Thursday, 29 December 2011

South East Asia - Year End Nostalgia 2

 For my 25th B'day this year, I travelled to Singapore, Bali and Cambodia. I travelled alone (well almost. My sister came with me to Bali and I was plonked at her place in Singapore... Okay Okay... I only really went to Cambodia alone), I planned a trip entirely by myself from scratch and had a blast! What better celebration could I ask for really!

From cutting my b'day cake in Bali and wandering around it's lush rice terraces and beautiful, elegant temples to sunning ourselves on the beach and going jet skiing, I loved every bit of my three days in Bali with my sister. I definitely plan to go back to that island and this time for longer. I'd love to live in a small house/apartment somewhere near the rice terraces and walk around at leisure in the midst of the greenery, taking my time to soak in the peace of a slow life lived in harmony with nature.

The highlight of my stay in Singapore (apart from getting to spend time with my darling sister and eating some yummy food) was a visit to the National Orchid Garden at the Botanical gardens in Singapore. Orchids are my favourite flowers and I don't think I really have to say anymore about why I was so happy to be where I was! I must also say here that the Botanical gardens are perhaps the most serene part of Singapore and an early morning sunrise visit to these gardens was a completely awesome beginning to a wonderful day!

I also managed to click a picture inspired by a photo in the very first issue of National Geographic that I subscribed to (it had a cover story on Angkor and I had been planning this trip in my head since I read that article in 2009). The article had a beautiful night time photo of Phnom Bakheng, the highest temple in the area. When I reached Phnom Bakheng at dusk, it was milling with a gazillion tourists. Climbing the last of the steep steps up to the temple, I pretty much gave up hope of getting a shot of it without people in the frame - something that would replicate the serenity of the picture I had seen to some measure. I wandered around, clicking randomly and looking like a forlorn kitten, when to my luck, I got a window of a few seconds when there was no one between me and the front facade of the temple. In those few seconds my brain and my hands and my camera seemed to work pretty much on auto pilot. In fact, I didn't even realise that I had gotten a clear shot till after I clicked it. It doesn't come close to the Nat Geo photo and there's lots that could be better with it, but clicking it made me really really happy.

This trip was one new year resolution that I did complete (there were others too and so this year has been productive on that account!)!!!

PS: I plan to make more resolutions like this one :D

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Abhi Nahin Aana - Year end nostalgia 1

2011 draws to a close. And cliched as it may sound, year ends always bring on reflection of hits, misses and might have beens. So I am starting a series of posts of things that made 2011 for me, in absolutely random order!

The first thing I want to post, is a song that I am hearing as I write this post. It was a song released in 2006. I discovered it in 2011 and as I hear it, it resonates with much of what this year has been about.

PS: My blog is beginning to look like a review blog - something it was never intended to be. Time to get back to things more personal.

Technology abuse

In 2009 a movie released that bought, what was then expensive, rarely used technology to mainstream cinema - Enter Avatar and the era of 3D. The stupendous success of James Cameroon's saga in 3D made it the buzz word. Suddenly everything is in 3D - films, newspaper ads, outdoor hoardings, television sets. It's the new money spinner - I mean just look at the 20K price difference between a regular plasma television with HD etc etc. and one with 3D.

James Cameroon, when he wrote (and made) Avatar, wrote it to ensure that the film maximised the impact that 3D technology can have and produced scenes that were stunning to say the least. Before Avatar, few short animation films as well as some NASA documentaries (please correct me if I am wrong here) used 3D - wowing us with images that were larger than life. Post Avatar, I can still name a few mainstream films that used 3D well (How to train your dragon, Alice in wonderland)... thankfully! So I won't write off the technology entirely but I do have a problem with how it is being used currently.

Today every film that is anything but a romance or a family drama is in 3D. I've gotten to a point where I go scouting for 2D shows of films because I do not want to see them in 3D; because 3D destroys what might have been a good film; because technology is being used for the heck of it, without rhyme or reason. This latest rant is stemming out of my experience of watching Don 2 yesterday in 3D (There were no 2D shows in the multiplexes I frequent here in Chennai... such a pity really!). 3D, with it's extended depth of field, made the film smaller than life. What should have been larger than life, thrilling action sequences became small, distant events. Heroes and villains instead of towering over the audience were dwarfed by it. And this perhaps, is the film's biggest failing. I daresay audiences who watched it in 2D would have enjoyed it more especially the chase and action sequences - so much more suited to the flatness of two dimensions. I daresay I will enjoy in more on TV at home... in 2D! I hope film makers realize, and soon, that they can do more harm to their craft than good by using technology for the heck of it. Till then I hope to stay away from pointless 3D as much as I can and save myself many a headache.