April 5th, 2009


Two macro shots...

Have been trying out the macro function on the 300mm lens lately....

Here's one shot, taken today morning at Valley School, where I went with the most enthusiastic group of people who just took the JLRNTP in March....

Whoops, forgot the id's. This is the TAWNY COSTER:

butterfly closeup vs 050409

Another, taken at the Bannerghatta zoo area yesterday, with Garima,Gayathri,Jainy,Suma and Uma: it's the GRAM BLUE:

040409 bg zoo pea blue

The third, also yesterday, it's the CRIMSON ROSE:

crimson rose 040409 bg zoo

Butterflies make good subjects for macro experimentation!

The death of the MLC....

I got a call from the Canon Service Centre yesterday; apparently, after replacing the zoom unit, they found the camera still wouldn't work, and needed a couple of more (read expensive) things replaced as well. The young woman who called said that the cost would now cross 12K.

Yes, it's only a material possession, I know. But for the last year and a half, I have truly enjoyed the Canon Powershot S3IS . I got it in June 2007, and took it to Tanzania, where I got many nice videos; I used the supermacro function a lot, and street photography, and low-light photography (which the S3 is NOT supposed to be good for) worked pretty well. My play reviews were so much better when backed up by a photograph!

And...the number of interesting scenes, people, situations, signboards that my MLC has captured for me....it has really given me a lot of joy. I also did get to know the camera, and its capabilities, really well. As I am NOT a gadget person, this, too has been a source of satisfaction to me.

I am thinking about buying a new camera, because I do want that video function to document the usual "I have the best grand-daughter on Planet Earth" baby stuff, but I hope I will document other interesting-to-everyone stuff too.

Should I go in for the Canon SX10, or should I buy another camera? itsalouwelylife and mohanvee recently bought one that I could get used to...but the Canon SX10, at the same price, comes with the CMOS sensor....

Suggestions, please....shivakumar_l, you have already given me some pointers, any more cameras you can suggest?

I am trying not to be miserable about the death of my MLC....but it's incredible how attached I had become to it...it really did go EVERYWHERE with me....

The Banded Kukri, Valley School, 050409

As we were returning from the birding session, we found this Banded Kukri (thank you, Seshadri, for the id!)on the path:

banded kukri vs 050409

The damage near the head made me rather sure that the snake (it's non-venomous) was dead, and that too, because it had been cruelly killed by someone, who then left it on the path. But the others felt that it was alive, and they all photographed it...and then they, too, realized that it was dead.

Somehow the way this snake was killed and left bothered me a lot. I felt very bad about it....just now, I emailed Seshadri about the id and when he gave me the id, I also googled "Banded Kukri" and got this extremely technical (all gobbledygook!) description on

this Wiki link

I had the following conservation with Seshadri, who is normally based in KMTR, or Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (a tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu) but whom I had met yesterday at the Bannerghatta zoo area when he and a group had just finished a herbivore census in the Bannerghatta zoo park....

S: If the snake was dead, you should have picked it up and sent it to me; I would have been able to do a dissection and do a diet analysis. You could have put it in a plastic bag.

D: If you think I am going to carry a dead snake back with me, not knowing where you are and when I can contact you....! ...anyway, I didn't have any receptacle like a plastic bag (I avoid using plastic bags!) with me, either. I only had my camera and my binocs.

S: You could have put it in a camera or binocs pouch.

D. (Shuddering) I didn't have any such pouch with me. (to myself) ..thank goodness!

S: You could have carried it in your hat.

D: My love of wildlife doesn't extend to carrying dead snakes in my hat and going bareheaded in the noonday sun....

(To myself) And I can just imagine the reaction from the kind couple who took me along in their car, and the two others who shared the back seat of the car with me, if I got in with a dead snake in my hat. I might wind up as dead as the snake.

S: Yes, contacting me is difficult, then you would have had to preserve the snake in spirit, and the insides would rot.

D. (Silent and Intensified Shudder.)
to myself: Pastimes that I am likely to detest: Preserving Dead Snakes in Spirit....

S: But this is a good chance to do a diet check.

D. To myself (Forgive the Hindi but it's untranslatable) sAnp nEy kyA khAyA, mujhEy pathA nahin...par usnEy zaroor mAr khAyA thA....

to Seshadri: I felt really bad about the way the snake was killed and left callously on the path, and I was not sure if picking it up would be an ethical thing to do...I felt very bad about it for quite a while....

We insist on killing snakes without bothering to find out if they are venomous or not. Even venomous snakes would rather avoid us and slither off...but where we perceive a threat, real or imagined, we are quicker to strike, than the snake is....

This post is dedicated to mamtanaidu.....who wants to be a herpetologist, that is, one who deals with her pets...