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yadda yadda re swans and izobu (was Sharani's swan and cygnet pix)

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  • pavitrata27
    Hi Niriha A swan could break someone s leg with its neck, they are extremely powerful creatures, and you wouldn t want to risk their wrath by picking up one of
    Message 1 of 22 , Jun 1, 2005
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      Hi Niriha

      A swan could break someone's leg with its neck, they are extremely
      powerful creatures, and you wouldn't want to risk their wrath by
      picking up one of the kids.

      I have seen a male swan attack a big dog, and the dog barely escaped,
      very shaken.

      Re izobu...I wanted a separate email address for product enquiries,
      registrations, booking tickets etc. My experience is that once you
      start giving an address out it becomes spam fodder, mailing lists get
      sold or hackled (I meant to say hacked but I like that word...hackled
      hmm) and before you know it the inbox is landfill.

      Yahoo Mail Plus has a superb spam filter, so I use my izobu@ etc
      account for product enquiries, booking tickets etc. The name? I sat
      down with a pen and played about with letters and finally came up with
      something that no-one had used..or so I thought. Apparently it means
      'soup' in the Ndebele language. Soup is good, right? Hey, it could
      have meant goat-face!!

      Somehow I must have been logged on as izobu when I used the site.

      Of course I keep a separate gb account for personal /ems

      What is it with swans? Well, I am way too fizzy as a person, and
      watching them calms me right down. They also embody beauty, power and
      grace in perfect balance. If you have ever seen a swan glide
      apparently effortlessly up a fast moving river you will know how
      strong they are.

      The male swan is called a cob, the female is called a pen. The newly
      hatched swan weighs seven ounces, the full-grown male up to 24 lbs.
      Some people think they are veggies, but they do snack out on water
      insects and little frogs or fish. They also eat small small bits of
      gravel to help them digest their food. Roughage!

      Swans usually pair for life, and when the cygnets grow they are shoo'd
      away to go and find their own place!

      In England mute swans are swans are protected birds, as the entire
      species is considered to 'belong to the queen (or king) since the
      1400's - (strange but true) and the penalties ar very serious for
      harming them. The very idea of 'owning' a swan! Still, it does protect
      them.

      The whooper swans do not have quite the same level of protection as
      they are migratory birds....Iceland, I think.

      The most beautiful swan photo I ever saw was of several hundred swans
      all sleeping in the snow on a frozen lake, I think the photo was taken
      in Japan, in the late evening.

      Yadda yadda. Oh, just look at the time!

      Pavitrata
      --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7
      <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > Hi Pavitrata,
      >
      > I am glad I took a look at "Izobu's" post even though I had no idea
      > who Izobu was! I will try to remember that Izobu is you! What
      does
      > it stand for?
      >
      > And Sharani, keep on clicking! How can you resist picking up those
      > little cygnets? Maybe with mother swan around it is not an option.

      > I think I would try anyway. Then again, when I was seven I was
      told
      > that if you touch a baby bird its mother will reject it. I have
      not
      > wanted to upset nature since hearing that though I do not even know
      > if it is true. But the statement made a deep impression and ever
      > since hearing it at the age of seven, I have acted as though it is
      > true.
      >
      > Niriha (still wanting to reach out and touch the adorable head of
      > one of the cygnets in your photos).
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, izobu wrote:
      > > Hi Sharani,
      > >
      > > Thanks for sharing your adventure, and the photos are really
      great,
      > I
      > > so enjoy looking at them, McCloskey Wannabees is a classic, but my
      > > favourites are also Cygnet 1 and Swan Family 2.
      > >
      > > If its any consolation I also have taken about 150 swan/cygnet pix
      > > over the past few weeks, but out of that set there's only a small
      > > handful I am happy with, which are on the gallery, and out of all
      of
      > > them there is only one which I am enlarging and printing. The more
      > > photos you take the fussier you get!
      > >
      > > The cygnets this side of the pond (the Atlantic!)in my park are
      > > getting stronger and bolder, and even go exploring by themselves.
      > One
      > > got lost in a big patch of tall rushes, and the mother went
      looking
      > > for it. Whatever anyone tells you, swans are not mute, this
      mother
      > was
      > > making the most poignant noises about the missing sibling, who
      > > eventually turned up and got a free ride home on mum's back.
      > >
      > > So, you got the bug now, huh? The shutter bug!! It'll keep you
      busy,
      > > that's for sure!
      > >
      > > Pavitrata
      > >
      > > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
      > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
      > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > > > Regulars to this forum know I have been pining for cygnets to
      > > > photograph and consoling myself with Pavitrata's swan babies
      > instead.
      > > > Well the last time that I was at the bike path learning bird
      > calls I
      > > > did take some adult swan photos. As I stood looking at them,
      two
      > women
      > > > passed by and said, "oh that's nothing you should see the swan
      > with
      > > > eggs in Barrington." With a slight delay in registering its
      > import, I
      > > > followed after them to find out where this swan was! They said
      it
      > was
      > > > on a lake and the nest was right by the side of the road. I
      knew
      > I had
      > > > to go looking for it. Those of you who know me know what I mean
      by
      > > > that! Today was a Memorial Day holiday and the idyllic summery
      > weather
      > > > settled it. Today the hunt began.
      > > >
      > > > I had never before been where they said the swans were so I
      drove
      > > > around in circles looking for them. I kept crossing over the
      bike
      > path
      > > > and driving along the ocean. When I backtracked and thought I
      was
      > > > getting close, the McCloskey Wannebee moment happened. All cars
      > came
      > > > to a stop as the geese crossed the road - or should I say danced
      > > > around and couldn't make up their minds quite where they were
      > going.
      > > > Adorable to say the least!
      > > >
      > > > Then I turned down a small dirt road and there was a pond which
      > > > extended near someone's residence and was bordered by the bike
      > path on
      > > > the opposite side. 5 babies, Mom and Dad! Dad (I think) came
      over
      > 2 or
      > > > 3 times and established that they were in charge with a hiss or
      > two.
      > > > More often though, they just swam around quite near where I
      > stood. I'm
      > > > earning my paparazzi lapels too. I hung the camera from a tree
      > branch
      > > > and set the timer to take a self-portrait :-) :-) Could I be
      any
      > more
      > > > daft? Next thing you know I'll be climbing the trees for the
      > perfect
      > > > shot :-)
      > > >
      > > > This Memorial Day holiday was memorable indeed. The universe
      > fulfilled
      > > > my wish. I am in the seventh heaven of happiness. Let me finish
      > with
      > > > a poem about swan babies that I wrote several years ago, long
      > before
      > > > my current exploits.
      > > >
      > > > Was I a seeker
      > > > yearning yearning
      > > > for God's friendship
      > > > here on Earth?
      > > > Did I even dare to fathom
      > > > what my life was really worth?
      > > > Aspiration realm indeed
      > > > unconscious
      > > > then You gave it a new birth
      > > > Hear that peeping in the shell?
      > > > My soul is crying to be free
      > > > You're my only incubator
      > > > trying to help me hatch and fly
      > > > I'm your ugly duckling swan chick
      > > > with the will to try and tray.
      > > >
      > > > Park Ranger Sharani signing off...
      > > >
      > > > p.s. Pavitrata how do you ever limit yourself to just one
      cygnet
      > photo
      > > > in your album. I took almost 100 shots today but tried to
      control
      > > > myself a little in how many I put in the album. While we're at
      it
      > > > let's not think about the grand total. Time for weeding soon,
      eh?
      > > > Oops, I almost forgot. The link to my album is at:
      > > > http://tinyurl.com/d4pak
    • pavitrata27
      Hi Sharani I think you do yourself an injustice. You and your new camera are producing some really lovely photos. However, to explore your question I
      Message 2 of 22 , Jun 2, 2005
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        Hi Sharani

        I think you do yourself an injustice. You and your new camera are
        producing some really lovely photos.

        However, to explore your question I downloaded your fine photo 'The
        Whole Gang' and ran it through Picasa2. There's not much needs doing
        to improve it, but it did seem to benefit from a slight tweaking in
        contrast, and some sharpening. I found the picture also seemed more
        pleasing to the eye with 1 inch taken off the top and 1 inch cropped
        off the bottom, i.e. the water at the top and the plants at the
        bottom. I then used the neutral colour picker to play about with the
        colour balance, but after lots of colour cast versions went back to
        the original. Your camera had done well.

        I then ran the same photo through Adobe Photoshop 7 --- although the
        levels of control are huge, and the toolbar responses much more
        refined and controllable, nevertheless the end product was only a
        little better than the result I got through Picasa2.

        Picasa2 really is a great little program, with some surprisingly
        advanced options, able to view almost any file type. If I were you I
        would really thoroughly explore the toolbar, particularly the tuning
        section. Surprisingly 'Auto-contrast' and Auto-Colour' improved many
        of the unedited pix I ran through it. For more control over pix with a
        colour cast, explore the neutral colour picker (Neutral Color Picker:
        An eyedropper tool which allows the user to manually set the correct
        white balance and remove color cast by clicking on a neutral color in
        the photograph (such as a white wall or a white shirt).

        By the way, in tools/options/general uncheck the box marked 'Check for
        online updates every time I start Picasa.' otherwise it will keep
        trying to access the Picasa website for updates which you may want to
        do manually every once in a while.

        Most pictures coming from a digital camera, even the top-of the range
        ones, benefit from a little tweaking.

        I would say, whatever camera you are using, your photos can only
        improve by having a thorough technical knowledge of how the camera
        works.

        I know Kedar and Prashputita both have a professional level of
        understanding of how their cameras work, and both are excellent at
        rapidly using this knowledge to adjust their camera settings as they
        are photographing. Of course there is a much greater level of control
        with semi-pro equipment, apertures, depth of field, shutter speed,
        control over backgrounds (blurred/sharp etc.) Remember also that Kedar
        and Prashputita have very nice equipment, and lovely lenses, (me too,
        call it obsessed) and there is no doubt about the fact that helps
        immensely.

        However, I know that if you gave either of those two good people a $5
        disposable camera they would still come up with great shots

        I think it has to do with having a passion for photography, which the
        aforementioned lads have in abundance. If the enthusiasm is there and
        the willingness to play and learn is there, the rest will come.

        If you can't absord information through manuals (I can't) then simply
        play with the different modes and settings and see what you get with
        each. Your Fuji S3100 does does have some measure of manual control if
        you switch it off auto. You might be pleasantly surprised, for
        example, if you set the camera to underexpose slightly in the exposure
        compensation option of the manual setting of the camera, generally the
        pictures will be more saturated and highlights less washed out.

        I leave most of my cameras permanently set to underexpose somewhat,
        especially with digital.

        Remember it is much easier to lighten a picture to get what you want.
        Once a picture is over exposed there is not much you can do to
        retrieve the washed out areas, although it is a little more possible
        with digital images to do this.

        This is especially true of swans, it is so hard to keep the lovely
        detail in their feathers without the highlights washing out or without
        the rest of the picture looking too dark, and this is where selective
        edting, darkening/lightening helps.

        Anyway stick with Picasa until you master it and feel you have
        outgrown it, delight in your own already lovely photos, work on
        mastering your camera and improving your editing techniques, and
        continue to enjoy your photography as much as you have been doing.
        Don't be afraid to crop, its not cheating. The manual crop facility in
        Picasa is just great, as is the 'Straighten' option. I get dizzy with
        sloping horizons!

        I suppose the most important thing I have learnt from editing photos
        is not so much 'What more can I add?' but 'How much can I take out?'

        Re books, for technical information for beginners this is hard to
        beat:

        Easy Digital Photography: The Beginners Guide to Everything Digital -
        Updated for 2000 (Beginners Series)
        by Scott Slaughter

        For creative inspiration try:

        Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography
        Brenda Tharp
        published by Amphoto Books

        > > > > > continued...

        We were all in Oxford last night for a special occasion, and it seems
        appropriate to end with a few lines from Sri Chinmoy's 1976 Oxford
        University Lecture on 'Greatness and Goodness':


        'If we at all have to compare, then the comparison is with ourselves.
        If we at all have to compete, then we will compete with our own
        previous capacities. Here there is no other world. There is only our
        own world of constant and continuous progress. We try only to
        transcend ourselves.'

        The full text can be found by going to:

        www.srichinmoy.org

        type

        Oxford

        in the search box and from the page that comes up click on


        Great and Goodness

        (I guess it should read Greatness and Goodness, but thats the link)

        Hope that all helps!

        Pavitrata

        >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
        --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
        <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > Hi Pavitrata,
        >
        > I saw that you have more cygnet photos and they are really getting
        big
        > compared to the ones I just met on "this side of the pond." I
        > completely lost track of time during my photo shoot, meditation,
        > observation session a couple of days ago. I must have been there for
        > over an hour, possibly two. It is so fascinating to observe them.
        >
        > Like you, I heard them making noises too (not just the hiss). The
        > babies made this rather soft squeaking(?) sound. I definitely heard
        > the adult swans make noises too as if they were communicating to one
        > another. Then there was the non-verbal communication. If the Mother
        > preened her feathers or shook her feathers or made some other kind
        of
        > movement, then the babies would try to imitate her and do the same.
        I
        > guess they learn through observation and imitation just like humans
        > do. :-) I'm smiling just to even recollect the way they mimicked the
        > adults, especially when they didn't have any "feathers" to shake
        yet.
        >
        > Since you are undoubtedly correct in your assessment of my being bit
        > by the shutter bug, can I ask you yet another neophyte question? Why
        > are the photos by you and Kedar and Prashphutita so much sharper and
        > crystal clear than photos by (well by) people like me? Is it partly
        > the quality of the camera? Is it a matter of using a tripod? Am I
        > moving the camera when I take the pictre? Is it because I usually
        > just choose the automatic setting when I take the photo? Or is it
        > partly the photo editing software? I'm still just using free Picasa2
        > software from Google at the moment.
        >
        > Please rest assured that my question isn't trying to address the
        > matters of composition, artistic content, etc. I don't need to ask
        > anybody to explain to me in this respect why collectively you are
        our
        > experts. Hopefully since you teach young children, you have the
        > patience for my questions and won't just bark at me, "Why don't you
        > just go take a class in photography!" Or maybe you can recommend a
        > good book for a beginner to learn answers to these types of
        questions.
        >
        > Sharani :-)
        >
        >
        > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, izobu wrote:
        > > Hi Sharani,
        > >
        > > Thanks for sharing your adventure, and the photos are really
        great,
        > I
        > > so enjoy looking at them, McCloskey Wannabees is a classic, but my
        > > favourites are also Cygnet 1 and Swan Family 2.
        > >
        > > If its any consolation I also have taken about 150 swan/cygnet pix
        > > over the past few weeks, but out of that set there's only a small
        > > handful I am happy with, which are on the gallery, and out of all
        of
        > > them there is only one which I am enlarging and printing. The more
        > > photos you take the fussier you get!
        > >
        > > The cygnets this side of the pond (the Atlantic!)in my park are
        > > getting stronger and bolder, and even go exploring by themselves.
        > One
        > > got lost in a big patch of tall rushes, and the mother went
        looking
        > > for it. Whatever anyone tells you, swans are not mute, this mother
        > was
        > > making the most poignant noises about the missing sibling, who
        > > eventually turned up and got a free ride home on mum's back.
        > >
        > > So, you got the bug now, huh? The shutter bug!! It'll keep you
        busy,
        > > that's for sure!
        > >
        > > Pavitrata
        > >
        > > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
        > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
        > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > > > Regulars to this forum know I have been pining for cygnets to
        > > > photograph and consoling myself with Pavitrata's swan babies
        > instead.
        > > > Well the last time that I was at the bike path learning bird
        > calls I
        > > > did take some adult swan photos. As I stood looking at them, two
        > women
        > > > passed by and said, "oh that's nothing you should see the swan
        > with
        > > > eggs in Barrington." With a slight delay in registering its
        > import, I
        > > > followed after them to find out where this swan was! They said
        it
        > was
        > > > on a lake and the nest was right by the side of the road. I knew
        > I had
        > > > to go looking for it. Those of you who know me know what I mean
        by
        > > > that! Today was a Memorial Day holiday and the idyllic summery
        > weather
        > > > settled it. Today the hunt began.
        > > >
        > > > I had never before been where they said the swans were so I
        drove
        > > > around in circles looking for them. I kept crossing over the
        bike
        > path
        > > > and driving along the ocean. When I backtracked and thought I
        was
        > > > getting close, the McCloskey Wannebee moment happened. All cars
        > came
        > > > to a stop as the geese crossed the road - or should I say danced
        > > > around and couldn't make up their minds quite where they were
        > going.
        > > > Adorable to say the least!
        > > >
        > > > Then I turned down a small dirt road and there was a pond which
        > > > extended near someone's residence and was bordered by the bike
        > path on
        > > > the opposite side. 5 babies, Mom and Dad! Dad (I think) came
        over
        > 2 or
        > > > 3 times and established that they were in charge with a hiss or
        > two.
        > > > More often though, they just swam around quite near where I
        > stood. I'm
        > > > earning my paparazzi lapels too. I hung the camera from a tree
        > branch
        > > > and set the timer to take a self-portrait :-) :-) Could I be any
        > more
        > > > daft? Next thing you know I'll be climbing the trees for the
        > perfect
        > > > shot :-)
        > > >
        > > > This Memorial Day holiday was memorable indeed. The universe
        > fulfilled
        > > > my wish. I am in the seventh heaven of happiness. Let me finish
        > with
        > > > a poem about swan babies that I wrote several years ago, long
        > before
        > > > my current exploits.
        > > >
        > > > Was I a seeker
        > > > yearning yearning
        > > > for God's friendship
        > > > here on Earth?
        > > > Did I even dare to fathom
        > > > what my life was really worth?
        > > > Aspiration realm indeed
        > > > unconscious
        > > > then You gave it a new birth
        > > > Hear that peeping in the shell?
        > > > My soul is crying to be free
        > > > You're my only incubator
        > > > trying to help me hatch and fly
        > > > I'm your ugly duckling swan chick
        > > > with the will to try and tray.
        > > >
        > > > Park Ranger Sharani signing off...
        > > >
        > > > p.s. Pavitrata how do you ever limit yourself to just one cygnet
        > photo
        > > > in your album. I took almost 100 shots today but tried to
        control
        > > > myself a little in how many I put in the album. While we're at
        it
        > > > let's not think about the grand total. Time for weeding soon,
        eh?
        > > > Oops, I almost forgot. The link to my album is at:
        > > > http://tinyurl.com/d4pak
      • prashphutita
        Hi Pavitrata, Thank-you for your interesting stories of swans... and miscellaneous scientific details, etcetera. Here in Australia we only have black swans,
        Message 3 of 22 , Jun 2, 2005
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi Pavitrata,

          Thank-you for your interesting stories of swans... and miscellaneous
          scientific details, etcetera. Here in Australia we only have black
          swans, which are beautiful to behold, but difficult to photograph
          (Velvia slide film works well, with its high Dmax parameter ie. the
          blacks show up on that film as, well, really black!).

          At a working lunch recently, we had a close encounter with a large
          swan... The setting was Melbourne's world-famous Royal Botanic
          gardens, at a Cafe in the middle of the expansive grounds,quite near
          to a lake. This cheeky (and big!) fellow would waddle amongst the
          tables, helping himself to any food on any plate which took his
          fancy!!!

          A brave waiter escorted this swan away, using a combination of
          patience, firmness and... a serving tray! Hmmm, I wouldn't have taken
          such a chance myself, especially now that you've told us they can
          break someone's leg!

          Cheers,

          Prashphutita, Melbourne



          --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, pavitrata27
          <no_reply@y...> wrote:
          > Hi Niriha
          >
          > A swan could break someone's leg with its neck, they are extremely
          > powerful creatures, and you wouldn't want to risk their wrath by
          > picking up one of the kids.
          >
          > I have seen a male swan attack a big dog, and the dog barely
          escaped,
          > very shaken.
          >
          > Re izobu...I wanted a separate email address for product enquiries,
          > registrations, booking tickets etc. My experience is that once you
          > start giving an address out it becomes spam fodder, mailing lists
          get
          > sold or hackled (I meant to say hacked but I like that
          word...hackled
          > hmm) and before you know it the inbox is landfill.
          >
          > Yahoo Mail Plus has a superb spam filter, so I use my izobu@ etc
          > account for product enquiries, booking tickets etc. The name? I sat
          > down with a pen and played about with letters and finally came up
          with
          > something that no-one had used..or so I thought. Apparently it means
          > 'soup' in the Ndebele language. Soup is good, right? Hey, it could
          > have meant goat-face!!
          >
          > Somehow I must have been logged on as izobu when I used the site.
          >
          > Of course I keep a separate gb account for personal /ems
          >
          > What is it with swans? Well, I am way too fizzy as a person, and
          > watching them calms me right down. They also embody beauty, power
          and
          > grace in perfect balance. If you have ever seen a swan glide
          > apparently effortlessly up a fast moving river you will know how
          > strong they are.
          >
          > The male swan is called a cob, the female is called a pen. The newly
          > hatched swan weighs seven ounces, the full-grown male up to 24 lbs.
          > Some people think they are veggies, but they do snack out on water
          > insects and little frogs or fish. They also eat small small bits of
          > gravel to help them digest their food. Roughage!
          >
          > Swans usually pair for life, and when the cygnets grow they are
          shoo'd
          > away to go and find their own place!
          >
          > In England mute swans are swans are protected birds, as the entire
          > species is considered to 'belong to the queen (or king) since the
          > 1400's - (strange but true) and the penalties ar very serious for
          > harming them. The very idea of 'owning' a swan! Still, it does
          protect
          > them.
          >
          > The whooper swans do not have quite the same level of protection as
          > they are migratory birds....Iceland, I think.
          >
          > The most beautiful swan photo I ever saw was of several hundred
          swans
          > all sleeping in the snow on a frozen lake, I think the photo was
          taken
          > in Japan, in the late evening.
          >
          > Yadda yadda. Oh, just look at the time!
          >
          > Pavitrata
          > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7
          > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
          > >
          > >
          > > Hi Pavitrata,
          > >
          > > I am glad I took a look at "Izobu's" post even though I had no
          idea
          > > who Izobu was! I will try to remember that Izobu is you! What
          > does
          > > it stand for?
          > >
          > > And Sharani, keep on clicking! How can you resist picking up
          those
          > > little cygnets? Maybe with mother swan around it is not an
          option.
          >
          > > I think I would try anyway. Then again, when I was seven I was
          > told
          > > that if you touch a baby bird its mother will reject it. I have
          > not
          > > wanted to upset nature since hearing that though I do not even
          know
          > > if it is true. But the statement made a deep impression and ever
          > > since hearing it at the age of seven, I have acted as though it
          is
          > > true.
          > >
          > > Niriha (still wanting to reach out and touch the adorable head
          of
          > > one of the cygnets in your photos).
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, izobu wrote:
          > > > Hi Sharani,
          > > >
          > > > Thanks for sharing your adventure, and the photos are really
          > great,
          > > I
          > > > so enjoy looking at them, McCloskey Wannabees is a classic, but
          my
          > > > favourites are also Cygnet 1 and Swan Family 2.
          > > >
          > > > If its any consolation I also have taken about 150 swan/cygnet
          pix
          > > > over the past few weeks, but out of that set there's only a
          small
          > > > handful I am happy with, which are on the gallery, and out of
          all
          > of
          > > > them there is only one which I am enlarging and printing. The
          more
          > > > photos you take the fussier you get!
          > > >
          > > > The cygnets this side of the pond (the Atlantic!)in my park are
          > > > getting stronger and bolder, and even go exploring by
          themselves.
          > > One
          > > > got lost in a big patch of tall rushes, and the mother went
          > looking
          > > > for it. Whatever anyone tells you, swans are not mute, this
          > mother
          > > was
          > > > making the most poignant noises about the missing sibling, who
          > > > eventually turned up and got a free ride home on mum's back.
          > > >
          > > > So, you got the bug now, huh? The shutter bug!! It'll keep you
          > busy,
          > > > that's for sure!
          > > >
          > > > Pavitrata
          > > >
          > > > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
          > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
          > > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
          > > > > Regulars to this forum know I have been pining for cygnets to
          > > > > photograph and consoling myself with Pavitrata's swan babies
          > > instead.
          > > > > Well the last time that I was at the bike path learning bird
          > > calls I
          > > > > did take some adult swan photos. As I stood looking at them,
          > two
          > > women
          > > > > passed by and said, "oh that's nothing you should see the
          swan
          > > with
          > > > > eggs in Barrington." With a slight delay in registering its
          > > import, I
          > > > > followed after them to find out where this swan was! They said
          > it
          > > was
          > > > > on a lake and the nest was right by the side of the road. I
          > knew
          > > I had
          > > > > to go looking for it. Those of you who know me know what I
          mean
          > by
          > > > > that! Today was a Memorial Day holiday and the idyllic
          summery
          > > weather
          > > > > settled it. Today the hunt began.
          > > > >
          > > > > I had never before been where they said the swans were so I
          > drove
          > > > > around in circles looking for them. I kept crossing over the
          > bike
          > > path
          > > > > and driving along the ocean. When I backtracked and thought I
          > was
          > > > > getting close, the McCloskey Wannebee moment happened. All
          cars
          > > came
          > > > > to a stop as the geese crossed the road - or should I say
          danced
          > > > > around and couldn't make up their minds quite where they were
          > > going.
          > > > > Adorable to say the least!
          > > > >
          > > > > Then I turned down a small dirt road and there was a pond
          which
          > > > > extended near someone's residence and was bordered by the
          bike
          > > path on
          > > > > the opposite side. 5 babies, Mom and Dad! Dad (I think) came
          > over
          > > 2 or
          > > > > 3 times and established that they were in charge with a hiss
          or
          > > two.
          > > > > More often though, they just swam around quite near where I
          > > stood. I'm
          > > > > earning my paparazzi lapels too. I hung the camera from a
          tree
          > > branch
          > > > > and set the timer to take a self-portrait :-) :-) Could I be
          > any
          > > more
          > > > > daft? Next thing you know I'll be climbing the trees for the
          > > perfect
          > > > > shot :-)
          > > > >
          > > > > This Memorial Day holiday was memorable indeed. The universe
          > > fulfilled
          > > > > my wish. I am in the seventh heaven of happiness. Let me
          finish
          > > with
          > > > > a poem about swan babies that I wrote several years ago, long
          > > before
          > > > > my current exploits.
          > > > >
          > > > > Was I a seeker
          > > > > yearning yearning
          > > > > for God's friendship
          > > > > here on Earth?
          > > > > Did I even dare to fathom
          > > > > what my life was really worth?
          > > > > Aspiration realm indeed
          > > > > unconscious
          > > > > then You gave it a new birth
          > > > > Hear that peeping in the shell?
          > > > > My soul is crying to be free
          > > > > You're my only incubator
          > > > > trying to help me hatch and fly
          > > > > I'm your ugly duckling swan chick
          > > > > with the will to try and tray.
          > > > >
          > > > > Park Ranger Sharani signing off...
          > > > >
          > > > > p.s. Pavitrata how do you ever limit yourself to just one
          > cygnet
          > > photo
          > > > > in your album. I took almost 100 shots today but tried to
          > control
          > > > > myself a little in how many I put in the album. While we're at
          > it
          > > > > let's not think about the grand total. Time for weeding soon,
          > eh?
          > > > > Oops, I almost forgot. The link to my album is at:
          > > > > http://tinyurl.com/d4pak
        • palyati
          We have nesting pairs of trumpeter swans up here in Alaska as well as tundra swans. I watched a cob trumpeter turn a bull moose around! He spread out those 7.5
          Message 4 of 22 , Jun 3, 2005
          • 0 Attachment
            We have nesting pairs of trumpeter swans up here in Alaska as well as
            tundra swans. I watched a cob trumpeter turn a bull moose around! He
            spread out those 7.5 to 8 ft wings out and virtually ran across the
            water. The moose was just walking minding it's own business at the
            time it got too close to the nest. The trumpeter can weigh 35 pounds.

            Palyati

            --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, pavitrata27
            <no_reply@y...> wrote:
            > Hi Niriha
            >
            > A swan could break someone's leg with its neck, they are extremely
            > powerful creatures, and you wouldn't want to risk their wrath by
            > picking up one of the kids.
            >
            > I have seen a male swan attack a big dog, and the dog barely
            escaped,
            > very shaken.
            >
            > Re izobu...I wanted a separate email address for product enquiries,
            > registrations, booking tickets etc. My experience is that once you
            > start giving an address out it becomes spam fodder, mailing lists
            get
            > sold or hackled (I meant to say hacked but I like that
            word...hackled
            > hmm) and before you know it the inbox is landfill.
            >
            > Yahoo Mail Plus has a superb spam filter, so I use my izobu@ etc
            > account for product enquiries, booking tickets etc. The name? I sat
            > down with a pen and played about with letters and finally came up
            with
            > something that no-one had used..or so I thought. Apparently it means
            > 'soup' in the Ndebele language. Soup is good, right? Hey, it could
            > have meant goat-face!!
            >
            > Somehow I must have been logged on as izobu when I used the site.
            >
            > Of course I keep a separate gb account for personal /ems
            >
            > What is it with swans? Well, I am way too fizzy as a person, and
            > watching them calms me right down. They also embody beauty, power
            and
            > grace in perfect balance. If you have ever seen a swan glide
            > apparently effortlessly up a fast moving river you will know how
            > strong they are.
            >
            > The male swan is called a cob, the female is called a pen. The newly
            > hatched swan weighs seven ounces, the full-grown male up to 24 lbs.
            > Some people think they are veggies, but they do snack out on water
            > insects and little frogs or fish. They also eat small small bits of
            > gravel to help them digest their food. Roughage!
            >
            > Swans usually pair for life, and when the cygnets grow they are
            shoo'd
            > away to go and find their own place!
            >
            > In England mute swans are swans are protected birds, as the entire
            > species is considered to 'belong to the queen (or king) since the
            > 1400's - (strange but true) and the penalties ar very serious for
            > harming them. The very idea of 'owning' a swan! Still, it does
            protect
            > them.
            >
            > The whooper swans do not have quite the same level of protection as
            > they are migratory birds....Iceland, I think.
            >
            > The most beautiful swan photo I ever saw was of several hundred
            swans
            > all sleeping in the snow on a frozen lake, I think the photo was
            taken
            > in Japan, in the late evening.
            >
            > Yadda yadda. Oh, just look at the time!
            >
            > Pavitrata
            > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7
            > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
            > >
            > >
            > > Hi Pavitrata,
            > >
            > > I am glad I took a look at "Izobu's" post even though I had no
            idea
            > > who Izobu was! I will try to remember that Izobu is you! What
            > does
            > > it stand for?
            > >
            > > And Sharani, keep on clicking! How can you resist picking up
            those
            > > little cygnets? Maybe with mother swan around it is not an
            option.
            >
            > > I think I would try anyway. Then again, when I was seven I was
            > told
            > > that if you touch a baby bird its mother will reject it. I have
            > not
            > > wanted to upset nature since hearing that though I do not even
            know
            > > if it is true. But the statement made a deep impression and ever
            > > since hearing it at the age of seven, I have acted as though it
            is
            > > true.
            > >
            > > Niriha (still wanting to reach out and touch the adorable head
            of
            > > one of the cygnets in your photos).
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, izobu wrote:
            > > > Hi Sharani,
            > > >
            > > > Thanks for sharing your adventure, and the photos are really
            > great,
            > > I
            > > > so enjoy looking at them, McCloskey Wannabees is a classic, but
            my
            > > > favourites are also Cygnet 1 and Swan Family 2.
            > > >
            > > > If its any consolation I also have taken about 150 swan/cygnet
            pix
            > > > over the past few weeks, but out of that set there's only a
            small
            > > > handful I am happy with, which are on the gallery, and out of
            all
            > of
            > > > them there is only one which I am enlarging and printing. The
            more
            > > > photos you take the fussier you get!
            > > >
            > > > The cygnets this side of the pond (the Atlantic!)in my park are
            > > > getting stronger and bolder, and even go exploring by
            themselves.
            > > One
            > > > got lost in a big patch of tall rushes, and the mother went
            > looking
            > > > for it. Whatever anyone tells you, swans are not mute, this
            > mother
            > > was
            > > > making the most poignant noises about the missing sibling, who
            > > > eventually turned up and got a free ride home on mum's back.
            > > >
            > > > So, you got the bug now, huh? The shutter bug!! It'll keep you
            > busy,
            > > > that's for sure!
            > > >
            > > > Pavitrata
            > > >
            > > > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
            > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
            > > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
            > > > > Regulars to this forum know I have been pining for cygnets to
            > > > > photograph and consoling myself with Pavitrata's swan babies
            > > instead.
            > > > > Well the last time that I was at the bike path learning bird
            > > calls I
            > > > > did take some adult swan photos. As I stood looking at them,
            > two
            > > women
            > > > > passed by and said, "oh that's nothing you should see the
            swan
            > > with
            > > > > eggs in Barrington." With a slight delay in registering its
            > > import, I
            > > > > followed after them to find out where this swan was! They said
            > it
            > > was
            > > > > on a lake and the nest was right by the side of the road. I
            > knew
            > > I had
            > > > > to go looking for it. Those of you who know me know what I
            mean
            > by
            > > > > that! Today was a Memorial Day holiday and the idyllic
            summery
            > > weather
            > > > > settled it. Today the hunt began.
            > > > >
            > > > > I had never before been where they said the swans were so I
            > drove
            > > > > around in circles looking for them. I kept crossing over the
            > bike
            > > path
            > > > > and driving along the ocean. When I backtracked and thought I
            > was
            > > > > getting close, the McCloskey Wannebee moment happened. All
            cars
            > > came
            > > > > to a stop as the geese crossed the road - or should I say
            danced
            > > > > around and couldn't make up their minds quite where they were
            > > going.
            > > > > Adorable to say the least!
            > > > >
            > > > > Then I turned down a small dirt road and there was a pond
            which
            > > > > extended near someone's residence and was bordered by the
            bike
            > > path on
            > > > > the opposite side. 5 babies, Mom and Dad! Dad (I think) came
            > over
            > > 2 or
            > > > > 3 times and established that they were in charge with a hiss
            or
            > > two.
            > > > > More often though, they just swam around quite near where I
            > > stood. I'm
            > > > > earning my paparazzi lapels too. I hung the camera from a
            tree
            > > branch
            > > > > and set the timer to take a self-portrait :-) :-) Could I be
            > any
            > > more
            > > > > daft? Next thing you know I'll be climbing the trees for the
            > > perfect
            > > > > shot :-)
            > > > >
            > > > > This Memorial Day holiday was memorable indeed. The universe
            > > fulfilled
            > > > > my wish. I am in the seventh heaven of happiness. Let me
            finish
            > > with
            > > > > a poem about swan babies that I wrote several years ago, long
            > > before
            > > > > my current exploits.
            > > > >
            > > > > Was I a seeker
            > > > > yearning yearning
            > > > > for God's friendship
            > > > > here on Earth?
            > > > > Did I even dare to fathom
            > > > > what my life was really worth?
            > > > > Aspiration realm indeed
            > > > > unconscious
            > > > > then You gave it a new birth
            > > > > Hear that peeping in the shell?
            > > > > My soul is crying to be free
            > > > > You're my only incubator
            > > > > trying to help me hatch and fly
            > > > > I'm your ugly duckling swan chick
            > > > > with the will to try and tray.
            > > > >
            > > > > Park Ranger Sharani signing off...
            > > > >
            > > > > p.s. Pavitrata how do you ever limit yourself to just one
            > cygnet
            > > photo
            > > > > in your album. I took almost 100 shots today but tried to
            > control
            > > > > myself a little in how many I put in the album. While we're at
            > it
            > > > > let's not think about the grand total. Time for weeding soon,
            > eh?
            > > > > Oops, I almost forgot. The link to my album is at:
            > > > > http://tinyurl.com/d4pak
          • sharani_sharani
            Hi Pavitrata I can only hope that many others benefitted as much from reading your answer to my questions as I did. Your discourse contained many helpful
            Message 5 of 22 , Jun 4, 2005
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              Hi Pavitrata

              I can only hope that many others benefitted as much from reading your
              answer to my questions as I did. Your discourse contained many helpful
              suggestions, not the least of which includes the ever timely reminder
              to *focus* especially on self-transcendence and slaying the comparison
              dragon. :-)

              It was so helpful to hear you describe your own experimenting with
              Picasa2 vs. Adobe. I see where the neutral colour picker tool is that
              you mention. I don't completely understand how to use it, but I will
              play with it.

              My camera indeed comes with a long and detailed manual. Sometimes
              there are little messages in it while I'm taking pictures that I
              cannot even keep track of :-) Since it seems to be a new friend, I
              should really take the time to get to know it more completely.

              I used to walk around in a bit of a reverie seeing poems in the beauty
              of my surroundings. Now I must confess I look at everything (not just
              Nature and swans) and marvel at the endless beauty that speaks to us
              all day long. When I drive on a fairly large bridge over a river on my
              commute to work, I am mesmerized by the structure over my head. As I
              pass a row of mailboxes along the road at the entrance to a new
              housing subdivision, I like the way they seem to be dressed in uniform
              and in formation for duty. It's a wonder I ever get any work
              accomplished. My epitaph will never include "here lies Sharani, the
              diligent and hard-working server of God's Kingdom here on Earth." More
              likely it will say, "here lies Sharani, but her head is still lost in
              the clouds."

              Thanks again for everything. I will check out the books you
              recommended and experiment with your advice. Your helpfulness is
              really appreciated.

              Sharani





              --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, pavitrata27
              <no_reply@y...> wrote:
              > Hi Sharani
              >
              > I think you do yourself an injustice. You and your new camera are
              > producing some really lovely photos.
              >
              > However, to explore your question I downloaded your fine photo 'The
              > Whole Gang' and ran it through Picasa2. There's not much needs doing
              > to improve it, but it did seem to benefit from a slight tweaking in
              > contrast, and some sharpening. I found the picture also seemed more
              > pleasing to the eye with 1 inch taken off the top and 1 inch cropped
              > off the bottom, i.e. the water at the top and the plants at the
              > bottom. I then used the neutral colour picker to play about with the
              > colour balance, but after lots of colour cast versions went back to
              > the original. Your camera had done well.
              >
              > I then ran the same photo through Adobe Photoshop 7 --- although the
              > levels of control are huge, and the toolbar responses much more
              > refined and controllable, nevertheless the end product was only a
              > little better than the result I got through Picasa2.
              >
              > Picasa2 really is a great little program, with some surprisingly
              > advanced options, able to view almost any file type. If I were you I
              > would really thoroughly explore the toolbar, particularly the tuning
              > section. Surprisingly 'Auto-contrast' and Auto-Colour' improved many
              > of the unedited pix I ran through it. For more control over pix
              with a
              > colour cast, explore the neutral colour picker (Neutral Color
              Picker:
              > An eyedropper tool which allows the user to manually set the correct
              > white balance and remove color cast by clicking on a neutral color
              in
              > the photograph (such as a white wall or a white shirt).
              >
              > By the way, in tools/options/general uncheck the box marked 'Check
              for
              > online updates every time I start Picasa.' otherwise it will keep
              > trying to access the Picasa website for updates which you may want
              to
              > do manually every once in a while.
              >
              > Most pictures coming from a digital camera, even the top-of the
              range
              > ones, benefit from a little tweaking.
              >
              > I would say, whatever camera you are using, your photos can only
              > improve by having a thorough technical knowledge of how the camera
              > works.
              >
              > I know Kedar and Prashputita both have a professional level of
              > understanding of how their cameras work, and both are excellent at
              > rapidly using this knowledge to adjust their camera settings as they
              > are photographing. Of course there is a much greater level of
              control
              > with semi-pro equipment, apertures, depth of field, shutter speed,
              > control over backgrounds (blurred/sharp etc.) Remember also that
              Kedar
              > and Prashputita have very nice equipment, and lovely lenses, (me
              too,
              > call it obsessed) and there is no doubt about the fact that helps
              > immensely.
              >
              > However, I know that if you gave either of those two good people a
              $5
              > disposable camera they would still come up with great shots
              >
              > I think it has to do with having a passion for photography, which
              the
              > aforementioned lads have in abundance. If the enthusiasm is there
              and
              > the willingness to play and learn is there, the rest will come.
              >
              > If you can't absord information through manuals (I can't) then
              simply
              > play with the different modes and settings and see what you get with
              > each. Your Fuji S3100 does does have some measure of manual control
              if
              > you switch it off auto. You might be pleasantly surprised, for
              > example, if you set the camera to underexpose slightly in the
              exposure
              > compensation option of the manual setting of the camera, generally
              the
              > pictures will be more saturated and highlights less washed out.
              >
              > I leave most of my cameras permanently set to underexpose somewhat,
              > especially with digital.
              >
              > Remember it is much easier to lighten a picture to get what you
              want.
              > Once a picture is over exposed there is not much you can do to
              > retrieve the washed out areas, although it is a little more possible
              > with digital images to do this.
              >
              > This is especially true of swans, it is so hard to keep the lovely
              > detail in their feathers without the highlights washing out or
              without
              > the rest of the picture looking too dark, and this is where
              selective
              > edting, darkening/lightening helps.
              >
              > Anyway stick with Picasa until you master it and feel you have
              > outgrown it, delight in your own already lovely photos, work on
              > mastering your camera and improving your editing techniques, and
              > continue to enjoy your photography as much as you have been doing.
              > Don't be afraid to crop, its not cheating. The manual crop facility
              in
              > Picasa is just great, as is the 'Straighten' option. I get dizzy
              with
              > sloping horizons!
              >
              > I suppose the most important thing I have learnt from editing photos
              > is not so much 'What more can I add?' but 'How much can I take
              out?'
              >
              > Re books, for technical information for beginners this is hard to
              > beat:
              >
              > Easy Digital Photography: The Beginners Guide to Everything Digital
              -
              > Updated for 2000 (Beginners Series)
              > by Scott Slaughter
              >
              > For creative inspiration try:
              >
              > Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography
              > Brenda Tharp
              > published by Amphoto Books
              >
              > > > > > > continued...
              >
              > We were all in Oxford last night for a special occasion, and it
              seems
              > appropriate to end with a few lines from Sri Chinmoy's 1976 Oxford
              > University Lecture on 'Greatness and Goodness':
              >
              >
              > 'If we at all have to compare, then the comparison is with
              ourselves.
              > If we at all have to compete, then we will compete with our own
              > previous capacities. Here there is no other world. There is only our
              > own world of constant and continuous progress. We try only to
              > transcend ourselves.'
              >
              > The full text can be found by going to:
              >
              > www.srichinmoy.org
              >
              > type
              >
              > Oxford
              >
              > in the search box and from the page that comes up click on
              >
              >
              > Great and Goodness
              >
              > (I guess it should read Greatness and Goodness, but thats the link)
              >
              > Hope that all helps!
              >
              > Pavitrata
              >
              > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
              > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
              > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
              > > Hi Pavitrata,
              > >
              > > I saw that you have more cygnet photos and they are really getting
              > big
              > > compared to the ones I just met on "this side of the pond." I
              > > completely lost track of time during my photo shoot, meditation,
              > > observation session a couple of days ago. I must have been there
              for
              > > over an hour, possibly two. It is so fascinating to observe them.
              > >
              > > Like you, I heard them making noises too (not just the hiss). The
              > > babies made this rather soft squeaking(?) sound. I definitely
              heard
              > > the adult swans make noises too as if they were communicating to
              one
              > > another. Then there was the non-verbal communication. If the
              Mother
              > > preened her feathers or shook her feathers or made some other kind
              > of
              > > movement, then the babies would try to imitate her and do the
              same.
              > I
              > > guess they learn through observation and imitation just like
              humans
              > > do. :-) I'm smiling just to even recollect the way they mimicked
              the
              > > adults, especially when they didn't have any "feathers" to shake
              > yet.
              > >
              > > Since you are undoubtedly correct in your assessment of my being
              bit
              > > by the shutter bug, can I ask you yet another neophyte question?
              Why
              > > are the photos by you and Kedar and Prashphutita so much sharper
              and
              > > crystal clear than photos by (well by) people like me? Is it
              partly
              > > the quality of the camera? Is it a matter of using a tripod? Am I
              > > moving the camera when I take the pictre? Is it because I usually
              > > just choose the automatic setting when I take the photo? Or is it
              > > partly the photo editing software? I'm still just using free
              Picasa2
              > > software from Google at the moment.
              > >
              > > Please rest assured that my question isn't trying to address the
              > > matters of composition, artistic content, etc. I don't need to ask
              > > anybody to explain to me in this respect why collectively you are
              > our
              > > experts. Hopefully since you teach young children, you have the
              > > patience for my questions and won't just bark at me, "Why don't
              you
              > > just go take a class in photography!" Or maybe you can recommend a
              > > good book for a beginner to learn answers to these types of
              > questions.
              > >
              > > Sharani :-)
              > >
              > >
              > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, izobu wrote:
              > > > Hi Sharani,
              > > >
              > > > Thanks for sharing your adventure, and the photos are really
              > great,
              > > I
              > > > so enjoy looking at them, McCloskey Wannabees is a classic, but
              my
              > > > favourites are also Cygnet 1 and Swan Family 2.
              > > >
              > > > If its any consolation I also have taken about 150 swan/cygnet
              pix
              > > > over the past few weeks, but out of that set there's only a
              small
              > > > handful I am happy with, which are on the gallery, and out of
              all
              > of
              > > > them there is only one which I am enlarging and printing. The
              more
              > > > photos you take the fussier you get!
              > > >
              > > > The cygnets this side of the pond (the Atlantic!)in my park are
              > > > getting stronger and bolder, and even go exploring by
              themselves.
              > > One
              > > > got lost in a big patch of tall rushes, and the mother went
              > looking
              > > > for it. Whatever anyone tells you, swans are not mute, this
              mother
              > > was
              > > > making the most poignant noises about the missing sibling, who
              > > > eventually turned up and got a free ride home on mum's back.
              > > >
              > > > So, you got the bug now, huh? The shutter bug!! It'll keep you
              > busy,
              > > > that's for sure!
              > > >
              > > > Pavitrata
              > > >
              > > > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
              > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
              > > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
              > > > > Regulars to this forum know I have been pining for cygnets to
              > > > > photograph and consoling myself with Pavitrata's swan babies
              > > instead.
              > > > > Well the last time that I was at the bike path learning bird
              > > calls I
              > > > > did take some adult swan photos. As I stood looking at them,
              two
              > > women
              > > > > passed by and said, "oh that's nothing you should see the swan
              > > with
              > > > > eggs in Barrington." With a slight delay in registering its
              > > import, I
              > > > > followed after them to find out where this swan was! They said
              > it
              > > was
              > > > > on a lake and the nest was right by the side of the road. I
              knew
              > > I had
              > > > > to go looking for it. Those of you who know me know what I
              mean
              > by
              > > > > that! Today was a Memorial Day holiday and the idyllic summery
              > > weather
              > > > > settled it. Today the hunt began.
              > > > >
              > > > > I had never before been where they said the swans were so I
              > drove
              > > > > around in circles looking for them. I kept crossing over the
              > bike
              > > path
              > > > > and driving along the ocean. When I backtracked and thought I
              > was
              > > > > getting close, the McCloskey Wannebee moment happened. All
              cars
              > > came
              > > > > to a stop as the geese crossed the road - or should I say
              danced
              > > > > around and couldn't make up their minds quite where they were
              > > going.
              > > > > Adorable to say the least!
              > > > >
              > > > > Then I turned down a small dirt road and there was a pond
              which
              > > > > extended near someone's residence and was bordered by the bike
              > > path on
              > > > > the opposite side. 5 babies, Mom and Dad! Dad (I think) came
              > over
              > > 2 or
              > > > > 3 times and established that they were in charge with a hiss
              or
              > > two.
              > > > > More often though, they just swam around quite near where I
              > > stood. I'm
              > > > > earning my paparazzi lapels too. I hung the camera from a tree
              > > branch
              > > > > and set the timer to take a self-portrait :-) :-) Could I be
              any
              > > more
              > > > > daft? Next thing you know I'll be climbing the trees for the
              > > perfect
              > > > > shot :-)
              > > > >
              > > > > This Memorial Day holiday was memorable indeed. The universe
              > > fulfilled
              > > > > my wish. I am in the seventh heaven of happiness. Let me
              finish
              > > with
              > > > > a poem about swan babies that I wrote several years ago, long
              > > before
              > > > > my current exploits.
              > > > >
              > > > > Was I a seeker
              > > > > yearning yearning
              > > > > for God's friendship
              > > > > here on Earth?
              > > > > Did I even dare to fathom
              > > > > what my life was really worth?
              > > > > Aspiration realm indeed
              > > > > unconscious
              > > > > then You gave it a new birth
              > > > > Hear that peeping in the shell?
              > > > > My soul is crying to be free
              > > > > You're my only incubator
              > > > > trying to help me hatch and fly
              > > > > I'm your ugly duckling swan chick
              > > > > with the will to try and tray.
              > > > >
              > > > > Park Ranger Sharani signing off...
              > > > >
              > > > > p.s. Pavitrata how do you ever limit yourself to just one
              cygnet
              > > photo
              > > > > in your album. I took almost 100 shots today but tried to
              > control
              > > > > myself a little in how many I put in the album. While we're at
              > it
              > > > > let's not think about the grand total. Time for weeding soon,
              > eh?
              > > > > Oops, I almost forgot. The link to my album is at:
              > > > > http://tinyurl.com/d4pak
            • pavitrata27
              Hi Sharani, I am glad to be of help. The neutral color picker in Picasa2 is a most intriguing little tool. Here s how it works. I am going into some detail
              Message 6 of 22 , Jun 4, 2005
              • 0 Attachment
                Hi Sharani,

                I am glad to be of help.

                The neutral color picker in Picasa2 is a most intriguing little tool.

                Here's how it works. I am going into some detail here because it is
                one of the fundamental things to understand about digital photography.

                Color photos are prone to 'color cast'. This is where the color of the
                object photographed is affected by the color of the light source or
                the colour reflected from surrounding objects. A nice sunset will give
                a golden glow (alas, it all too often comes out reddish in the photo).
                A bright blue sky might give a slight blue-ish tone to things. Neon
                light and bulb light also have their own very strong colour casts, and
                the light in a leafy forest may have a greenish hue.

                One of the great advantages of digital photography is that this is
                easier to correct than with film, and up to a point can be dealt with
                in-camera. All digital cameras have what is called AWB - Auto White
                Balance - where the camera itself will attempt to correct colour
                casts. If you delve into the white balance settings of many digital
                cameras you will find a picture of a bulb, or a sun or a neon strip,
                indicating that if you are shooting under those conditions you can use
                those settings to improve the color accuracy by compensating for any
                color cast due to the light source.

                In practice some of these don't work as well as the Auto White
                Balance, especially where you have a mixed light source.

                Even with the best of digital cameras, Auto White Balance doesn't
                always get it right.

                One way of telling if your photos have a color cast is to look at
                something in your photo that should be white, or near white. If your
                whites look slightly reddish, blue-ish, yellowish, or greenish
                (whatever!)you have a color cast. This may not be a bad thing, you may
                want a rosy glow! However, all your other colors will of course be
                affected.

                So...here is how the neutral color picker works. By clicking on a part
                of your photo that should be white, or as near as possible, the
                software in Picasa will take out any color or add color to make it
                white. Once you have a clean white in the photo, you will notice all
                the other colors have a more natural appearance. Picasa also very
                cleverly is calibrated to recognise grays, and by you can get the same
                result by clicking on an area of your photo that you know should be a
                medium gray.

                Whether you like it or not is another matter, but like the irritating
                guy in the soap powder ad, I like my whites to be white.

                Try it and see. Call up one of your swan pictures, click on the eye
                dropper in tuning/neutral color picker, then click on a part of
                the swan that should be white or medium gray and watch what
                happens. If you don't like it click 'Undo tuning' to go back to the
                original.

                Again, if nothing or virtually nothing happens your camera has already
                done a good job of getting the white balance correct.

                It won't work totally for extreme conditions. Sometimes color casts
                are so strong the only way to deal with them is to convert the photo
                to black and white.

                As regards the neutral color picker, it is unusual for 'generic' photo
                software like Picasa to have such a useful tool. Used judiciously it
                can be extremely useful.

                Oh, by the way, try the slider on the right of the program. Great! In
                browse mode it will make your thumbnails smaller or larger. In view
                mode sliding it will zoom in on your photo!

                byeeeee

                Pavitrata
                PS: Life is never boring for those who are constantly startled by
                beauty!

                >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
                <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                > Hi Pavitrata
                >
                > I can only hope that many others benefitted as much from reading
                your
                > answer to my questions as I did. Your discourse contained many
                helpful
                > suggestions, not the least of which includes the ever timely
                reminder
                > to *focus* especially on self-transcendence and slaying the
                comparison
                > dragon. :-)
                >
                > It was so helpful to hear you describe your own experimenting with
                > Picasa2 vs. Adobe. I see where the neutral colour picker tool is
                that
                > you mention. I don't completely understand how to use it, but I will
                > play with it.
                >
                > My camera indeed comes with a long and detailed manual. Sometimes
                > there are little messages in it while I'm taking pictures that I
                > cannot even keep track of :-) Since it seems to be a new friend, I
                > should really take the time to get to know it more completely.
                >
                > I used to walk around in a bit of a reverie seeing poems in the
                beauty
                > of my surroundings. Now I must confess I look at everything (not
                just
                > Nature and swans) and marvel at the endless beauty that speaks to us
                > all day long. When I drive on a fairly large bridge over a river on
                my
                > commute to work, I am mesmerized by the structure over my head. As I
                > pass a row of mailboxes along the road at the entrance to a new
                > housing subdivision, I like the way they seem to be dressed in
                uniform
                > and in formation for duty. It's a wonder I ever get any work
                > accomplished. My epitaph will never include "here lies Sharani, the
                > diligent and hard-working server of God's Kingdom here on Earth."
                More
                > likely it will say, "here lies Sharani, but her head is still lost
                in
                > the clouds."
                >
                > Thanks again for everything. I will check out the books you
                > recommended and experiment with your advice. Your helpfulness is
                > really appreciated.
                >
                > Sharani
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, pavitrata27
                > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                > > Hi Sharani
                > >
                > > I think you do yourself an injustice. You and your new camera are
                > > producing some really lovely photos.
                > >
                > > However, to explore your question I downloaded your fine photo
                'The
                > > Whole Gang' and ran it through Picasa2. There's not much needs
                doing
                > > to improve it, but it did seem to benefit from a slight tweaking
                in
                > > contrast, and some sharpening. I found the picture also seemed
                more
                > > pleasing to the eye with 1 inch taken off the top and 1 inch
                cropped
                > > off the bottom, i.e. the water at the top and the plants at the
                > > bottom. I then used the neutral colour picker to play about with
                the
                > > colour balance, but after lots of colour cast versions went back
                to
                > > the original. Your camera had done well.
                > >
                > > I then ran the same photo through Adobe Photoshop 7 --- although
                the
                > > levels of control are huge, and the toolbar responses much more
                > > refined and controllable, nevertheless the end product was only a
                > > little better than the result I got through Picasa2.
                > >
                > > Picasa2 really is a great little program, with some surprisingly
                > > advanced options, able to view almost any file type. If I were
                you I
                > > would really thoroughly explore the toolbar, particularly the
                tuning
                > > section. Surprisingly 'Auto-contrast' and Auto-Colour' improved
                many
                > > of the unedited pix I ran through it. For more control over pix
                > with a
                > > colour cast, explore the neutral colour picker (Neutral Color
                > Picker:
                > > An eyedropper tool which allows the user to manually set the
                correct
                > > white balance and remove color cast by clicking on a neutral color
                > in
                > > the photograph (such as a white wall or a white shirt).
                > >
                > > By the way, in tools/options/general uncheck the box marked 'Check
                > for
                > > online updates every time I start Picasa.' otherwise it will keep
                > > trying to access the Picasa website for updates which you may want
                > to
                > > do manually every once in a while.
                > >
                > > Most pictures coming from a digital camera, even the top-of the
                > range
                > > ones, benefit from a little tweaking.
                > >
                > > I would say, whatever camera you are using, your photos can only
                > > improve by having a thorough technical knowledge of how the camera
                > > works.
                > >
                > > I know Kedar and Prashputita both have a professional level of
                > > understanding of how their cameras work, and both are excellent at
                > > rapidly using this knowledge to adjust their camera settings as
                they
                > > are photographing. Of course there is a much greater level of
                > control
                > > with semi-pro equipment, apertures, depth of field, shutter speed,
                > > control over backgrounds (blurred/sharp etc.) Remember also that
                > Kedar
                > > and Prashputita have very nice equipment, and lovely lenses, (me
                > too,
                > > call it obsessed) and there is no doubt about the fact that helps
                > > immensely.
                > >
                > > However, I know that if you gave either of those two good people a
                > $5
                > > disposable camera they would still come up with great shots
                > >
                > > I think it has to do with having a passion for photography, which
                > the
                > > aforementioned lads have in abundance. If the enthusiasm is there
                > and
                > > the willingness to play and learn is there, the rest will come.
                > >
                > > If you can't absord information through manuals (I can't) then
                > simply
                > > play with the different modes and settings and see what you get
                with
                > > each. Your Fuji S3100 does does have some measure of manual
                control
                > if
                > > you switch it off auto. You might be pleasantly surprised, for
                > > example, if you set the camera to underexpose slightly in the
                > exposure
                > > compensation option of the manual setting of the camera, generally
                > the
                > > pictures will be more saturated and highlights less washed out.
                > >
                > > I leave most of my cameras permanently set to underexpose
                somewhat,
                > > especially with digital.
                > >
                > > Remember it is much easier to lighten a picture to get what you
                > want.
                > > Once a picture is over exposed there is not much you can do to
                > > retrieve the washed out areas, although it is a little more
                possible
                > > with digital images to do this.
                > >
                > > This is especially true of swans, it is so hard to keep the lovely
                > > detail in their feathers without the highlights washing out or
                > without
                > > the rest of the picture looking too dark, and this is where
                > selective
                > > edting, darkening/lightening helps.
                > >
                > > Anyway stick with Picasa until you master it and feel you have
                > > outgrown it, delight in your own already lovely photos, work on
                > > mastering your camera and improving your editing techniques, and
                > > continue to enjoy your photography as much as you have been doing.
                > > Don't be afraid to crop, its not cheating. The manual crop
                facility
                > in
                > > Picasa is just great, as is the 'Straighten' option. I get dizzy
                > with
                > > sloping horizons!
                > >
                > > I suppose the most important thing I have learnt from editing
                photos
                > > is not so much 'What more can I add?' but 'How much can I take
                > out?'
                > >
                > > Re books, for technical information for beginners this is hard to
                > > beat:
                > >
                > > Easy Digital Photography: The Beginners Guide to Everything
                Digital
                > -
                > > Updated for 2000 (Beginners Series)
                > > by Scott Slaughter
                > >
                > > For creative inspiration try:
                > >
                > > Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography
                > > Brenda Tharp
                > > published by Amphoto Books
                > >
                > > > > > > > continued...
                > >
                > > We were all in Oxford last night for a special occasion, and it
                > seems
                > > appropriate to end with a few lines from Sri Chinmoy's 1976
                Oxford
                > > University Lecture on 'Greatness and Goodness':
                > >
                > >
                > > 'If we at all have to compare, then the comparison is with
                > ourselves.
                > > If we at all have to compete, then we will compete with our own
                > > previous capacities. Here there is no other world. There is only
                our
                > > own world of constant and continuous progress. We try only to
                > > transcend ourselves.'
                > >
                > > The full text can be found by going to:
                > >
                > > www.srichinmoy.org
                > >
                > > type
                > >
                > > Oxford
                > >
                > > in the search box and from the page that comes up click on
                > >
                > >
                > > Great and Goodness
                > >
                > > (I guess it should read Greatness and Goodness, but thats the
                link)
                > >
                > > Hope that all helps!
                > >
                > > Pavitrata
                > >
                > > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
                > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
                > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                > > > Hi Pavitrata,
                > > >
                > > > I saw that you have more cygnet photos and they are really
                getting
                > > big
                > > > compared to the ones I just met on "this side of the pond." I
                > > > completely lost track of time during my photo shoot, meditation,
                > > > observation session a couple of days ago. I must have been there
                > for
                > > > over an hour, possibly two. It is so fascinating to observe
                them.
                > > >
                > > > Like you, I heard them making noises too (not just the hiss).
                The
                > > > babies made this rather soft squeaking(?) sound. I definitely
                > heard
                > > > the adult swans make noises too as if they were communicating to
                > one
                > > > another. Then there was the non-verbal communication. If the
                > Mother
                > > > preened her feathers or shook her feathers or made some other
                kind
                > > of
                > > > movement, then the babies would try to imitate her and do the
                > same.
                > > I
                > > > guess they learn through observation and imitation just like
                > humans
                > > > do. :-) I'm smiling just to even recollect the way they mimicked
                > the
                > > > adults, especially when they didn't have any "feathers" to shake
                > > yet.
                > > >
                > > > Since you are undoubtedly correct in your assessment of my being
                > bit
                > > > by the shutter bug, can I ask you yet another neophyte question?
                > Why
                > > > are the photos by you and Kedar and Prashphutita so much sharper
                > and
                > > > crystal clear than photos by (well by) people like me? Is it
                > partly
                > > > the quality of the camera? Is it a matter of using a tripod? Am
                I
                > > > moving the camera when I take the pictre? Is it because I
                usually
                > > > just choose the automatic setting when I take the photo? Or is
                it
                > > > partly the photo editing software? I'm still just using free
                > Picasa2
                > > > software from Google at the moment.
                > > >
                > > > Please rest assured that my question isn't trying to address the
                > > > matters of composition, artistic content, etc. I don't need to
                ask
                > > > anybody to explain to me in this respect why collectively you
                are
                > > our
                > > > experts. Hopefully since you teach young children, you have the
                > > > patience for my questions and won't just bark at me, "Why don't
                > you
                > > > just go take a class in photography!" Or maybe you can
                recommend a
                > > > good book for a beginner to learn answers to these types of
                > > questions.
                > > >
                > > > Sharani :-)
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, izobu wrote:
                > > > > Hi Sharani,
                > > > >
                > > > > Thanks for sharing your adventure, and the photos are really
                > > great,
                > > > I
                > > > > so enjoy looking at them, McCloskey Wannabees is a classic,
                but
                > my
                > > > > favourites are also Cygnet 1 and Swan Family 2.
                > > > >
                > > > > If its any consolation I also have taken about 150 swan/cygnet
                > pix
                > > > > over the past few weeks, but out of that set there's only a
                > small
                > > > > handful I am happy with, which are on the gallery, and out of
                > all
                > > of
                > > > > them there is only one which I am enlarging and printing. The
                > more
                > > > > photos you take the fussier you get!
                > > > >
                > > > > The cygnets this side of the pond (the Atlantic!)in my park
                are
                > > > > getting stronger and bolder, and even go exploring by
                > themselves.
                > > > One
                > > > > got lost in a big patch of tall rushes, and the mother went
                > > looking
                > > > > for it. Whatever anyone tells you, swans are not mute, this
                > mother
                > > > was
                > > > > making the most poignant noises about the missing sibling, who
                > > > > eventually turned up and got a free ride home on mum's back.
                > > > >
                > > > > So, you got the bug now, huh? The shutter bug!! It'll keep you
                > > busy,
                > > > > that's for sure!
                > > > >
                > > > > Pavitrata
                > > > >
                > > > > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
                > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com,
                sharani_sharani
                > > > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                > > > > > Regulars to this forum know I have been pining for cygnets
                to
                > > > > > photograph and consoling myself with Pavitrata's swan babies
                > > > instead.
                > > > > > Well the last time that I was at the bike path learning bird
                > > > calls I
                > > > > > did take some adult swan photos. As I stood looking at them,
                > two
                > > > women
                > > > > > passed by and said, "oh that's nothing you should see the
                swan
                > > > with
                > > > > > eggs in Barrington." With a slight delay in registering its
                > > > import, I
                > > > > > followed after them to find out where this swan was! They
                said
                > > it
                > > > was
                > > > > > on a lake and the nest was right by the side of the road. I
                > knew
                > > > I had
                > > > > > to go looking for it. Those of you who know me know what I
                > mean
                > > by
                > > > > > that! Today was a Memorial Day holiday and the idyllic
                summery
                > > > weather
                > > > > > settled it. Today the hunt began.
                > > > > >
                > > > > > I had never before been where they said the swans were so I
                > > drove
                > > > > > around in circles looking for them. I kept crossing over the
                > > bike
                > > > path
                > > > > > and driving along the ocean. When I backtracked and thought
                I
                > > was
                > > > > > getting close, the McCloskey Wannebee moment happened. All
                > cars
                > > > came
                > > > > > to a stop as the geese crossed the road - or should I say
                > danced
                > > > > > around and couldn't make up their minds quite where they
                were
                > > > going.
                > > > > > Adorable to say the least!
                > > > > >
                > > > > > Then I turned down a small dirt road and there was a pond
                > which
                > > > > > extended near someone's residence and was bordered by the
                bike
                > > > path on
                > > > > > the opposite side. 5 babies, Mom and Dad! Dad (I think) came
                > > over
                > > > 2 or
                > > > > > 3 times and established that they were in charge with a hiss
                > or
                > > > two.
                > > > > > More often though, they just swam around quite near where I
                > > > stood. I'm
                > > > > > earning my paparazzi lapels too. I hung the camera from a
                tree
                > > > branch
                > > > > > and set the timer to take a self-portrait :-) :-) Could I be
                > any
                > > > more
                > > > > > daft? Next thing you know I'll be climbing the trees for the
                > > > perfect
                > > > > > shot :-)
                > > > > >
                > > > > > This Memorial Day holiday was memorable indeed. The universe
                > > > fulfilled
                > > > > > my wish. I am in the seventh heaven of happiness. Let me
                > finish
                > > > with
                > > > > > a poem about swan babies that I wrote several years ago,
                long
                > > > before
                > > > > > my current exploits.
                > > > > >
                > > > > > Was I a seeker
                > > > > > yearning yearning
                > > > > > for God's friendship
                > > > > > here on Earth?
                > > > > > Did I even dare to fathom
                > > > > > what my life was really worth?
                > > > > > Aspiration realm indeed
                > > > > > unconscious
                > > > > > then You gave it a new birth
                > > > > > Hear that peeping in the shell?
                > > > > > My soul is crying to be free
                > > > > > You're my only incubator
                > > > > > trying to help me hatch and fly
                > > > > > I'm your ugly duckling swan chick
                > > > > > with the will to try and tray.
                > > > > >
                > > > > > Park Ranger Sharani signing off...
                > > > > >
                > > > > > p.s. Pavitrata how do you ever limit yourself to just one
                > cygnet
                > > > photo
                > > > > > in your album. I took almost 100 shots today but tried to
                > > control
                > > > > > myself a little in how many I put in the album. While we're
                at
                > > it
                > > > > > let's not think about the grand total. Time for weeding
                soon,
                > > eh?
                > > > > > Oops, I almost forgot. The link to my album is at:
                > > > > > http://tinyurl.com/d4pak
              • niriha7
                Thanks Pavitrata, this was indeed most helpful. Thank you for taking the time to explain and instruct. Niriha (and others I am sure). ... with a ... in ...
                Message 7 of 22 , Jun 6, 2005
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                  Thanks Pavitrata, this was indeed most helpful. Thank you for taking
                  the time to explain and instruct. Niriha (and others I am sure).
















                  --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, pavitrata27
                  <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                  > Hi Sharani
                  >
                  > I think you do yourself an injustice. You and your new camera are
                  > producing some really lovely photos.
                  >
                  > However, to explore your question I downloaded your fine photo 'The
                  > Whole Gang' and ran it through Picasa2. There's not much needs doing
                  > to improve it, but it did seem to benefit from a slight tweaking in
                  > contrast, and some sharpening. I found the picture also seemed more
                  > pleasing to the eye with 1 inch taken off the top and 1 inch cropped
                  > off the bottom, i.e. the water at the top and the plants at the
                  > bottom. I then used the neutral colour picker to play about with the
                  > colour balance, but after lots of colour cast versions went back to
                  > the original. Your camera had done well.
                  >
                  > I then ran the same photo through Adobe Photoshop 7 --- although the
                  > levels of control are huge, and the toolbar responses much more
                  > refined and controllable, nevertheless the end product was only a
                  > little better than the result I got through Picasa2.
                  >
                  > Picasa2 really is a great little program, with some surprisingly
                  > advanced options, able to view almost any file type. If I were you I
                  > would really thoroughly explore the toolbar, particularly the tuning
                  > section. Surprisingly 'Auto-contrast' and Auto-Colour' improved many
                  > of the unedited pix I ran through it. For more control over pix
                  with a
                  > colour cast, explore the neutral colour picker (Neutral Color
                  Picker:
                  > An eyedropper tool which allows the user to manually set the correct
                  > white balance and remove color cast by clicking on a neutral color
                  in
                  > the photograph (such as a white wall or a white shirt).
                  >
                  > By the way, in tools/options/general uncheck the box marked 'Check
                  for
                  > online updates every time I start Picasa.' otherwise it will keep
                  > trying to access the Picasa website for updates which you may want
                  to
                  > do manually every once in a while.
                  >
                  > Most pictures coming from a digital camera, even the top-of the
                  range
                  > ones, benefit from a little tweaking.
                  >
                  > I would say, whatever camera you are using, your photos can only
                  > improve by having a thorough technical knowledge of how the camera
                  > works.
                  >
                  > I know Kedar and Prashputita both have a professional level of
                  > understanding of how their cameras work, and both are excellent at
                  > rapidly using this knowledge to adjust their camera settings as they
                  > are photographing. Of course there is a much greater level of
                  control
                  > with semi-pro equipment, apertures, depth of field, shutter speed,
                  > control over backgrounds (blurred/sharp etc.) Remember also that
                  Kedar
                  > and Prashputita have very nice equipment, and lovely lenses, (me
                  too,
                  > call it obsessed) and there is no doubt about the fact that helps
                  > immensely.
                  >
                  > However, I know that if you gave either of those two good people a
                  $5
                  > disposable camera they would still come up with great shots
                  >
                  > I think it has to do with having a passion for photography, which
                  the
                  > aforementioned lads have in abundance. If the enthusiasm is there
                  and
                  > the willingness to play and learn is there, the rest will come.
                  >
                  > If you can't absord information through manuals (I can't) then
                  simply
                  > play with the different modes and settings and see what you get with
                  > each. Your Fuji S3100 does does have some measure of manual control
                  if
                  > you switch it off auto. You might be pleasantly surprised, for
                  > example, if you set the camera to underexpose slightly in the
                  exposure
                  > compensation option of the manual setting of the camera, generally
                  the
                  > pictures will be more saturated and highlights less washed out.
                  >
                  > I leave most of my cameras permanently set to underexpose somewhat,
                  > especially with digital.
                  >
                  > Remember it is much easier to lighten a picture to get what you
                  want.
                  > Once a picture is over exposed there is not much you can do to
                  > retrieve the washed out areas, although it is a little more possible
                  > with digital images to do this.
                  >
                  > This is especially true of swans, it is so hard to keep the lovely
                  > detail in their feathers without the highlights washing out or
                  without
                  > the rest of the picture looking too dark, and this is where
                  selective
                  > edting, darkening/lightening helps.
                  >
                  > Anyway stick with Picasa until you master it and feel you have
                  > outgrown it, delight in your own already lovely photos, work on
                  > mastering your camera and improving your editing techniques, and
                  > continue to enjoy your photography as much as you have been doing.
                  > Don't be afraid to crop, its not cheating. The manual crop facility
                  in
                  > Picasa is just great, as is the 'Straighten' option. I get dizzy
                  with
                  > sloping horizons!
                  >
                  > I suppose the most important thing I have learnt from editing photos
                  > is not so much 'What more can I add?' but 'How much can I take
                  out?'
                  >
                  > Re books, for technical information for beginners this is hard to
                  > beat:
                  >
                  > Easy Digital Photography: The Beginners Guide to Everything
                  Digital -
                  > Updated for 2000 (Beginners Series)
                  > by Scott Slaughter
                  >
                  > For creative inspiration try:
                  >
                  > Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography
                  > Brenda Tharp
                  > published by Amphoto Books
                  >
                  > > > > > > continued...
                  >
                  > We were all in Oxford last night for a special occasion, and it
                  seems
                  > appropriate to end with a few lines from Sri Chinmoy's 1976 Oxford
                  > University Lecture on 'Greatness and Goodness':
                  >
                  >
                  > 'If we at all have to compare, then the comparison is with
                  ourselves.
                  > If we at all have to compete, then we will compete with our own
                  > previous capacities. Here there is no other world. There is only our
                  > own world of constant and continuous progress. We try only to
                  > transcend ourselves.'
                  >
                  > The full text can be found by going to:
                  >
                  > www.srichinmoy.org
                  >
                  > type
                  >
                  > Oxford
                  >
                  > in the search box and from the page that comes up click on
                  >
                  >
                  > Great and Goodness
                  >
                  > (I guess it should read Greatness and Goodness, but thats the link)
                  >
                  > Hope that all helps!
                  >
                  > Pavitrata
                  >
                  > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
                  > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
                  > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                  > > Hi Pavitrata,
                  > >
                  > > I saw that you have more cygnet photos and they are really getting
                  > big
                  > > compared to the ones I just met on "this side of the pond." I
                  > > completely lost track of time during my photo shoot, meditation,
                  > > observation session a couple of days ago. I must have been there
                  for
                  > > over an hour, possibly two. It is so fascinating to observe them.
                  > >
                  > > Like you, I heard them making noises too (not just the hiss). The
                  > > babies made this rather soft squeaking(?) sound. I definitely
                  heard
                  > > the adult swans make noises too as if they were communicating to
                  one
                  > > another. Then there was the non-verbal communication. If the
                  Mother
                  > > preened her feathers or shook her feathers or made some other kind
                  > of
                  > > movement, then the babies would try to imitate her and do the
                  same.
                  > I
                  > > guess they learn through observation and imitation just like
                  humans
                  > > do. :-) I'm smiling just to even recollect the way they mimicked
                  the
                  > > adults, especially when they didn't have any "feathers" to shake
                  > yet.
                  > >
                  > > Since you are undoubtedly correct in your assessment of my being
                  bit
                  > > by the shutter bug, can I ask you yet another neophyte question?
                  Why
                  > > are the photos by you and Kedar and Prashphutita so much sharper
                  and
                  > > crystal clear than photos by (well by) people like me? Is it
                  partly
                  > > the quality of the camera? Is it a matter of using a tripod? Am I
                  > > moving the camera when I take the pictre? Is it because I usually
                  > > just choose the automatic setting when I take the photo? Or is it
                  > > partly the photo editing software? I'm still just using free
                  Picasa2
                  > > software from Google at the moment.
                  > >
                  > > Please rest assured that my question isn't trying to address the
                  > > matters of composition, artistic content, etc. I don't need to ask
                  > > anybody to explain to me in this respect why collectively you are
                  > our
                  > > experts. Hopefully since you teach young children, you have the
                  > > patience for my questions and won't just bark at me, "Why don't
                  you
                  > > just go take a class in photography!" Or maybe you can recommend a
                  > > good book for a beginner to learn answers to these types of
                  > questions.
                  > >
                  > > Sharani :-)
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, izobu wrote:
                  > > > Hi Sharani,
                  > > >
                  > > > Thanks for sharing your adventure, and the photos are really
                  > great,
                  > > I
                  > > > so enjoy looking at them, McCloskey Wannabees is a classic, but
                  my
                  > > > favourites are also Cygnet 1 and Swan Family 2.
                  > > >
                  > > > If its any consolation I also have taken about 150 swan/cygnet
                  pix
                  > > > over the past few weeks, but out of that set there's only a
                  small
                  > > > handful I am happy with, which are on the gallery, and out of
                  all
                  > of
                  > > > them there is only one which I am enlarging and printing. The
                  more
                  > > > photos you take the fussier you get!
                  > > >
                  > > > The cygnets this side of the pond (the Atlantic!)in my park are
                  > > > getting stronger and bolder, and even go exploring by
                  themselves.
                  > > One
                  > > > got lost in a big patch of tall rushes, and the mother went
                  > looking
                  > > > for it. Whatever anyone tells you, swans are not mute, this
                  mother
                  > > was
                  > > > making the most poignant noises about the missing sibling, who
                  > > > eventually turned up and got a free ride home on mum's back.
                  > > >
                  > > > So, you got the bug now, huh? The shutter bug!! It'll keep you
                  > busy,
                  > > > that's for sure!
                  > > >
                  > > > Pavitrata
                  > > >
                  > > > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
                  > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
                  > > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                  > > > > Regulars to this forum know I have been pining for cygnets to
                  > > > > photograph and consoling myself with Pavitrata's swan babies
                  > > instead.
                  > > > > Well the last time that I was at the bike path learning bird
                  > > calls I
                  > > > > did take some adult swan photos. As I stood looking at them,
                  two
                  > > women
                  > > > > passed by and said, "oh that's nothing you should see the swan
                  > > with
                  > > > > eggs in Barrington." With a slight delay in registering its
                  > > import, I
                  > > > > followed after them to find out where this swan was! They said
                  > it
                  > > was
                  > > > > on a lake and the nest was right by the side of the road. I
                  knew
                  > > I had
                  > > > > to go looking for it. Those of you who know me know what I
                  mean
                  > by
                  > > > > that! Today was a Memorial Day holiday and the idyllic summery
                  > > weather
                  > > > > settled it. Today the hunt began.
                  > > > >
                  > > > > I had never before been where they said the swans were so I
                  > drove
                  > > > > around in circles looking for them. I kept crossing over the
                  > bike
                  > > path
                  > > > > and driving along the ocean. When I backtracked and thought I
                  > was
                  > > > > getting close, the McCloskey Wannebee moment happened. All
                  cars
                  > > came
                  > > > > to a stop as the geese crossed the road - or should I say
                  danced
                  > > > > around and couldn't make up their minds quite where they were
                  > > going.
                  > > > > Adorable to say the least!
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Then I turned down a small dirt road and there was a pond
                  which
                  > > > > extended near someone's residence and was bordered by the bike
                  > > path on
                  > > > > the opposite side. 5 babies, Mom and Dad! Dad (I think) came
                  > over
                  > > 2 or
                  > > > > 3 times and established that they were in charge with a hiss
                  or
                  > > two.
                  > > > > More often though, they just swam around quite near where I
                  > > stood. I'm
                  > > > > earning my paparazzi lapels too. I hung the camera from a tree
                  > > branch
                  > > > > and set the timer to take a self-portrait :-) :-) Could I be
                  any
                  > > more
                  > > > > daft? Next thing you know I'll be climbing the trees for the
                  > > perfect
                  > > > > shot :-)
                  > > > >
                  > > > > This Memorial Day holiday was memorable indeed. The universe
                  > > fulfilled
                  > > > > my wish. I am in the seventh heaven of happiness. Let me
                  finish
                  > > with
                  > > > > a poem about swan babies that I wrote several years ago, long
                  > > before
                  > > > > my current exploits.
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Was I a seeker
                  > > > > yearning yearning
                  > > > > for God's friendship
                  > > > > here on Earth?
                  > > > > Did I even dare to fathom
                  > > > > what my life was really worth?
                  > > > > Aspiration realm indeed
                  > > > > unconscious
                  > > > > then You gave it a new birth
                  > > > > Hear that peeping in the shell?
                  > > > > My soul is crying to be free
                  > > > > You're my only incubator
                  > > > > trying to help me hatch and fly
                  > > > > I'm your ugly duckling swan chick
                  > > > > with the will to try and tray.
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Park Ranger Sharani signing off...
                  > > > >
                  > > > > p.s. Pavitrata how do you ever limit yourself to just one
                  cygnet
                  > > photo
                  > > > > in your album. I took almost 100 shots today but tried to
                  > control
                  > > > > myself a little in how many I put in the album. While we're at
                  > it
                  > > > > let's not think about the grand total. Time for weeding soon,
                  > eh?
                  > > > > Oops, I almost forgot. The link to my album is at:
                  > > > > http://tinyurl.com/d4pak
                • sharani_sharani
                  Hi Pavitrata, Thanks for explaining more about the color picker. Over the weekend, I think I decided to challenge myself even more and jump ahead to
                  Message 8 of 22 , Jun 7, 2005
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                    Hi Pavitrata,

                    Thanks for explaining more about the color picker. Over the weekend,
                    I think I decided to challenge myself even more and jump ahead to
                    experimenting with even trickier stuff - namely photographing the
                    bonfires in the dark from an event called WaterFire.

                    All I knew to do was to set the camera on the Night setting and
                    sometimes used the flash as well. The gondolas were the biggest
                    challenge. I couldn't see them at all through the camera and they
                    were gliding by fast enough that I had to guess a point some
                    distance ahead of where I last saw it not using the camera, then
                    just point and shoot the darkness and hope it would include it. To
                    even show them as well as the volunteer boats stoking the fires I
                    had to significantly add fill light in Picasa afterwards.

                    I was much more liberal in my cropping of the pictures this time. I
                    hadn't read what you said about the color picker yet so if I applied
                    it I might not have used it in the intended manner. Compensating for
                    movement and darkness both was beyond my ken. Therefore, the gondola
                    pictures are a little blurry.

                    Somehow many of the shots remind me of oil paintings rather than
                    photographs in the look of the way they came out (especially if you
                    look at them as a fullscreen slideshow.) I guess I'm getting pretty
                    brave in venturing into uncharted territory and skipping ahead to
                    later chapters in the photography lesson book. Funny, I never used
                    to skip to the end when I read a book in the past. Ah, the joy of
                    self-transcendence!

                    Again, thanks for wearing your "teacher hat" with us,
                    Sharani

                    --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, pavitrata27
                    <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                    > Hi Sharani,
                    >
                    > I am glad to be of help.
                    >
                    > The neutral color picker in Picasa2 is a most intriguing little
                    tool.
                    >
                    > Here's how it works. I am going into some detail here because it is
                    > one of the fundamental things to understand about digital
                    photography.
                    >
                    > Color photos are prone to 'color cast'. This is where the color of
                    the
                    > object photographed is affected by the color of the light source or
                    > the colour reflected from surrounding objects. A nice sunset will
                    give
                    > a golden glow (alas, it all too often comes out reddish in the
                    photo).
                    > A bright blue sky might give a slight blue-ish tone to things. Neon
                    > light and bulb light also have their own very strong colour casts,
                    and
                    > the light in a leafy forest may have a greenish hue.
                    >
                    > One of the great advantages of digital photography is that this is
                    > easier to correct than with film, and up to a point can be dealt
                    with
                    > in-camera. All digital cameras have what is called AWB - Auto White
                    > Balance - where the camera itself will attempt to correct colour
                    > casts. If you delve into the white balance settings of many digital
                    > cameras you will find a picture of a bulb, or a sun or a neon
                    strip,
                    > indicating that if you are shooting under those conditions you can
                    use
                    > those settings to improve the color accuracy by compensating for
                    any
                    > color cast due to the light source.
                    >
                    > In practice some of these don't work as well as the Auto White
                    > Balance, especially where you have a mixed light source.
                    >
                    > Even with the best of digital cameras, Auto White Balance doesn't
                    > always get it right.
                    >
                    > One way of telling if your photos have a color cast is to look at
                    > something in your photo that should be white, or near white. If
                    your
                    > whites look slightly reddish, blue-ish, yellowish, or greenish
                    > (whatever!)you have a color cast. This may not be a bad thing, you
                    may
                    > want a rosy glow! However, all your other colors will of course be
                    > affected.
                    >
                    > So...here is how the neutral color picker works. By clicking on a
                    part
                    > of your photo that should be white, or as near as possible, the
                    > software in Picasa will take out any color or add color to make it
                    > white. Once you have a clean white in the photo, you will notice
                    all
                    > the other colors have a more natural appearance. Picasa also very
                    > cleverly is calibrated to recognise grays, and by you can get the
                    same
                    > result by clicking on an area of your photo that you know should
                    be a
                    > medium gray.
                    >
                    > Whether you like it or not is another matter, but like the
                    irritating
                    > guy in the soap powder ad, I like my whites to be white.
                    >
                    > Try it and see. Call up one of your swan pictures, click on the eye
                    > dropper in tuning/neutral color picker, then click on a part of
                    > the swan that should be white or medium gray and watch what
                    > happens. If you don't like it click 'Undo tuning' to go back to the
                    > original.
                    >
                    > Again, if nothing or virtually nothing happens your camera has
                    already
                    > done a good job of getting the white balance correct.
                    >
                    > It won't work totally for extreme conditions. Sometimes color casts
                    > are so strong the only way to deal with them is to convert the
                    photo
                    > to black and white.
                    >
                    > As regards the neutral color picker, it is unusual for 'generic'
                    photo
                    > software like Picasa to have such a useful tool. Used judiciously
                    it
                    > can be extremely useful.
                    >
                    > Oh, by the way, try the slider on the right of the program. Great!
                    In
                    > browse mode it will make your thumbnails smaller or larger. In view
                    > mode sliding it will zoom in on your photo!
                    >
                    > byeeeee
                    >
                    > Pavitrata
                    > PS: Life is never boring for those who are constantly startled by
                    > beauty!
                    >
                    > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
                    >
                    > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
                    > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                    > > Hi Pavitrata
                    > >
                    > > I can only hope that many others benefitted as much from reading
                    > your
                    > > answer to my questions as I did. Your discourse contained many
                    > helpful
                    > > suggestions, not the least of which includes the ever timely
                    > reminder
                    > > to *focus* especially on self-transcendence and slaying the
                    > comparison
                    > > dragon. :-)
                    > >
                    > > It was so helpful to hear you describe your own experimenting
                    with
                    > > Picasa2 vs. Adobe. I see where the neutral colour picker tool is
                    > that
                    > > you mention. I don't completely understand how to use it, but I
                    will
                    > > play with it.
                    > >
                    > > My camera indeed comes with a long and detailed manual. Sometimes
                    > > there are little messages in it while I'm taking pictures that I
                    > > cannot even keep track of :-) Since it seems to be a new
                    friend, I
                    > > should really take the time to get to know it more completely.
                    > >
                    > > I used to walk around in a bit of a reverie seeing poems in the
                    > beauty
                    > > of my surroundings. Now I must confess I look at everything (not
                    > just
                    > > Nature and swans) and marvel at the endless beauty that speaks
                    to us
                    > > all day long. When I drive on a fairly large bridge over a river
                    on
                    > my
                    > > commute to work, I am mesmerized by the structure over my head.
                    As I
                    > > pass a row of mailboxes along the road at the entrance to a new
                    > > housing subdivision, I like the way they seem to be dressed in
                    > uniform
                    > > and in formation for duty. It's a wonder I ever get any work
                    > > accomplished. My epitaph will never include "here lies Sharani,
                    the
                    > > diligent and hard-working server of God's Kingdom here on Earth."
                    > More
                    > > likely it will say, "here lies Sharani, but her head is still
                    lost
                    > in
                    > > the clouds."
                    > >
                    > > Thanks again for everything. I will check out the books you
                    > > recommended and experiment with your advice. Your helpfulness is
                    > > really appreciated.
                    > >
                    > > Sharani
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, pavitrata27
                    > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                    > > > Hi Sharani
                    > > >
                    > > > I think you do yourself an injustice. You and your new camera
                    are
                    > > > producing some really lovely photos.
                    > > >
                    > > > However, to explore your question I downloaded your fine photo
                    > 'The
                    > > > Whole Gang' and ran it through Picasa2. There's not much needs
                    > doing
                    > > > to improve it, but it did seem to benefit from a slight
                    tweaking
                    > in
                    > > > contrast, and some sharpening. I found the picture also seemed
                    > more
                    > > > pleasing to the eye with 1 inch taken off the top and 1 inch
                    > cropped
                    > > > off the bottom, i.e. the water at the top and the plants at the
                    > > > bottom. I then used the neutral colour picker to play about
                    with
                    > the
                    > > > colour balance, but after lots of colour cast versions went
                    back
                    > to
                    > > > the original. Your camera had done well.
                    > > >
                    > > > I then ran the same photo through Adobe Photoshop 7 ---
                    although
                    > the
                    > > > levels of control are huge, and the toolbar responses much more
                    > > > refined and controllable, nevertheless the end product was
                    only a
                    > > > little better than the result I got through Picasa2.
                    > > >
                    > > > Picasa2 really is a great little program, with some
                    surprisingly
                    > > > advanced options, able to view almost any file type. If I were
                    > you I
                    > > > would really thoroughly explore the toolbar, particularly the
                    > tuning
                    > > > section. Surprisingly 'Auto-contrast' and Auto-Colour' improved
                    > many
                    > > > of the unedited pix I ran through it. For more control over pix
                    > > with a
                    > > > colour cast, explore the neutral colour picker (Neutral Color
                    > > Picker:
                    > > > An eyedropper tool which allows the user to manually set the
                    > correct
                    > > > white balance and remove color cast by clicking on a neutral
                    color
                    > > in
                    > > > the photograph (such as a white wall or a white shirt).
                    > > >
                    > > > By the way, in tools/options/general uncheck the box
                    marked 'Check
                    > > for
                    > > > online updates every time I start Picasa.' otherwise it will
                    keep
                    > > > trying to access the Picasa website for updates which you may
                    want
                    > > to
                    > > > do manually every once in a while.
                    > > >
                    > > > Most pictures coming from a digital camera, even the top-of the
                    > > range
                    > > > ones, benefit from a little tweaking.
                    > > >
                    > > > I would say, whatever camera you are using, your photos can
                    only
                    > > > improve by having a thorough technical knowledge of how the
                    camera
                    > > > works.
                    > > >
                    > > > I know Kedar and Prashputita both have a professional level of
                    > > > understanding of how their cameras work, and both are
                    excellent at
                    > > > rapidly using this knowledge to adjust their camera settings as
                    > they
                    > > > are photographing. Of course there is a much greater level of
                    > > control
                    > > > with semi-pro equipment, apertures, depth of field, shutter
                    speed,
                    > > > control over backgrounds (blurred/sharp etc.) Remember also
                    that
                    > > Kedar
                    > > > and Prashputita have very nice equipment, and lovely lenses,
                    (me
                    > > too,
                    > > > call it obsessed) and there is no doubt about the fact that
                    helps
                    > > > immensely.
                    > > >
                    > > > However, I know that if you gave either of those two good
                    people a
                    > > $5
                    > > > disposable camera they would still come up with great shots
                    > > >
                    > > > I think it has to do with having a passion for photography,
                    which
                    > > the
                    > > > aforementioned lads have in abundance. If the enthusiasm is
                    there
                    > > and
                    > > > the willingness to play and learn is there, the rest will
                    come.
                    > > >
                    > > > If you can't absord information through manuals (I can't) then
                    > > simply
                    > > > play with the different modes and settings and see what you get
                    > with
                    > > > each. Your Fuji S3100 does does have some measure of manual
                    > control
                    > > if
                    > > > you switch it off auto. You might be pleasantly surprised, for
                    > > > example, if you set the camera to underexpose slightly in the
                    > > exposure
                    > > > compensation option of the manual setting of the camera,
                    generally
                    > > the
                    > > > pictures will be more saturated and highlights less washed out.
                    > > >
                    > > > I leave most of my cameras permanently set to underexpose
                    > somewhat,
                    > > > especially with digital.
                    > > >
                    > > > Remember it is much easier to lighten a picture to get what you
                    > > want.
                    > > > Once a picture is over exposed there is not much you can do to
                    > > > retrieve the washed out areas, although it is a little more
                    > possible
                    > > > with digital images to do this.
                    > > >
                    > > > This is especially true of swans, it is so hard to keep the
                    lovely
                    > > > detail in their feathers without the highlights washing out or
                    > > without
                    > > > the rest of the picture looking too dark, and this is where
                    > > selective
                    > > > edting, darkening/lightening helps.
                    > > >
                    > > > Anyway stick with Picasa until you master it and feel you have
                    > > > outgrown it, delight in your own already lovely photos, work on
                    > > > mastering your camera and improving your editing techniques,
                    and
                    > > > continue to enjoy your photography as much as you have been
                    doing.
                    > > > Don't be afraid to crop, its not cheating. The manual crop
                    > facility
                    > > in
                    > > > Picasa is just great, as is the 'Straighten' option. I get
                    dizzy
                    > > with
                    > > > sloping horizons!
                    > > >
                    > > > I suppose the most important thing I have learnt from editing
                    > photos
                    > > > is not so much 'What more can I add?' but 'How much can I take
                    > > out?'
                    > > >
                    > > > Re books, for technical information for beginners this is hard
                    to
                    > > > beat:
                    > > >
                    > > > Easy Digital Photography: The Beginners Guide to Everything
                    > Digital
                    > > -
                    > > > Updated for 2000 (Beginners Series)
                    > > > by Scott Slaughter
                    > > >
                    > > > For creative inspiration try:
                    > > >
                    > > > Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography
                    > > > Brenda Tharp
                    > > > published by Amphoto Books
                    > > >
                    > > > > > > > > continued...
                    > > >
                    > > > We were all in Oxford last night for a special occasion, and it
                    > > seems
                    > > > appropriate to end with a few lines from Sri Chinmoy's 1976
                    > Oxford
                    > > > University Lecture on 'Greatness and Goodness':
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > 'If we at all have to compare, then the comparison is with
                    > > ourselves.
                    > > > If we at all have to compete, then we will compete with our own
                    > > > previous capacities. Here there is no other world. There is
                    only
                    > our
                    > > > own world of constant and continuous progress. We try only to
                    > > > transcend ourselves.'
                    > > >
                    > > > The full text can be found by going to:
                    > > >
                    > > > www.srichinmoy.org
                    > > >
                    > > > type
                    > > >
                    > > > Oxford
                    > > >
                    > > > in the search box and from the page that comes up click on
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > Great and Goodness
                    > > >
                    > > > (I guess it should read Greatness and Goodness, but thats the
                    > link)
                    > > >
                    > > > Hope that all helps!
                    > > >
                    > > > Pavitrata
                    > > >
                    > > > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
                    > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
                    > > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                    > > > > Hi Pavitrata,
                    > > > >
                    > > > > I saw that you have more cygnet photos and they are really
                    > getting
                    > > > big
                    > > > > compared to the ones I just met on "this side of the pond." I
                    > > > > completely lost track of time during my photo shoot,
                    meditation,
                    > > > > observation session a couple of days ago. I must have been
                    there
                    > > for
                    > > > > over an hour, possibly two. It is so fascinating to observe
                    > them.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Like you, I heard them making noises too (not just the hiss).
                    > The
                    > > > > babies made this rather soft squeaking(?) sound. I definitely
                    > > heard
                    > > > > the adult swans make noises too as if they were
                    communicating to
                    > > one
                    > > > > another. Then there was the non-verbal communication. If the
                    > > Mother
                    > > > > preened her feathers or shook her feathers or made some other
                    > kind
                    > > > of
                    > > > > movement, then the babies would try to imitate her and do the
                    > > same.
                    > > > I
                    > > > > guess they learn through observation and imitation just like
                    > > humans
                    > > > > do. :-) I'm smiling just to even recollect the way they
                    mimicked
                    > > the
                    > > > > adults, especially when they didn't have any "feathers" to
                    shake
                    > > > yet.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Since you are undoubtedly correct in your assessment of my
                    being
                    > > bit
                    > > > > by the shutter bug, can I ask you yet another neophyte
                    question?
                    > > Why
                    > > > > are the photos by you and Kedar and Prashphutita so much
                    sharper
                    > > and
                    > > > > crystal clear than photos by (well by) people like me? Is it
                    > > partly
                    > > > > the quality of the camera? Is it a matter of using a tripod?
                    Am
                    > I
                    > > > > moving the camera when I take the pictre? Is it because I
                    > usually
                    > > > > just choose the automatic setting when I take the photo? Or
                    is
                    > it
                    > > > > partly the photo editing software? I'm still just using free
                    > > Picasa2
                    > > > > software from Google at the moment.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Please rest assured that my question isn't trying to address
                    the
                    > > > > matters of composition, artistic content, etc. I don't need
                    to
                    > ask
                    > > > > anybody to explain to me in this respect why collectively you
                    > are
                    > > > our
                    > > > > experts. Hopefully since you teach young children, you have
                    the
                    > > > > patience for my questions and won't just bark at me, "Why
                    don't
                    > > you
                    > > > > just go take a class in photography!" Or maybe you can
                    > recommend a
                    > > > > good book for a beginner to learn answers to these types of
                    > > > questions.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Sharani :-)
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, izobu wrote:
                    > > > > > Hi Sharani,
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > Thanks for sharing your adventure, and the photos are
                    really
                    > > > great,
                    > > > > I
                    > > > > > so enjoy looking at them, McCloskey Wannabees is a classic,
                    > but
                    > > my
                    > > > > > favourites are also Cygnet 1 and Swan Family 2.
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > If its any consolation I also have taken about 150
                    swan/cygnet
                    > > pix
                    > > > > > over the past few weeks, but out of that set there's only a
                    > > small
                    > > > > > handful I am happy with, which are on the gallery, and out
                    of
                    > > all
                    > > > of
                    > > > > > them there is only one which I am enlarging and printing.
                    The
                    > > more
                    > > > > > photos you take the fussier you get!
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > The cygnets this side of the pond (the Atlantic!)in my park
                    > are
                    > > > > > getting stronger and bolder, and even go exploring by
                    > > themselves.
                    > > > > One
                    > > > > > got lost in a big patch of tall rushes, and the mother went
                    > > > looking
                    > > > > > for it. Whatever anyone tells you, swans are not mute, this
                    > > mother
                    > > > > was
                    > > > > > making the most poignant noises about the missing sibling,
                    who
                    > > > > > eventually turned up and got a free ride home on mum's
                    back.
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > So, you got the bug now, huh? The shutter bug!! It'll keep
                    you
                    > > > busy,
                    > > > > > that's for sure!
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > Pavitrata
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
                    > > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com,
                    > sharani_sharani
                    > > > > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                    > > > > > > Regulars to this forum know I have been pining for
                    cygnets
                    > to
                    > > > > > > photograph and consoling myself with Pavitrata's swan
                    babies
                    > > > > instead.
                    > > > > > > Well the last time that I was at the bike path learning
                    bird
                    > > > > calls I
                    > > > > > > did take some adult swan photos. As I stood looking at
                    them,
                    > > two
                    > > > > women
                    > > > > > > passed by and said, "oh that's nothing you should see the
                    > swan
                    > > > > with
                    > > > > > > eggs in Barrington." With a slight delay in registering
                    its
                    > > > > import, I
                    > > > > > > followed after them to find out where this swan was! They
                    > said
                    > > > it
                    > > > > was
                    > > > > > > on a lake and the nest was right by the side of the
                    road. I
                    > > knew
                    > > > > I had
                    > > > > > > to go looking for it. Those of you who know me know what
                    I
                    > > mean
                    > > > by
                    > > > > > > that! Today was a Memorial Day holiday and the idyllic
                    > summery
                    > > > > weather
                    > > > > > > settled it. Today the hunt began.
                    > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > I had never before been where they said the swans were
                    so I
                    > > > drove
                    > > > > > > around in circles looking for them. I kept crossing over
                    the
                    > > > bike
                    > > > > path
                    > > > > > > and driving along the ocean. When I backtracked and
                    thought
                    > I
                    > > > was
                    > > > > > > getting close, the McCloskey Wannebee moment happened.
                    All
                    > > cars
                    > > > > came
                    > > > > > > to a stop as the geese crossed the road - or should I say
                    > > danced
                    > > > > > > around and couldn't make up their minds quite where they
                    > were
                    > > > > going.
                    > > > > > > Adorable to say the least!
                    > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > Then I turned down a small dirt road and there was a pond
                    > > which
                    > > > > > > extended near someone's residence and was bordered by the
                    > bike
                    > > > > path on
                    > > > > > > the opposite side. 5 babies, Mom and Dad! Dad (I think)
                    came
                    > > > over
                    > > > > 2 or
                    > > > > > > 3 times and established that they were in charge with a
                    hiss
                    > > or
                    > > > > two.
                    > > > > > > More often though, they just swam around quite near
                    where I
                    > > > > stood. I'm
                    > > > > > > earning my paparazzi lapels too. I hung the camera from a
                    > tree
                    > > > > branch
                    > > > > > > and set the timer to take a self-portrait :-) :-) Could
                    I be
                    > > any
                    > > > > more
                    > > > > > > daft? Next thing you know I'll be climbing the trees for
                    the
                    > > > > perfect
                    > > > > > > shot :-)
                    > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > This Memorial Day holiday was memorable indeed. The
                    universe
                    > > > > fulfilled
                    > > > > > > my wish. I am in the seventh heaven of happiness. Let me
                    > > finish
                    > > > > with
                    > > > > > > a poem about swan babies that I wrote several years ago,
                    > long
                    > > > > before
                    > > > > > > my current exploits.
                    > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > Was I a seeker
                    > > > > > > yearning yearning
                    > > > > > > for God's friendship
                    > > > > > > here on Earth?
                    > > > > > > Did I even dare to fathom
                    > > > > > > what my life was really worth?
                    > > > > > > Aspiration realm indeed
                    > > > > > > unconscious
                    > > > > > > then You gave it a new birth
                    > > > > > > Hear that peeping in the shell?
                    > > > > > > My soul is crying to be free
                    > > > > > > You're my only incubator
                    > > > > > > trying to help me hatch and fly
                    > > > > > > I'm your ugly duckling swan chick
                    > > > > > > with the will to try and tray.
                    > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > Park Ranger Sharani signing off...
                    > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > p.s. Pavitrata how do you ever limit yourself to just one
                    > > cygnet
                    > > > > photo
                    > > > > > > in your album. I took almost 100 shots today but tried to
                    > > > control
                    > > > > > > myself a little in how many I put in the album. While
                    we're
                    > at
                    > > > it
                    > > > > > > let's not think about the grand total. Time for weeding
                    > soon,
                    > > > eh?
                    > > > > > > Oops, I almost forgot. The link to my album is at:
                    > > > > > > http://tinyurl.com/d4pak
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