Just another dream

You were here, I was here and none of us could see where we were !!

To those who love Fridays, lets start rolling our countdowns and clocks to touch those Friday evenings.

Way to the weekend, sleep and the dreams.

Wishing you all a lovely and a beautiful weekend ahead.

I N D I A – The country of changing phases.

For to say it – Firstly and Fore-mostly – It may be surprising but I am going to write it all as I felt it in the past 4 days since I am in the country of this moving paced lifestyle and dramatically fast paced makeover.

It has been over 4 years since I was last here and this country sent a good shock through my spine when I first landed here. I landed here in the early morning hours but the chaos was not too quiet. I guess this was just the introduction of me to the fast paced changing nation. The first thing that was a shock for me was – The huge make over of the pre-existing IGI Airport. It seems to have undergone a huge visual and physical surgery to end up in this new layout which is really worth a mention. Coming from LHR this is a huge change but the transition time has drastically been cut short from hours to minutes.

It is all going to be on my videos once I can find myself in a suitable fast paced web environment. Still struggling with the web speeds and transfer of big files. So that all will have to wait till I land back in my England. I had my school friend picking me up from the airport to take me to my home in Trans-Yamuna. It seems that traffic is pretty much worst than ever before. I for first few minutes was in sheer shock – Shall I admit – I do not have a courage to drive or ride in this country again – May be I have become too much of a soft rider instead of a pure hard core. I do not know if I will be willing to take on in this traffic. It is pure nightmare – even at a night time on a Saturday morning – the rush seems to be too much of a challenge to get adapted too. I have disconnected myself from the life here in this country so I will be struggling a bit of getting used to it.

On my way home, I was straight on with the roadside food which my stomach has no complaints with so it all went great – proves – I am able to at least get in with the food habits of this nation. This is when I know, there is a bit of a desi inside of me. The roads have a few changes too along with changing nation – the breadth of the roads have gone double folds. The potholes scenario seems to have changed too but this is surely something that is normal for this nation. Not to forget that I am not an Indian anymore for a visit after 4 years there is a hell lot of changes to adapt too.

My Next day, the first day in this city has pretty much left nice touches to it. I started with paying my visit to Rajghat – the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi – the man which this nation now speaks of in strange words. I suppose this is the reason why modern lifestyles has created huge differences in the thought process of this changing nations population. Nothing here on my end – for me, it is still a reason to appreciate for this country – the man who gave his life to this nation for everything this nation now is. Many of those who will dis-agree but this is my thoughts and my notions – I respect him. The place is absolutely well planted with beautiful flowers, serene environs and stunning trees around. After a quick trip, I was soon headed into the the Old Delhi or call it Puraani Dilli. One of the most amazing and always the favorite part of Delhi for me.

If you have an eye for architecture hidden in the changing nation – this is where you will find it but not with an eye of having a camera but with an eye of a keen explorer only.  I can admit that this place has some feeling from the past by-gone era which is now no more a part of this changing nation. I love it to the bits that if you want to see the Incredible India – Come ask me for a walk and I will show that to you. (These shall follow us on the videos, at later stages).  Playing cricket in these small streets, even more amazing – getting hit by a plastic anda (ball) was impressive re-collection back into the childhood days. It all happens here. Incredible is not that this country is called so uselessly – the logic becomes separate from its real intent.

I am going to quit for the time being – since I do not have entire hours of web access so – I shall share some more as we go with it. In the meanwhile, if you are in Delhi – you know where to pop me a PM – leave me a liner on my FB page.

Nikkor AF 20mm f/2.8 D – Review / Unboxing

Initially, I was bit hesitant about The Nikkor AF 20mm f/2.8 D but after reading its reviews on the Photozone website and few others, I was not quite impressed. I have not had my hands on this lens but instead of looking for ultra wide 14mm I was satisfied with 20mm to begin with. I bought my lens via the ProCameraShop which again was the first time for me to buy from but they simply were super quick and next day delivery left me nothing but a great experience to deal with. I was buying online first time so I did have a little hesitant response and I called them right away to check what the deal was as I have not bought from them before. Their price was the best online compared to any of the other online retailers so I wanted to be sure. I did a quick online check on few forums and it turned out that they have been in business and operating in UK for quite sometime although warranties are offered through them.

After all the initial hassles, I had the boxed Nikkor AF 20mm f/2.8 D  in my hands. It came through a tracking UPS delivery so no hassles at all kind of deal.

Whats in the box.
Whats in the box.
Unboxing, what’s in the box.
Unboxing, what's in the box.
Unboxing, what’s in the box.
Unboxing, what's in the box.
Unboxing, what’s in the box.
Unboxing, what's in the box.
Unboxing, what’s in the box.
Unboxing, what's in the box.
Unboxing, what’s in the box.
Unboxing, what's in the box.
Unboxing, what’s in the box.
Unboxing, what's in the box.
Unboxing, what’s in the box.

The Nikkor AF 20mm f/2.8 D is a full frame ultra wide-angle lens with 94° (70° with Nikon DX format) picture coverage with edge-to-edge sharpness. Additionally, the lens also boasts of Close-Range Correction (CRC) system provides high performance at both near and far focusing distance.

Unboxing, what's in the box.
Unboxing, what’s in the box.
Unboxing, what's in the box.
Unboxing, what’s in the box.
10yrs Recycle !!!
10yrs Recycle !!!
Unboxing, what's in the box.
The Plastic Barrel and the rubber ring.
Final piece of glass
Final piece of glass

E.g @ F4 sharpness. You can click on the image to go the full size res.

“Nikon AF Nikkor 20mm F2.8D” @ F4

Although the review received by  
Photozone website and what I observed from the quality of shots on the FX , I do  not find this lens to be as bad as rated. For this price you cannot go wrong for what you are getting out of it and for travel photography on FX you will possibly score all that you are after from this glass.


Nikon D700 with Nikkor 20mm F2.8D

I do not see why people have rated this lens with such a low feedbacks – I mean you cannot get a sharpness of 1.4 at the price of 2.8 and this is not so hugely expensive lens.

Although all said about the lens, I would possibly share my dilemma between upgrading to D600 or D800 which has caused me to be quite upset with both the two recent FX upgrades.
Till then, thanks for looking and dropping by.

Peak District, England

By - Mani Babbar Photography
Peak District, England

One of the most amazing and beautiful sunsets I have come across. Special thanks to Mike for this wonderful moment & showing me the hidden secrets of Peak District.

Walking, hiking and scrambling in Peak District – one must do it to see it for themselves.

Paris : Finale

All the hype and wait, It is about time that we moved on – finish this french business. It has taken me a lot longer while there has been plenty more to add from the recent life. World has moved on, I have had two more trips in between – the next one is already coming along in less than 3 weeks – where in the world is Mani lost ? Good question, but I can only answer once I know because I do not know where the time goes and how quick it goes. It just flies past me and leaves me in lot more questions.

So from the last point we left, Carried on my journey to the Paris Automobile show, which for certain reasons can’t be added into this post or else I will never end this chapter but would conclude the girls of Paris in another post sometime in future. For now, I must head back to Paris in night gathering my last few hours in this city.

Moments of joy and celebrations - Life is to live.
Moments of joy and celebrations – Life is to live.

Colorful people, lovely music and journeys to bring these memories.

Out from the station

Walking out from the last station, the drizzling water spots of the rain disappears into the chilly weather.

Night "Instagram" style in Paris.
Night “Instagram” style in Paris.

The weary night of Paris in the cold and chilly conditions wears an empty look. Nothing really compared to this when you talk of cities and how impressively they show that they are meant for businesses only. By the day – they run, they soak you in and fall the night – nothing, not even a bird wants to flock its wings in this emptiness.

Spot the traffic and the alienated emptiness.
Spot the traffic and the alienated emptiness.

The invisible little water drops from the drizzling rain form an impressive view at this moment. The little light above the fountain makes it look it an Alien zone.  It just shows, the cold and empty Paris to you.

Love Love Love... in Paris
Love Love Love… in Paris

Humans always seek a reason to run away from the crowded affairs of life. Somewhere in the world, someone is kissing someone away from the busy crowds and someone like me is surely waiting for it to caught. It is funny how life looks when you are on the other side of the camera. You see life from a perspective other than being a cameraman – it becomes like a part of your life – something you cannot miss – something you cannot live without.


Paris, sure wears different colours in the night. A view from the end of Champs Elysees – Considered to be the most expensive high street of the world under The Arc of Triomphe.

The momentary pause in the middle of the road does shows that life is moving, the time ticking and shutter clicking. Not the best way to do the night shots of the city with a hand that is frozen and trying reasons to be steady at all.


While walking away from the emptiness towards the most expensive Champs Elysees I come across this house decorated in the colours from outside ready to welcome its visitors. The inside roof of the house looks even more amazing than outside. The night brings its own colours.


Somewhere down the Elysees – the busy scene displaces the calmness with sirens and noise from the police cars. Someone tonight is not going to be happy to know that their car was not parked by the roadside but in the no parking zone that soon shall be causing them the despair for their parking. Colourful night in its own tones.


Doesn’t really have that need of words to give the justice to what your eyes can already see. Better words stay away for next few minutes while you browse through.


“Pomme de Pain” – Something which is only for my desi counterparts (Anyone knowing Hindi would relate to the words – “Pomme di pain”) ha ha haa .. Just a joke for those but this is what Paris, France and French life is all about “Pomme de Pain”.


The busy Circle of life, the Galleries of paris with shops, sellers, food stalls – it all  happens in here if you are one of those looking for shopping in Paris.


Does it not show ! Pace of this place even when it is empty, like any other cities from the world. I relate the Arc de Triomphe to “India Gate” similar architecture standing in the memory of lost lives during the WW1 &2 in India. Interesting but these all architectures have such a huge importance in the life of cities. These are all that make the real cities to remember – give them a character – give them their essence of recognition.

Closer and Closer
Closer and Closer


I, the Freebird welcome you to Arc de Triomphe in the night.

Exits and entrances !! Does get bit exciting when you have so many directions to choose from and you don’t know where you are going because it all is in French. Experiencing France in a French way is one way of seeing it, other way is to get lost without knowing where you  may end up.


The last bits of underground existence on a Sunday night – All of the tourists, mostly Americans, mostly mid-aged – you do get to see the way and know who travels where in which part of their lives. I may be wrong here but getting to sit, stand and listen to someone for 5 seconds does give you a good idea of where, what and how they have been travelling.

Cutest shot in the city.
Cutest shot in the city.

A curious little friend 🙂 I am sure he was more eager to see what this silly guy is doing digging into the floor with his black little round thing in the front – I find this the cutest shot but I knew there was one more which was going to come along. I am sure this was about to make me feel so happy.


Give or take, the emotions of life does not only relate to humans – even the pets sometimes show the emotions of their families where they belong. I simply could not stop enjoying this picture and not sharing this one will be injustice to the moment.


Pin drop silence to the effect that you can hear every single footstep – sounds bit creepy – That’s Paris my friend for you.


We are just seeing the last busy bits of this place before it all settles down and kicks again with the morning rush hour for which I will be on my way to London. So with this I say good night to the last night in Paris and I shall finish my last few shots back into the Life of London again.

Next morning, I am heading back to where I belong – the so called heart/home experience. There are rarely places that makes you feel so close to how you feel at home. I can’t say where my home but I can certainly relate to where my heart wants to go – A place which no cities offer me.

This journey of photos, memories, work, shoot and friends must come to an end so I commence my return with the final goodbye to the Paris stations early in the morning @ Haussmann Hazare to switch for my London Return Eurostar.



To say my experience in the double decker train has been quite interesting as we do not get to see them anywhere in the UK  – it is something more French that I have been introduced to on my this trip.


To all that we have seen so far, the next destination awaits me – The journey of return begins, early in the morning at 0630 through the crowds of people who rush to catch their return via Eurostar train. It was interesting to notice how many people commence their weekend journeys working in London,  living in Paris and family somewhere farther out in France.


Although Eurostar is one of the fastest trains with plenty of facts around it.  Eurostar train connecting London to Paris has the longest sea tunnel anywhere in the world – the facts are plenty to read and see. But I must find my way to get into one of these fast speed carriers.

The early morning rush is just getting to build up while I still struggle to find which way is the check-in. I was seriously confused with how there was no direction markers until I asked someone who pointed out me to the right direction above the stairs.


Its true, the higher you get the lonelier and better it becomes. Whether you talk of your status or of heights – there is only one risk – if you fall you may not survive 😀 – Just a joke but enjoy the views of the old Paris, Gare du Nord station.


The final immigration security check for the Schengen visa and formalities before you board the train – the funny thing was I can seriously see there was a need for more window counters to be opened. Same story as any other UK airport – Not enough officers for the duty.


I make my way to the platform and to the right door to reach my seat. The good part is it is not like a cheap ryanair/aerlingus/easyjet flight where you do not have seat numbers assigned and you tend to be treated like sheeps in the end. Ha ha haa – I guess that is the gift of cheap travelling. Although even cheap travelling was never the same 2years back. These transporters wanna suck every bit of money they can out of your wallets.


The royal way back – it surely is a world of difference when you leave London expecting a great same way back into Paris but that is not the way it welcomes you.  Through the smell of piss, beggars, sellers and lot more dodgy scenes – it appears to be a third world for a while. It is not a travel magazine but rather my blog where I can express what I feel like, I see and I experience.  My journey back to London does bring me through lot of wonderful memories so I take my seat in the very plush large seat and doze off for the next 2hours till I wake up in London just like a dream.

Ah, but before I can settle in – my opposite seat businessman has spilled his coffee – had a cross with his neighbour and invited himself to some wild corner on the pair of seats. I preferred to say none as the arrogance people reflect is really a great way to piss off others. I am not even out of Paris yet but this shows me the last taste of the wonderful business minded crowd. Minding my own business, I am falling asleep for I need to get back into the studios.


Suddenly, the world changes as I open my eyes under the roof that offers the light, the air that is not stinky anymore ! The St. Pancras international station has something to offer that sure not many stations around Europe do. It has that bit to it which separates itself from the rest of European counterparts.


Collecting my last bits of the morning pick pack shots, I enjoyed this weekend.


Welcome to the bit, THe LONDON ! Its 0939hrs on Monday morning.


This is when life returns to the normalcy of daily life.


To the world with bags, packs and morning stress.


I say goodbye to all you lovely readers. People whom I know &  I don’t. Life is a journey – which we all do but depends what we want out of it. My next adventure shall take you away into the nature of England Countryside away from the cities. I have already finished two more journeys but I am always a tad behind with pace of blogs. Life is different when you have multiple jobs, endless journeys and plethora of shots.

Keep coming back.