Posts by: Kalyan Varma

Asus Zenfone 3

Asus Zenfone 3

Full Disclosure: I was given a pre-release ASUS ZenFone 3 few weeks ago to test the photography features of the phone and write about it.  Before the review, the specs. Asus ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL) smartphone was launched in May 2016. The phone comes with a 5.50-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1080 pixels by 1920 pixels at a PPI of 480 pixels per inch. It is powered by 2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor and it comes with 4GB of RAM. The phone packs 64GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 128GB via a microSD card. As…

New Project – Second Nature

New Project – Second Nature

My engagement with Nature began with a fascination for wildlife and with remote areas far from the chaos of the city. This led me, almost exactly a decade ago, to the BR Hills in Karnataka, and since then I have criss-crossed India exploring, learning, documenting, photographing and filming. My search for ‘wild’ places and virgin forests led to two life-changing experiences. The first was when I met communities leading lives that seemed so much a part of Nature; these people had hearts as giving as Nature itself. Living in and off the forests was Second Nature to them; they had…

Conserving in India

Conserving in India

The two aerial photographs above best describe why conservation in India is so hard. As per government records, some 350-400 million people depend on the forests and yet about 22% of India is still under forest cover.  

NSA does not need to break crypto

There has been a lot of talk in recent times regarding NSA snooping around and them being able to crack the best crypto in the world. Well, we knew this all along and by using stronger keys one could keep NSA away, but only for a short while. With their computing power, they would mostly likely crack it in no time. They can now crack a 1024 bit key in few hours. But everyone is still falling into the same trap in securing their systems–making the strongest link stronger–the crypto layer. NSA actually does what most hackers do, which is…

Photo-essay: Shadows on the Grass

Photo-essay: Shadows on the Grass

There is one group of plants, which supports the largest masses of wildlife in the world and also supports most of our human populations: grasses. This remarkable plant group covers a fourth of all the land on the earth. Almost 70% of our daily diet is derived from grasses. Rice, wheat, maize, barley, are all species of grass which have been cultivated since the advent of agriculture and selectively bred over the last 10000 years by humans. Today, grasslands are under assault. They are among the most endangered natural habitats on earth and India is just about holding on to…

Secrets of Wild India – telecast dates in India

Secrets of Wild India – telecast dates in India

Many of you already know, but during most of last year, I worked on a series for National Geographic Channel called ‘The Secrets of Wild India’ along with Sara and Mandanna. The films is finally ready and will air early the coming week in India. It has already aired in the UK. Its a 3-part episode and the first part was filmed by Sandesh in Kaziranga and we shot the second two parts in Tadoba and Gujarat. It has been a privilege to work on this production, especially the fact that David Attenborough has narrated it. Do catch the show…

Best of 2011 in photographs

Best of 2011 in photographs

The year 2011 has been one crazy ride. I ended up spending most of the time in the field – photographing and filming across India, Africa and southeast Asia. This also explains the lack of updates on my journal the last few months. Below is the collection of some of my favourite photographs from the field. The year started with a long filming assignment starting in Rajasthan and then Kutch in Gujarat. After filming there, we moved to Tadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra, where we spent 2 months filming tigers. Then again back to Gujarat to film lions in…

Light painting a Giant of Borneo

Light painting a Giant of Borneo

Its not the orangutans or the colorful diversity of birds, neither is it the primates nor the hornbills. Its the giant trees that take your breath away in Borneo. You feel as if all the trees that you have seen in your life were Lilliputians and now you have come and bumped into Gulliver himself. These trees are spectacular. One has to work really hard to see the whole tree. From the ground, the top of the tree either disappears into the canopy or into the mist, either way, the only part of the tree that you will ever get…

When a portrait is not just a portrait

When a portrait is not just a portrait

As a photojournalist, when do you capture a scene the way it is vs capturing it as the way you think it is. Let me explain Last evening, I was driving in the buffer area of TATR and came across two women collecting Tendu leaves (leaves of Tendu are used to make indian cigarettes) in the forest. I stopped to take their photos. One of the lady’s name was Shakshi and I was trying to take her portrait with the leaves. Obviously since it was a stranger, who suddenly landed up, she was stiff and expression-less. I asked my guide…

Tigers in Tadoba

Today marks a month since we have been filming in Tadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve in Central India. Filming has been relatively slow, but as the summer picks up, we are hoping the sightings of wildlife would too. The colors of the forests during summer in unbelievable.

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