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talkies

PHOTO May 2014

Issue 04

A Joint Initiative of Kunzum and ZEISS

SUMMER DRIVE TO KASHMIR ON

KUNZUM ROUTE K11

Jungle Safari CHITWAN, NEPAL

SONY XPERIA Z2 ADOBE LIGHTROOM

FOR THE iPAD

WINDOWS PHONE UPDATE


HIT THE ROAD - ON A KUNZUM ROUTE Personally, I derive the greatest joy from travelling on the road. I can drive endlessly, watching landscapes pass by, stopping when I like - to smell the flowers, the breathe the air, to admire buildings, and meeting people. While we all have our preferences, I would strongly endorse a road trip at least once - and I am sure you will be hooked to the idea. Ask me. I have driven close to 80,000 kms (50,000 miles) in India, Nepal and Bhutan alone. And it still feels I have barely begun my journey. To make it easier for you, I have documented my journeys in the form of route guides and itineraries. And these are all numbered. You will find a few of these in my books and blog (http://kunzum.com), but many more are on the way in the coming weeks and months. To whet your appetite, the cover story is on Kunzum Route K11 - where else but to picturesque Kashmir. It’s summer, and the mountains are calling all of us. When you go to such terrains, you really do want your own car or bike - this is how you can truly explore what lies away from the beaten trail. Go, drive. For those who love the wild, we visit the Chitwan National Park in Nepal - one of the best reserves you can go to in the world. And then we have the usual pieces on technology and photography for travellers and shutterbugs. Let’s keep clicking together. And sharing our stories. Pictorially. Shot with a ZEISS.

AJAY JAIN ajay@ajayjain.com


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PHOTO

PHOTOTALKIES IS A MONTHLY DIGITAL MAGAZINE. AND IT’S FREE!! DOWNLOAD AND READ ON YOUR IPAD, IPHONE OR ANY OTHER TABLET, COMPUTER AND SMARTPHONE.

A Joint Initiative of Kunzum and ZEISS

CONTENTS

Summer Drive to Kashmir on Kunzum Route K11

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www.kunzum.com/phototalkies mail@kunzum.com

Jungle Safari CHITWAN, NEPAL

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SONY Xperia Z2

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Adobe Lightroom: Now on the iPad

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Window Phone gets a Snappy Update

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A New Flickr in Town

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Want to contribute to PhotoTalkies? Ping us at mail@kunzum.com Disclaimer: All articles and photographs in this magazine are the opinions of the respective contributors. It is understood that they own the copyright to the same, or have the rights to offer the same under their bylines. ZEISS is not responsible for the authenticity of any of the articles and photographs, nor will be held liable for any disputes, claims and liabilities arising out of ownership or copyright issues of the content in the magazine.


If there is one thing to be envied in earlier generations, it is their good fortune to have seen Kashmir at its bountiful best. Over the last quarter of a century, terrorism and global warming - not to forget unplanned growth have taken a toll on what was described as paradise by the Mughal rulers. Fortunately, Mother Nature is made of sterner stuff. While some of the sheen may have gone from Kashmir �s beauty, there is still much to go back for. Not once, but many times over. And each time you will have new stories to discover, new sights to see, and new memories to cherish.

A road sign in Kashmir. There are others that read ‘Kashmir is the fruit bowl of the country’ and ‘Kashmir is a flower bed’

Get going on Kunzum Route K11 to experience what is still a paradise in many ways.

PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS


LEG 1

Delhi to Jammu / 629 kms (393 miles) / 10:59 hrs

A m il ind eston e icat i Jam n mu g is 9 k (5.5 ms m il awa es) y

The condition of roads is excellent almost throughout on this leg. You may encounter some flyover and highway construction activities on the way. These may slow you down a bit, with a promise of faster traffic in the future. ► Delhi (Rajghat) - Delhi / Haryana Border: 33 Kms (21 miles), 0:26 hrs ►Delhi / Haryana Border - Barista Coffee: 23 Kms (14 miles), 0:17 hrs - Located on the left side of highway. If you prefer, there D is a Café Coffee Day just 2 kms down and a very nice multi cuisine restaurant Haveli soon after; I think the latter is open 24 hours.


► Barista Coffee - Samalkha: 23 Kms (14 miles), 0:12 hrs ► Samalkha - Panipat: 17 kms (11 miles), 0:10 hrs - Stick to the central lanes as you approach Panipat so you can take the flyover over the city – if you go through the city below the flyover, it could take you as long as 30 minutes to cross. ► Panipat - Barista Coffee: 31 kms (19 miles), 0:26 hrs - Located on opposite side of highway. Open 24 hours. ► Barista Coffee - Savoy Greens Food Court (next to Karni Lake in Karnal): 13 kms (8 miles), 0:13 hrs - The Savoy Greens is one of the better places to eat on the highway. The food court offers a selection of McDonalds, Costa Coffee, Subway, Domino’s Pizza, Kwality (North Indian dishes), a South Indian counter besides others. ► Savoy Greens Food Court (next to Karni Lake in Karnal) - Karnal Toll Plaza: 16 kms (10 miles), 0:14 hrs - Paid Rs. 81 ► Karnal Toll Plaza - Kurukshetra / Pipli Crossing: 13 kms (8 miles), 0:11 hrs ► Kurukshetra / Pipli Crossing - Ambala: 43 kms (27 miles), 0:36 hrs - Just after the town there is the Saagar Ratna restaurant (serving south and north Indian cuisines, they usually do a good job). You may tank up at or before Ambala. Fuel is cheaper in Haryana than in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. ► Ambala - Ludhiana: 118 Kms (74 miles), 2:10 hrs - Traffic can be a little slow crossing Ludhiana. ► Ludhiana - Phagwara: 43 Kms (27 miles), 1:00 hrs ► Phagwara - Jalandhar: 21 Kms (13 miles), 0:24 hrs - You will find many eateries on the highway just before Jalandhar including McDonalds. Recommended is Haveli. ► Jalandhar - Pathankot: 117 Kms (73 miles), 1:53 hrs - Take the NH1A from here – you have to take two turns in Jalandhar, watch out for signs to Pathankot. ► Pathankot - Jammu: 118 Kms (74 miles), 2:47 hrs - Take a night halt here; it is also the ideal place to stay if you are headed to Vaishno Devi, the holy Hindu spot.

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LEG 2 Jammu to Pahalgam / 287 kms (179 miles) / 7:34 hrs ► Jammu - Udhampur: 62 Kms (39 miles), 1:36 hrs - You should take a diversion in Udhampur for the ancient temples at Kiramchi, 8 kms (5 miles) from Udhampur. You can get there only if you ask locals for directions – you have to turn from Supply Chowk. ► Udhampur - Kud: 40 Kms (25 miles), 1:00 hrs - Take a break here for the Indian sweet Patisa – Kud is famous for this. ► Kud - Patnitop: 8 Kms (5 miles), 0:13 hrs - Stop for views if you wish to. ► Patnitop - Peerah: 27 Kms (17 miles), 0:39 hrs - Peerah is famous for freshly cooked Rajma – Chawal served with Chutney and Ghee – don’t miss it; you may anyway be hungry by now. ► Peerah - Jawahar Tunnel: 70 Kms (44 miles), 2:03 hrs The tunnel connects Kashmir valley to the rest of the country by road; close this and no traffic can get through. ► Jawahar Tunnel - Titanic View Point: 6 Kms (4 miles), 0:17 hrs - The first view of the Kashmir Valley can be had from here – a tea stall serves beverages and snacks. ► Titanic View Point - Anantnag: 34 Kms (21 miles), 0:45 hrs - Turn at Anantnag for either Srinagar or Pahalgam. ► Anantnag - Matan: 6 Kms (4 miles), 0:12 hrs - Take a break here for the spectacular Martanda Sun Temple. If running short of time, you can do this on the way from Pahalgam to Srinagar. ► Matan - Pahalgam: 34 Kms (21 miles), 0:49 hrs - One of the most beautiful places in the Indian Himalayas. Read Kunzum Travel List #16 for more on Pahalgam.

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Views of the Temples in Kiramchi

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Start from Jammu at the crack of dawn - it will leave you with time to enjoy some of the surprises on the way. You will notice many signs pointing to ancient temples, forts and palaces. These are usually all a few miles off the highway, and maintained mostly by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Take detours for all those that catch your attention. Especially for the temples at Kiramchi. There is almost nothing known about the seven ancient temples in Kiramchi. Forget outsiders, most residents of the state don’t know about their existence either. They are no less than a little ta wonder hidden on a path less taken. Theories abound: The temples are probably dated circa 8th-9th century A.D. Kiramchi may have been founded much earlier though by Raja (King) Kichak, a contemporary of the Pandavas of Mahabharata – going back a few Millennia. The only certainty: it was the capital of the Bhutial dynasty before the Bhuti kingdom was given up to Raja Gulab Singh in 1834. As I admired these temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, and one to Maa (Mother) Durga, I could doff my [sun protection] hat to the architects of this complex. And, surprisingly, to the ASI who have maintained it so well despite the remoteness. Of course, none of the caretakers had answers beyond what was given in the official catalog. Including about the many excavations of human, animal and religious forms exhibited in a room. Enj Enjoy the sights in the meantime.

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ew of the i v t s r fi e h T after y e l l a V r i m h Kas ahar crossing Jaw Tunnel

Welcome to Kashmir Valley The light at the end of this dimly lit tunnel is the heavenly Kashmir Valley – and its first sighting tells you why India and Pakistan want it all for themselves. I drove through the 2.8 km (1.8 miles) Jawahar Tunnel (heavily guarded, no photos allowed – blow up this tunnel and all road links are gone; it is named after independent India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru) to be greeted by a sign, ‘The first view of the Kashmir Valley’ at Titanic Point. A shack sells tea and snacks here – a strategically sensible move to cater to tourists who almost al always stop here. As I looked around, the famous words of Mughal Emperor Jahangir kept playing in my mind. “If there is heaven on Earth, it is here, it is here, it is here,” was his exclamation when he first came here in the 17th century A.D. The words still ring true.


Sun Temple

The Martanda (Sun) Temple near Matan. It was raining when I was there – can you make out everything is wet?


No spotlights for the Martanda Sun Temple in Matan The Martanda (Sun) Temple near Matan is another of the many hidden wonders of Kashmir. The first thought to cross my mind when I saw it: why is this not more famous? The Sun Temple in Konark in Orissa is known to all, and this one deserves no less attention. Again, well maintained by the ASI. I even found a guide who showed me around – here go some factoids he shared: • Built by Lalitaditya Muktapada circa 724-61 AD. a • Devri stone used for construction – without any cement – all pieces interlock with one another. • Has four gates, the main one was higher than the main shrine. • Weather caused a lot of stones to erode; a fire had caused significant damage to the structure quite some time back. • Surrounding villages abandoned and resettled thrice • Images carved into the stones used in the temple include those of the rivers Ganga and Jamuna and Hindu Gods Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh and Krishna. • Platforms around the cent central shrine had smaller temples at one time. • Water in pool comes through channels from Sheshnag, 50 kms (31 miles) away near Pahalgam. • 84 rooms for stay make the perimeter of the compound. • Foundation of the central shrine is 18 feet deep. • There are earthen pots, 5” deep and 3.5” diameter sunk into the ground and were used for offerings and food.

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Pahalgam: Leaving you breathless If you have ever been to Pahalgam, the vivid imagery of driving the winding roads along the Lidder river with towering peaks in the background will always stay with you. And when these are accentuated with a light drizzle, dusky skies and misty columns on mountain tops, happiness is the only sentiment you will feel.

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der d i L The er in riv gam al h a P

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God made Pahalgam for only one reason: as a place to stand and stare. At the snow peaks (I was lucky to witness fresh snowfall), the meadows, the well manicured gardens, trees and the Lidder river gurgling amidst all this beauty. You could (I didn’t) take a pony ride to the “Dear ” Park, Tulian Lake or the meadows of Baisaran if you so desire. Go, savour Pahalgam.

iew V A in am g l a Pah


LEG 3 Pahalgam - Srinagar 95 kms (59 miles) / 2:30 hrs ► Pahalgam - Anantnag: 40 Kms (25 miles), 1:00 hrs ► Anantnag - Srinagar: 55 Kms (34 miles), 1:30 hrs The first sight of Srinagar and you know you are in he heaven.

LEG 4 Srinagar - Gulmarg and back ► Srinagar - Gulmarg: 56 Kms (35 miles), 1:40 hrs Stunning slopes for those who want to ski down. ► Gulmarg - Srinagar: 56 Kms (35 miles), 1:40 hrs

LEG 5 Srinagar - Sonamarg Sri 86 kms (54 miles) / 2:30 hrs ► Srinagar - Sonamarg: 86 Kms (54 miles), 2:30 hrs - Sonamarg is stunning with its awesome landscapes. From Sonamarg, you can either return to Srinagar or continue on to Ladakh on Kunzum Route K11.

tone s e l i m A ng the i t a c i d in nagar i r S o t e d is tanc


View of the Snowy Ski Slopes of Gulmarg

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View of the Snowy Ski Slopes of Gulmarg

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Images from Srinagar

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Dal e h T Lake g enin v e n i lig ht

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Images from Srinagar

ine. The r h s l a b t a r The Haz on the e r u t c u r t s beautiful has an e k a L l a D he banks of t hitectural c r a n o m unco m me and o d a s a h t feature: i inaret. a sing le m

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Chitwan National Park

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The Chitwan National Park was completely wild and a hunting ground of the Rana rulers until the 1950s. Guest lists included royalty and Who’s Who from Europe and India. Hundreds of elephants were used in the hunts and manytigers, rhinos and leopards were killed – but their population was largely restored due to long gaps between the hunts.

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The area was inhabited in pockets by the Tharus who had built a resistance to malaria, endemic to the region. In the 1950s, vast swathes of the forest were cleared to eradicate malaria and to settle people from the hills seeking better economic opportunities. However, such a large and sudden influx of people, mostly those who had not known how to live in harmony with the forest and its residents, led to greater man-animal conflicts. Poaching rose sharply - the number of rhinos declined from 800 to under 200, and tiger population also dipped dramatically. In 1962, a portion of Chitwan valley south of the Rapti river was declared a wildlife sanctuary. And upgraded to Royal Chitwan National Park in 1973. Things have only improved since then: the park currently has over 400 rhinos and 65 tigers. The 932 sq. kms (360 sq. miles) park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Join me in a safari through one of the most amazing wildlife reserves on the planet. The park’s ecosystem includes the Churia Hills, Ox-bow lakes and the Rapti, Reu and Narayani rivers.

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most l a o n i h r a y only Attacked b Chitwan is the

ia, in Assam in Ind a g n a ir z a K nd n a Other th roam all over a s o in rh re e h w bcontinent many. Singles, reserve in the su t u b , e n o t o n w asy to spot. I sa ome are relatively e were all over. S y e th – id k h it inos, mom w top couples, kid rh t a view from a o g I . e m r fo s re-perfect pose even made pictu t. vel when on foo le e y e t a d n a t an elephan ing in the tall rk lu e n o s a w o got to a rhin era, I heard The closest we m a c y m h it w d le away. As I ďŹ dd ng grasses 20 feet guide was beati y M . n o ti o m m o owed by a c t noises and some snorts foll n re e h o c in e m so round, making inute a stick on the g o. A long one m in rh e th f o n o the directi gesticulating in walked away. later, the rhino e rhino was th e m ld to e id u g all about? The ut it may have b What was this t, o n s e o d y ll usua to attack us. It g g in o g ly ib ss o p it was protectin e b y a M s. n so a r the wrong re k, what would c felt disturbed fo a tt a to d e id c it de ible to us. Had n is v t o n y b a b s it ection. And the ir d y n a in n u R e been? Pray. un this animal; tr our options hav u o t o n n a c u o .Y s not follow you e o d it t a th ne by y ra p sily overturn o a e n a c it , V U S in a even if you were our lucky day. s a w It . it to in ramming

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A walk in the jungle Imagine going for a walk in a wild jungle where a tiger or a leopard could well be lurking a few feet away from you. Led by an able guide Kalu, I spent three hours in what was certainly a new experience. Highlights: * Was lucky to sight three Great Hornbills – an enormous bird distinguished by a yellow line through its wings and a white tail marked with one black band – but they were flying around too fast to capture on camera. And you can hear these birds before you see them – the heavy flapping sound carries through the air and, before you know it, the bird swooshes by you at supersonic speeds. * Heard cries of deer and mon monkeys indicating the presence of a tiger nearby – but was out of luck when it came to sighting the cat.

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A vie w of th e beaut if fores ul ts of C hitw an

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* Caught a fleeting glimpse of a Barking Deer. I heard its cries soon after, piercing through the silence, sounding like a dog bark. It was a cry of warning - usually reserved when there are predators close by, but this may have been a warning against us humans. * Saw trees with tiger and sloth bear claw marks. And also Pic some where deer and rhinos had rubbed against them. Picked up white hair of a tiger from the bark of a tree – kept it in my wallet but lost the fine, almost invisible strand before I got home. * Spotted a group of Gaurs (Wild Buffalo) in a clump of trees – but was warned against going too close. Usually they are shy and wary, and feed on fresh grass, but it is never a good idea a to surprise any animals – especially when they weigh up to a ton and can stand up to 6 feet tall.

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tell a u o y o to How d d e e n yo u gues t hen in w k a le take a res t? the fo I am , e m e “Excus o the t g n i o jus t g in a k c a B bush. d my i a s ,” e minut eful. c a r G Kalu. e d i u g PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS


SPOTTED IN CHITWAN

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of r i a A p uor g n a l in s y e k mon twan C hi

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SPOTTED IN CHITWAN

aur A G ffalo) Bu d l i W res t ( o f e in th 28

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SPOTTED IN CHITWAN

A ed Spott Deer 29

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How much will you pay for such a deck at such a location? At the Tiger Tops Tented Camp in C hitwan 31

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Ghariyals sunning themselves in the Narayani river

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A Tharu couple out to catch fish in the Narayani river

Tharu women catching fish in the shallow rapids of a stream off the Narayani river; their nets trap fish, mud and small stones and rocks from which they pick out the edible stuff and throw the rest back. 33

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Sony Xperia Z2 SONY THROWS THE KITCHEN SINK AT THE SMARTPHONE NIMISH DUBEY

It is not often that one comes across a phone that does pretty much everything - and we mean everything - that you expect it to. The Xperia Z2 from Sony belongs to that rare species. We think that Sony has pretty much thrown its very best at the device (hence the headline) - it has got almost e verything that you would want. Full HD display? Check. 20.7-megapixel camera with Exmor sensor? Check. Quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor? Check. Expandable memory? Check. All the connectivity options you would want including NFC? Check. Latest version of Android? Check. Round that off with a design that is eye-catching if a little predictable (the typical Xperia look which is a metal frame sandwiched between two layers of glass) and you have a behemoth in your hands. No, it is not the easiest to handle (it is almost half a foot long), but hey it is water and dust resistant, works at the rate of knots, has decent battery life (a day of solid use) and takes staggeringly good photographs and also shoots 4k Video. There will be those who will wonder why they would not opt for an iPhone at this price point. Our answer would be to simply ask them to read this piece again and make up their minds. This finally is the best of Sony in a phone.

Sony Xperia Z Price: Rs. 49,990 36

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Adobe Lightroom

NOW ON THE IPAD NIMISH DUBEY

When it comes to photo editing and organising, professionals swear by Adobe’s famous Lightroom s oftware. Well, now you can get a lot of the same software without having to lug a notebook around Adobe has announce Lightroom mobile for the iPad. The app comes with with a number of editing tools, including the option to play around with exposure, saturation, highlights and colour temperature. It also has Adobe’s tone presets for those who like using them (you cannot use custom presets though - that remains notebook territory). There are some uniquely iPad touches too - a double finger tap brings up a histogram, a three finger tap brings up the original version of the image you were working on. You can synchronise all your tweaks with a desktop running Lightroom 5 and well, in what we think is a touch that a lot of photographers will love, you will be able to edit RAW images using the Preview Mode. And a small note needs to be added: the tools here are not the ‘basic’ types that you encounter in most free photo editing software. Nope, this is the real McCoy with detail and intricacy aplenty. Of course, this does not come cheap - you have to be a member of the Photoshop Photograpy Program (Rs 499 per month) to be able to use it. A bit expensive? Perhaps. But if you are serious about editing your photographs and are sick and tired of carrying your computer around, then this is perhaps the best option for you. And oh yes, it works perfectly even on the iPad 2 or the original iPad mini - all you need is iOS 7.

Available from: iTunes App Store Price: Free (subscription needed for regular use)

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WINDOWS PHONE GETS A SNAPPY UPDATE NIMISH DUBEY

All the talk in tech town has been of Cortana (Microsoft’s answer to Siri - a virtual assistant who answers your queries) and of the notification bar, but the fact is that the new update to Windows Phone 8 announced by Microsoft also brings some very significant improvements to those who love photography. Microsoft has totally changed the stock photography app for Windows Phone 8.1. The left side of the app will now have shortcuts to different settings while the right will give you access to photo mode, video mode and well, here’s a bit of a surprise, a burst mode. The whole look and feel of the app is a whole lot more clean than in the past, and in a very neat touch, you also get the option of customizing the settings on the left, so in essence, you will be getting more control over the camera experience. The camera roll has also been given a makeover allowing for faster scrolling and well, if you are using a Lumia, you will be delighted to know that the Creative Studio app has been given a boost, letting you do much more with your photographs. The best part? The update will be totally free and will be available for ALL Windows Phone 8 devices - that’s right, whether you have the basic Lumia 520 or the high-end Lumia 1520, you will be able to do far more with your device’s camera once Windows Phone 8.1 comes along (and it is expected in late Mayearly June).

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THERE’S A NEW FLICKR IN TOWN

NIMISH DUBEY

Instagram might be making more waves and grabbing more attention, but for those who take their photography seriously, Flickr is the image sharing social network of choice, not least because it allows you to store images in their original resolution and offers you a titanic 1 TB of online storage. And now Yahoo! has given Flickr a significant makeover. Flickr 3.0, which is available for both iOS and Android, comes with a whole new interface which is much more phone-friendly, even if it is a bit reminiscent of Instagram. You can now surf through images uploaded by your friends and followers and also add your own - the app comes with its own set of filters, letting you add some nifty effects, again without compromising on image resolution. Also, unlike Instagram, here the filters are ‘live’, meaning you can actually use them while taking a photograph and not just after you have taken it. Round that off with the ability to share images to other social networks and upload up to thirty seconds of video, and the new Flickr comes across as a very handy app indeed for those who like their photography in high resolution. We just wish it had an iPad app too, and was available on Lumia devices (which have the best cameras) too. But what the heck, no one’s perfect.

Available from: iTune App Store, Google Play Price: Free 41

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About Ajay Jain

Ajay Jain is a full time writer and photographer, and has authored eight paperback books and over 30 e-books. He promotes his photography as collectible art, runs the popular Kunzum Travel Cafe in New Delhi and publishes e-magazines on travel and photography. He is also a regular speaker on Mindful Travel, Personal Branding, Photography and Business Networking. All his creative ideas came to the fore only after he started travelling - mindfully. He has pursued careers in Information Technology and Sports Management before he took up journalism and writing. He holds degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Business Management and Journalism.

More on Ajay Jain at http://ajayj ain.com. Connect with him at ajay@ajayja in.com +91.9910044476. Or call his offic e at +91.9650702777.


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T-49, GF, Hauz Khas Village New Delhi 110016, India Tel: +91.9650 702 777 / +91.11.2651 3949 mail@kunzum.com Timings: 11:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m., Mondays Closed

PhotoTalkies - May 2014  

PhotoTalkies a monthly e-magazine and is all about celebrating photography, and telling stories through images. In a joint venture between Z...

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