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Chicago river green st patricks day 2014

I have always heard turning the Chicago river green – In 2014 I was lucky enough to witness that. We moved to Chicago in early March and St. Patrick day was on March 16th. We decided to explore the st patricks day celebration on foot. The dying of the Chicago river normally happens in the morning marking the official start of the celebrations in Chicago city. Its always better to reach the loop using the CTA trains and heading towards the bridge – Merchandise Mart or Washington/wells being the best when riding the brown line. The dyeing starts at 9 am, so it better to be early if you really wan to see it happen.

Chicago river green pictures

Chicago river green pictures

Chicago river green pictures

Chicago river green pictures

Digging a little history around the concept of dying the river, the tradition is been there for the last 40 years and is led by the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers. Officially this is how it started “In 1961 Stephen Bailey was approached by a plumber who was wearing some white coveralls, they knew this only because they could see some of the original color. These coveralls had been mostly stained or dyed a perfect shade of green, an Irish green to better describe it. It was when Stephen Bailey asked how the coveralls got this way, that they discovered that the dye used to detect leaks into the river turned green, not just any color green, but the perfect color green.”

So how do they turn Chicago river green or what makes Chicago river green ? They add green dye to a section of the river. Please find the video below which clearly shows how the crew add the dye to the water and make it all green.

 

The st patricks day celebration also includes a magnificent 2-3 hours long parade (which can be best viewed from the East side of the bridge at Columbus Drive or upper and lower Wacker Drive between Columbus and Lake Shore Drive), lot of Irish food and of course Irish Beer (Yes, Chicago gets really drunk – all the bars gets packed)

Nick Vujicic baby kiyoshi pictures

Nick Vujicic is always an inspiration for everybody and will always an inspiration for me.I was one of the few bloggers on the internet who shared his marriage pictures and also more information on his wonderful wife Kanae Miyahara. They got married on the valentines day in 2012.

Now they have an amazing news to share to his followers and fans – They had their first baby son Kiyoshi James Vujicic, whose pictures I will be sharing below. The baby was born a day before their first wedding anniversary.

Nick Vujicic Kanae Miyahara baby pictures

Nick Vujicic Kanae Miyahara kiyoshi james pictures

Here are the first few words Nick shared to his friends and family after his son was born “Thank you all so very much for all your love and prayers!! Kiyoshi James Vujicic – 8 Pounds 10 oz, 21 3/4 inches long. Mama Kanae doing excellent as well.” “Dream come true. Holding my Baby Boy Kiyoshi. Amazing grace and gift from God. Love you all so much. Thank you for your showers of prayer.” Nearly 113 thousands LIKED his pictures and more than 12 thousand congratulated them on this auspicious occasion. Here are some congratulation messages posted by his friends on facebook.

Nick Vujicic with his baby

Madelyn posted : “your the miracle of GOD love baby Kiyoshi james, your so cute congratz nick and mummy kanae GOD bess you.”
Phyllis posted : “May you do greater things for the Lord than your mom and dad baby Kiyoshi.”
Rita posted : gorgeous baby….so lovely….how lucky you are a new life is so special and precious ..congratulations x

The 30-year-old Nick was born without limbs. As a child, he struggled mentally and emotionally as well as physically, but eventually came to terms with his disability and, at the age of seventeen, started his own non-profit organization, Life Without Limits. Nick Vujicic presents motivational speeches worldwide, on life with a disability, hope and finding meaning in life. He also speaks about his belief that God can use any willing heart to do his work and that God is big enough to overcome any and all disabilities.

Nick Vujicic Kanae Miyahara pregnant

He shared shared the following words on his Facebook page “As a new father, I will serve as the champion defender for my son. I do not want him to be the target of a bully’s reckless comments, but I cannot isolate him in a protective bubble. He will, one day, feel the sting of someone’s deliberate arrows of cruelty. And to prepare him, I will spend plenty of time coaching my son on how to neutralize the comments from an angry peer. It’s not the government’s job alone. The anti-bullying campaign starts in the home with loving parents and should be cultivated by churches that educate families and propagate the love of Jesus.”

Nick Vujicic wife having a baby boy

Christine Sara Photography (www.christinesaraphotography.com) will be very happy that she got selected to take the wonderful family picture with their son Kiyoshi James Vujicic.

Nick Vujicic Kanae Miyahara baby photoshoot

To congratulate Nick Vijucic and Kanae Miyahara, Please add you wishes as comments.

how to take pictures of fireworks

How to take pictures of fireworks

I am sure you want to know how to photograph fireworks? Let it be on the occasion of July 4th or the new year celebrations, Fireworks are always very tricky to photograph and when you shoot them correctly, you will be amazed at how beautiful and colorful they are. To shoot fireworks there are definitely a few important steps required to get the best and most vibrant shots. I would like you to take through a series of tips and tricks that I personally follow when clicking fireworks pictures.

Here are the basic accessories you need to take firework pictures

A stable tripod

It is impossible to shoot the fireworks without a tripod ( you can defintely use a chair or a table or even a wall instead of a tripod ) but defintely not handheld. This is mainly because we are taking a long exposure shot (2 seconds or above) and the camera needs to be stable for the 2+ secs when the camera is taking the shot. If your lens is not a heavy lens, you can defintely get a very cheap tripod from amazon – will cost you less than 20$ ( link )

A good wide angle lens (if you are closer to the fireworks area)
A wide angle lens also comes handy when you want to capture the whole area + the fireworks. I will prefer a focal length of 17mm – 70 mm for these shots. So if you don’t have a wide angle lens and your lens starts with a 70mm , I prefer you select a location which is far from the fireworks area . Also you also have an option to rent a wide angle lens from your local camera rental shop or even online stores (borrowlenses.com).

Finding the best location to shoot fireworks
This is very important for composing the best fireworks picture. We definitely don’t need peoples ‘head’ in your shots and will be better if you can find a location with less crowded. I always prefer the following guidelines before picking a location :

- Open field with less crowd
- Presence of a building or structure (its better to have structures in the shot to get a comparison of the size and details of the fireworks.
- Less movement in the frame – Finding an area where there is no movement of cars or public – that can create ‘ghost’ effects in the picture

Always shoot in Manual Mode and Manual focus

Yes, Auto mode doesn’t work best here. This a great opportunity for you to experiment manual mode in your DSLR. This also helps you to control shutter speed, Aperture and ISO to find the best appropriate settings for that night. The following section will clearly mention you the best camera settings you need to set for photographing fireworks.
Also with Manual Focus, as the area is dark the lens will find it difficult to find the point to focus. You can always pre-focus the camera (selecting the top right or top left focus point ) and wait for the first firework to brighten up the sky so that the camera finds the focus point.Also check your manual whether you can lock the focus point.

Shutter release (wireless or wired)
This helps us to avoid camera shakes when pressing the button on the camera. If you don’t have a shutter release, please use the 2 secs timer built-in your camera (You need to be very accurate in judging when the shell is fired from the ground).

Best fireworks photography settings – very important

- Aperture Settings

Make sure you start with F11. As there are lot of details to be captured in the photo, we need to make sure that we set a smaller aperture. Also at the end of the firework display, I am sure that there will be a lot of shells going up together and they will be a time when the sky becomes too bright at f11. At that time I recommend you increase to f19 or f 22 or even the highest (my canon 60D goes till F32) – they totally depends on how bright your area becomes. I recommend experimenting (going up the F value) various aperture value starting from F11.

- Shutter speed

2 seconds and Up. Understand that the 2 seconds from the shell is fired and its travelling up in the sky. If the firework is travelling high and you are not able to fit in that period, try to increase the shutter speed to 4-6 seconds. I have acheived wonderful results with 6 seconds (Especially when you have multiple fireworks at the same time).

- ISO

Set the ISO to 100 – to the lowest your camera goes. We defintely don’t need ISO as we have a tripod and we are setting long exposure – so light will be good enough when the fireworks are in the sky.

A few basic firework photography tips and tricks

– Try to get the best shots in the first 5-10 mins of the fireworks display, as the end part of the display will have a lot of smoke in the sky.
– Make sure that wind is not shaking the camera while photographing fireworks.
– Be well prepared to change the settings while the fireworks is going on. As mentioned before, the first few minutes of the firework display gives you the sharpest and neatest shots.
– Always track your results after every shot so that you know what to change to perfect it. There will be many occasions when the shots go dark or bright. A speedy decision on finding the best settings can help you start in the beginning of the display to capture the best firework photos.
– Find good firework pictures in Google images or even try photo sharing websites like flickr, pixoto to find well composed firework pictures. They give you a lot of ideas on “how to compose the best firework pictures” and also help you find a good location to setup your equipment.
– Take as many pictures of the fireworks till the end of the display. You don’t know when you will get your best shot.

If you have any questions / comments / recommendations, Please feel free to add a comment.

Zion national park pictures in Summer

I have been to the Zion national park many times(6 times approximately) and still believe is one the best weekend getaway for Utahns. It takes me less than 5 hours to drive to Zion national park and great drive. A few details on the national park :

“A prominent feature of the 229-square-mile (590 km2) park is Zion Canyon, which is 15 miles (24 km) long and up to half a mile (800 m) deep, cut through the reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone by the North Fork of the Virgin River. The lowest elevation is 3,666 ft (1,117 m) at Coalpits Wash and the highest elevation is 8,726 ft (2,660 m) at Horse Ranch Mountain. Located at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and Mojave Desert regions, the park’s unique geography and variety of life zones allow for unusual plant and animal diversity. Numerous plant species as well as 289 species of birds, 75 mammals (including 19 species of bat), and 32 reptiles inhabit the park’s four life zones: desert, riparian, woodland, and coniferous forest. Zion National Park includes mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas, monoliths, rivers, slot canyons, and natural arches.”

Please find some pictures of Zion national park taken in Summer 2011. Enjoy. (Please click on them to view the larger version of the shot)


Zion national park pictures
Zion national park posters

Zion national park photography

In my opinion the best time to visit Zion is May, June, and July. Here are a few tips when travelling to Zion :

Sharp changes in weather occur within the Zion National park due to the rugged topography and range of elevations. Seasonal snowfall averages 13 feet but much heavier snows accumulate in high mountain areas above Zion. Summer days are hot, but mountain breezes keep evenings cool especially in lower elevation areas. Visitors should be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions at Zion National Park. Temperatures vary with changes in elevation, and day/night temperatures may differ by over 30° F. Fall days are usually clear and mild; nights are often cool. Autumn color displays begin in September in the high country (Cedar Breaks, Lava Point). Colors in Utah’s Zion Canyon usually peak in late October. Winters in Zion Canyon are fairly mild. Winter storms often bring rain or light snow to Zion Canyon, but heavier snow to the higher elevations. Clear days may become quite warm reaching 60° F or higher; nights are often in the mid 20′s and 30′s. Winter storms often last several days and cause roads to be icy. Zion roads are plowed, except Kolob Terrace road (to Lava Point), which closes in winter. Travelers should be prepared for winter driving conditions from Nov through Mar.


Zion national park pics
Zion national park picture

Zion national park poster

First photography workshop in Utah

I am really glad today. I did my first photography workshop this weekend and I will call it as great success. Even though there was a good turn around when I published that I am planning for my workshop, four friends decided to keep their Sunday for the workshop. All the rest of the interested people have asked for another day this year, but I guess I won’t be doing another one in 2011.
The workshop started with discussing the basics of photography, the top required skills for photography, equipment etc. I selected a few of my best shots in various category (portrait, landscape, wildlife , lighting etc). Then we started taking a few pictures in the apartment gardens. They followed my words and decided to shoot only in Manual mode, making an end to the use of auto mode. We also drove to Red butte gardens and the sugar house park , the rest of the day taking tons of pictures. Here are some of the pictures that my STUDENTS (sigh :) ) shot that day. Check out how well they shot the pictures with a few hours of training. Great work guys.


Ratish Naroor photography workshop 2011

Ratish Naroor photography workshop 2011

Ratish Naroor photography workshop 2011

Ratish Naroor photography workshop 2011

Ratish Naroor photography workshop 2011

Ratish Naroor photography workshop 2011

Ratish Naroor photography workshop 2011

Ratish Naroor photography workshop 2011

Digital Photography from Ratish Naroor