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One of us #67 - nandbytes

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    Posted: 18 May 2020 at 22:28
One of Us #67: nandbytes



Dyxum member nandbytes writes...

It is truly a privilege and an honour to be writing this. When Mike asked me to write, it really made my entire month! I was rather thrilled, so much so I instantly started thinking about everything I wanted to tell you good folks even before accepting the invitation.

I do not have a long illustrious history with photography or life let alone with Sony/Minolta. To follow the list of people on “OoU”, let alone match their experience, eye or skills is an impossible task. So I will fill my post with jokes and hope no one notices.

Here’s the place where I tell you all about myself but I won’t. You’ll have to read all the way to the end to find out about me. You’ll also see never before seen pictures if you get to the end (don’t cheat ). Building up the suspense and all that…

I was born in Bangalore, India to parents who were still completing their post-graduation. My dad was in the army prior to that and apart from fighting in a couple wars, he’d also saved a little to afford a Yashica FX-3 Super with a 50mm f2 prime. This was my first camera. After shooting my childhood my dad didn’t use the SLR much (long story!). I took it upon myself to use it on our family holidays and I was only ever allowed one 35mm reel per holiday. I really did enjoy it even though it was all mostly trial and error with a lot of wasted film. Only a few shots were somewhat properly exposed and/or in focus.
Fast forward to my when my twin brothers were born (I was 14 at the time) my dad once again purchased a camera to photograph them. It was a canon powershot with 3.3mp. I was truly amazed (“what do you mean I can instantly see my shots and take more than 35 of them!?” This was trickery!!!). Once again I took it upon myself to take pictures mostly of my brothers’ childhood and my family.
#0 - One of my favourites (it is not perfect by any means but I like it)


In between my 1st and 2nd year at University I got a chance to travel to Egypt for an internship. I was 18 at the time. Being a student with no money and too lazy to find a real job (i.e. one that pays a decent fair wage) I asked my dad for a camera. He bought me an 8mp Nikon coolpix P&S. It took AA batteries which was a major plus point in my books. I didn’t really have much say in the matter (not that I knew any better anyway). The budget kind of dictated the purchase.
#1 - An obligatory picture from Egypt (at least the one that’s somewhat presentable )


#2 - Then I graduated from here in 2011 (and I mean literally! They handed me my degree in that building) - by which time camera phones had gotten a lot better and usable (taken with my first smartphone)


I found a job, saved some money and decided to take a trip to Japan with a few friends in the summer of 2013. I still had the Nikon P&S. I did not enjoy shooting with it, saw all its flaws and was very disappointed with myself for not planning better for taking half-decent photographs (it wasn’t much better than my smart phone!). I came back promising myself never to be in that position again.
#3 - Kinkakuji, Kyoyo. An obligatory picture from Japan


From the pictures thus far you are probably thinking someone made a mistake inviting me on to “OoU” and you wouldn’t be too wrong . I was born and brought up in India for the first half of my life (thus far). I did win a few art competitions (and one at all India level) long back. This is where my fascination with pictures comes from. I like to think I not am completely devoid of an artist bone in my body. Then again who knows…. you be the judge

Anyway back from Japan, I was working at “Which?” Magazine (the largest subscription magazine in the UK that provides unbiased reviews on various consumer goods among various other services). Being an employee, I got all those for free. I read some reviews on DSLRs and I liked the idea of the EVF (nowadays I consider myself an EVF “fanboi”). I picked up the Sony A57+18-55mm kit and a sigma 18-250mm lens a week later. Then like a true customary DSLR owner who is greatly unskilled I kept it in my cupboard. I mean I had bought a DSLR right, what more did one expect? My pictures next time would obviously be better and maybe even come out like <insert you favourite photographer here>.
Till a month later I came across Fabio sorting out his Flickr (a colleague of mine who took beautiful pictures with his Nikon D3200).
I found out Fabio owned a prime lens (so I bought the DT 35mm f1.8) and that he also had a telephoto (so I bought a Minolta 70-210mm). I found out he really wanted an UWA (so I bought the tokina 11-16mm). At which point I was already addicted to gear and doomed to spending all my money on it. For good measure I also picked up a Sony 16-50mm/2.8 and 16-80mm f3.5-4.5. Now my pictures should have been at least as good as Fabio’s but mostly better since I had more gear. And maybe they would have been, your guess is as good as mine, not like I took pictures with them

#4 - A picture I took with my A57 (playing with geometry, DoF, B&W conversions etc. Spoiler - I did learn to use it a little after all)


I am not as insane as you are probably thinking. I figured I should at least learn how to change the aperture to f1.8 on my prime as the auto setting liked f5.6 very much. Being the computer engineer that I am (and a good one at that) I hate reading manuals. So I bought…. Wait for it… I know what you are thinking… probably the 500mm f4? but no, I bought the Gary Friedman’s book. Read most of it learnt how to use the camera decided I didn’t like the camera sold all my APS-C gear and bought A99 + Zeiss 16-35mm f2.8. (Now don’t judge me! I was single, living with parents i.e. no rent or bills with free food. I had to spend my money on something. Believe me this is better than drugs and/or alcohol). If you look on dyxum sales archives you might even find my sales thread for the APS-C gear (the reason I signed up to dyxum ). Later I picked up 70-400G because the beercan is honestly limiting in many ways for wildlife and animals (thus far my first and only fully justified piece of gear).

My journey as a photographer (and I mean “photographer” in the loosest of terms) really started here. I was always interested in photography and art but I am also a gearhead. They don’t need to be mutually exclusive. By this point I had realised I cannot fund my addiction, so I had to buy used and sell used to try many different lenses.

#5 - First picture I ever got up the courage to post on dyxum and it made it to the PotW (nice beginner’s luck!)


I initially posted in a few places online to get better. Even though I came to dyxum with the hardly “honourable” intentions, to this day dyxum remains the only place where I semi-regularly post photos. The rest of the places come and go, or are mostly for chatting about gear. I don’t know what it is about dyxum, I couldn’t explain it, but there is something nice, welcoming and artistic about this place.

I mostly practiced in and around London. Between many job changes (I was averaging 9 months per job!) and other life matters I didn’t get the chance to travel again.

#6 - London’s Natural History Museum, learning to play with the available lighting


#7 - Richmonds Park. One where I really felt I had done well. Shooting good landscapes I found was really hard and previously I was mostly shooting the obligatory tourist’s “look I have been here” shot.


#8 - This still stands to be one of my favourite BiF shots. I particularly liked the timing it required and the fact I was able to freeze it.


#9 - Dragonfly, just love the simplicity in its composition and rendering.


#10 - I always enjoyed airshows, only now had a camera and lens capable of shooting them. Not your typical airshow shot but still one I like a lot


I picked up IR and UVIVF along the way (with some help for the latter from the wonderful forum members here).

#11 - Hyde Park


#12 - Bottlebrush (shrub) bud


#13 - I don’t shoot people much (apart from my family) and for me shooting people is all about capturing a certain moment or expression. Sometimes they are ever so subtle but leave a lasting impression. I am sure a lot of you will know the “Afghan girl” shot and to me that is what it is about….


I need to get better at people shots, then again the list of things I need to get better at is endless… I just try to improve in one or two things at a time till another type of photography takes my fancy. I like trying many different things and hence like the variety photography offers both in terms of artistry and new toys

Then finally I got a chance to travel to Italy in 2015. Here I decided to try IR for travel photography

#14 - Piazza San Marco, Venice. Worked out where the sun would rise the previous day and visited it the next morning while my friends slept in.


#15 - St. Peter's Basilica as seen from the Vatican gardens (in IR)


You have probably noticed I haven’t talked much about gear but I did go through a lot of them and still do go through a lot of them. If I included more information about my gear journey we’d need 3 or 4 articles! By this point I had mostly moved onto e-mount and you can follow my e-mount gear on dyxum’s e-mount lineup thread.

I love fisheye lenses and it is one of the things I don’t get much chance to shoot these days.
#16 - Making the most of fisheye at King’s Cross


In early 2016 I got engaged and got married late 2016 at 27. I married a nice girl I had known a little while and she has been very supportive of my photography. I am very thankful to have found someone who puts with my annoyances to the extent she does and still finds it in her to be supportive. She was new in the country, so we spent a lot of time seeing London (she was also pregnant so we didn’t end up travelling very far).
#17 - Shot from sky garden on my wife’s birthday. The weather was terrible and I was hoping for a break to get a half-decent shot from top!


#18 - Cabot circus @ Bristol


#19 - The hive at Kew Gardens


#20 - Doodle guy on Oxford street


#21 - Stonehenge (won me the dyxum contest)


#22 - Servern Bridge


#23 - Tŷ Hywel (in IR)


#24 - Houses of Parliament (in IR) taken on a Christmas morning to get the full eerie feeling otherwise this bridge is constantly busy 24x7.


My son was born in autumn of 2017 and I thought it was an end to a lot of photography. Well at least the stuff I shot for personal photography (and in some ways it was). I gave up on IR photography since I simply didn’t have the time and patience for it. I also felt that money could be better used towards a nice fast 35mm lens to shoot my son. Regardless my wife and now with our son continued exploring the proximities of London

#25 - Alligator at the aquatic centre


#26 - Painshill Park


#27 - Christmas lighting at Kew, was raining when we visited but added nicely to the pictures


Then recently in 2019 we finally decided to venture a bit further since we had a little extra money saved up and my son was old enough to handle it. By now I had figured out that it is really easy to shoot pictures but hard to take good photographs. With travelling to such beautiful places it is easy to grab good shots but that does also mean every man and his dog probably has the same good shots. So coming away from something even a little unique is a challenge and I like it

#28 - Shot from the Montparnasse Tower, Paris


How stereotypical of me to represent Holland with the pictures of windmills and tulips.
#29 - Zaanse Schans. Perhaps it is a bit saturated for some people’s tastes but it has the old film (velvia?) look and I like it this way for this scene.


#30 - I particularly liked this one because of the composition, I have even printed it.


Very recently I decided to start printing. It really helps to gather a different perspective and appreciate the art even more. It is really worth the effort, time and money (probably more so than new cameras and lenses). There is something very gratifying to physically hold your pictures and appreciate them that way. A bit like online shopping for a lens (inc. reading reviews etc) and renting one yourself to try it out before buying.
And some pictures look a lot better printed than on screen. So much so that they are meant to be appreciated that way and is the only way to do them justice. For example, the image below from my last trip in Switzerland
A panorama from 6 shots at 50mm. Its ever so subtle here, or maybe its not; But can you spot the only living thing in this picture?
#31 - Jungfrau. On large print it gives is a real feeling of the grand look because of the scales


#32 - Interlaken as seen from Harder Kulm


More recently got back into shooting birds again and you might have noticed a few pictures flying past (pun intended )

#33 - Puffin


#34 - Eagle


If you have read this far then either my writing skills are better than I thought, or you are just too English i.e. too polite to comment below without reading the whole lot. In any case it really means a lot to me that you have taken the time to read what I had to say. I learnt very early in my life from my dad that the most precious gift anyone can give is time and I really appreciate for giving me yours.
In the end I honestly cannot tell you if I really deserve the spot in “one of us”. But I can honestly say I will keep striving to get better.

Many thanks,
Anand

---------------

Few more pics as a parting gift. I like having mini-projects for myself and this year it was to shoot some flower fields

#35 - Hitchin Lavenders


#36 - Daffodils at Lisse


#37 - Tulips at Lisse


#38 - Bluebells on Skomer Island


#39 - Campions on Skomer island


#40 - Poppies at Bewdley





Thank you,
Anand

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Post Options Post Options   Quote mambo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2020 at 23:04
Congrats Anand on the recognition.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jozioau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2020 at 06:21
Always a pleasure to read these personal trajectories of featured Dyxum members.
Well illustrated by fine and varied images showing the evolution of Anand's craft and enthusiastic mastery of many photographic genres.
A pleasure to see, and looking forward to lots more of your posts here going forward.
Congratulations on becoming O.O.U.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2020 at 11:41
Great images and story Anand, good to learn more about you and your past. A well deserved recognition
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Snegren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2020 at 18:02
Congratulations Anand. Always interesting to read a persons life story, the road towards Dyxum in particular. Welcome to the O.O.U. club, you deserved it!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote waldo_posth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2020 at 18:06
Congratulations, Anand!
That's an impressive account of your photographic ambition and accomplishment!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nandbytes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2020 at 19:22
Thank you all for your kind comments, support and for the motivation. Certainly need the latter in these times
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fred_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2020 at 20:10
Well deserved Anand! Congrats with this recongnition. It's a pleasure to read and view your post.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote skm.sa100 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 May 2020 at 12:51
Good to see you recognized, Anand. Congratulations!
I've enjoyed your pics over the years and I'm happy to see you're on the OOU.

Reagards
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Post Options Post Options   Quote RichardT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 May 2020 at 13:25
Congratulations Anand
Great back story and photos !
Still enjoying using your cast-offs !!
Keep up the good work
Richard
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tricky01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 May 2020 at 22:36
Congratulations Anand, really interesting to read about you and your photographic journey to date. Some wonderful photos and all the better for the stories and background behind them.
A7iii, 15f2, 16-35f4, 24-105G, 35f1.8, 85f1.8, 135f1.8GM, 100-400GM, 1.4xTC // A mount: Sig180 3.5 Macro, Gitzo Traveller, Flashes+PixelKings website
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dopol Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2020 at 07:42
It was fun to read your story and browse through your photos.
Congratulations Anand, for a well deserved OOU recognition.
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