London 2012 Olympics competitions started today and one of today’s star attractions was the Men’s cycling road race. The 250km race started and ended at The Mall covering many parts of London and circling the Boxhill circuit nine times. The crowds were amazing as most part of the race was free for public to view. There were high expectations from Team GB including Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins but they did not manage any medals. Kazakhstan’s Alexandre Vinokourov took the gold. These images were taken at Boxhill on 28 July 2012.
It was girls’ day out in Windsor on 17 June. Girls of all ages — from little ones to grannies were out there - clad in pink and brimming
with enthusiasm. I completed my first ever 5k run with all these lovely ladies. I did it in around 40 minutes, combining running,walking and jogging. After my lousy training, I am happy that I managed the run.
Thank you very much to all of you for your support and encouragement. Special thanks to all my generous sponsors who helped me raise £110 for Cancer Research UK.
Hearty Congratulations to all the gorgeous gals who participated and raised money for this noble cause. You were all amazing!
Please click here for a few shots from the day.
I am participating in this year’s Race for Life 5k run at Windsor on 17 June 2012.
Race for Life is the flagship fund-raising event for Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work into preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer. It is the UK’s largest women-only fundraising event. To date, over six million women have raised over £457 million for Cancer Research UK, which is the world’s leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research.
If you would like to support me, please sponsor me online — it’s quick, easy and totally secure. All donations are collected directly by Cancer Research UK.
Here is my justgiving page. Click on ‘Donate now’ button to donate. Your donation can help fight cancer.
Thank you for all your support.
It’s all of us vs. Cancer.
If you would like to know more please click this link–
The image used in this post is a promotional photo from Race for Life.
Happy Independence day to India and everybody who loves India!
Violence and mayhem on the streets. Shops being looted and vandalised. Public buses and police cars being torched. Blazing infernos across the city. Hooded youths clashing with police. Teenagers making off with looted stuff from shops. A woman jumping off a burning building to save her life.
You could be forgiven for thinking that I am talking about a movie. Alas, No. This is real life in London. It is yob rule in London right now. Even on the fourth night, the riots show no signs of abating. Despite all the police effort, it is still spreading inside and outside London. Other cities like Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool are added to the growing list of riot venues.
It all started with the killing of a 29-year old man in Tottenham, by the police. His family and friends led a protest to the police station. This peaceful protest later turned violent and acted as the catalyst for the riots. With the help of social media, groups of youngsters coordinated attacks and rampaged different parts of London. And when somebody needed to take control, all of the top brass, including the prime minister, home secretary, opposition leader and the mayor of London, were away enjoying their holidays abroad, leaving London in the hands of the rioters. The sorry picture of policemen watching from sidelines when young thugs broke into shops and burnt buildings, was far too common.
There’s more to it than random youths pillaging shops and vandalising. This is the behaviour of a lost generation with no jobs, no skills, no money and nothing productive to do. They might be sending a message by venting their anger and frustration. Or they might just be some opportunistic criminals. Or maybe, both.
I was a bit concerned about going to my office in central London today. Nearby Oxford circus was hit the previous day. Today, there were riot police patrolling the streets. Fortunately, there were no issues near our office. At 3 pm, our HR sent a mail asking people to leave early, if they wanted to. Most of us left early, to avoid getting caught up in any trouble. It seems they are going to deploy more police officers — reportedly 16,000, to secure London’s streets tonight. Hope the situation improves by tomorrow.
Severe drought and famine has hit East Africa again. More than 10 million people from Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are estimated to be directly affected by the famine and the resultant lack of food and malnutrition. Millions of young children are dying without food and clean drinking water.
It is heartbreaking to see rows upon rows of child graves in the arid lands of Somalia and Kenya. What could be worse than the fate of those mothers who have to let their children die in their hands, as they are unable to provide them sustenance?
The rest of the world needs to act urgently to stop more people dying in Africa. It is a humanitarian crisis and all of us, living such comfortable lives, have a duty to help these helpless souls in Africa. Yes,there are criticisms and concerns regarding the way aid operations work and their effectiveness. But right now, the situation has already escalated to a crisis and is getting worse day by day. What East Africa needs right now is urgent help.
Please do your bit to stop people dying. Please donate whatever you can today. Our timely action can save precious lives.
The following links can be used to make donations from UK–
Sad to hear about the massacre of more than 80 young people in Norway. It is totally incomprehensible that such an atrocity should take place in Norway. It takes a ruthless maniac to gun down scores of unsuspecting teenagers like that. The image of Norway has been that of a beautiful and peaceful country. Hope it remains the same and Norway is able to get over this nightmarish event.
Campaigners staging a protest against Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of television broadcaster BSkyB, last week in London. Today it was announced that the tabloid newspaper News of the Word, which is part of his media empire is to close after the furore over the much criticised phone hacking scandal. It is alleged that the newspaper’s employees hacked into the phones of relatives of murder victims and soldiers and paid money to the police for confidential information. The scandal might jeopardise his BSkyB takeover as well.
On Thursday, 30 June 2011, hundreds of thousands of public sector workers staged protests against the coalition government’s proposed changes to pensions and spending cuts. According to the government’s plan, pension ages will be increased from 60 to 66, and maybe to a further 68. Also, public sector employees will have to make more contributions towards their pensions and receive lesser amounts in return. Thursday’s strikes involved mostly teachers from different unions, court workers, tax officers and other civil servants across different parts of UK. The strike action caused disruption to many schools, ports and courts and the unions are planning further strikes against the government’s policies.
All the images below are taken from near Trafalgar square in London, with a Samsung mobile.
Disclaimer– The feat described below is performed only by trained professionals.Please do not try it at home unless you want to risk losing your camera or lens or both.
During last long weekend, we went on a trip to Swiss Alps. The place was beautiful and the weather was great. One of those days, we took the cog rail to the mountains– to Jungfraujoch, dubbed the top of Europe. It was a very bright and beautiful day. The snow capped mountains looked majestic and I took photos to my heart’s content.
I take a lot of photographs during our trips. Not in thousands, but tens of thousands. But the number of photos that we have of ourselves will be very less. Let’s suppose it is a wonderful day and it’s a great place we are visiting. And if I take a thousand photos that day (I actually do that, in case you are wondering), only about ten of them will feature either me or my husband. And about half of those will have us together. So this time I thought we will have a little improvement in the number of ‘people-in-front-of-landscape’ photos. My husband was not very keen but did not protest once or twice when we either requested a fellow tourist to photograph us or set up the tripod to grace the scene with our presence.
So, on Jungfraujoch, after shooting the panorama about ten times over, I decided to get some of those above mentioned ‘people-in-front-of-landscape’ photos. It was difficult to use a tripod as there were lot of people walking around. On top of that, the floor was some kind of a wire or steel mesh fixed on top of the snowy mountain. So, I requested a nice lady out there and she was only too happy to oblige. She took our photo from three different angles and gave back the camera. Both of us thanked her and stretched our hands to receive the camera back. Did I mention that it was very cold and we were both wearing big gloves? Anyway, I was not sure whether it was me or my husband who got hold of the camera. With those gloves, it was a bit difficult to feel. In fact, nobody had caught it and the camera, as a free spirit, glided down about three feet and struck the floor head on (lens on, in photographic terms). There was a cracking noise and I heard a few gasps from people around us.
At that very instant, my heart stopped. I missed a few heartbeats and I stood there rooted to spot, my mouth open in an expression of horror. I could not believe that I (or the three of us together) had just dropped my camera– my Canon EOS 7D, with a 17-40mm lens, a UV filter, polariser and a lens hood attached.
My husband picked it up and said- “It’s broken”.
Me (heart starts pumping again): “Ww..what…what is broken? “
He held up the lens hood, one side cracked open and detached from the lens.
(heart pumping at top speed now) “You mean.. only the hood is broken?“
“Looks like”, he said.
I grabbed my precious camera and fired some test shots. I can focus without any issues.The shutter is falling fine. Images are recorded alright. I mean, there did not seem to be any issue at all. I tried again with different settings and still no issues. It was nothing short of a miracle.
“Oh my God!! Thank you so much”. My relief was beyond anything I can express in words. Apart from the broken hood, the camera emerged virtually unscathed from that mighty fall. That is when I started loving hoods. If not for the hood, my filters and the lens would have smashed into pieces. The heroic hood has sacrificed its life to save my camera and lens. And in turn saved our holiday from becoming a grumpy and miserable one.
Few days later,still a bit worried about my camera, I googled ‘I dropped my EOS 7D’, expecting to find out that it might be suffering from some kind of internal bleeding. To my great surprise, I got a lot of results where people were talking about dropping not only 7Ds but all sorts of bigger and more expensive cameras. Most of their cameras survived the falls and hits and all other kind of sports activity. Some of the less fortunate people managed to break a lens or damage some part of the camera. Luckily for me, my loyal lens hood had born the brunt and saved my camera and lens. Till that day, I always tried to avoid using a hood as much as I can, just because the hood makes the whole thing look much bigger. But not any more. From now on, I am going to use a lens hood all the time, even in the night.
And honestly, the nice lady who took our photos did nothing wrong, but in light of recent events, I am not giving my camera to strangers any time soon.
This post is dedicated to the heroic soul that did the ultimate sacrifice for me and my photography–
my broken 77mm lens hood.
British monarch Queen Elizabeth during her historic visit to Ireland.
As you can see, I shot this from TV, during the live telecast of her speech in BBC.
Yesterday, like most other people in the UK, I also voted in the council elections and the AV (Alternate Vote) referendum.A choice of changing the voting system looks interesting. There has been lot of debates over the proposed AV system.The ‘Yes to AV’ camp and ‘No to AV’ camp had been campaigning hard, rallying politicians and celebrities behind them.Our letterbox was overflowing with so many leaflets explaining why we should vote yes/No to AV.
Alternate Vote is a good concept. Originally, the idea was to give more proportional representation and make sure the winner has the support of atleast half of the voters. But I am not sure what is the best way of practically achieving it when nobody has got a clear majority.
The proposed AV is like this– (Or this is what I understood after watching debates and reading lot of leaflets on the topic for past few weeks) Everybody can mark their first , second,third.. preferences while voting, instead of voting for a single candidate.If candidate A with highest votes gets more than 50% of the votes, he is declared winner. Other wise, the candidate with least votes is eliminated and the second preferences of his voters are counted and added to the remaining candidates’ baskets. At this point, if somebody gets more than 50%, he will be winner.Otherwise , the process continues eliminating least scoring candidates and counting second,third,forth… preferences of those voters until a definite winner is reached.
Does this look complicated to you? Well, it does to me and a lot of other voters in the UK. I took some time to grasp the complex logic.I think the main issue is that it is very complicated and it looks unfair counting the votes of same people again and again, just to force a majority when there is none. It would lead to more coalitions, more horse trading and back door deals as opposed to voters electing a clear winner.
AV was proposed by Liberal Democrats who were always at the third place and do not get enough seats to rule. It was just a ploy to get more seats for Nick Clegg and his party and not for anything in public interest. Lib Dems seemed a promising lot while campaigning during the last elections but their popularity is at an all-time low right now, thanks to the many U-turns on their promises, the biggest being the tuition fees increase. Even if people of the UK votes for Yes to AV in the referendum, it might not save the Lib Dems now.
When I started writing this post, I thought of including a picture from the ‘No to AV’ campaign leaflet. But I could not find it anywhere. So I will just describe it. It shows the end of a race with four runners in it, with the winner on the finishing line. There is a text next to the guy at the second position which reads “Under AV, he will be the winner”. I thought it was hilarious and pretty much sums up the AV stuff. If I can find it somewhere, I will definitely take a photo of that and upload it.
Hello to all the people in the world.
At last, my first blog post– the one that saw the light of the day.
Last time I wrote a blog post was six or seven years back.I had created an account in Blogger and wrote one post.
About life in general,I guess. I just saved it and never published it.
I felt so awkward to publish anything on the net. And that was the end of my first blogging career.
So why now? you may ask. Well, the main purpose of this blog is to push my very lazy self to do something.
Something creative and useful, that is. Then there all the photographs I click away, without ever doing anything with them.
They all remain in coma in their hard disks.
So now, I am planning to give them a new life and exposure by sharing some of them on this blog,
and hopefully improve my photography in the process.
And who knows, this blog might rekindle my long-ignored and forgotten love for writing.
So here I am, dipping a hesitant toe in the bloggy waters (again). Wish me luck.
If I keep posting once in a week or once in a fortnight rather, I would call myself a success.