Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Bombay Shootout!

I know a title like that will attract attention! I hope it attracts the right kind of attention though :-)

So, Suni, Adu and I toddled along to South Bombay last weekend – and the reason? Well, the goods we shipped from US is finally coming home! So we had to pay a visit to the shipping agents.

And that was an excuse enough to carry my camera, my favored E-P2. Not that I have stopped loving E-30, but as a carry along camera with quality images – E-P2 gives best of pro cameras a good run for their money!

And the lens? Well just the 14-42 (28-84 – 35mm equivalent) kit lens. Nothing flashy, just the bare basic gear – it was a first time for me. I generally carry E-30 with 12-60 and another wide angle and a zoom lens. This time I wanted to travel light. The reason being the heat – its crazy the breeze is cool enough in Bombay, but the humidity and sun kills you and I did not want to be bogged by too many things in my hand.

And I can say I am really glad I made that decision – because I am sure I would not have enjoyed shooting as much as I did with E-P2.

So we left home @ around 9:30 in the morning and the humidity was already oppressive. We took the first class ticket for the local train from Nerul (New Bombay) to VT (Victoria Terminus, now called CST Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus. I, though, prefer to call it by its old name) Station (South Bombay). The journey is about an hour. It being a Saturday, we didn't encounter crowd at all.

Some shots of Nerul Railway station

Nerul Station 

Nerul Station


Nerul Station

TECHNICAL INFO: Before I go further, I want to tell you something. In the morning, just before we left home. I accidentally brushed my finger on the image sensor (actually the filter in front of the image sensor) of E-P2! I was so livid at myself for doing that!. I did it while changing the lens, that goes to show how fragile the micro 4/3rd really is. The short flange distance coupled with absence of mirror really leaves very little room for such accidents. I was glad my finger didnt not press on the sensor too hard or I would have been carrying a very expensive junk. I could see my finger print on the sensor though.

 IMPORTANT ADVICEBe doubly, triply careful when changing lenses on micro 4/3rd bodies, you have very little room for errors!!

Although I could not see any problems in the test images I took soon after, I still wanted the sensor cleaned. And I didn't  have the guts to do it myself (although I have sensor cleaning kit). So I googled to see where the Oly service center was located in South Bombay, and luckily it was very near to the place we were going and had my sensor cleaned at the service center cost me INR 1800 roughly US $40 :-( . But I am glad I got it cleaned, it gave me peace of mind!

I tested my camera inside the Oly service center to see the results and as usual…E-P2 was perfect

Olympus Service Center - South Bombay 

Suni and Adu in Oly Service Center

Now for some real shooting!

Our first visit was to Flora Fountain, as it was near the Oly service center. One of the landmarks of South Bombay. Its cool!

Here is an old building – very typical of South Bombay. I love the old Victorian architecture! (It says Insurance company of Canada!)

An Old Building - South Bombay


Another old Victorian building


The Flora Fountain (unfortunately the fountain was turned off!)

The Fountain - South Bombay

Another shot of the Flora Fountain

The Fountain

A Statue near Flora Fountain. Not sure what it signifies though! Comments welcome!

Statue near Fountain

TECHNICAL INFO: All these photos were taken between 1 and 4 PM when the Sun was over head and intense. So many of the structures were backlit, like in pic above. I used spot metering and it was spot ON!! The ESP and Center weighted were way too underexposed for my liking.

Here is another old Victorian building

An Old Building again - South Bombay

Another typical Bombay view! in front of Flora Fountain

Life in Bombay

Form Flora Fountain we went to VT. On the was we stopped at the old Khadi house. A typical Indian store sells handmade clothing (Khadi). Very Old and very cool! Here is an inside view.

Inside the Khadi House

The interesting tile floor inside the Khadi House.

The Old Khadi House

And we saw street vendors selling vada pav (a regional delicacy)….yummy!!

The Colourful street vendors - South Bombay

Stamp and old currency vendor

Old Stamps, Coins and Currency note vendor

The Transport in Bombay - I still don’t understand how the city manages the kind of growth it has. Simply Amazing!

The Taxi and the Double decker!

This is more than 100 year old building almost in ruins now

Old Building 1908...


Now the VT – The Majestic VT

TECHNICAL INFO: As I mentioned, the lens I had was 14-42mm which in 35mm equivalent is 28-84mm. This by no means is wide-wide, its more a standard-wide zoom lens. So I had difficulty in getting the entire view of the VT Station and I knew this would be the case before hand so I was not disappointed. I would normally have taken a 9-18 (18-36 for 35mm), but I didn't on this occasion because I didn't want too many camera equipments on me. So if you want to capture wide structures then don't forget to take a wide angle lens at least 18mm (35mm format) or better still a Fish eye

I will tell you an amusing story - As I was shooting the gigantic VT Station in various angle, suddenly a car came and parked near me. A guy got out of the car with Nikon D300 and the biggest bazooka lens attached to it, it must be at least 70-300 (APS-C). And he started trying to shoot with the same angle as I was shooting and was clearly exasperated by his efforts! :-) Finally I finished and moved on as I couldn’t stand his predicament!.

The reason why I told you this story is this – You need to understand photography before you start buying the gear. “The bigger the better” mindset completely fails in photography if you don't know what you are doing. And you will only be burning your money on something you don’t know how to use. Hardware cannot replace or supplement your skills.

VT – Views

Another View - VT station


Another Wide View


VT again

The Dome was undergoing maintenance, which was a shame really!

 Wide Angle VT

More angles

Majestic VT

Road in front VT Station

The Majestic BMC (Bombay Municipal Corporation), right in front of VT Station


The monument for the Martyrs of 1857 freedom movement.

Monument for 1857 freedon fighters


And finally the Bombay Local train! The Ever Reliable!!!

The Mode of transport...Bombay Locals


You can also catch the Slide show here of the complete set