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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Google doodle on Dalda 13 photographer .. what is ISO ?

Today’s doodle is on a photographer born in 1913, under pseudonym ‘Dalda 13’ ~ nothing to do with the Dutch company’s vanaspathi, to which Hindustan Lever added their L making it ‘Dalda’.  People tend to take potshots at photographers whose no. is multiplying day by day .. .. .. only the numbers not the class.  Everywhere you see them wielding big equipments (or small mobile phones) station themselves trying to capture weird angles, pause moments after the ‘press’ – then rewind their equip to check whether the capture is ok – and perhaps one can click this iconic moment of their satisfaction, which may not be forthcoming easily !! – what does it take to call yourself a photographer, of course not a mere Camera ?

By capturing an object, one tries to focus on the subject - Focussing can be manual, by twisting the focus on the lens; or automatic, activated by pressing half-way on the shutter release or a dedicated AF button. To take an image, the mirror swings upwards in the direction of the arrow, the focal-plane shutter opens, and the image is projected and captured on the image sensor, after which actions, the shutter closes, the mirror returns to the 45-degree angle, and the built in drive mechanism re-tensions the shutter for the next exposure.

For those better humans using ‘DSLR’ (Digital Single Lens Reflex) – life may not be as easy as the digital cousins, who push their hand and camera inside the already waiting angle to click gleefully.  DSLR is a digital camera that uses a mirror mechanism to either reflect light from a camera lens to an optical viewfinder or let light fully pass onto the image sensor (which captures the image) by moving the mirror out of the way.  For a good photographer, there are challenges of setting up to capture perfect images and one of the all important 3 is ‘ISO’. 

In very basic terms, ISO is the level of sensitivity of your camera to available light. The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive it is to the light, while a higher ISO number increases the sensitivity of your camera. The component within your camera that can change sensitivity is called “image sensor” or simply “sensor”. It is the most important (and most expensive) part of a camera and it is responsible for gathering light and transforming it into an image. With increased sensitivity, your camera sensor can capture images in low-light environments without having to use a flash.  One increases the ISO when there is not enough light for the camera to be able to quickly capture an image.

[real photographers, do not get angry, all the above info. is collated from some web sources and nothing of my own or to be precise not written knowing any of what is written !]

Now on the google doodle of the day ~  it is Homai Vyarawalla,  India’s first woman photojournalist whose lens earned her a reputation for the candid shots of India’s independence movement, the first tri-colour hoisting, the death of Mahatma Gandhi, and others which become a part of national archives. Today, google doodle in its portrait featured Homai Vyarawalla to mark her 104th  birth anniversary. (I still do not understand the sense behind celebrating birthdays of those who have passed away !)

Born in 1913 in a Parsi family in Navsari, Gujarat, Vyarawalla’s childhood was spent on various places as her father worked in a travelling theater company. Besides completing her education from Bombay University and Sir JJ School of Art, she started taking snaps of daily life of mumbaikers and in this way become a professional photographer. During the turbulent time of second world war in 1942, Vyarawalla was employed by the  British Information Services in New Delhi, and also started working with the Bombay-based ‘The Illustrated Weekly of India’ magazine where many of her black and white images were published that became iconic later.

The photographs that she clicked were published under the pseudonym ‘Dalda 13’. This number was symbolic as her birth year was 1913, when she was 13-years-old she met her husband and her first car’s registration number was DLD 13. A year after her husband’s death in 1973, Homai Vyarawalla quit photography and lived alone in Vadodara, Gujarat. In the year 1989, she lost her son and only child. The country honoured her with a Padma Vibhushan in 2010. The photo lady passed away on January 15, 2012.

Tailpiece : 
1.       The first known practical sensitometer, which allowed measurements of the speed of photographic materials, was invented by the Polish engineer Leon Warnerke – pseudonym of Władysław Małachowski in 1880, among the achievements for which he was awarded the Progress Medal of the Photographic Society of Great Britain in 1882.
2.      The current system of speed standards called ISO came into vogue in 1974. It defines  scales for speeds of black-and-white negative film and colour reversal films too alongside digital cousins.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

9th Dec 2017.

1 comment:

  1. Yesterday morning when I found this google's doodle, I searched wikipedia and read about her life.... It was shocking to find that such a talented person did not take any photo during the last 40 plus years of her life. Her reason was "It was not worth it anymore. We had rules for photographers; we even followed a dress code. We treated each other with respect, like colleagues. But then, things changed for the worst. They [the new generation of photographers] were only interested in making a few quick bucks; I didn't want to be part of the crowd anymore."[11]...The world must have missed many great photos by her decision of stopping photography...

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