DIY – Remote flash trigger with opto-isolator : Part – I

DIY: Remote Light Trigger with opto isolator  to protect camera. 

Recently i decided to photograph a lot of figurines / curios which were lying around at home. For this, i needed to setup a product  table with a pure white background and also the right set of strobes around it.  Well, i had 2 strobes from ProPhoto and only one  Yangano flash for my 450D. This lead to a delima on  how to  get pure white background and still leave 2 strobes for lighting the product itself. Not wanting to invest in one more flash, i scratched my head and remembered that my dad had an old Vivitar flash from the Canon film days. The problem was, that it was really old and i had no way of syncing it with the other flash / strobes, so this resulted in more head scratching , conclusions :-


  1. The flash probably had a trigger voltage which would blow out modern cameras or triggering devices
  2. The flash had a very old adaptor which modern cords did not fit into

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Geo-tagging photographs – Adding location information to your photographs

Discovered a really cool way to add location information to your images (i.e. Geo-tagging photographs ) that too without buying a GPS unit for your camera.

Heres how :-

1. Your mobile phone must have GPS on it.

2. install any of the following apps on the mobile (short list, their could be many more)

  • Latitude from Google
  • GPS logger for Andriod
  • GPS Essentials

Basically you need a phone which can log  GPS data to either the internet or to a file. If you use latitude enable history in the options.

3. Before heading out :-

  • Make sure your camera and mobile clocks (time) are in sync
  • Start the applicaiton from #2 above on your mobile

4. Finish your shoot, come back and switch off the application (else it will keep draining your battery)

  • If you sue latitude the data will on the google latitude site
  • if others, it will be on the mobile so transfer it to your computer

5. Convert the data to a GPX file (with this step you have the latitude and longitude with timestamp recorded perdiodically). You can use

6. Download images from camera to your computer

7. Use any of the following to add the location information to your photos

  • GEOsetter
  • GPicSync

Voila, you are all set !!!!!

Do we Hindus’ really value cleanliness??

Just came back after a few days in Rishikesh, went to Har Ki Pauri and also to a few nearby temples.

Could not help thinking, do we Hindus’ really value cleanliness??

In all my travels across India (be it North or South) – I have come across very few (read hardly any) temples or other religion places like Ghats etc which I can even remotely call clean. Can’t help but compare our temples with say Gurdwaras, Churches, Mosques etc. What makes other religions keep their places of worship clean while we seem to relish keeping ours filthy ?

Stay at Swami Rama Sadhak Grama – Rishikesh, India

Returned after a 3 night stay at the Swami Rama Sadhak Grama, an Ashram run by the Association of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Societies International (AHYMSIM).

The visit was great, the ashram is excellent for those interested in learning and practising yoga away from religion and dogma. The Ashram itself has mutiple sections,

  1. Gurukul – where resident students undergoing 3-5 year programmes stay
  2. Educational block with a Meditation Hall, Audio Visual Room, Sound Studio, Book Store and a Yagna place
  3. Multiple Cottages for non-residents 4) Dining Hall with a library and Knowledge centre in front of it.

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Metal Halides vs CFLs in Aquariums – Installed a Metal Halide Lamp a few weeks back …

Motivated by some ‘knowledgable’  aquarium enthusiasts, I was motivated to improve my aquarium lighting and install a 70W MH lamp. It was DIY setup, the steps for which i will post later. The lamp was a OSRAM HQI-TS NDL 70W, details :-

It was a 4200K lamp, so not ideal, however was told that it would work just fine.

So what do i think of the two philips CFLs (PL-L 36W/865/4P) vs  OSRAM HQI-TS NDL 70W after a couple of weeks of operation, well I think the CFLs win hands down !!! And, what do i base the assessment on, simply on the oxygen bubbles i see forming on leave when i use the CFLs vs the MHs in the same tank….

However the jury is still out on the MH vs CFL debate, since the above is not really a completely fair comparison. Why? Because, the MH is 4200K and the CFL are 6500K, i am still hunting for 6500K MH but no luck so far where i live…

What kind of light is best for a planted aquarium

After fixing the aquarium with two philips CFLs (PL-L 36W/865/4P), doing some more research on what kind of light is best for aquarium plants – i mean not in terms of lux or brightness but in terms of light temperature i.e. cool, red, blue what ?

Based on some initial research on the internet found that : Chlorophyll does not absorb all the wavelengths of visible light equally,  light absorption is maximum at 430 and 662 nm. This means that lights which have peaks in their output color  spectrum around this range are the most efficient for plant growth.

Lets review the light spectrum for lamps that i put in :-

Light spectrum for Pl-L 36W/865/4PColor spectrum


There are two small peaks around 430 and 662 nm but the largest one is around 550 nm which is not going to be that useful. Let me do some more digging around and see what comes up…

Lighting for Planted Aquariums (watts per gallon, LSI, lumen, lux…)

Having setup a planted aquarium and finding that my plants were not doing too well inspite of having 03 CFLs in an 80 liter tank, i realised there must be something fundamentally wrong. Assuming that  the light was sufficient, I set out of check the substrate, fertilizer etc etc. When those did not help either, came back to the fundamental question on light. Wearing out my finger hitting the Google search button on the internet and after reviewing many article on the subject, I thought i would share the result of my research on Aquarium lighting for Planted Aquariums which may benefit others struggling like myself.

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Recent Visit to Rishikesh, Devprayag and Tehri

Two weeks ago went on a short trip to Rishikesh from Faridabad. Idea was to spend some time outside Delhi, in the hills. Considered a few local places before finally deciding on heading to the hills.  



Day 1: Made good time from Faridabad to Muzaffarnagar, however, after that got stuck in a huge traffic jam for almost three hours. Learnt later that thousands had come to the Haridwar ghats due to special puja during the full moon period.     Anyhow, enroute to our Hotel (  Glasshouse on the Ganges ), stopped at Ramdev's Ashram before Haridwar        This was followed by a stop at Swami Rama's Ashram in Rishekesh followed by lunch at the Hotel Ganga Kinare in Rishikesh,  finally reached the hotel (35 km uptream of Rishikesh) some 3 hours later than planned.         Glasshouse on the Ganges has a lovely location, it even has a small private beach and the view is quite good. The property is quite spread out and the room are quite spacious normally in block of 4 (2 on the ground floor and 2 on the first). The fare is well, a bit steep anwhere from 4.5 to 6.5K per night. The bathrooms can be a bit tricky, one even had stair leading down from the room into it. There is no room service, however the meals served during lunch and dinner are quite good. Now the best part, at this time of the year the property is full of Litchie trees laden with bright red fruit which look quite spectacular.            


Day 2: From the hotel we headed out to Devprayag, around 50 km upstream and visit sangam on the opposite side of the road by crossing a rope bridge.     Hereon, we decided to get adventourous and decide to travel further upstream to Theri (having heard so much about it), we crossed Koteshwar dam first and then reached the main Dam quite late in the evening.       Well, i must say i was quite impressed with what mankind has achieved, the dams, powerhouses and the lake behind the dams is colossal and beautiful. Clicked some snaps and headed back to the hotel vide an alternated route from Rishikesh.    



Day 3: Next day, headed back to Delhi and spent some time enroute at Swami Rama 2nd Ashram – Swami Rama Sadhaka Gram. I think, i can quite safely say that i have not seen a cleaner and better planned Ashram anywhere in my life. The rooms, the halls etc were spotlessly clean and a good feeling of calmness pervaded the ashram.   I think my mother has really liked the place and wants to spend a few days there.

Visit to Jaipur and Ranthambore

Drove to Jaipur from Faridabad, after crossing Gurgaon the drive was a pleasure. Took the Jaipur bypass to get to the Chokhidhani Hotel directly and let the kids loose after a long drive.

Chokhidhani is a great place to spend a few days, the kids especially love the open space in front of the huts where they can roam around care-free.  In the evening they especially love the village with the plethora of rides, slides, show and games.

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After spending two great days at Chokhidhani headed out to Ranthambore, the road from Chokidhani heads straight to Sawai Madhopur. Got there by late afternoon and settled into the Tiger’s Den Resort. After some snacks headed out to the sanctuary and reached the Ranthambore fort. Inside Ranthambore fort there are three Hindu temples dedicated to Ganesh, Shiva and Ramlalaji constructed in 12th and 13th centuries from red Karauli stone.

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The fort has a very interesting history, it is surrounded by forest cover sitting pretty on top of the hill, adjacent to the Tiger reserve entrance. The fort, mainly in sandstone, is 7 kilometers in circumference.

A bit if history : The first ruler was one of the sons of the legendary Prithviraj Chauhan. Because of it’s location and structure, it was difficult to conquer and attacks by invaders like Alaudin Khilji, Kutub-ud-din, Feroz Tughlaq, Bahadur Shah of Gujarat were repulsed.  According to legend, over a thousand women once committed mass suicide (jauhar) preferring death to humiliation to the armies of an invader.
More details are at :