June 26, 2008

Light Pollution

The snaps presented on APOD such as the one posted on this day or on this day, makes me wonder why cant we get to see such a sky in the cities. The reason is light pollution. Yes, we've all heard of Air, Water, and Soil pollution, but only a few of us have really heard and felt the effects the Light Pollution. I had first heard of this form of pollution a few years back on a documentary shown on the BBC. The wiki page on Light Pollution gives a nice overview of this menace. Reducing light pollution has now become a necessity as my nephews and nieces cannot enjoy the sky as I used to when I went to school. It is not that I had a good view of the sky during my childhood but atleast it is was not twilight for the whole night when I used to go to school. Anyways, here are few pics that I thought could be used to illustrate how horrible the problem is here in Delhi. The first snap was taken from the passage connecting the Mech Dept (Block III) to Block IV. It was taken while I was going for dinner, i.e., at about 7:30 - 7:45 in the evening.

The next snap was taken when I came back from my hostel. It was taken at about 9:30 in the night.

Notice the orange tint of the sky. It is not black, but orange. It is orange at 9 in the night and stays orange till 4 in the morning, i.e., till the first rays of the sun brighten the sky. The next photo was taken at around 1:30 am in the morning on the 28th of June (the wide angle was obtained by stitching two photos). Again notice the orange tint and the source of the light pollution. Such lamps, though beautiful, need to be banned if we want to control the light pollution on a long run.

Well but as usual nature has her own way of fighting pollution. The next snap is one way how we can help address the problem of light pollution, and global warming :). It was taken on the 2nd of July while I was returning to my hostel for dinner (at about 7:30 in the evening).

The next snap is on the passage from which you enter Block IV. This is the route normally taken to avoid the Main Building while coming to the Blocks during the day. It closes at about 7 in the night.

The next snap is of the entrance to the Main Building. As the Block IV entrance is closed, we take this entrance. It is also called the wind tunnel, as it also acts like a perfect lamp shade.

The next snap was taken near the hospital. Unlike the the Queens Necklace the trees here help in controlling the light pollution.

June 19, 2008

Last Full Moon Night at IIT

While giving the finishing touches to my plots I realized that in one place instead of Erlang Distribution I had used Exponential giving a slight error in the plots of my numerical analysis. As I had to compute the numerical values again, I ventured out with my camera while the computers in my lab started heating up. As it was twilight I ventured to the hockey field, from where you can see both Bharti Building and the Main Building of IIT, as shown in the photo below.

I had dinner and watched a few minutes of Zeitgest (comments on which shall come later) and started walking back to the lab. The moon was high and the moon rise was not 10:37 p.m as Emacs had shown. I have to find out the reason for this error which might be between the computer and the chair. Anyways, this is how the moon was seen near Zanskar Hostel (the gate next to the Juice shop). The doggies lying there were curious of what I was doing and one of them who was staring at the LCD screen gave a small nod after I clicked this one.

On the way back to Block VI lies Bharti Building. These lamps cause a lot of Light Pollution as a result of which you cannot see the stars and the planets. But this day the moon was bright; brighter than all the lamps lit. This photo was taken from a crooked chair outside the Power Station which is situated next to Bharti Building.

Navneet was the only guy present in the Security Lab (the lab next to the one I sit). We went to the top floor of Block Six and this eerie image is the one obtained by setting the exposure time to 15 seconds on a full moon night. I only hope I might have not destroyed the sensors in my camera. Please notice the light pollution on the bottom left and bottom right of the photo.

June 10, 2008

A Night at India Gate.

9th June 2008. It was going to be Prem's last night as a student in Delhi. We decided to go to Andhra Bhavan for dinner. On our way back we decided to take a few snaps at India Gate. Sadly, by the time we reached all the lights had been switched off, so we decided to take only a photo of India Gate by increasing the exposure time. The photo given below was taken by changing the exposure time to 6 seconds. This is how it looks after the lights are switched off in the night. You can notice faint blue lines originating from the ground near the second and third unlit lamp post. These lines are of a glowing blue yo-yo, the most noticeable toy sold by the vendors here at India GATE, being thrown in the air.

The next photo was taken on the road next to India Gate by Vaibhav. I tried to stay still and as close as possible to the footpath but even then it was a bit scary as the people in Delhi know how to drive in only two modes, stay still as there is a traffic jam or speed at full throttle to bang into someone to create a traffic jam.

On our way back we decided to take snap of Bharti Building. This is where we spent most of our 2 years. This is what we used to see each day before we went to sleep, what we used to see each day when we woke up from our sleep, and this is the place that woke most of us and hopefully shall wake many more from the state of deep sleep.

May 31, 2008

Random Snaps at IIT

This blog shall be updated with some snaps taken at random instants of time.

July 2, 2008.
Submitted my M.S. thesis today. The first photo depicts the sunset as seen from Block VI. The last of the sunsets I shall see from IIT as a student. Time to get a bit emotional, however the birds made me forget all this.

The next photo is of the most common bird you will see in IITD. Apart from trees they have their nests in broken lights shades, tube-lights, between redundant long overhead cables, etc. It was taken with a little digital zoom, hence it is a bit blurry and out of focus.

You get to see a lot of parrots in the evening heading to the rose garden and the deer park which are right next to IIT. Here is one of them. As in the case of the previous picture I had to use a little digital zoom.

The next photo was taken at midnight while I was returning to my room. It was taken next to the CSC entrance which is always closed :). I wanted to take a snap of the planes landing, hence I needed a place where I can keep my camera still for about 10 seconds as my hands are not as steady as surgeons.

June 29, 2008.
I wanted to take a few snaps of the main building but the sun was very bright and with all the sweat I was drained. The snaps I took didnt come out well, either I got only the clouds or got only the building. Guess it is time for an SLR as I find it a bit difficult to take photos without a viewfinder now. Decided to head back to my lab, when on one tree right next to my lab I found this squirrel relaxing. This was the best snap I took today.

June 28, 2008.

This snap is of the Champa tree next to Scoops. They have a distinct fragrance which is very soothing and relaxing, especially after a sweaty walk from the Hostel. The flowers and the fragrance kinda attract me no matter how blistering the sun is.

On my way back I was stopped by some cute squeaking noises. It was coming from the door of a lecture theatre. I was a bit curious as I the sound was that of excitement. To my amazement it was a curious little baby squirrel.

This snap was taken from the first floor of Block II (Electrical Dept). I normally do not take this route while going back to the hostel so this site was a bit new for me [motivation for the snap :)].

June 21, 2008.
It was a Saturday and I decided to go to lab after lunch. I had my camera with me today (normally I do not carry it with me around and keep it safe under lock and key) so decided to take some snaps on my way to the lab. The Sun was high so the colors that came were rich and I did not have to use GIMP to manipulate the brightness & contrast this time. The bees were moving continuously and I had to take many snaps before I got get a clear one like this one.

The next one was of the creeper on the passage between Block III and Block IV. The smaller version is a bit hazy, download the photo to see the petals.

June 20, 2008.
I was tired and unable to concentrate because I had slept only for about 3 hours the previous night (just completed my first three chapters of my thesis). It had just rained here and it seemed like twilight even at 4 in the afternoon. Decided to play with the Manual Mode of my camera and started playing with the F-number and shutter speed. This was taken with f/4.3 and shutter speed of 1/12 seconds. The bird was busy pecking the soil when it saw me and decided to show me the true colors of its beak. It was a bit dark and I guess I should have increased the exposure time.

June 15, 2008.
I was not contended with the photos of the Peacock taken last time, so when Vaibhav asked if I could come with him to Nescafe, the first thing I did was to take my camera. We then went out in search of Peacocks. It had rained so most of the bird were out pecking the soil. The peacocks too were in a playful mood. We had to take about 10-15 snaps before we could get a still photo of a peacock. This one was the best of the photos we took.

On our way back we found this one resting on top of the tree. This is a very common site during the night. If you are lucky you can witness the small flight of these birds.

We then took a snap of the Main Building.

The Main Building is surrounded with the beautiful Plumeria (Champa) trees. It was dark and I do not like to turn on the flash due to the large flash recycle time of my camera. So this is how the flowers look at twilight.

June 14, 2008.
Was leaving for Dinner when I saw the moon up in the sky. I wanted to take a few snaps of the Main Building and the moon but by the time I reached the roof of Block VI, the moon had risen high. As I was on the roof, I decided to take the snap of a plane landing. Luckily it was bright enough to get a blue sky, with the shades of the leaves, and the red lights of the vehicles. As the planes land frequently, I didnt have to wait much. Luckily the angle of the descent of the plane was perfect to see the three navigation lights of the plane (which can be seen if you click on it and zoom or download the photo). You can see 15 flashes of light in the sky, one for each second of the exposure.

June 13, 2008.

Unseasonal rains this summer have made the traditionally unbearable weather of Delhi to tolerable levels. The photo below is of the footpath from Bharti School to Zanskar Hostel. The footpath is adjacent to the ground and was constructed about 6 months back and has been repaired more than once for various reasons. I guess repairs shall commence in a few days once again. The snap shows the water from the ground eroding the footpath and its foundation, resulting in a mini landslide. The photo is a bit out of focus as I was trying to protect my camera from the rains.

June 12, 2008.
There were 15 minutes for the clock to strike 12, the eve of Friday the 13th. Vaibhav was with me and we decided on taking a snap of the moon on our way back to the hostel. This photo was taken from the pathway connecting Block V to Block IV. There was an eerie glow in the clouds which we tried to capture in this photo.

June 11, 2008.
As most of exit points of the blocks are closed in the night. I have to travel all the way from Block VI (where the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences is located) to the Main Building. The beautiful Block IV that lies in between has always amazed me, as you can virtually get a very clear view of it. The lights appear like tiny stars placed in a straight line and are very soothing especially after a hectic day.

The next snap is of Zanskar Hostel giving a Haunted House look as most of its residents have left.

June 9, 2008.
This snap was taken when I was returning from the lab for dinner. The photo is of the West Wing of Zanskar Hostel. The brick pattern used always amazed me.

June 4, 2008
Was hungry after a long day so decided to go to Holistic (next to Nescafe) with Prem Piyush. He asked me to bring my camera along to take a few photos of the Main Building. The first one is of the passage leading to IRD whilst coming from Nescafe.

This is an enamel painting depicting freedom put up on the passage to Dogra Hall in the Main Building.

The next one is of the Main Building as seen from the passage next to Dogra Hall.

June 3, 2008.
I always wanted to take snaps of the peacocks in IIT. These are not seen around the hostel I live but are seen only near the Directors House and Main Guest House. The snaps given below were taken next to the Main Guest House of IIT Delhi. The picture given below is of a peacock and a peahen

An example of why peacocks consider IIT their home. This one was resting on the balcony of one house. I used the soft glow filter on the this picture.

June 1, 2008.
I wanted to take the snap of the source of the yellow petals that have flooded IIT Delhi. I tried many views such as taking the snap of the whole tree with some birds in the background but none of them were coming as I wanted. May be it is time for a wide angle lens . So here is one snap that I found beautiful. I used the Unsharp Mask filter of GIMP and increased the brightness a little.

31st May 2008.
The snap given below was taken on the way to my Dept. (Block VI at IIT Delhi) on Saturday 31st of May 2008. The squirrel was pretty curious on what I was doing and decided to leave only after I was done with snap. A really lucky snap.

May 24, 2008

Walk to Nescafe

It was 5 in the evening; time for a break. We (Arun, Debdoot, and me) decided to go to the central nescafe at IIT. I decided to take my camera just to take some snaps of the route normally taken by us while coming to the lab. So here are a few snaps and try out a few modes. The snaps were taken at ISO 80 as it is pretty bright here during this time of the day. For some photos I used the Unsharp Mask filter to get better clarity. The slide show for the album is given below.

Creating Panoramic views using Gimp

A few days back I shot a few snaps from the top floor of my department, here at IIT Delhi. The scenery was good and luckily it had rained a few hours back, resulting in a visibly rich foliage. 
I took 5 snaps and created a panoramic view using GIMP. For this I used the Pandora plugin which is freely available. The process involved is simple.
  1. You open a new image in GIMP, do not worry of the size.
  2. Now once a new image has been created, open the images as layers. You can use any overlap percentage currently as it is better to manually overlap the images.
  3. Re-arrange the layers such that the topmost layer is the layer that is seen on the right side of the final image.
  4. Delete the last layer, which is a blank layer created initially.
  5. Just make the last 2 layers visible and use the move tool in the tools dialog to manually overlap the images. Select the overlapping as dissolve and not normal in the layers dialog.
  6. Repeat this process till all the layers are visible.
  7. If needed create a background layer which is black in color.
Voila you are done with a simple panoramic view. The one I have made is a serious rookie attempt to create a panoramic view, but it was worth the effort. 

The slide show of the album is available here.