Archive for ‘Photography’

April 13, 2014

Creating Personalized desktop wallpapers

by Khanum

 

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With Canon 600D in my life now, everything is different. The mood is different, my days are different and so as my desktop. Recently I found out that apart from the video making and photography experiments, The best part is to be able to create my own desktop wallpapers. I not only created wallpapers for my laptop but also for my cousin’s desktop. Alhamdulillah!It turned out great.

Why would you create desktop wallpapers anyway, Khanum? Don’t you have some cool photography to do?

Well! The answer is very simple. Originality is the keyword for a photographer and not “something big” or “something small”. As long as your work is original, your work is grand. Secondly, I like to have things my way, especially on my desktop. I wanted to have something new and fresh, also something with cool colors so I did what seemed best. Plus, its much fun to do so. If you’re into photography or just want to try out something with your kit lens, I would recommend, this exercise first ,just to test the limits of your creativity and also the limits of your camera.

The above shot was taken just to test the bokeh effect thing. I wanted to see how I can have nice looking bokeh in daylight, so I grabbed my canon, hit the landscape mode or perhaps portrait mode, I don’t rememeber now, hehe ! The point is, I was able to find pretty flowers in my courtyard and shoot them with bokeh effect. And voila! The test shot came out pretty well, well enough to make it to my desktop wallpaper collection. Enjoy the rest of the pictures.10247423_242954555907552_4448880549586493003_n 

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April 5, 2014

Her Smile in Black & White

by Khanum

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“Smiling is infectious,
you catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today,
I started smiling too.” 

Whoever said these words, said it so true. I enjoy photographing kids, especially when they are this bubbly. This little girl is my cousin, Mehr un Nisa, we call her Mehru.

Masha Allah! Her smile is quite photogenic and what’s more good about her smile is that it suits the black & white canvas. I personally love black & white photographs more than the color ones. They speak many things.  And the best day to take B&W photos in natural day light is when it’s cloudy and about to be rainy outside.1013577_239795996223408_236620400_n 

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April 2, 2014

In search of a starry night

by Khanum

So what have I been upto!?

I have been running after stars. Like mad! Literally! Like mad!!

And nobody gets this, why! People have been asking me why haven’t I uploaded anything from my canon. Well, my reason is that I have been running after a clear night to photograph. I didn’t buy this canon for making portraits of my family–which is exactly what they force me to do every day–I got this so I can finally do something I dreamed of. Astrophotography. It’s been my love. I still remember how I used to spend endless hours on gawking the Natgeo’s captures of the heavens and star trails. I have even watched a Pakistani amateur astronomer,  live, marvelling at the moon with his mighty Celestron Telescope. And all those times, I used to wonder when would my time come to have a picture of the stunning starry night . That time is here. Canon with its beauty gives you stunning manual control over ISO, Exposure and shutter speed– that you can do wonders with.

The only problem I am having now is the  pollution engulfing my city. I can’t see enough stars to fill my digital canvas. So I decided to move to another city in few days and try my luck there.  I hope I get a clear nightsky or I am really going to kill someone in frustration. Till then, let me share what I got so far.

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I took this shot on manual mode with F/4.5 and ISO 400. We can of course increase the ISO upto 6400 in Canon 6ooD. ISO 800 in my opinion is ideal for photographing starry night but keep in mind that higher ISO means higher noise in the picture. The tiny grains that ruin the picture sometimes. In few days I am going to try again and in shaa Allah, Hopefully , I’ll get some good shots. I just pray Lahore was a pollution free city. Ugh. Or I had a flying carpet so I could quickly fly to Himalayas for a photo session of those gorgeous skies.

Here’s another experiment rather an adventure I had at a racecourse Park the other day. I was waiting for the stars to come out but rain began to pour and annihilated my dreams. So I started to play with camera settings.

 

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Its taken at a manual mode once again but I made the settings on bulb. I had no tripod at that time otherwise it would have come out so perfect, the shots are blurry but sometimes you got to enjoy the  mistakes and be free in your style of photography. Screw the rules.  That’s how you learn and excel.

Okay, I’m done with the wrecked shots, let’s have a look at the perfect light capture. I love the way Canon let’s me shoot the beautiful lights and capture them in a tiny box like magic.

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I’ll soon share the black and white shots that I did today. I personally admire black & white photography alot and the best day to shoot portraits for black and white is a rainy day, when the sky is bit grey and dark. The light on that day is perfect for the black and white shoot.

I have also done some video tests and now working on a small film. Ooooh! I’m so excited about it. Let’s pray it comes out good!

See you all soon.

March 25, 2014

I now own a Canon 600D & my Mphil Degree

by Khanum

Last few days have been real awesome for me. Alhamdulillah !

I  finally bought a new DSLR. The gorgeous Canon 600D with a Khaki and most useful Nikon Bag. The combination is very strange I know but a photographer gotta buy what a photographer gotta buy, you know. Then the most amazing thing happened, My Mphil Convocation. I now hold a beautiful and a hard earned Mphil Degree.

Let’s talk about Canon. As you can see in the picture below, I am unboxing my new baby.  I have to say I loved the way it fit in my hands. The body is very smooth and the 18-55mm lens, is absolutely a happy news for me since my last digital zoom camera didn’t have a lens this cool. I love the way I can work with this lens.

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Now, Let’s talk basics.

How much did it cost?

There are different prices offered by different sites on the internet in Pakistan for this camera. I had a rough idea of 55 to 60k in mind. But Alhamdulillah! I can’t explain to you the amount of happiness I felt when the shopkeeper stated the price as 52k and 5 hundred Rupees. The brand new 600d body with 18-55mm lens in 52k. Not bad! Then I bought a couple of few things with it, like memory card, lens cleaning kit and a nikon bag. Now you may ask why a Nikon bag? Well, I may buy a National Geographic bag now to be honest because a small bag is not my thing. I didn’t want a purse. I wanted a bag. A real big bag. Nikon offered me that and not canon so I bought it.

How I got it?

Well, for anyone interested in buying a dslr, It’s very important that you buy it with your own money. Self reliance is the best policy, I must say. This way, nobody can question your intentions, underestimate your dedication and taunt your family for spending too much on you. (Which is usually done by relatives)Most importantly, It shows how sincere you are with your dreams and can learn to value your things.

I pooled currency for this beauty by saving every penny that I earned through different freelance work and my school job (Yes I quit school in 2011 but I saved half of the salary in bank to utilize in future). That’s how you acquire immense happiness later on. It’s alright if people call you kanjoos or whatever. Don’t pay any heed to meaningless words. Its your dreams you gotta work on, so have your priorities set.

Secondly, don’t be shy to sell out old gadgets to buy your dream dslr. I sale out many of my old things to pool money for something new and exciting, quite often. This is like recycling, you know.

Why Canon 600D?

Alright, now that’s a real question that deserves a new post, exclusively on this subject. I shall do it, soon. iA!

I have been checking out my new toy since the day I bought it and have been experimenting with different settings. The first shot I took was a family portrait. I wanted my first click to be a meaningful one… and what else can be more heart warming than the sight of your beloved mother smiling at you ? so I clicked it. I will iA share the shots soon. Till then, Have a great week, everyone! 🙂 Happy living!

I wanted to share The gorgeously out of focus pictures taken by my superb family on my convocation day  but let’s skip that- and did I mention it was raining ?! Ah! What a lovely day it was when I fell because of those heels and slippery roads in university. But Yo! nobody saw, so that’s alright. lol

 

 

 

March 17, 2014

Photowalk at Harappa & Those who Prayed there

by Khanum

Have you seen life after death? I saw it yesterday, at Harappa.

On a morning that promised a hectic day ahead, I embarked on a journey organized by prestigious Photo Mazdoor to the ruins of centuries old Indus Civilisation.  My cousin brother also joined me on this photowalk but unfortunately due a death incident in his family, he had to get off at Sahiwal and hurry towards his home.

I carried on.

I like travelling, to a certain point. I love exploring new places to a greater extent, but what I dislike about my exploring routine, sometimes, is when I miss my salat during my travels. There’s always an option to find the spot somehow and pray, if not possible then do Qaza prayers when you get back at home, of course, but still– the Muslim inside feels burdened when prayers that are supposed to be prayed on time just slip out of hands. And yesterday, I felt this burden again when I saw a group of people offering their prayers at Harappa.

Here’s a little Interesting recap.

Harappa is one challenging place to photograph. Being a photographer, I say this because everything around there is lifeless. That’s right. That’s the status of life there.

Utterly barren, devoid of warmth and full of history lessons that are perhaps not meant to capture but to merely acknowledge. The place I feel, is more designed by Allah Almighty to take heed from in this century. Yet photo mazdoors did a great job at digging up graves. I mean, we all literally did best at photography there by photographing the impossible place ever. Some people found pretty birds there to capture. A beautiful shot , I must say, taken by a photo mazdoor.

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Photo Mazdoors made a quite a noise there by arranging BBQ in the middle of ruins! No joke. 

Everywhere I looked, everywhere we all looked, there were just white-brown sands. Graves, Bushes and colorless trees as if they were mourning the times gone by and excavations marks that told how modern men were determined to excavate the remains. I , for one, believe in photographing the details and objects that go unnoticed and voices that go unheard. For this I became almost obsessed with the bruised dirty feet of this small beggar boy sitting near the graveyard. His feet told all his history. 

But then came a surprise for me and my friend, Ayesha. We noticed something extra ordinary there. I wish I had captured that beautiful evidence of extra ordinary life. Subhan Allah! There stood a beautiful tree at the side of a small place dedicated to Masjid for prayers. Every tree around it was dull, too dark in color or either not so pretty to look at or even notice. But this tree was — this one particular gorgeous tree was so Fresh and so Green that my friend and I kept looking at it for quite some time.

Then after lunch when we were packing up to leave the lifeless place behind, I noticed a guy from the group standing at that place and offering his salat. Subhan Allah! Then there went another. One, two , perhaps more than 3 men I noticed, prayed their salat at there, one after another. I admire them for this act of piety. How I wished I could also join them, stand behind and offer my prayer before it gets too late but I don’t know why, I didn’t dare go there. I am always shy to offer my prayers at a public place, in an open area. It’s something that always makes me miss my prayers on travels. Sometimes there’s no water for Wudhu, at other times I am too shy to get up and do it. It’s my error, I fully acknowledge this. But watching those few good men, glorifying Allah’s Name at that barren place, despite the hurdles in way, filled my heart with a strange hope, happiness & confidence for prayers in future travels.

The whole world is a Masjid for the believers where we can worship Allah Almighty. No one has an excuse to miss prayers for this reason.

I will , in shaa Allah, make time and space for my salah during travelling as well. And I concluded, there are 3 things that a Muslim should always carry with him when he/she embarks on a journey.

1- Compass for Qibla detection

2- Praying mat

3- And water for wudhu

To Photo Mazdoor team, I am grateful for the well organized photowalk. Every team member is friendly. The chief organizer himself is a like a good younger brother of mine.

They always make sure the trip is secure. This time even a family joined us which was great. Photo Mazdoor always makes sure that breakfast/lunch and every tea break is a healthy one. The water bottles distributed to the participants is always sufficient, Alhamdulillah. I remember how they made a special announcement on the Qila Rohtas trip, about dangers of dehydration there and gave us Nestle Water bottles with instructions to keep drinking water during photographing the place. There’s no doubt that they work hard.

However, here’s a little suggestion that I feel could make their future travels even more deen friendly.

A little cooperation required for making time and space for salah.

Since we go with them, and there are different people on every trip with different needs and lifestyles, It would be great if they include the praying point in their routine and announcement as well. If there’s no proper spot for prayer, they should locate one and announce that those interested in offering their prayers, especially females, they should head towards that spot. If bathrooms are nearby for wudhu, it’s alright but sometimes there are places where clean water is not available, in that scenario, extra water bottles should be offered for wudhu. People should be assured that no person would be left behind if they stop and make their prayers first. This way, if they make it a part of their announcement and arrangements, those who want to offer their prayers would be guided well and assured comfort. I, for one, would be more comfortable at announcing that I want to offer my prayer without drawing attention to myself. Otherwise, I keep debating inside, on every photography trip, whether to raise my voice or not when I can’t spot a clean and out of sight place for prayers.

I hope Photo Mazdoor would consider my friendly suggestion as they always welcome suggestions and even complaints. So generous of them. I wish the team all the best for future trips and extend my regards for the efforts they put in to make their photowalks interesting.

I would upload my photography of the place in the coming week, iA. 

March 10, 2014

Organic Gardening, Future Plans & Me

by Khanum

Today morning, was extra ordinary. I swear!

Background Story

For the second time in life, I finally found my peace, my happiness after loosing hold of it somewhere in the middle of living. The first time I had contentment and such peace was when I was 19. Life was not only beautifully productive at that time, but also very meaningful. I had a sweet routine. Time was flying but so was I.  I had time for University from morning till noon. Then from zuhr till Asr , I had a routine for reading Quran, exploring its stories, wonders and mysteries. Then from Aser till Esha I had plenty of time for tutoring my neighbour for her 2nd year exams. And then  before I would hit the bed, I had time for my own University assignments. I was genuinely productive and happy.

But shit happens, Right! It happened in my life too. I lost my sight my vision. Everything changed after I came back from my trip to Turkey and jumped into Mphil. I don’t know when and how it all became about EARNING and REACHING THE TOP that I stopped noticing the beauty of other things in life. I never had time for my own mother and family.

But no more. No more job hunting. No more pursuit of degrees. No more, the mad chase of bling bling. I have decided to say goodbye to everything else for sometime and focus only and only on my family, my home, my face (yes I am serious) & my life with Allah Almighty.

So this is what I did today. I did gardening with my aunt.

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Today’s Story

Last night me and my aunty decided that it’s time for me to step in and grow some vegetables in our organic garden if I want to have my own business in organic farming some day. We already have salad, coriander, lemons, mint and some other things grown at home but not potatoes or spinach. So we did some calculations and it was concluded that we need to expand the home garden, have some beds arranged for vegetables and practice crop rotation.

Oh boy! I was thrilled. And this morning, I began my gardening training by planting some pretty flowers.

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This entire bench shown above was set by me. Not only this, I also moved some grown up plants from small beds to larger ones. The moving and shifting is not that easy, but it was fun to dig and then plant. Now the debate at home is about “The Bench“.  I wish to paint this bench pure white. While my mother is of the opinion that I should leave this bench alone. No messing with its natural beauty. What do you think, should this bench be painted white?

Now Moving on to the Salad, mint and other green things.

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These are our two mint beds.

A corner dedicated to Salad leaves.

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And! The Famous Clover Leaf

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Pansy Flower or as we call it, (The doggy faced phool) we have loads of these along with some other flowers with very difficult names.

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And there are some strange old ducks and toys too. Doing of my mother. While aunty focuses on plants and I do the photography, my mother makes her way into the gardening by decorating it with toys. Strange but sweet! Here are few of the things she has as decorations.

Beautiful ducks. Pigeons. A pair of British Laila Majnu and Pigeons. And .. Another duck made of plastic.

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I intend to have a bird bath fountain for the garden. But let’s see when I can manage to buy it. Anyways,

That’s it for today. In 2 days, as soon as the baskets we ordered for salad bed arrive, I will be having lessons on how to grow veggies. The first thing I am going to do then is snap it for my dearest baby blog.

Assalamo alaikum!

February 26, 2014

Demons and Angels within

by Khanum

It’s About time now, I posted something new.

Something about the colors I have been showing recently. On canvas.

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Last few months have been really hectic for me. I wanted to relax, take a break and paint anything. Just anything to know colors. But tough routine wouldn’t let me concentrate on anything other than work. That routine is over now, I have few months to live for myself until the busy days come back to haunt me again. I can paint. But despite all that, I am unable to do so.Why? Because maybe the perfect time for me to paint was during the most maniac days of mine.

The bizarre abstract piece above, is what I created during the most mad busy days of my life. As a therapy you can say. I was tired and hell taken away with everything that I decided to take a few minutes break. I didn’t know what I wanted to draw. I am not really good with colors , I can’t draw a straight line. But despite all that, I wanted to do it. After spending 30 mins with ridiculously not so vibrant art–the type that doesn’t make sense, I got back to my work.

And today when I am really free to do anything, totally relaxed, not under any stress. I realized something. I can’t do it.

Creativity has a time of its own. It doesn’t demand leisure time. It demands you. You– your inner demons awaken and to be willing to come out. If Your mind is racing with anything mad. It is good enough to perform. Art or no art, Scanning this work, looking it close up now after throwing it away at first, I realized I actually like the magnified view of the brush strokes. I don’t know, it maybe ugly but I’m in love with this beautiful black demon running ahead, engulfing everything. Killing! showing no mercy! But colors are still blooming out. Everything is in a recycling order in this universe, isn’t it. What a beautiful chaos it is.

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They say art therapy speaks a lot about the person’s mind. I wonder what does it say about mine.