Saturday, March 25, 2023

Guicha La Trek (late Nov 2022)


I hiked to Guicha La (also spelt as Goecha La, Goche La, etc), a high altitude pass in the eastern Himalaya near the south-eastern flank of Kanchenjunga, during late November 2022.  This was a 6-day trek. The trekking party consisted of 3 members, including a Guide.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Aero India 2019 (23 Feb 2019)


I attended Aero India 2019 on Saturday, 23 Feb 2019 at Yelahanka AB, Bengaluru (Bangalore).

Friday, October 5, 2018

Sandakphu Trek (26-28 Sep 2018)


Towards the end of September 2018, I did a short 3-day trek to Sandakphu (elevation 11,700'), West Bengal, India. 

From Sandakphu, weather permitting, one can see 4 of the 5 highest peaks in the world - Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu, in addition to a host of 7,000m and 6,000m peaks in the eastern Himalayas.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Day Hike to Tonglu (21 July 2018)


Having recently moved across the country to Siliguri, WB, in the east of India, I decided to do some short hikes in the nearby hills, in preparation for serious hiking season after the monsoon.

My objective for this outing was Tonglu (elevation 9,990') near the Indo-Nepal border. On a clear day, one can view the Kanchenjunga massif from here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Installing Ceph (Luminous) distributed object store


Ceph is a distributed storage system that has interfaces for object, block and file storage. This post describes the steps to install the 'Luminous' release (latest as of May 2018)  of Ceph  on Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial) machines and store objects in the Ceph cluster using the Swift Rest API.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Solving Rubik's Cube Intuitively


There's mainly two ways to solve a Rubik's Cube puzzle - 
  1. By memorizing a lot of moves (called algorithms) and applying the correct one whenever a pattern of pieces is detected.
  2. By trying to solve the cube intuitively i.e. by understanding each move rather than relying on algorithm memorization and pattern recognition.
The algorithmic methods are relatively fast and are used by 'speed cubers'.

This post describes an Intuitive method to solve the cube.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Singapore Airshow 2018


I attended the Singapore Airshow, 2018 edition, on 10th Feb 2018. This post is a bit about the airshow, mainly from a photography point of view.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Photographing the Total Lunar Eclipse, 31 Jan 2018


The night of 31st January 2018 was special as it was a Total Lunar Eclipse and it was also a Supermoon, Blue Moon and Blood Moon ! 

Of the four, the first two have a physical basis i.e. the moon transiting the Earth's shadow and it being at the perigee (closest to the Earth) of its orbit. The third is an artefact of the Gregorian Calendar being used by most of the world and the fourth would seem redundant as the moon would appear reddish in all total eclipses, due to Rayleigh scattering, I presume :)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Basic Mountaineering Course, June 2017, Beas Kund


Having done high altitude trekking for awhile, I thought it would be helpful to attend a short mountaineering course to get formal instruction on snow and ice travel and safety in the mountains.

I searched online and found a private company ( in Manali  that offered a short basic mountaineering course that taught the fundamentals of technical climbing on snow and ice, along with safety.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Kullu-Manali (VIBR) airport Approach


I recently flew from Delhi (VIDP) to Kullu-Manali (VIBR) in an Air India ATR 72-600 (VT-AII).

VIBR is located at Bhuntar, Himachal Pradesh, at an elevation of 3,573 feet. It has a single 1,125 m long runway (16/34) alongside the Beas river in the Kullu valley. The valley is approximately 2 km wide at Bhuntar, surrounded by hills that are more than 4,000 feet higher than the runway.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Aero India 2017 (and Field Test of the Sony RX10 III)


I attended Aero India 2017 on 18th February 2017. Having been bitten by the Ultralight philosophy, this time around I decided to shoot the whole airshow with a relatively small fixed-lens camera and a minimum number of accessories. Enter the Sony RX10 III 1" sensor superzoom bridge camera.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Thangsing Trek (21 - 27 Nov 2015)


Me and some friends decided to trek to Goecha La, a high altitude pass (elevation 16,207') in West Sikkim, in late November 2015. This pass is 7 km, as the crow flies, from the base of the south face of Kangchenjunga

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Leh Airport (VILH) - Approach & Departure


Being a Flight Sim (simulation) enthusiast, I've always been interested in 'flying' non-routine approach and departure procedures. One of the airports I've been interested in is  Leh (VILH) airport.

VILH is a high altitude airport at approximate elevation 10,700 feet (runway is sloping), in the Ladakh region of Jammu &Kashmir state, India. It is an IAF airbase, but also open to domestic civilian traffic. The runway is unidirectional, due to nearby hills near RW 25 threshold. Landing is on 07 while takeoff is from 25. Only IAF fighter jets and excess powered transporters (like An-32) can takeoff from 07.

Unfortunately, there are no plates nor any detailed information about the airport procedures anywhere on the Internet. Hence, when I visited Ladakh recently (June 2016), I decided that I would note the approach and departure procedures during the inbound and outbound flights.

Ladakh Trip (15 - 19 June 2016)


I paid a short visit to Ladakh earlier this year, in mid June 2016.

Ladakh lies in the northern-most part of India. It lies north of the Himalayas and is a cold and dry high altitude plateau interspersed with mountain ranges.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Online Iambic Keyer

I'm getting back into Ham Radio (callsign VU2LEX, lapsed) after a very long hiatus. Having been a QRP homebrewer, I used CW  almost all the time. I still have my old homebrew paddle key but no device to plug it into to get a sidetone to practice sending code.

Hence, I wrote this little Iambic Keyer application to be able to practice

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Ideal Camera for Trekking - a wishlist


I recently did a high altitude trek in Sikkim.  I had a full-frame DSLR (Nikon D750) for photography/videography along with a general purpose zoom lens (Nikon 28-300 mm), a wide-angle fisheye lens (Samyang 8mm), spare batteries and a circular polarizer.

I carried the lot in a Lowepro toploader Zoom 55 bag, slung crosswise from the shoulder and clipped with a carabiner to one of my backpack's straps, to prevent it swinging around. It all weighed 2.75 kg (6 lbs). This was quite heavy and cumbersome to lug around, which got me thinking about the perfect small and light camera for trekking.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

OnePlus One Smartphone Camera Tests


I have the Nokia 808 Smartphone, which has one of the best, if not the best, camera in any phone past or present. Unfortunately, its use as a multi-purpose device has become limited due to non-availability of newer apps on its Symbian Operating System. Also, the relatively small sized screen and resolution, coupled with an older CPU and limited RAM, makes reading documents on it a slow and painful experience.

After checking out the different models on offer, i decided to get the OnePlus One

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Journey to Gurudongmar Lake, North Sikkim (28 - 30 April 2015)


I needed to go to Kalimpong, West Bengal, for some personal work, during the end of April 2015.
I had  always wanted to go closer to the High Himalayas, and on to the Tibetan plateau. Having read a lot about Gurudongmar Lake on the net, i decided to pay a visit,

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Aero India 2015


Some countries have an airshow every weekend during the airshow season. That's not the case here. There's just 1 (one) airshow in the whole country, held once every 2 (two) years. So for us types that like photographing flying aircraft, you can bet that attending Aero India is right up at the top of the Todo list.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Travel lens Focal lengths - some statistics

I had recently gone on a fortnight long business trip. Before leaving, i was deciding on which lens to take with me to serve as a single multipurpose lens. I wanted a small and light lens, but with a good enough focal length range to serve most of my shooting needs. I wanted a single lens as i find it tiring to lug around a backpack full of camera gear, and fiddly and inconvenient to be changing lenses while on the move.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Displaying OpenCV Mat object in a JavaFX Image


This post describes a way to display an OpenCV Mat object within a JavaFX Image.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Building OpenCV 2.4.8 with CUDA and running GPU methods in Java using JNI

Though OpenCV comes with Java bindings since version 2.4.4, there are still some modules that don't have Java bindings - the most obvious one being the gpu module.

The OpenCV distribution for Windows is not built with CUDA so the gpu module doesn't work out of the box. So the first step is to build the OpenCV binaries with CUDA. As there are no Java bindings for the gpu module, a Java application wanting to use gpu methods will need to use JNI (Java Native Interface) to talk to the OpenCV gpu DLL. This is described in a complete example at the end of this post.

Building and Running OpenCV 2.4.8 with Java on Windows 7

OpenCV comes with Java bindings since version 2.4.4.

The OpenCV 2.4.8 distribution for Windows contains pre-compiled jar and dll files for the Java module so there is actually no need to build this module from source. These files are located in opencv/build/java/. All you need to do is import opencv-248.jar into your Java application and point to appropriate (32 or 64 bit) dll using System.load(). If you just want to know how to run an OpenCV application in Java then you can skip the build sections of this post.

But if you are interested in building the Java module then read on from the next section below.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Building CUDA SDK Samples with Visual C++ 2010 Express

This post describes the steps needed to run samples (as 32 as well as 64 bit applications) from the Nvidia CUDA SDK, using Visual C++ 2010 Express.

Building OpenCV 64 bit applications with Visual C++ 2010 Express

I've seen instructions/tutorials on how to build 32 bit OpenCV applications using Visual C++ 2010 Express and 64 bit OpenCV applications using the full-fledged Visual Studio 2010, but no instructions on building 64 bit OpenCV applications using Visual C++ 2010 Express. Hence, this post.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Aero India 2013 - Airshow Photography (and some Videography)


 I attended Aero India 2013 airshow on 10th Feb at Air Force Station Yelahanka, Bangalore.  This was the first airshow i attended with a 'proper' camera i.e. a DSLR :).  This was also the first airshow i attended in which a significant part of the air display comprised modern fast jets.  This post is about my experience photographing (and some video shooting) the airshow and lessons that i learned.

Monday, August 8, 2011

My first Solo

I'm sitting here in Ahmedabad, thinking about my first solo many years ago at a place nearly 10,000 KM, and a world away...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Java vs C++ speed comparison for FFT and DFT

I am planning to make a software defined radio (SDR) transceiver which will do all the baseband processing in software. I might use FFT to convert the signals to the frequency domain then filter them.

Common knowledge has it that, for performance reasons, DSP code should be written in C/C++. My recent programming experience has mostly been in Java.  I haven't done serious C++ coding for quite a while and my C coding has been limited to microcontroller programming.  So before embarking on the SDR project, i thought i would do some speed comparisons between Java and C++.