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Raghunandan Gunnala
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Happy Independence Day

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45 Mind-Bending Illusions That You Need To See Twice To Understand:

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Dolomighties in afternoon sun

Sassolungo seen in Alpe di Siusi before the Dolomites June 2012 photo workshop. It is soon time for the June 2014 photo workshop and I'm going on the coming friday to the Dolomites for a new view on this amazing area. I'm about to launch a new photo workshop for the Dolomites in June 2015 in a few days.

The camera was the Canon 1Ds mkIII and the Canon 24-70 f/2.8L lens at 70mm, f/8, 160s and ISO 200.

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Motorola Moto G is no stranger nowadays. It has recently been hailed by a lot of people as one of the best cell phone under Rs 20,000. During its launch, we had additionally uncovered numerous parts of the telephone..........

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Google+ isn't a Ghost Town, it's the freaking Haunted Mansion!
(And that's a great thing)

Hear me out at least a paragraph before you jump down to flame me. This analogy has a few levels and a story to it, and I'm not really the type to pass up a good story.  Where we begin, however, explains why the press have absolutely no f*cking clue.

Google+ isn't a frat house like Facebook or a craft party like Pinterest, it's the distinguished mansion on the hill that no one ever sees anyone coming in or out.  It's big and spooky and when they first sneak up to the house, there's not much there, just some faceless pictures and 'what's hot' posts that may or may not work for them. The press freak out because none of their friends are here and they don't wanna go in the big, empty scary house alone.  So they run away and tell everyone it's empty, or worse, haunted by ghosts. 

Now, when you tire of Facebook and it's sophomoric atmosphere, you wander the neighborhood of social media. Twitter seems cool, but when you tweet, you feel like you're just yelling at a wall half the time, and it's hard to hear over all the other people tweeting and the echoes of hashtags being parroted by bots in a vain, desperate plea for attention. 

The night wears on, and at last you come to the Haunted Mansion. The wind that blows over the immaculate yard to you is foreign, yet unknown. Pungent, yet mouth watering, like a new recipe for poppy seed rolls. You spy a light in the window, the figure of a famous character, and you step up to the gate.  _Maybe it is haunted... but it won't hurt to look._ 

The gate opens smoothly, and the pathway is manicured. You pass the gardens on your way in, and marvel at the variety of veggies within. But where are the gardeners?  You can hear music coming from the house now, an old song you haven't heard in years, and don't know why, cause this song rocks.

The front door is huge, with a fantastical 'g' knocker, fire red like some kind of malevolent djinn.  You swallow your urge to run back to Facebook for a whiskey (you know they'll only have beer), and grasp the knocker.  The metal seems cool to the touch, but it lights up like a flaming brand, and while you panic, you can't let go. The knocker chuckles at your fear and speaks in a booming voice: Welcome, my friend, to Google+!

A terrifying light spreads from the knocker spreading out before you into… a list? A massive list with faceless pictures, each bearing the name of a friend or colleague.  You glance over the list uneasily before glancing back to the demonic knocker that has possession of your hand.

“What am I supposed to do?”

The booming voice answers calmly, yet not boredly.  It seems happy to have someone to explain things to. Choose who you would like to keep in your circles.  With circles you can keep in touch with many groups of people without being overburdened by content with certain acquaintances. You can keep your pictures of last night from your family and coworkers while still sharing them with your friends. 

You nod in understanding and looks over the list again.  You tap the circle next to a few friends, most of whom are blank pictures, and put them in a circle.  You reach the end of the list and it vanished in a puff of red smoke, sucked back into the knocker.

After a moment of digestion, the door cracks open, and a swarm of ghosts swarm you.  You yelp and try to duck, to hide, but you trapped hand holds you up, vulnerable. You fall back on your knees as the door shuts.  You wait for the inevitable assault, but nothing comes.  Upon opening your eyes, you see each ghost has a list on their chest, and a matching name to go with their outfit.

There are also many topics you can keep up with in Google Plus using circles. You look up at the knocker, getting off your knees as it continues, If any of these circles interest you, feel free to add them.

Glancing over the gang, you quickly shake your head at the basketball-spinning Sports and Microphone-shoving News. The two vanish, making room for the others. A camera-touting Entertainment snaps a selfie with you, and you see the list of studios and tabloid on her list.  You hesitate before tapping the circle icon on her clavicle. She squeals with joy and sweeps back into the mansion.  Food and Drink saunters up and offers you that poppy seed roll you smelled earlier.  You hold back the roll, but tap their circle. They swallow the roll and rush back in, followed soon after by the crash of pots and pans.

You try to weed through the mob, but eventually you just scream, “ENOUGH!” They quickly disperse, and you turn back to the knocker, “Can I please let go now?”

How would you like to be seen? A mirror appears, and staring back at you is that same faceless outline.  You scowl at it and adjust the mirror until your reflection is scowling back.  You smile, best you can while your arm is caught, and beginning to lose sensation at that. Beneath the mirror is a plaque with three blanks: job, school, and city.

You quickly scratch those in. You look up at the top of the mirror for your name, and it’s there, same as ever. You nod and the mirror vanishes. 

Very well… welcome to Google+.

The door opens again and yanks you inside by the knocker.  You stagger inside, catching yourself with both hands on a column inside. You look at your hand, finally free and seemingly unharmed, and you look back at the door. The knocker taps twice, and the door shuts once more.

You think about leaving, but considering how long the knocker held your hand hostage, you don’t wanna think about the knob.  You finally look around the mansion, and gasp.

There’s posts and pictures on every wall. The living room has been taken over by Entertainment, who’s got the latest scoop on Channing Tatum’s new movie.  The kitchen smells amazing and there’s amazing food EVERYWHERE, and recipes with most of it.  You hear music upstairs, but all that food made you hungry, and it reminds you of the garden outside. You wander out the side door and see the garden there, empty as ever, but there's a green symbol on the gate.  You wander up and look.

Home Gardening Community it reads. You raise a brow and grab the latch, and the garden lights up.  Dozens - no, hundreds of people are in the garden, chatting over their prized tomatoes or commiserating over bug-ridden bell peppers. And before your eyes pops up an icon: ‘click to join community’. You shrug and click ‘okay’, and the gate clicks open.  You stoop before a wonderful patch of strawberries and comment on their loveliness…

“Thanks!  I’ve been tending these about two years now.” You jump at the reply. You see another user stroll up, casual and chomping down on a cucumber. You glance him up and down, and the little plaques appear with his name and his info.  _Wow. Australia._

You talk about strawberries and how you’ve never been able to keep them alive longer than two months, and you hear why: you’re not cutting off the dead growth. You wrap up the conversation and steal a strawberry to eat on your way back inside. You ignore the gossip in the living room and head upstairs.

The music is in a community for musicians, so you shut the door and keep going down the hall.  The melody fades out soon after while you peek in various communities before finding it: the Sherlock fandom. Now matter where on the net they gather, Sherlock fans are a slightly insane bunch that’s always welcoming to strangers. You tap the join icon and slip inside, marveling at how many in here are wearing disguises and artwork as their avatar. You see a tumblr screencap and head over to add to the dialog.

It takes a few hours for you to remember that you had other things to do today. You log out and go about your day. But you put that fiery red G on your homescreen, so you can escape inside the mansion with the other ghosts when life and Facebook get boring. Your friends don’t believe you when you say it’s not a ghost town. You tell them that in order to see the people there, you have to engage them, in communities or in the comments on public posts. They say that’s lame and go back to the kegger at Facebook. 

So… that was really long, but I hope it conveyed my thinking.  G+ is the spooky old house no one goes into because it’s haunted, and it is… by us.  The users are ghosts.  You can’t see them or hear them until you connect through engagement. And since most press writing us up just can’t be bothered to engage the ghosts and find out how many of us they are, they write us all off.  And its their loss, because most of the ghosts in here are pretty sweet to hang with.

And of course, there’s room for one more… any volunteers?

#mygoogleplusstory   #googleplus   #ghoststories  

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Easter star trails, showing the movement of the stars...with an Lyrid meteor!!!!!

I bought a new camera and lens. I wanted to test it out, so I drove up to Vasquez Rocks, about 35 minutes from my house, and experimented with higher ISOs than I usually use. I got lucky and photographed a Lyrid meteor.

Title: Easter Meteor Star Trails Over Vasquez Rocks
Info: Nikon D610, Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 lens, my Dad's heavy 1970s Sears aluminum tripod. 
Photographer: Ken Lee Photography
Location: Vasquez Rocks, California, USA

iEstelas de estrellas de pascua, que muestran el movimiento de las estrellas...con un meteoro Líridas!

He comprado una nueva cámara y la lente. Yo quería probarlo, así que me condujo hasta Vasquez Rocks, a unos 35 minutos de mi casa, y experimenté con un ISO más alto de lo que normalmente utilizo. Tuve suerte y fotografié un meteoro Líridas.

Título: Pascua estela de estrellas con Meteor - Vasquez Rocks 
Info: Nikon D610, Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8, pesado 1970 Sears trípode de aluminio de mi papá. 
Fotógrafo: Ken Lee Photography 
Ubicación: Vasquez Rocks, California, EE.UU.
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