Day hike to Peb (Vikatgad) – June 2014

We did a quick day hike to Peb, also known as Vikatgad (Bikatgad) adjacent to the very famous hill station of Matheran, near Neral.

With a 15 kg (33 lbs) load carry and around 2000+ feet elevation gain and descent, it also served as a good practice hike for me before my month long Himalayan sojourn (basic mountaineering course and an expedition in the Baralacha La region).  This was my third practice hike in one month and I must say the most tiring one as well.

Although it was very cloudy, the rains evaded us and humidity was at its peak, but the strong winds atop made for a wonderful outing.

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Milky Way at Osceola National Forest, Florida

My first milky way shot at Osceola National Forest, near Jacksonville, Florida. It was not a spectacular night and the visibility was not at it’s best and there were more than a dozen of astronomers / photographers at the site with their light painting torches and cameras blazing around, so the foreground had to be adjusted for it. However, it was worth the attempt. This is a panoramic image composed of 11 vertical frames.

Milky way at Osceola.jpg

 

Getting started with star trails

Star trail at Death valley national park.jpg

 
It was my first attempt at capturing a star trail and the results were definitely not discouraging to say the least. Taken on new years eve at Zabriske point, Death valley national park, CA.

Exif: Canon Rebel XTi, Tokina 11-16mm, f2.8, ISO 1600, image stack of 65 images of 30 sec each.

Gripes: They must always be there. Can anyone live without one? For record, ‘unwarranted and unexpected light aberrations from the air planes and car headlamps.’

Distracting inspirations

I came across a beautiful post on one of the blogs I read. The topic of the blog was focus and distractions.

The author beautifully manages to put forth the very basic reason of distractions in our lives today. Being exposed to variety of information from a variety of sources – reading, movies, documentaries, web surfing, social networking, etc.

Many a times, some of the information that we come across captures our imagination and inspires us to emulate it.

Is being inspired bad? Absolutely not. But being inspired by a myriad of sources on myriad topics isn’t very effective and efficient to learn and improve substantially in any given domain.

A new inspiration with in a new domain makes us forget our previous inspiration. It makes us abandon our previous learning and line of thought that we have probably been aligned with for a while. The new inspiration causes us to deviate.

Why do we deviate? Does deviation mean that each new inspiration or idea-germ is better than the earlier one? Or have we become so fickle minded that we cannot stick with any given domain?

Everything that we are exposed to leaves some kind of impact on us, some less and some more. That doesn’t mean we should abandon the existing pursuits to pursue something new.

The very essence of learning is to stick with something and practice it long enough to be good at it, and with continued efforts and perseverance, hope to master it someday.

Each new pursuit dilutes the importance of, and potential expertise that one may attain in the existing pursuits. It is not to say that one must be mono-dimensional in life. But it does stress upon the fact that one must have a central focus that must be unadulterated by other peripheral interests. That focus can be anything.

One cannot be a photographer, a linguist, a rock climber, a singer, a script writer, a hitch hiker, a writer, a musician and so on. There is only so much that one can do and be good at.

Experiencing the flavours of life is a good thing to that point that allows you to identify things that appeals to your senses, not something at which others are glamourously good at.

The idea of this post if not to stop being exposed to all the information sources, or to stop being inspired by other’s commendable feats, but rather learning to appreciate those feats without being swayed by it. The essence is to not to be distracted and lose focus of your pursuits.

If you want, you can read the original post by Leo Babauta here

Being informed

Swimming in a pool doesn’t imply we are drinking water. It doesn’t mean staying hydrated. In fact when we swim, we rarely will have a chance to stop our movements and quench our thirst. Swimming essentially involves trying to stay afloat while getting drenched.

Similarly being exposed to vast pool of information doesn’t mean being informed. Information overload is just being bombarded with information without having time and capacity to consume and assimilate it. In such an environment you need to work harder to stay on top of the information and avoid being burdened.

Just like you can be dehydrated when you swim, you can be uninformed when you are bombarded with information. And there is very little you can do about it unless you come out of the pool.

Miscommunication

Miscommunications happen because we base our communication on certain assumptions, which may not be in sync with the one being communicated.

When we communicate, it’s important to start from the scratch, a blank canvas. If we prepare the canvas in advance and then present it as a base for further communication, assuming that the one being communicated is familiar with the canvas, it is highly likely that the one being communicated misses important details of the communication.

If you found the above sentence confusing, read it slowly, again. Break it into parts to understand it.

In certain exaggerated cases, this is similar to an instance when the communicator communicates in a certain language, say Latin for example, assuming that the audience understand Latin, and which may not be true, leading to the failure of the communication process.

Although preparing the canvas in advance might be appealing in interests of economy of time, the potential risk of failure is a deterrent enough to spend that extra time in starting from level zero.

However, in the competitive professional environment one may not have the luxury of spending those extra few moments to start the process of communication from level zero, and one frequently assumes that the audience (professional) is competent enough to ‘pick’ the conversation from where the communicator starts it. Although a certain basic level of assumption might be built on the experience of repeated communications over time, it is important for the communicator to remember the basic essence of communication:

Communication is a tool to bridge the gap.

Having gaps in the bridge defeats the very purpose of having the bridge.