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PhotoTalkies Magazine - July 2014


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PhotoTalkies a monthly e-magazine and is all about celebrating photography, and telling stories through images. In a joint venture between ZEISS and Kunzum. Enjoy the July 2014 edition of the same. And keep coming back for more.

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PhotoTalkies Magazine - July 2014

  2. 2. SO MANY TRAVEL CIRCUITS, SO LITTLE TIME The world is full of wonderful itineraries, but no one can do it all in one lifetime. Forget the world, one can’t even explore a country like India ever completely. But a start has to be made, and that’s what we cover in PhotoTalkies now. The Kashmir Route K11 was very well received by readers in the May 2014 edition, prompting us to explore even more. And this time we have the Golden Triangle down south that few talk about as a whole. Many a traveller may have visited Coorg in Karnataka, the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu and Wayanad in Kerala separately not realizing they are contiguous and one big biosphere. Offering the best of natural and man-made attractions - best covered by road. You can wind in and out of the hilly terrain and never have enough of it. And that is what brings us to the main reason why we love to travel by road - it is the surest way of discovering what has not been charted. As writers and photographers, we need to be surprised ourselves to be able to offer something fresh to our audience. Driving around ensures that. On another note, our special series on photography tips from the best of experts globally has also found many a taker. As have the usual features on books, gadgets and apps that make for well rounded issues of PhotoTalkies. Let’s keep clicking together. And sharing our stories. Pictorially. Shot with a ZEISS. AJAY JAIN
  3. 3. PtaHlOkTieOs A Joint Initiative of Kunzum and ZEISS PHOTOTALKIES IS A MONTHLY DIGITAL MAGAZINE. AND IT’S FREE!! DOWNLOAD AND READ ON YOUR IPAD, IPHONE OR ANY OTHER TABLET, COMPUTER AND SMARTPHONE. Want to contribute to PhotoTalkies? Ping us at Disclaimer: All articles and photographs in this magazine are the opinions of the respective contributors. It is understood that they own the copyright to the same, or have the rights to offer the same under their bylines. ZEISS is not responsible for the authenticity of any of the articles and photographs, nor will be held liable for any disputes, claims and liabilities arising out of ownership or copyright issues of the content in the magazine. CONTENTS South India’ Golden Triangle in the Hills 05 In the Meadow: Natural Beauty 17 Mountain Night and Mountain Light 24 LENS REVIEW ZEISS T* 2,8/15 ZE 31 GADGETS Blackberry Z3 38 Nokia XL 39 APPS Over 41 BOOKS The Martian 42
  4. 4. SOUTH INDIA’S GOLDEN TRIANGLE IN THE HILLS 10 REASONS TO HEAD THERE THIS SUMMER AJAY JAIN If there is a paradise down south, it is in its own Golden Triangle in the hills. The regions of Coorg in Karnataka, the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu and Wayanad in Kerala form one contiguous landscape offering all that a traveller could ask for: Lush green forests, wildlife, great people, man-made attractions, breathtaking landscapes, tea and coffee estates and temperate climate all year round. You can seamlessly drive between these regions on beautiful mountain roads. If this is not enough for you, here are 10 reasons for you to head to this southern region this summer: 05 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  5. 5. 1. Join Elephants in their ‘Bathrooms’ in Dubare, Coorg So what if Dubare is like a pet elephant facility? The camp is home to elephants of all ages, from babies to grand-daddies. At around 9, they come out of their quarters and head for the water pool for their daily bath. Be careful when they come down: some amble, but some run. You don’t want to be in the way. You can watch them from the sides, and step into the water and give them a scrub yourself. Of course, elephants don’t know the difference between a bathtub and a toilet seat – they allow their poop to drop where they are. You can be sure you are stepping on some. Dubare is a nice place to hang around all day long – lounge in the shade when done with elephants, take a boat ride, go bird spotting, read a book or just picnic with some music from your iPod. Life will look wonderful.
  6. 6. 2. Reaching for the Clouds in Talacauvery, Coorg I never expected to be inside clouds down south in Coorg in Karnataka. It happened in Talacauvery. Located about 42 kms (26 miles) from Madikeri, Talacauvery is said to be the origin of the Cauvery river. Of course, you really don’t see any visible signs there: a spring feeding water into a holy tank in a temple complex there is said to be the origin. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Caveriamma and Lord Agastheeswara. A dip in the tank, especially on holy days, is considered auspicious by Hindus. As I drove up, I could feel clouds getting closer and closer – till I was kind of almost with-in them. A 407-step steep climb from the temple takes you atop the hill where you are supposed to get views of the surrounding mountain ranges – I only got to see the anatomy of clouds. Yes, I was literally standing inside one or many – I could not tell where one ended and another started. 07 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  7. 7. 3. Chikmagalur, Karnataka – Coffee first grown here in India Raindrops are falling on my head…and I am having coffee on the road in Chikmagalur – where coffee was first grown in India. About 350 years ago when a seer is believed to have smuggled a few seeds from Mecca in Arabia. At the twilight hour, surrounded by forests and coffee estates, in mountain country with its cool, crisp air – it is heaven on Earth. Depending when you go, you can enjoy the coffee blossoms - or the picking season. The whole countryside is one you would want to build a cottage and spend the rest of your life in. 08 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  8. 8. 4. A Thriving Tibetan Community in Bylakuppe in Coorg If you want a flavour of Tibet and Buddhism, drop by at Bylakuppe - suppos-edly the second largest Tibetan settlement outside of Tibet after Dharamsala up North. It is located about 6 kms from Kushalanagara in Coorg. Over 30,000 Tibetans and 7,000 monks have made it their home since 1961. The stunning Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery here is the largest teaching center of Nyingmapa – a lineage of Tibetan Buddhism – in the world. Check in to get a flavour Tibetan shopping, food, lifestyle, dressing, culture, festivals and religion. 09 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  9. 9. 5. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway: A Toy Train you must Ride Wheeeee! I am on a toy train ride. Starting from Ooty or Ootacamund, now officially renamed Udagamandalam, going downhill all the way to Mettuppa-layam in Tamil Nadu. And it figures in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The train passes through some picturesque tea estates, the Nilgiris mountains, villages and towns with some retaining their old world charm – and skies with chang-ing colours. The train negotiates 208 curves, 13 tunnels and 250 bridges. A few years back, a diesel engine was introduced for the leg between Coonor and Ooty – it is a treat watching the process of changing to a steam locomo-tive at Coonor or vice versa. Book in advance to ensure a seat.
  10. 10. 6. Walk Through the Tea Estates of the Nilgiris What is more refreshing than a cuppa of tea? A walk in the tea estates - especially those that cover the rolling hills of the Nilgiris. Step out before the first light, and watch the colours of the ground and skies change around you. Even as birds chirp Good Morning to you and the cool air rejuvenates your skin and soul. 11 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  11. 11. 7. On the Trail of Tigers and Elephants in Bandipur, Karnataka The Bandipur National Park in Karnataka is one of the many re-serves in this region. And home to tigers, elephants and many other animals and birds. In fact, the forests all merge into one another, and into human habitats and roads. You can common-ly expect to see herds of elephants on the highways. Don’t miss out on safaris when in this part of the country. 12 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  12. 12. 8. A Temple Festival, Circus and Fair in Wayanad Everyone loves a festival in these parts. I attended one at the Valliyoorkavu temple on the outskirts of Mananthavady in Wayanad. Attended by tribal folk from surrounding areas, it was a long night of prayers, folk dances, processions, food, shopping, circus and fairground rides. Roads leading to it are marked with processions from all directions – converging at the temple from early evening onwards. Processions com-prise musicians, dancers including a few in masks, elephants, priests and devotees walking along, some with lit oil lamps. It is fun - and religion - for all in one big celebration. 13 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  13. 13. 9. Kuruva Island in Wayanad The evergreen forested Kuruva island (called Kuruvadweep locally) lying in one of the tributaries of Kabini river in Wayanad seems a popular picnic spot. Rightfully so. A cluster of islands that emerge or submerge with water levels, and home to a variety of birds, butterflies and orchids, you can choose to be with the crowds or find your own solitude. We hiked in extreme humidity on a warm, sunny day through rice fields and forests to eventually reach the local tribal temple – very serene setting, and the simplicity of the temples is what attracts you. Despite new houses, many a lifestyle remains unchanged. Women were dressed as they always have been, water is drawn from wells and farming is the main occupation. The fields were planted with rice, and ginger harvested recently was being sorted manually. 14 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  14. 14. 10. Banasura Reservoir, Wayanad, Kerala – A sight to behold: The Banasura Sagar dam in Wayanad is the largest earth dam in India. Without getting into technicalities or its environmental impact (if any), I would say it has resulted in creating some stunning features. The resulting reservoir is a large water body whose water level rises dramatically during the monsoons. Sprouting throughout are islands created when the reservoir submerged surrounding areas. And coming through are trees shorn of any leaves; they paint a ghostly image when it is misty and around sunset. A good place to film a horror flick. 15 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  15. 15. IN THE MEADOW Natural Beauty Stefano Zatti Get close enough to nature, and new experiences open up for you. A meadow or shrub near your home that you never really noticed in the past can suddenly become the gateway to another world, offering up spectacular motifs. Stefano Zatti uses his ZEISS lenses to capture the beauty in such hidden treasures. © ZEISS 17 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  16. 16. Butterfly in the morning sun At first glance, an indigenous butterfly may not seem like anything special — not the kind of exotic motif worthy of a safari. However, stand there long enough and take the time to view it closely and you will literally see things differently. The play of the butterfly’s delicate wings in the sun’s light, framed by the rich green of the surrounding meadow, which Ste-fano Zatti turns into a blurry bokeh, demon-strates perfectly the allure of this intense mac-ro photography. “I like this picture a lot. When insects awaken, they always first stretch their wings out in the sun to dry. They don’t move until that’s done. It’s precisely that moment that I was able to capture, and the butterfly re-mained very still.” For as long as he can remember, Zatti has been interested in nature and the small details to be found in nature where, in his opinion, a unique beauty is revealed. When he discovered his tal-ent for photography, it was only logical that macro photography would become his pre-ferred discipline. 18 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  17. 17. Two years ago, Zatti took his photographic ambitions to the next level with the purchase of a full-format single lens reflex camera together with the Makro-Planar T* 2/100. “With this lens I have found more than just a tool that lets me pursue my hobby; it is my ally. Normally in macro photography, you increase the depth of field by stopping down, but I typically work more with wide aperture settings. I still remember how surprised I was with the first shots I took with the Makro-Planar T* 2/100: incredible sharpness at f/2.8 and only one monopod for stabilization. And look at this bokeh and these colors: they give this picture of a leaf moist with dew an aura of exactly that peaceful morning fresh-ness that I love so much.” Moss at the foot of a large tree 19 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  18. 18. Zatti wants to capture moods and make the view-er feel as if he were standing in nature himself, look-ing at this or that small detail together with the photographer. Or to adapt a quote from Beethoven: “It’s more about the expression of feelings than about photography itself”. What does the observer feel when he looks at the minimal-ist image of the moss immersed in the color green? Perhaps the person looking at the image can even appreciate the effort that went into this shot on Zatti’s part, which was taken lying on the ground in a particularly uncomfortable position. Zatti wanted to capture the color gradient in the background as softly and clean as possible. The smooth focus oper-ation of the Makro-Planar T* 2/100, with its large angle of rotation, helped ensure the focal plane lay exactly on the moss in the foreground. “When I look at the pictures of other macro photog-raphers, I often see images that are of a high techni-cal standard. They are almost perfect pictures of but-terflies, bees or similar insects. But the images have a sterile effect on me — completely sharp from top to bottom, with the motif in the optimal position. Pictures you could include in an entomological reference book without any problem. But that’s exactly what I don’t want. My pictures should have atmosphere. When I look at the bee’s head rising toward the sun exactly at the moment I took the picture, I think to myself: she is greeting the new day.” Bee in morning light Scorpion fly in morning light 20 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  19. 19. Broken branch with spiders’ webs in November 21 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  20. 20. Stefano Zatti is not afraid of committing small technical imperfections in order to stage his motifs. He likes to take advantage of the possibilities of manual focusing with the Makro-Planar T* 2/100 in order to compose the focal plane. For example, the picture of the scorpion fly drying her wings is not completely in focus. “I decided intentionally for this setting in order to capture what I think is a really nice bokeh. This picture is also another example of the special light and color rendering of the Makro-Planar T* 2/100 which I like so much.” It is the beauty of nature’s simplicity that fascinates Zatti and inspires him again and again as a photographer. A morning in November, fog, a broken branch. Dew is collecting at a spider’s nest. The motif is almost minimalistic, and yet it communicates a very special mood that fits the melancholic feeling at that time of year. “Clear forms and lines, hardly any colors. A geometric, very simple motif. Almost too simple. But I am convinced: it is in the simplicity and purity of forms that you find true elegance.” About Stefano Zatti Stefano Zatti lives in a small town in northwestern Italy near Turin and works in the automobile industry. In his free time, he likes to go on long walks in the area to indulge his passion for photography and concentrate for a few hours on nothing else but the beauty and detail to be found in nature. 22 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  21. 21. MOUNTAIN NIGHT AND MOUNTAIN LIGHT Lights in the Night DAVID BUMANN David Bumann reveals mountains in the darkness of night and in the bright glow of pyrotechnics and light effects. His images, taken with long exposure times and often a great deal of effort, are both unusual and impressive. And he captures them with ZEISS lenses. „Summit stars”: Arolla with view of the mountain range near Aiguille de la Tsa, November 27, 2013, 6:30 pm © ZEISS 24 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  22. 22. Look at David Bumann‘s pictures and you think of photo montage: Red, shimmering mountain ranges — without any Alpenglühen? Brightly lit snow fields — in the middle of the night? Illuminat-ed railroad bridges — in remote valleys? But that impression de-ceives. The mountain is really shining, and the snow fields and bridges really are lit up. Allalin: Saas-Fee, October 30, 2011, 00:15, illuminated with spotlights from the Saas-Fee cableways 29 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  23. 23. Gebidem Reservoir, dam wall. Length of crown: 300 meters. Height of construction: 120 meters. Blatten near Naters. Effect: Special lighting, March 14, 2014, 11:50 pm Bumann practices ‘light art’ in the great outdoors, an art form that often goes hand-in-hand with a huge logistical effort. As light sources he uses pyrotechnics, large headlights or a very bright LED light attached to his forehead. In order to take the picture of the red-colored Aiguille de la Tsa in the Swiss canton of Valais, for example, he spent many hours placing Bengal lights in such a way that the light sources themselves would not be visible, but would illuminate the silhouette of the mountains. And then he placed his camera, waited for darkness and, when the moment came, lit up the mountain. For such images, Bumann only has a few minutes, so he must be able to rely on his photo gear. “I’ve been using ZEISS lenses for a long time. I started photo-graphing seriously around four and a half years ago and bought a full-format SLR, and then the Distagon T* 3,5/18 a year later. Today I also use the Distagon T* 2,8/21, and I currently have the Distagon T* 2,8/15 on loan. With all ZEISS lenses I can always be sure that the quality is just right, for both the imaging and the workmanship. I often work under extreme conditions, but that doesn’t affect the lenses. Nothing ever freezes and the lenses rarely get fogged up. Everything is very robust. And since I photo-graph at night, the exact mechanical focusing plays an import-ant role.” 26 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  24. 24. Bumann‘s unique type of photography, which he does as a side job, began as a hobby. “On an ice climbing tour I took some long-time exposures while rappelling, and that created spiral forma-tions. That’s how I got into light art.” He started working with a pyrotechnics company and was con-tinuously developing new projects with the aim not only of tak-ing pictures, but also composing with light and effects. “It’s about actively playing with the light and adding my contribution as an artist. With my long-time exposure shots, I try to get the best from the different light situations. Take this picture of the dam wall: the extreme angular field of the Distagon T* 2,8/15, which was used to take this shot, is just fantastic.“ Test with forehead lamp: Skeidarasandur with the Lomagnupur Mountain, Iceland, August 7, 2011, 3:20 am 27 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  25. 25. Bietschtal viaduct: Bietschtal, Valais, December 30, 2011, 11 pm In addition to his camera and ZEISS lenses, another important tool in Bu-mann’s work is an LED forehead-lamp with a capacity of 1500 lumen. This lets him achieve surprising results. ”For this image, I walked around the bridge with my head lamp on. You can’t see me in the picture because my back is facing the camera and the lamp is shining away from me. The construction is illuminated, but the light source itself isn’t visible.” This type of mobile light control, combined with a very long exposure time of 10 minutes, created a soft illumination of the bridge without causing strong cast shadows. 28 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  26. 26. “Patrouille des Glaciers“, Zermatt, behind Herbrigg, direction of the Matterhorn, May 28, 2012, 1:24 am The lights from a passing train inspired Bumann to create another un-usual image of a ski mountaineering race by the Swiss Army called “Pa-trouille des Glaciers”. “The race always starts in the middle of the night in May. That’s why the meadows are already green. In the foreground you see the ‘caravan’ of ski mountaineers who have left behind traces of light created by their head lamps. I also illuminated the surrounding area with my LED lamp.” At the moment, Bumann is working on a project to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Valais joining the Swiss Confederation („13 étolies au sommet“). Thirteen mountains in the canton – one for each district – will be illuminated with pyrotechnics. Bumann will scout out the best locations by helicopter. Alpine guides will then be responsible for in-stalling the fireworks. All 13 mountains – including the Aiguille de la Tsa pictured above – will then be lit up simultaneously. About David Bumann When David Bumann is not illuminating mountains, he attends lectures at the University of Bern, where he is studying geography and biology. Nature, the natural sciences and photography are three important as-pects of his life that complement each other seamlessly. With his light art projects he enriches anniversaries and other events, and tourist at-tractions. 29 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  27. 27. FIELD REVIEW ZEISS T* 2,8/15 ZE Shivakumar L Narayan As a landscape photographer, one of the biggest challenges I face is working out how to capture the entire essence of a landscape. It should capture the vastness of the scene that is in front of me and by doing so should also represent the different elements as accurately as possible. Time and again we landscape photographers across the globe always have had this challenge of finding the ideal landscape lens which does justice to our full frame / pro bodies on these parameters. The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24 f2.8G has been and is still one of the biggest winner in this market segment. Even while shooting wide-open at f2.8 the lens gives an amazing depth to the image and the close focusing along with the sharpness is just an icing on the cake. 31 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  28. 28. Come 2012 and the whole thing changed for good; Carl Zeiss brought out a new super wide angle lens, the super wide angle Distagon T* 2,8/15 which is available as both EF (ZE) or F bayonet (ZF.2) mounts. With an extra-large angle of view of 110 degrees in combination with a fast f/2.8 aperture, the lens enables the features for dramatic perspectives and performance demanded by most of our landscape and architectural photographer’s needs. With a close focus of 0.25m (10”) – combined with a wide angle view – we photographers can now work in tight spaces, while also allowing us to focus on close-up details. Distortion is extremely well controlled, producing naturally proportioned photographs which is not typical of many other super wide angle lenses. The Distagon T* 2,8/15 incorporates two aspheric lenses and special types of glass material with abnormal partial dispersion to provide an extraordinary correction of chromatic aberration. A floating element design guarantees high image quality from close-focus through infinity. Like the other SLR lenses in the ZE and ZF.2 series, stray light and reflections are well controlled by the Carl Zeiss T* anti-reflective coating and the sophisticated treatment of the lens element edges with special light absorbing paint. Geeky things apart, the lens has exceptional build quality which is evident from the first time you lay your hands on it. It has a solid metal construction and looks and feels a bit massive. The integrated semi-petal metal hood and the large 95mm front dia is something very unique and distinct about this lens. But once you mount this on a prospective match in form of a Canon 5D Mark III or Nikon D800E you have a combo which is ready to take on quite a lot of architecture and landscape pho-tography situation. During my recent trip to Meghalaya on a photo expedition, I put this lens into its on spaces and tried out its results at different apertures and tight spaces. The results are really astounding which is evident from the sample images here. 32 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  29. 29. But the moment you start pushing the aperture to f16 or beyond you can see the image start popping out the screen. 33 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  30. 30. The lens handles really well even in foggy and low contrast situation also, absolutely no compromise in sharpness or colors. 34 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  31. 31. The resultant images when put in low light and tight space in the caves of Meghalaya. The wide open aperture and field of view on a full frame is what comes in handy at many tricky shooting situations. 35 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  32. 32. Whilst shooting architecture or lines one can notice how well the distortion has been handled by the design of this lensat many tricky shooting situations. 36 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  33. 33. Pros & Cons Every lens or camera in the market comes with its own takeaway or giveaways when it comes to the buyer or end user. Talking about this lens, the build quality, sharpness, fast open aperture, distortion control and the resulting image quality is definitely a big plus. But on the contrary, owing to its manual focus nature, one cannot use it for sports or high speed application. The 95mm filter thread is definitely something to bother about especially having to carry an additional set of polarisers and grad filters if you have other lenses which are in 77mm filter thread size range. Having said that, one has to compare to its market rivals especially Nikon 14-24 f2.8 which we already mentioned earlier and also the Canon 14 f2.8 both of which comes at a slightly lower price range compared to the Ziess counterpart. But at the end of the day one has to go back with the assurance that they are getting what they are paying for and that’s the essence of German engineering. Shivakumar L Narayan is a freelance travel and nature photographer from Bangalore who specializes in landscape photography and is also one of the co-founders of Landscape-Wizards ( which is India’s first and only dedicated landscape photography portal. More of Shivakumar’s travel and nature photography work can be found at this website, his travel journal - Journey Through Nature ( and on his Facebook Page - 37 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  34. 34. GADGETS BLACKBERRY Z3 It is a company that has been pretty much written off by many experts but BlackBerry (formerly RIM, remember?) is hanging in there gutsily. And if the Z3 is any indication of what it has up its sleeve, it might even stage a comeback of sorts. The Z3 is about as mainstream as BlackBerry has got with a new device since the days of the Curve 8520 (anyone remember that QWERTY gem? It was plasticky, had a low-resolution screen, but sold millions). It features a 5.0-inch display and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 dual core processor, backed up by 1.5 GB of RAM and 8 GB onboard storage, with a 5.0-megapixel camera on the back and a 1.1-megapixel one on front for vid-eo calls. That does not sound quite barnstorming as compared to some of the budget devices we have seen in the Android segment but when you factor in the smoothness of the BlackBerry 10 OS interface, the ability to run most Android applications, rock solid design and a battery that simply goes on and on, we cannot help but feel that this is a device that travelers might like. Yes, we would have liked a higher resolution display rather than the 960 x 540 one and a better camera (it is mediocre at best), but on the flip side, the Z3 delivers an excellent browser, very good social network connectivity, and of course, BlackBerry’s traditional mail and messaging muscle. The onscreen keyboard remains one of the best we have used with its ability to predict not only the next letter but the next word in your sentences, and now even supports Indian languages. Some think Rs 15,990 is a bit much to pay for it. We think it is a heck of a deal for anyone who wants a smartphone that is solidly built and rocks in the messaging and browsing department. Price: Rs 15,990 Finally, an affordable BlackBerry NIMISH DUBEY 38 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  35. 35. GADGETS Nokia XL The first Nokia Android, the X, did not exactly set the market on fire, we know. There were complaints about the display and the camera, and some felt that close to Rs 8,500, the device did not deliver as much as they expected. Well, the big N (now with Microsoft) has pretty much thrown the kitchen sink at the affordable Android market with the Nokia XL. At its simplest, it is an expanded version of the Nokia X - the same dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, the same 800 x 480 resolution and the same 4 GB storage, expandable using a memory card. But ah, there are changes too - and significant ones. The camera now is a 5.0-megapixel autofocus affair, RAM has been bumped up to a respected 768 MB, and bat-tery life has been significantly improved. Most of all, of course, the display is big - a 5.0-inch affair. Some might complain about its not being 720p HD but honestly, with Nokia’s own version of Android running on it, we did not mind it too much. We also loved the solid build of the device and the colorful plastic back covers. Trust us, this will turn heads. Yes, the complaints about the absence of support for Google Play will continue, but at around Rs 10,000, the Nokia XL is one of the better large screen smartphones in the market out there. It might not have the sort of specs some other brands can offer at this price, but what it does offer is rock solid performance and design. And of course, travelers are just going to love those excellent Here maps and a year’s unlimited downloads from Nokia music, with dual SIM connectivity thrown in for those who either have multiple connections or like dodging roaming charges by getting a connection at the place they are visiting. Want an Android on a tight budget? We would recommend this one, unless you are absolutely crazy about apps and games! Price: Rs 10,000 BIG SCREEN ANDROID, NOKIA STYLE NIMISH DUBEY 39 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  36. 36. OVER A good picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes - well, a lot of times in our cases - we do feel like adding some words to our pictures. It could be a description, a particular-ly apt quote or maybe just a name. But of course, plonking words on a picture is never easy. The designers will evoke the name of Photoshop the moment you make a suggestion on those lines. Fortunately, as with most things in life these days, there is an app for that. And it is called Over. Yes, it does not come free of cost - it will put you back by a couple of US Dollars - but on the flip side, what you get is the sort of functionality on your iPhones and iPads (sorry, no Android as of yet) that will designers drool. You can choose from a number of fonts. Add text wherever you wish - it is as sim-ple as typing it out and dragging it wherever you wish. And increase and decrease font size by just pinching and zooming. There’s more. You can play around with font colors, fiddle alignment and even increase and decrease tint to make your words stand out more prominently or simply fade into the furniture. Finally, you always have the option of buying even more fonts if you are not happy with those that come with the app (we are, thank you very much). If you love to mix and match pictures with words - like so many travelers - and have an iOS device (again, like so many travelers), you resist this app at your peril. Download. Overcome. Pun intended. Download from: Price: USD 1.99 Add text to images effortlessly NIMISH DUBEY 41 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  37. 37. BOOKS THE MARTIAN Robinson Crusoe in outer space NIMISH DUBEY Blame it on the Hunger Games series if you will, but the past few months have seen an explosion of sorts in the “futuristic world” scenario type of books. We have seen the likes of Hugh Howey’s ‘Wool’ and Veronica Roth’s ‘Divergent’ grab a lot of attention with their looks at what the future of life on earth could be like. And now comes Andy Weir with The Martian. Originally self-published in 2012 (who turns down these manuscripts is some-thing we would so dearly want to know), the book adds a whole new spin to the “future life” scenario by yanking the main character to another planet. NASA Astronaut Mark Watney gets left behind accidentally in a mission to…well, Mars. As the book is not based THAT far into the future, missions to Mars are relatively rare affairs. His radio is conked out and he has no way of communicating with Earth or other space ships/satellites, so what Watney has to do is somehow survive and hope he is found by the next mission to the planet. He has some supplies, limited oxygen and water and can only hope the place where he is staying (the Hab) is not destroyed by a Martian storm. He is a mechanical engineer and a botanist and can tinker with hardware and grow some crops. How does he make it? Hell, does he make it all? That’s what The Martian is about. A man left all alone on a planet waiting for aid and trying to make the best of what he has, battling loneliness and very long odds. And Andy Weir’s narration – which is in the form of a log book of the stranded astronaut- is taut and laden with black humour. It has not the laid back elegance of Robinson Crusoe but it more than compensates with an incredibly taut storyline in which surprises – not all of them pleasant – keep popping up. If Gravity kicked the glamour out of space travel, this one puts it in a safe and locks it. Now when we look into the space. Read it, and the next time you will look at the stars in the sky, you will not only wonder if there’s someone out there. You will also wonder if they need help. 42 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  38. 38. PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS Connect with ZEISS For more information on ZEISS Sports Optics and Camera Lenses For Customer Enquiries +91.11.45156000
  39. 39.   About Ajay Jain Ajay Jain is a full time writer and photographer, and has authored eight paperback books and over 30 e-books. He promotes his photography as collectible art, runs the popular Kunzum Travel Cafe in New Delhi and publishes e-magazines on travel and photography. He is also a regular speaker on Mindful Travel, Personal Branding, Photography and Business Networking. All his creative ideas came to the fore only after he started travelling - mindfully. He has pursued careers in Information Technology and Sports Management before he took up journalism and writing. He holds degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Business Management and Journalism.  More  on Ajay Jain at http://ajayjain.Connect com. with him at +91.9910044476. Or call his office at +91.9650702777.
  40. 40. Want to be a great  photographer? Want to be a travel writer? As a professional or a hobbyist? Full time or Part Time? Sign up for a workshop / course at the Kunzum Media Lab. We promise it will change your life. Kunzum Travel Cafe T-49, GF, Hauz Khas Village New Delhi 110016, India Tel: +91.9650 702 777 / +91.11.2651 3949 Timings: 11:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m., Mondays Closed www. kunzum. c om/ mediala b
  41. 41. T-49, GF, Hauz Khas Village New Delhi 110016, India Tel: +91.9650 702 777 / +91.11.2651 3949 Timings: 11:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m., Mondays Closed