Two strangers are thrown together with a twist of fate and neither of them can come out with anything better than to ultimately part.  Francesca is tied to her commitments as a family woman and Robert kincaid is  a wandering nomadic photographer. Would their pair work?. Who knew may be, if they had run off, forgetting and leaving everything behind, but she bows to her situation and thereby ending what could have been a long overdue and interesting journey. 

As an amateur myself, I wonder sometimes, if I will one day leave everything behind, pack my cameras and run off to some place, to find a beautiful and fascinating medley of stories, some where, far far away,  in some strange no name country.  

--Viisshnu Vardhan---

Some pictures with the Minolta 28mm f2.8 Lens

Yesterday, I happened to try out the Minolta 28mm f.28 at the Chimalgi store in Jubilee Hills. Here are some pictures from the lens, shot on a Sony a200 DSLR. The build quality of the lens is very good and ofcourse it doesnt have a aperture ring. You can set the aperture from your DSLR however. The colors from the lens are not the most vivid, but they shall do. Its a good lens for portraits, candids and street too. I found its also not the sharpest compared to the beer can but ofcourse that costs twice as much. Remember this is shot on a APS-C sensor camera which has cropped FOV and is not full frame like a 35mm Film camera, the 28mm is really 42mm. 28mm is near to the focal length of what the human eye sees on everyday basis.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Photowalk # 83 - Team HWS with INTACH Heritage Photowalk, Darul-Shifa to Daira-Mir-Momin

(Photowalk # 83 - Team HWS with INTACH Heritage Photowalk, Darul-Shifa to Daira-Mir-Momin  Group Shot)

The 83rd photowalk is a unique one. This time photogs of HWS put their self indulgences aside to document the old city's architectural treasures that will soon be wiped off due the imminent Metro Rail Project. Call it the cost of urbanization. Inspite of the blazing sun the turnout was considerable. Here are some shots from the walk. The event was hosted by Culture and heritage protection agency  INTACH.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Minolta Beercan 70-210 Review

Minolta AF 70-210mm f/4 lens
(image courtesy Wikipedia)

Much has been said and written about the Minolta beercan lens 70-210, but nothing about it is undeserved. It deserves all that praise. Coming from a company like Minolta, this masterpiece of a lens surely has stood its ground since it was introduced in 1985. Recently with some research I came to know there was one for sale from a local guy. I went to visit him and checkout the lens. When I was holding it it was so heavy owing to its all metal construction. You can easily smash somebody's head with it (only in your self defence ofcourse). Here are some pictures shot with the Beercan and a Sony A-200 DSLR :

There is a story to this last picture actually. That's a toy dinner/drinking table made of brass and was under the glass top of the teapoy. I was holding my camera with the beercan lens and was talking to the guy sitting across me and my eyes were drawn to this object. I have to add the only lighting in the room was from a tube light. I myself could not even look at the fine lines of this small toy brass dinner table properly. When I took the the shot I couldnt even make out the object properly but the lens clearly captured it. There at that instant my mind was really blown. I understood something important too. Its not the camera, but the lens that makes the pictures and its importance can never be undermined. All hail Minolta, all hail the beercan. Lets drink to that. Cheers.


Water Fountain at the BHEL Community Center