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Home Interior design and reno

It took quite a while and a lot of debate finalising the layout and design. Finally we selected material, colours, checked out my engineering for safety and structural soundness before engaging couple of specialist contracts to renovate our kitchen. We researched a lot about the type of surface we wanted. Quartz was the first choice, but the artist in me could not find the movement and flow in them.
The Kitchen Renovation
webIMG_6601So picked a big movement Granite from Brazil – the Typhoon Bordeaux with its artistic veins and shades of red wine.
webIMG_6598Not enough space for an island – so did a peninsula 44″ x 52″ and got a wall cabinet above. The size was large enough to create an artistic canvas for the granite slab with an overhang of 14″ for breakfast counter and seating. The difficulty was structural support for the cantilever, which was achieved using 1/2″ plates and 3/4″ plywood substrate.
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The counter stool selected is Skagnen (Scandinavian). Also managed to build a pantry and switch the corner cabinet to a lazy susan system to increase access and storage. Set up a system of under-counter lighting and dimmers all around for warmth all achieved with LEDs. As the kitchen connects to the family room on one side and the dining room on the other, it now becomes the focus for guests and entertainment. The main floor is tied together with the polished Oak hardwood pklank floors running right through
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The rest of the main floor
We had our dinner club over for a formal meal on completion of the kitchen. Seems it was the right time to click pictures of all them main floor rooms. The dining room in similar colour scheme with rosewood table and chairs.
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The drawing room too has similar palette with earthy siennas and maroons
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And finally the family room, with its inviting wood burning fireplace and displays
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The media room
And my favourite escape,  the home theatre on the lower floor, which is also the man cave, with select technology for audio/videophiles. The new 4k, 65″ LED tv and infinity sound.
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The Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

It was a long drive from Vegas to the GCNP (the South Rim), but worth every minute of the journey. We did hit a thunderstorm as we got to William, which stayed with us right into the park. We stopped in Williams from where they run a train in to the Park, pulled by a steam engine. Surprised how far down south the colours of Fall are.

img_3101The clouds, the sky and the winding road through the desert scenery is always fascinating splattered with a few tiny towns. General stores selling everything under the sun. web2img_3507Then as we parked and walked to the rim of the Canyon, the thunderstorm suddenly cleared and behold the valley was bathed in the golden rays of the setting sun. Clouds lit up in so many colours

sunset1webimg_3215-1webimg_3268webimg_3237-1There are several lodges inside the park – we chose the Maswick lodge, but did the rounds of other lodges run by the park system – Couple of them are right at the rim edge. Lost of stuff to do in the park. They run a series of buses, that you can hop-on and off an all key observation points. After dinner, decided to shoot the stars once it got quite dark. Surprisingly there were so many folks hiking down the valley in the moonlight carrying torches and their phones as flash lights.

webimg_3274Of course as a photographer, I always wake up a couple of hours before dawn to catch the sunrise and the morning light. And this would be no exception, except that my wife, who likes to stay in bed till the sun is well up, wanted to come. Natural once the Canyon bug hits you. In the dark of course we felt our way to the rim and as the sky began to glow pink, found that there were thousands of others with the same idea. Wonderful how the morning light picks up peaks in the Canyon one after the other.

ebwwebimg_3376webimg_3351wbimg_3336 Its incredible that the Canyon and skies change every hour depending on the weather and position of the sun. One day I will get through the 1000’s of photographs that I have taken

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The wildlife in the park looks so tame. They walk along the same trails as the visitors. The elk and deer are so tame and is not bothered by people or vehicles

Driving along the park, stopping to shoot pictures and talk to people took up most of the moring

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Chicago, an architect’s dream

I have stopped in Chicago several times, but this is the first time that the family tagged along. We of course called on some old friends as we droved down from Toronto. There is no better way to photograph some of the architecture than to get on the double decker site seeing bus and sit at a vantage point.

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Travel through Asia & ME, 2016

Abu Dhabi: Stopped in the Arab Emirates to go through Dubai and Abu Dhabi for a few days. Both cities have grown since I was last there about 13 years ago. In the process they have lost their uniqueness and look like any other manufactured city. The malls, the brands, the designs are all very similar to most towns around the world which have no history.

The Abu Dhabi mosque had its beauty.

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The City itself has been beautified around the Corniche area
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Dubai: Dubai has changed too over the years. Certainly the architecture is inspiring, but it has got crowded and in many ways begins to look like another modern city without much character.

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Dubai Miracle Garden was a riot of colours. Very well maintained for a desert climate
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Goa and Konkan Coast: Holidayed in the beach haven of Goa on the West Coast of India. This is truly a holiday town, with some very fine resorts, hotels and restaurants. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt in North Goa, but hung around and ate in several food shacks which are built right on the beach.

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Old Goa has many historical spots. Here at the St Francis of Assissi Church and Basilica of Bom Jesus which preserves the body of St Francis Xavier

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Colourful Local markets and streetswebIMG_1097webIMG_1090webIMG_1085webIMG_1081webIMG_1073webIMG_1009webIMG_1343webIMG_1094webIMG_1089webIMG_1080webIMG_1078webIMG_1076webIMG_1163webIMG_1200webIMG_1586webIMG_1532webIMG_1040webgoa14goaIMG_1498webIMG_1388webgoa7webdeepasmlrWEBIMG_1672webIMG_0897webgoa9webIMG_1620webIMG_1619webIMG_0906webbIMG_0903

Fisher-folk on the Konkan Coast

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Mountain Biking in Whistler BC

webIMG_5119Whistler is certainly the ski capital of the world. Ever wondered what a ski resort does in summer? The ski trails become Mountain Bike trails and the ski lifts become bike lifts.  You may associate mountain biking with trails and and cross country, but in Whistler the true mountain culture takes over biking too. The thrill of hurtling down the slopes and steep mountain sides, after riding up the lifts and gondolas.

webIMG_5115At the first station up the Whistler mountain. The ski lifts will take you up here

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WEBIMG_5044At the top of the ski run

webIMG_5177Past the obstacles, down the rock face

webIMG_5235Up in the air

WEIMG_5010On the way up, waiting for the gondola to take you up the mountain

webIMG_5195Age or gender is no bar to this sport. There were many boomers up there negotiating the mountain.

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webIMG_5037These hills belong to the bike

WEBIMG_5000 At the base in the bike park

WEBIMG_5014It is pretty up there, though at the speeds one rushes down the mountain, I am not sure you get much time to take in the view

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WEBIMG_4997A quick break to catch up with the messages and post a few on face book

WEBIMG_5023Friends gather at the whistler peak before heading down

WEBIMG_5012All dressed up and waiting the Gondola. The bikers on the moutain have their own culture. from apparel to gear, it speaks volumes

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WEBIMG_4998It pays to start young….

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WEBIMG_3018Posing for the camera.

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Finger Lakes Tour

The quaint little towns of the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, never ceases to amaze me. The number of vineyards on the lake shores around Seneca and Kueka continues to grow. This time around we did a wine trail tour on the West side of Lake Seneca, along together with some friends

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webtastingThe fine art of swirling the wine to release the bouquet.

webstillWhen you require something stronger. A genuine distillation system from the old days. That took us to sampling a range of spirits from Whiskey to Grappawebspirit-tastimng

webTom2Every drink comes with a ritual of how it needs to be handled and consumedwebbottles

I guess we did not leave much for the next group. A study of empty bottles

webpen1_2_3_tonemappedThe Penn Yann harbour front park

webIMG_3567Stickers holding up a car. I guess that is cheaper than a fresh paint job

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webtown1Picking up garden secrets

webandreaWhat a view!

webkeukaThe south end of the Lake

webhouse1_2_fusedThe estate home right in the middle of the vineyard

webartworkTaking some art in. Ended up buying a whole lot for our walls.

 

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WEBdeepa8Watkins Glen at the south end of Lake Seneca


Memories of Vegas

Vegas has something for everyone. Gambling is not my thing, so for my weekend stopover I needed to find other exciting things. For a photographer, there is so much happening and a lot to capture. People in all hues and shades.

Larger than life malls have their own theme

Larger than life malls have their own theme

The recreation of Venice was a treat to capture. The halls rang out from the baritone voice of this Gondolier, echoing the classic rendering from the walls

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The singing Gondoliers on the Canal The singing Gondoliers on the Canal

Vegas reminds me of Dubai where everything is created to be  larger than the original. Here is the Paris section of the strip. Got the pictures of the tower that I missed in Paris. The Beligia fountains were recently voted as the number 1 attraction in the US

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Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

People watching is quite a past time as walk the Strip. A bunch of Gondoliers taking a break from all their singing and rowing

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Music everywhere – from the wandering musicians to those performing on the road side to malls and lobby’s and the big shows all over

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Vegas entertainment is mostly out of Canada – two of the biggest shows are by Canadian stars –  Celine Dion and Shanaia Twain. Rest of the big shows are all from Cirqu-de-sole from Montreal

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Cruising the Caribbean

The start of our cruise itself was quite an adventure. The tropical storm Issac was out in the area, South of Miami and the cruise ships could not come in as the ports in Florida were closed. So we were holed up in a hotel trying to ride out the storm. Finally with much anticipation we boarded one of the best in the Carnival fleet. Having booked our rooms nearly a year in advance after considerable research, we probably got the best of the rooms and a good deal.

Miami at dawn – pulling off from the port

Once out in the high seas, it was smooth sailing. So much to discover on board with so many levels and so many passengers. So much of food too. Must have gained over 10#

Docked in Roatan Island with some wonderful beaches

Warm waters of Honduras

The hostess at the beach bar

At the beach bar

The flying diver

Back on board, enjoying the pool deck

Heading for land at the crack of dawn

The girls at the Tequila factory

last of the stops before heading back to home port

catching some Caribbean sun

Getting back from some snorkeling

Tow of the Carnival ships docked at the Roatan island

Colorful portside tourist trap

A shipwreck off the coast of Honduras

Exploring an old Tequilla factory and some tasting

The souvenir shop – engaged in their own game

In the wake of the ship – goodbye to the blue waters of the Caribbean

3 views from the balcony of our room as we watch the blue waters, a dawn breaking over the ocean and docked beside another ship

Back to Miami – sailing into the port

 


Guns ‘N Roses

The amount of details on most guns are amazing. Had a look at some of my collection and those of my Brother-in-law.

The Gun Dog


Traveling around from Delhi – India

We left Delhi at the crack of dawn driving down to Agra in the neighboring state of Utter Pradesh.

A the Sikandra in Agra

At our car all ready for take off

The first glimpse of Taj as you walk in through one of the gates. Being an octagonal architecture you have similar views from all gates

One of the many views of the Taj

From across the river

At the Wyndham Hotel Agra

A spice market

The Jal Mahal. The palace built for duck hunting in the middle of the lake, now sinking

The amber fort

The butterfly caught on the grill of our car


People from my travels – India

I have been honing my skills at people photography during this fall trip to India.  Environmental portraits tell stories of people. Here are a select few. I have added technical information where I could,  for those with interest in photography.

These two girls were on the road side in the heart of Jaipur and I was driving the Jeep up a steel incline towards the Fort.  I stopped pulled out my camera, held up the traffic, turned on my charms and asked the two kids if they would smile for a picture. They obliged – what an infectious smile and I managed to capture its intensity.

Traveling through North India, we drove in from Agra to Jaipur and then to Delhi. Jaipur, also known as the pink City is  a place of legends, of history, forts and palaces.  A city with a riot of colours, bright and aggressive at that. Reds and all warm shades dominate the clothing. Here I have captured a snake charmer and his assistant, all in fine hue of orange. I clicked from all angles and with wide aperture to ensure the backgrounds were not cluttered. My new Tamron f 2.8 lens shows up its sharpness even when wide open. Generally if you need to click quickly, I prefer using smaller apertures,  say f8 or so, to avoid focusing problems as you need to click very quickly (often from the hip) and later adjust in RAW or photoshop.

These guys were so used to the tourists clicking their pictures (they expect you to drop a few bucks) they pose better than many professional models I know. Their choice of colours, clothes and that far away look in their eyes, all spoke volumes. Even the snake (Cobra) seems to have learn the fine art of posing.

The above was a whole team of snake charmers who seemed to be in a trance fallen prey to their own music and act

 

 

The morning commute in rural Rajastan. I shot both these from the car window. On the left it is amazing to see the cyclist stop as the Sun rises to offer his prayers on his way to his work place.

On the right – not exactly the GO bus, but seem to serve the purpose

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This vendor had some fine merchandise – from Pashmina shawls to hand made wool and silk carpets. Good prices too, but because there are guarantees about their authenticity. So strangely like many other people we go into an established brick & mortar shop and pay a higher price. To get an environmental portrait like this, one needs to approach and communicate with the subject. Took it at f8 to get everything in focus

The head gear, as you will see from many of these pictures seems mandatory and that with the brightest colours you can find.

On the steps of the Amber Fort. Jaipur is full of history and stories of the past.

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The riot of colours on the roadside was shot from the window of the car

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Shallow depth of filed helped focus on the three people in the midst of a crowded bazar who were the key players in the unfolding story. Going by the environment, expressions and positions you can almost guess the exchange between these three

My wife was trying on some of the alterations to her dress this tailor made and you can see her in the reflection behind him.

Parasols from a local market.

The elephant ride up the steep slope to the actual fort is a spectacle in itself.

At the entrance to one of the monument, a henna artist at work

The child though not photographically emphasized, forms the key element in this picture

A Rajastani shopkeeper displaying his wares

The ladies out shopping for handmade tribal wall hangings

The Royal treatment by the door man at the Wyndham hotel in Agra

People make the difference


Stepping Back in Time

There are places where time stands still and life remains stuck in a bygone era. Late summer I had an opportunity to travel back about 100 to 150 years.

An opportunity to walk through a period when fur trade  and pioneers ruled. A time of trading posts, quaint little towns;  a time when the rail road, and street cars were the in things. People took care and time to dress up. This Capitol Theatre was recreated from the 1920 original that was located at Jasper Av. and 100 st in Edmonton.

Every day 100s of volunteers dress up and man the several recreated sections of the town and everything works as they should. Cars, trains, street cars and farms are running as usual.

Right through to the 1920, when times were tough.

All of that was shot in the Fort Edmonton Park in Edmonton, AB. A photographer’s paradise indeed.


Bay of Fundy – New Brunswick

Had to travel to Fredericton on business, but had an extra day to drive around New Brunswick. Fredericton was warm and welcoming

Fredericton along the river

Drove down to Saint John from Fredericton. Kept off the highways and was rewarded with some beautiful  Mari times back-roads.

A quaint litle church along the backroads

A refreshing stop along the way

Saint John was a beauty. I arrived there at the start of the cruise season when the first ship arrived in port and was given a rousing welcome by the local community, who are heavily dependent on tourism.

At the cruise port - Saint John NB

Another view from the quay

The bay of Fundy apparently has one of the highest tides in the world. Its amazing witnessing the tide move in. We were at this little fishing village with people on the beach walking for miles and a few hours later everything was under water. At low tides most of  the fishing vessel rest on the sandy bottom or the beach and are fully afloat when the tide comes in

The boats at high tide in the harbor

Fishing harbour at low tide

The caves at high-tide

The caves at high tide

Walking on the beach at low tide

The caves and beach at low On tide

During high tides the water from the sea goes upriver and at one point creates a reversing fall & rapids because of the reversing of the flow of the river upstream from the bay. At its peak the tide rises as much as 53′ which is as high as an 8 story building!

A look at the beach

The river flows upstream during high tide

Stairway to heaven?

Trawling on the bay of Fundy

The Flower Pot Island at low tide

Leading lines

The Light House

The way up

The drifting log

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you’re an artist.


Winter Wonderland

Some of you have had enough of the snow and cold this year. Perhaps like me you are wondering whatever happened to all that global warming we were promised…

The red barn near Sudbury

One of the earliest storms to hit the area was well before winter arrived. And I was in Sudbury driving to Northbay when overnight we had freezing rain. Come morning and the car was encased in a shell of ice. The hotel provided us knives and screw drives to chisel through the ice and get the doors open. The car was idling for over an hour before it was in any condition to be driven. Got some lovely winter pictures during that drive though.

Abandoned!

 

Sticking out

The last time we had a snow storm, (thats pretty often this year), I rushed out pretty early with my camera, driving and clicking around my neighbourhood. Its a pretty picture of winter wonderland with the fresh snow and snow topped trees.

Forgotten leaves

walking by the forest

The other day I walked the dog around the lake and ponds behind our home, all bundled up as it was well below the freezing mark. The ponds were frozen and there were so many people – families, kids and youngsters playing hockey or enjoying skating around on a bright crisp day. I did feel totally overdressed watching some younsters on the frozen pond playing with nothing more than a Tee shirt. Oh to be young!

On the pond behind our home

 

Playing hockey on frozen pond with T shirt

 

Pond hockey near our home

My dog loves the snow - our deck after the storm

Cocoa in the snow

The church on 10th line

First steps on ice

The house around the corner

Clearing after the storm

Shoveling time

Braving the storm

Our street - Snowflake Lane

Our home

The frozen bush

In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen,
snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.


A train trip to Calicut (Kerala – India)


Its been over 7 years since I traveled in India. Of course you immediately notice the  many ornamental changes but have to dig deeper to identify the infrastructural and attitude changes.

I flew into Mangalore which of course worried the family given the recent accident at this airport.

As my sister lives close to the railway station it is walking distance. An interesting exercise walking along the tracks and onto the platform

Visiting the south in the throes of the monsoons has its own charms. It rained most of the day I started on my train journey.

Mangalore is a great place to start a train journey. A long time ago it used to be a terminus, which many trains considered it to be its final stop before turning back. Now majority of trains merely pass through it having been hooked up to the Konkan railway.

I insisted on boarding one from my past that actually started from Mangalore station – the Madras mail for the old timers which would arrive in Calicut early in the evening.

In India stations are a destination in themselves, exciting  if you are in to people watching. Of course it takes a experience to filter out the unplesant. It was interesting to see how people spent their time waiting to start off on their journey.

I have always enjoyed watching the rolling stock and engines at work and found that age has not  mellowed that interest. Much to the dismay of my dad I got off the train to watch the engine move around some of the compartments.

Finally the train pulled out of the station starting another journey.

Rain came down at full blast as the train pulled away from the station.  In fact it had been raining for the last couple of days which resulted in flooding in most parts of Kerala. Nothing new I suppose and everybody seems to be taking it in their stride.


Rain did not seem to stop  most people. The tea boy finished his chores bid good bye to those leaving and went back to await the next train. The little boy waited patiently while his father fiddled with the cell phone while trying to prevent it from getting wet.

Kerala basically has two seasons – rain and no-rain.  It rains incessantly during the monsoon season. Rivers are swollen and takes on a red hue contrasting with the greenery around. Roads and paths become streams and rivers… but life goes on.

Calicut Finally or Kozhikode as it is locally known. It was a pleasant 5 hour journey.  Fortunately rain had stopped by then.

Despite several beautification and building projects, little seems to have changed in downtown Calicut. Same old buses and shops.

Walking past the old bus-stand brought back memories of running to get the last bus back to the college. REC – Mukkam cried out the conductor. Nothing had changed – they still do.

The old market place behind the bus stand showed little signs of change; bustling with activity as usual

The entrance to SM street looked more or less the same. I rememberd some of the shops from the old days including ‘Snow white’ the launderers

The Mananchira maidan next door and the old park restaurant area had a new look.

Calicut for me brings back memories of banana chips and spices. One of the first things I purchased was a large bag of chips to munch away

Banana chips, despite the advent of new technologies continue to be made traditionally by hand. Fried in a large cauldron of oil burning coconut husks. Aroma of coconut oil in the air.

Coconut, spices, pepper, and chillies produced in the area and hills beyond are traded in the Calicut bazar.

A trip to Calicut is not complete without checking out the beach. It has changed over the years with the several beautification projects (opportunity for the authorities to make some money). But on a sunday it is as crowded as ever. It does seem to appear a little more neater, cleaner and organized. Gone are the days of shady activities given the fact that it is lit up like a christmas tree

Many changes are obvious, like the large  ‘aunty’s’ driving tiny cars rather precariously

Or the new colourful buildings downtown. This particular one houses the Malabar Palace which does have a good restaurant, though poor service. Loved the break-fast buffet here.

Many others blissfully remain the same.  Be it guys  riding around on their motor bikes ogling at the chicks. Or the totally out of place architecture of the Asoka hospital near Mavoor road.

The ‘kappalandy’ guy has not changed either. Perhaps his dreams have…

Many of the old businesses continue to eke out a living. Similar people in an old tire retreading business and an handicraft shore, where I have spent many a hard earned dollar.

Illiteracy by traditional measurements are high, yet reading the daily newspaper is more important than attending to business

Time to move on

Bye till our next stop