Monthly Archives: May 2020

Top Things to do in Kufri

Top Things to do in Kufri

Nestled at an altitude of 9000 feet in the lap of the majestic Himalayas, Kufri is a quaint hill station in Himachal Pradesh where you go to lose yourself in the beauty of nature. It is one of the prominent places to visit near Shimla, and among the must-visit places as part of Himachal tour packages. Known for its pleasant climate and picturesque beauty, Kufri is hard to miss if you are a nature lover in search of an unspoilt location to spend a holiday. Home to the oldest skiing slopes in Himachal Pradesh, Kufri is one of the top skiing destinations in India. Besides skiing, Kufri has much more to offer. Check here is the list of some of the top things to do in Kufri as part of Shimla tour packages.

1. Pay a visit to the Himalayan Nature Park

One of the top things to do in Kufri is to visit the Himalayan Nature Park. Popularly known as ‘Kufri Zoo’, it was established in 1992 and the area was used as a Musk Deer Farm since 1965. It is one of the top places to visit in Shimla for wildlife enthusiasts. Spread over an area of 90 hectares, the park is home to a  large variety of animals and birds. Rare sub-species of Hangal, Barking Deer, Musk Deer, Brown Bear, Monal, and other pheasants can be found here. A wide variety of migratory birds also make a pit stop at this park. Besides, one can also enjoy a breathtaking view of the snowcapped peaks of the Himalayan peaks from the park.

Embark on a Thrilling Trek to Mahasu Peak

Adventure travelers must be aware of the fact that Kufri is one of the most popular destinations for hiking & trekking in Himachal. Hiking in Kufri couldn’t be experienced better than the trail of Mahasu Peak, one of the highest points in Kufri. The Mahasu Peak trail passes through the densely packed woods of Himalayan cedars right up to the summit. While hiking, one can get some breathtaking views of the Badrinath and Kedarnath ranges. In winter, the snow-laden slopes of the peak make the hiking experience even more memorable. One can also test your skiing skills here.

Practice Your Skiing Skills on the slopes of Kufri

Whether you’re an amateur or an experienced skier, Skiing in Kufri is one of the most popular things to do during winters as you get to experience the blooming rush while skiing across the icy slopes. Situated at an altitude of 2622 meters, the picturesque hill station of Kufri is a popular destination for skiing enthusiasts as it houses some of the most attractive ski-slopes in India that range from gentle ones for beginners to steep ones for expert skiers in search of a challenge.  The slopes, the heights, and the thick blanket of snow it receives every year make it incredible to try the exciting adventure. Mahasu ridge has the best slopes to ski in Kufri, among the gorgeous hill stations near Shimla. There are state government-run ski courses in Kufri and they also give out equipment on hire.

Exploring the beautiful trails on Horsebacks & Yaks

One of the most unique and interesting things to do in Kufri is to take a yak ride or Horseback ride to explore the town of Kufri, one of the top places to visit near Delhi. Taking a horse ride to Mahasu Peak is a must-try in Kufri as horseback riding is combined with a thirst for exploration. Also, Kufri is one of the few places in India where Yak rides are possible in which one can enjoy galloping through the beautiful mountain and forest trails that gives you an unforgettable lifetime experience. With this thrilling ride, one can almost go back to a time when nomadic tribes plodded on yaks through the cold mountains in search of fertile soil and warmer climes.

Try Various Adrenaline-Pumping rides at Kufri Fun World

Perched atop the Mahasu Peak, visiting the famous Kufri Fun World is one of the most entertaining activities in Kufri, among the scenic hill stations near Chandigarh. Situated at about 9,000 feet, the amusement park is dotted with several adrenaline-pumping rides that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Home to a plethora of swings and rides, it is lauded most for its iconic go-karting rides, as it has one of the world’s highest go-karting tracks. As you take the roller coaster ride, you can feel the thrill as the rides go up and witness the beauty of nature from the apex and also get a splendid view of the encircling landscape.

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The Great Wall NOT Of China

The Great Wall NOT Of China

Reverberating forever in a din of what makes for one of the most oft explored architectural marvels that travelers and tourists routinely scout out in their many wanderlusting trails around the world is a certain phenomenon of epical proportions- the giant serpentine presence of the Great Wall of China. The longest wall in the world spanning a main line length of some 3640 km, this monument of ancientry has so fascinated people the world over that it is recognised as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. And while that is all only very ‘obvious’ a manifestation of the gargantuan might which it guards, the fact that the Great Wall of China is so famous a feature of the world and also so popular a tourist attraction however doesn’t make it the only such known structure of impressive dimension to have been ever constructed. Particularly surprising therefore is the running of a similarly grandiose trail of formidability just a few thousand kilometers apart, within the landmass that makes up the same Asian continent in which China resides, but which remains hitherto unexplored, unsurprisingly however since its identity remains shrouded in relative obscurity despite the fact that it is not located at all in some really remote corner of the world.

Our allusion is to a wall again, running this time through the length of the Indian nation, gigantic enough in stature that has earned it therefore the epithet of the Great Wall of India. The second longest continuous wall running anywhere in the world, next only after the ‘illustrious’ Great Wall of China is this closely guarded Indian secret of a time that goes back to the 15th century. In the royal Indian land of Rajasthan, this magnificent wall runs a length of 36 kilometers along the perimeter of the ancient fort of Kumbhalgarh, identifying itself therefore conveniently as the Kumbhalgarh Wall as well. Along its winding in serpentine length through the valleys nestled in the greeny mountainous terrain of the state, perched perfectly between thirteen towering peaks of the Aravalli range, the Kumbhalgarh fort and its associated wall offers no less scenic a view to behold to the many curious travelers who are embarking on this road less travelled, majestic and daunting, even when it is only a fraction of the length of what its predecessor in China ensnares. But the premises on which the wall stands and the precincts of what it guards, the imposing structure itself that the Kumbhalgarh Fort happens to be is what indeed makes the Great Wall of India no any less greater a phenomenon to witness in all its serpentine glory and historical splendor, specifically and particularly since it has its own place of prominence as a heritage structure, being a part of the six Hill Forts of Rajasthan that have been cumulatively recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Built by the then Rana of Mewar Rana Kumbha on a hilltop some 1000 meters above sea level, the fort itself is a structure of enormous substance, both in its history and in its architectural brilliance, as well as in its legacy that which sees sustained importance as being the birthplace of the illustrious Maharana Pratap. Among the largest fort complexes of the world, the history of the structure however is probably more ancient, believed to have existed in some form and in some identity as long back as the 6th century. But the wall that gaudily defends the fort itself and that which has lend it a place even more steeped in significance was constructed only over the course of its later, more prominent timeline. Particularly to shield his empire from the onslaught of the 14th century emperor of the Delhi Sultanate, Alauddin Khilji, Rana Kumbh considered it appropriate to put in place a defence mechanism that would be impenetrable and within the confines of which the Rajput kings could seek refuge. Thus ensued the process of construction of what would go on to be known as the Great Wall of India, snaking through terrain for miles and miles altogether much like what the Great Wall of China conjures up a vision of in its enormity. But at a fraction of length of the latter, the wall encircling the Kumbhalgarh fort also took only a fraction of construction time- a decade and a half against the nearly two millennia that it took for the Chinese fortification to take shape. The largest of the 32 forts that Rana Kumbh would go on to construct during his reign, the origins of the Kumbhalgarh fort however resides somewhere along the lines of the sinister as the story of its stemming goes. Failing multiple times in his attempt to construct the fort wall some few kilometers away from the present spot, the Rana was advised by a saint to offer some human as a form of sacrifice before commencing with the process of fortifying the empire. But with no volunteers offering themselves up for sacrifice, it was the said saint who came to lay down his life to put in place an architectural specimen of immense wonder and magnificence that which is as remarkable a presence in its numerous elements of housing as in its stealthy case of defence. As chief architect Mandan set about to work out his vision of this institution of deterrence while strictly adhering to the principles of Vastu Shastra, what emerged was a long snaking course of considerably lengthy authority with the fifteen feet thick frontal walls beautifully masoned with tons of thousands of stone bricks and decorations as they stretched out from hill to hill. The seven fortified gateways of the fort are no less imposing structures in all their massiveness, providing ample glimpse into what lies hidden within as ramparts and bunkers, step wells and tanks and some 360 temples as well, even as a spectacular Palace of Clouds, the Baadal Mahal graces the premises of this strategic but aesthetic piece of construction built entirely out of sturdy blocks of stone, allowing it to gleam in the glow of its rich legacy and exquisite architectural manifestation alike.

Intact still throughout the ages, the Kumbhalgarh fort and the encompassing Great Wall of India nestled in the Rajasmand district of Rajasthan have proved to be worthy guards of its people, breached just once by the mighty Mughals along with a convoy of scheming forces and that too by means of deceit. And indeed, with its numerous sharp turns and congested stairways and unassuming traps, the fort is no less than a maze of perplexing diversity for enemies to lose their way in. The red bricked wall on the other hand is also a strong line of defence but also as strategic a means for the king’s soldiers to gain themselves the upper hand in battle, allowing for the comfortable passing of eight horses side by side along its rampart, making it therefore in all expansiveness a really clever ploy of safety and security. Somewhat surprisingly therefore, despite all the colossal complexity of it, the Great Wall of India has remained long shielded from the greater world view as the second longest wall in the world even when it has found inclusion in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest fort wall to ever have been!

Today though, the Kumbhalgarh fort is gaining on the popularity of its humongous facade skirted by a wall that bears striking resemblance to the Great Wall of China. Very similar in design, and in appeal as well to its more well known Asian still counterpart, the Great Wall of India makes for quite a sight to savour, winding through its length in majestic flair, partially obscured in the shadow of the mighty mountains along which it courses, only to re-emerge as even more daunting a prospect in grandeur, granting access to such sights and views of the royal aura of the Rajasthani sands that really is an ode to the very regal identity of the state. From the sand dunes of the Thar desert to the glory beckoning from the Aravalli range, the magnitude of grandeur encompassed by the Great Wall of India encircling one of her greatest forts unfolds as an experience that is as dignified as its centuries old existence brimming with storied legacy. Believed to have been illuminated every single evening by massive lamps burning with fifty kilograms of ghee and a hundred kilograms of cotton to provide light for the farmers who worked during the nights in the valley is this fort of exuberance that stands as a testimony to the many ways it has strived to serve its people. A trek through this length of trailing glory is what would grant a really comprehensive account of the amazingly jaw dropping essence of its existence, encountering as you would along its extensive kilometers pits and bumps and valleys and cliffs along which it meanders as one beautiful poetry in motion. The rhetoric might be too flowery for a structure that one would conceive as only an identity in brick and stone, that too perhaps lacking in something to have evaded the world view for so long despite its prime position, both in history and of geography, manifesting its presence right there at the heart of the Indian experience as a wondrous giant tracing its steps back in time, which is exactly what allows this tale of imposition the luxury of being accorded a status in beauty that matches so well its power of captivation. For, only few things of the world can come close to being strikingly similar to one of its most exceptional of the seven wonders and the Great Wall of India truly deserves a special mention in travelogues for its encompassing of a legacy that contends worthily with that forever ravishing phenomenon called the Great Wall of China.


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जब जानोगे BUTTER CHICKEN का राज़ तो इससे पक्का बनाओगे आज | Easy Restaurant Butter Chicken

जब जानोगे BUTTER CHICKEN का राज़ तो इससे पक्का बनाओगे आज | Easy Restaurant Butter Chicken


Tomato Puree :

New Egg Biryani recipe :


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Ph Scale :
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My Santoku Knife(for professionals only) :


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Managing Anxiety About Healthcare: Things to Think About

Managing Anxiety About Healthcare: Things to Think About

Extreme and debilitating anxiety relating to one’s health can present itself in two different ways. Some people struggle with obsessive and usually irrational thoughts and worries about their own health, constantly worrying that they may have some underlying illness and potentially spending far too much time visiting their doctor. Small, common symptoms like headaches may feel like indicators of something far worse. In other people, there may be an irrational fear of visiting the doctor or any other healthcare practitioner for a number of reasons. In both cases, this can cause problems and even interfere with daily life, but both instances can be managed and coped with.

How to Handle Your Fears

Many people are apprehensive of visiting the doctor or the dentist or facing any important procedures, which is entirely normal. It’s not usually an exciting experience. However, allowing this fear to interfere with your annual check-ups and necessary surgeries or other procedures could present a few problems. Neglecting your health and dental care can eventually lead to serious complications, and so it is important that these fears are managed and overcome.

In terms of visiting the dentist or perhaps having an important dental procedure, one might simply need to speak to their dental practitioner and explain their fears and worries. Dentists will usually explain that there is nothing to be worried about and that in the case of surgeries and procedures, patients will usually be sedated in order to ease nerves and prevent any pain. You could discuss different anaesthetic options and ask some questions such as, what’s the difference between oral and IV sedation dentistry? Which is recommended and what could the after effects be? Having an open discussion with your practitioner will help ease your worries and calm your nerves about the experience.

Fearing doctor’s appointments is also common and should be managed similarly: by talking openly and honestly with your doctor. It could also be a good idea to take a close friend or family member along with you to help keep your mind off things and talk you through your nerves.

Worrying About Your Own Health

On the other hand, you might find yourself frequenting your doctor’s office unnecessarily, due to the other kind of fear: anxiety about underlying health conditions. In these cases, it’s very important to rationalise with yourself. Ask yourself why you suspect a particular illness, what the likelihood is that you actually have it, and what the consequences would be if it were really true. Redirecting the focus of your attention in another direction is an important step to take. Take notice if you feel symptoms more strongly when you’re focusing on your suspected illness and whether they seem to subside when you’re distracted or busy with work or family. These could all be signs that your illness is a result of anxiety instead of an actual health issue.

Practising mindfulness is a good strategy to handle mental struggles such as these. It’s important to be present in the moment and focus on what is important and right in front of you in each given moment, to avoid your mind drifting to your health. This can be achieved through breathing exercises and meditation each day, and when you feel your mind start to wander. If you’re aware of the problem and trying to manage it on your own but not quite handling it, it’s a good idea to seek help from a professional. Cognitive behavioural therapy is known for being effective in managing health anxiety.

Nip it in the Bud

If this article alerted you to some worrying behaviour you’ve noticed in yourself, do not feel ashamed or worried. Instead, take it as a sign that you’re capable of managing these issues early on before they become debilitating and impact the way you live your life. Avoiding healthcare practitioners and ignoring issues could lead to serious consequences down the line. Similarly, being overly concerned that each small symptom you experience is indicative of something bigger can lead to long-term mental health issues that can be difficult to deal with, although never impossible.

Handling these types of problems early on ensures that both your physical and mental health will be taken care of. This is why it is important to be able to recognise these behaviours in yourself, as well as in your loved ones. Having support from someone close to you is a crucial element in handling any healthcare problem, whether it’s related to physical or mental health.

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Kashmir Tour Plan | Srinagar, Gulmarg, Sonmarg and Pahalgam | Dream Places to Visit after Lockdown

Kashmir Tour Plan | Srinagar, Gulmarg, Sonmarg and Pahalgam | Dream Places to Visit after Lockdown

For Travel and Tour packages related information and query call at +91 9830406463

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Kashmir Tour Plan
Srinagar, Gulmarg, Sonmarg, and Pahalgam
Dream Places to Visit after Lockdown
#Kashmir #Srinagar #Gulmarg #Sonmarg #Pahalgam #KashmirTourism

Commonly known as the “Heaven on Earth”- Kashmir is an Indian state which is undoubtedly the most attractive as well as the most talked-about tourist place of the country. The state includes numerous holiday destinations which are impossible to cover in a single tour. So, here is our 1st tour plan of Kashmir and in this tour plan, we will cover the destinations near Srinagar.
At Srinagar, you will find soothing weather throughout the year. But it is better to avoid winter and Monsoon here. The best time to visit this place will be from March to June. During these months the temperature varies between 6 degrees and 30 degrees.


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EP 1 Places to visit in Manali , Himachal Pradesh | North India hill station

EP 1 Places to visit in Manali , Himachal Pradesh | North India hill station

Manali is a popular hill station in HImachal pradesh in North India. Manali has so much to offer for travelers from snow peaks to temples to shopping and adventure sports.

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I traveled from Delhi to Manali in mid July 2017 for 6 days. During the 6 day period, i have tried covering every tourist attraction in Manali.

This video should help you plan your itinerary for Manali- Himachal pradesh

Volvo busses from Delhi start in the evening between 5 pm and7 pm. Travel time from Delhi to Manali is between 12 to 14 hours. My bus started at 7.30 pm from Delhi- RK Ashram, we reached Manali next day at 10.30 am

I got reference of Royal travels through a friend, so i got my To & fro journey booked from them.

– You can check with them if you are interested to travel from Delhi to Manali
Details of the day wise itinerary is given below:

Day 1: Trip to solang valley plus vashisht temple.

Manali to solang valley is about 10 kms, it takes 20 to 25 minutes to reach there. Solang valley is popular for paragliding. There are 3 to 4 types of flight starting from Rs 1000 to Rs 3200 depending upon the height you are flying from.

During winters, you can enjoy skiing at Solang valley.

Pilot with whom i did paragliding: Ram chand: 9816170161

Vashishth temple: In the evening time i travelled to vashishth temple, which is about 6 kms from Manali. Rishi Vashishth is one of the 7 saptrishi as per Hindu religion.

Many people who have skin infection get cured automatically after bath in the kund at Vashishth temple.

Day 2: Trip to Manikaran

Manali to Manikaran is about 80 kms, it takes about 3 hours to reach there. You can take a HImachal tourism bus from Manali bus stand or take a bike on rent or taxi on rent to travel to Manikaran.

This place has a popular Gurudwara plus a shiv temple and a hot water spring

Day 3: Visit to Bijli mahadev temple: There are two ways you can travel to Bijli Mahadev temple.
Through kullu: This route involves a trek of 3 kms which can take little more than 1 hour. Even if this involves trek, then also it is route that one should follow when going to Bijli Mahadev temple.
Through Jana waterfall: Distance between manali and Jana waterfall is 35 kms. From Jana waterfall to Bijli Mahadev temple is 24 kms. This route is a complete off track. You should avoid this route if you cannot undertake off road bike drive. One should avoid this unless you are very sure of biking skils.

Day 4: Local sightseeing:

Jogini waterfall: I thought to spending Day 4 of the journey doing local sightseeing, 1st half of the day i travelled to Jogini waterfall, you will need to do trek of about 40 minutes from Vashishth temple for going to Jogini waterfall.

Manu temple: Photography inside the temple was not allowed, so i showed this temple from outside. This temple is dedicated to the sage Manu, who is believed to be the creator of world. This is the only temple of Sage manu. It is located in old Manali.

Hadimba temple: This is located at a distance of about 2 kms from Mall road. It is believed that Hadimba did meditation in the cave at this place. This is a must visit place in Manali.

After the temple visit – i decided to do night stay at a camp, which was near Kalath, landmark near green tax barrier.

It costed Rs 1000 per day per day per person. Name of the coman who manages this is into the wild himalayas:

Day 5: Rohtang pass:

Rohtang pass is 50 kms from Manali. It takes about 3 hours to reach there. You can travel to Rohtang on Himachal tourism bus or take a taxi from manali to Rohtang.

It costs about Rs 4000 to travel on a small taxi like Alto in off season. In season – which is summers May and june travel to Rohtang cost Rs 6000 or so.

Day 6:
Naggar palace: This is about 20 kms from Manali, old house of Royal family.

Hamta pass: This is about 20 kms from Manali. You need to take permission from SDM office for going to Hamta pass. You can go there on heavy motor bike or on SUV vehicle, turns are sharp, 43 curves out over there.

At the end of Day 6 i travelled back from Manali to Delhi in evening, bus started at 6.30 pm and i reached back Delhi at 7.30 am.

Most of the local travel in Manali was done on Motor bike, which i got on hire from Blacksheep..

You may contact them if needed: 9459903529 – Shitij. Their office is at Vashishth chowk.

My recommendation on places to eat:

The corner house: Mall road Manali- opposite SDM office.
Nirvana restaurant: Near Vashisht temple.

Since this video is particularly about places to visit, i didn’t made exclusive coverage of places to eat in Manali.

Should you have any query about Manali places to visit shown in this video, please feel free to ask that in comments below.

Thanks for taking out time to watch this video on places to visit in Manali.


POP Pilates with Cassey Ho

POP Pilates with Cassey Ho

Online fitness guru Cassey Ho invites YH into her Blogilates Studio for a one-on-one POP Pilates workout to get us in shape for summer! In addition to showing us some body-toning moves, she sits down and tells us about how she came up with the idea for the exercise routine, plus she shows off her clothing line, explains her PIIT28 program, and talks about body image and nutrition!


Grilled Chicken Burger | Chef Sanjyot Keer | Your Food Lab

Grilled Chicken Burger | Chef Sanjyot Keer | Your Food Lab

Written recipe for Grilled chicken burger

Prep time: 25 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves: 6

For onion vinegar
• Onion 2 medium size (rings)
• Salt to taste
• Vinegar 1 tbsp
• In a mixing bowl add onions, salt and vinegar, mix well and keep aside for 10-15 minutes.

For coleslaw
• Mayonnaise ½ cup
• Red chilli sauce 1 tbsp
• Ketchup 1 tbsp
• Lettuce 1 cup
• Black pepper 1 tbsp
• In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients and mix well, chill in the fridge.

For burger patty and toasting buns
• Chicken 500 gm (boneless)
• Salt 7 pepper to taste
• Red chilli powder 1 tbsp
• Garlic 1 tbsp (chopped)
• Fresh coriander handful (chopped)
• Oil for grilling
• Cheese slices 6 nos.
• Burger buns 6 nos.
• Mince the chicken with knife or use food processer to save your energy and time.
• Add salt & pepper, red chilli powder, garlic and freshly chopped coriander leaves, mix well and divide the entire chicken mince batch in 6 equal parts.
• Grease your palms with oil and shape them in burger patty.
• Set a grill pan or a normal pan on medium heat, add oil and grill the chicken burger patties from both the sides until crisp and golden brown. Make sure the chicken is completely cooked. Grill the burger patties and keep aside.
• Place a slice of cheese and cover and grill, allow the cheese to melt.
• Slice the burger buns in two halves and grill them in the same pan for 2 minutes on both sides.

• Toasted burger buns
• Grilled chicken patties with melted cheese
• Freshly prepared coleslaw
• Freshly prepared onion vinegar
• ketchup
• Spread a spoonful of coleslaw over the bottom burger bread, place the cheese melted chicken patty, top it with onion vinegar, spread ketchup on the top burger bread, close is it by facing the ketchup side down.
• Your Grilled chicken burger is ready to be served, serve with french fries on side

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Discovered Two Super Earth Exoplanets Orbiting A Star! (Gliese 887b And Gliese 887c)

Discovered Two Super Earth Exoplanets Orbiting A Star! (Gliese 887b And Gliese 887c)

From what this new exoplanet is, to what it could mean for our understanding of the universe as a whole, and more! Join us as we reveal to you the discovered two super-Earth exoplanets orbiting a star! (Gliese 887b And Gliese 887c)
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Humanity has a goal to explore the stars, a goal that may find itself getting a boost in feasibility by the end of the decade. But we also know that to look outside our solar system is important because we can learn even more from the planets and stars that range across the solar system and see how it reflects what is near us. To that end, one of our greatest goals is to find and research as many exoplanets (a planet which orbits a star outside the solar system) as we can and see what they are like and what we can learn from them. Which is good, because we just found a major discovery which might just change things forever.
Because looking at the brightest red dwarf star in the sky may have presented the best chance astronomers have yet to analyze the atmospheres of alien worlds — and perhaps detect whether those worlds have life. This is according to a new study that was recently released.
Scientists focused on the red dwarf star GJ 887, also known as Gliese 887. (Red dwarfs are the most common kind of star in the galaxy, and weigh between 7.5% and 50% the mass of the sun.) At a distance of about 10.7 light-years from Earth, Gliese 887 is the twelfth-closest star. Furthermore, at visible wavelengths, Gliese 887 is the brightest red dwarf in the sky, and with nearly half the sun’s mass, Gliese 887 is the heaviest red dwarf star within about 20 light-years of Earth. That may sound like a lot of needless stats but when it comes to stars you need to know as much about them to fully understand their power, potential, and lifespan.
Previous work found that many red dwarfs host planetary systems, ones usually made up of multiple small worlds. Still, “we’ve been looking for exoplanets orbiting Gliese 887 for nearly 20 years, and while we saw hints of a planetary signal, it wasn’t strong enough to convince ourselves that it was a planet,” study lead author Sandra Jeffers, an astrophysicist at the University of Göttingen in Germany, told
But that has now changed in a major way.
Pressing forward, the researchers examined Gliese 887 for 80 nights in 2018. They relied on the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) instrument at La Silla Observatory in Chile, combining this data with archival measurements of the star spanning nearly two decades.
Astronomers use two strategies to discover most exoplanets, or worlds beyond our solar system. One method relies on how distant worlds regularly block out a fraction of light from their stars as they pass in front of their stars from the observer’s perspective. However, this method will only spot planets that pass through the line of sight between Earth and their stars, meaning it will only detect a small fraction of exoplanets.
Instead, the scientists in this latest work looked for any wobbles from Gliese 887 due to gravitational tugs from orbiting planets. This was where their breakthrough came from. They found the red dwarf has at least two “super-Earth” exoplanets, dubbed Gliese 887 b and Gliese 887 c. The former is about 4.2 times Earth’s mass and orbits just 6.8% of an astronomical unit (AU) from its star (one astronomical unit is the average distance between Earth and the sun), whereas the latter is about 7.6 times Earth’s mass and orbits 12% of an AU from the red dwarf.
To be honest, finding even one exoplanet there after two decades of finding nothing would’ve been momentous in its own right, but finding two? That is something truly special. And yet, that wasn’t all.
The researchers also found evidence for a possible third planet farther out from Gliese 887. Although the red dwarf’s two confirmed planets are likely too hot for life as we know it on Earth, this potential third planet might lie within the star’s habitable zone, where surface temperatures are suitable to host liquid water. Which by our definitions is important to have life, which is one of the many reasons we search for exoplanets so we can see if there’s another planet of life out there.

#InsaneCuriosity #Exoplanets #Gliese887


People & portrait photography | Tips every photographer should know

People & portrait photography | Tips every photographer should know

From spontaneous candids to unretouched skin, the last few years have transformed portrait photography. From selfies to studio shots, today’s photographers are doing away with the cliches (and the over-editing) and embracing personality, authenticity, and creativity.

When you search 500px for “portrait photography,” you’ll turn up a whopping 318,000+ results. We’re living in an era where anything goes: rainbow light filters, pops of color, strong shadows, reflections, and even FaceTime portrait sessions. At the same time, photographers continue to draw inspiration from painters and photographers past, putting a new twist on classic portraiture that’s equally at home on 500px and the walls of a gallery.

“Portrait photography,” as a genre, has been widely interpreted throughout the past decades. While many define a portrait as any photo with a person, we’re also fond of Richard Avedon’s succinct declaration: “A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he’s being photographed.”

The mystery—and the magic—comes down to how the person will respond to the camera. Perhaps more than any other category, portrait photography is about the collaboration between two people, the subject and the photographer. Here are our best tips for making the most of a session and creating portraits that grab our attention.

Dariane Sanche collaborated with her good friend Isabella on this portrait, so they already had a solid foundation of mutual trust. They handmade everything in the picture themselves.

Chat before the shoot

The first step in portraiture happens before you even bring out the camera: get to know your subject. Learn about her interests, or share a cup of coffee. Ask him about his favorite place and why it’s meaningful; you could ultimately use it as the setting for the shoot. Get comfortable with each other; that level of trust will reveal itself in the final portraits.

Al Natural by Angela Perez on

“When I first met Kesia she had a contagious smile and I knew I wanted to show her beautiful smile in this portrait,” the photographer Angela Perez remembers. “I also wanted to bring awareness that Black hairstyles such as dreads are a gorgeous natural hairstyle for men and women of color and that they should be embraced and socially accepted in our community and work environments.”

Watch your background

Backgrounds are some of the most important—if overlooked—elements in portraiture. An environmental portrait featuring the details of a room or home office will help tell a story about the person in the photo, while a solid color background can complement the subject’s eyes or clothing.

An ideal background doesn’t distract from the subject but emphasizes them; sometimes, that means incorporating props that highlight her personality, or maybe it means using color contrast to bring out his facial features. In the studio, you can always DIY your own backgrounds using fabric, salvaged surfaces (wood, metal, etc.), and paint.

For solid background tips, check out our articles The essential guide to creating a black background for your photos and How to shoot on a white background and tips on editing a white background like a pro.

when you can use your studio, make one in the park by Amanda Carlson on

The right background and light can make all the difference; this summer, Amanda Carlson set up a DIY studio in the park for this portrait shoot.

Set the scene

The setting of your shoot will dictate your background, but it’ll also set the mood for the session. Ask your model where he feels comfortable, and go from there; if she’s a hiker, for instance, maybe you could set up a session in a local park in autumn.

As the photographer, you determine the vibe of the session, so make it a positive experience for everyone. Many portrait photographers like to bring music to create atmosphere, and some bring snacks and refreshments to keep the energy up on set. Breaks in shooting can also be a great time to capture candids.

Untitled by Segun-Kabir Sani on

You can find beautiful light anywhere, but there’s nothing quite like the golden hour. Segun-Kabir Sani set up this portrait session at 8:00 am on the dot to photograph his neighbor in the early morning light. No artificial light needed.

Learn your lighting patterns

Lighting setups like Rembrandt lighting and butterfly lighting have been used for generations—and for good reason. Most of these popular “lighting patterns,” discussed further in this article, require only one key light; you can use a speedlite or a window. A diffuser makes for softer, more flattering light.

The pattern you choose will significantly influence the atmosphere of your portrait, bringing it from glamorous to moody and back again. Finally, don’t forget your catchlights; when your subject’s eyes reflect the light source, the entire face lights up. Remember to focus on the eyes so that they are the sharpest elements in the image.

Resolve (pt. 10) by Rob Woodcox on

Rob Woodcox happened upon this location while exploring the “middle of nowhere” in Cape Schanck, Australia. Combined with a shallow depth of field, it provides the perfect backdrop to his self-portrait.

Come prepared

Few things kill the mood on set faster than a photographer fiddling with equipment and struggling to make decisions. Before the shoot, develop a clear plan for your background and lighting scheme, and check all your gear the night before to make sure it’s good to go.

If you’re using natural light, use a sun tracking app to help choose the right time and location (overcast days work well, as does the golden hour before sunset and after sunrise). Touch base with your subject about wardrobe, hair, makeup, and any other details you plan to include. The more relaxed you can be, the more confident your model will feel.


“This will forever be my favorite photo,” André Josselin writes of this portrait. “[It] isn’t a sunset or a naked girl or a great landscape—just a real moment of an old man showing us his kitten. Can’t tell how much this image means to me.”

Incorporate movement

In 1971, Ron Galella captured his now-famous portrait of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis crossing the street in New York City’s Upper East Side; the photographer was in a taxi, and the moment his driver honked the horn, Jackie turned around, her hair swept across her face. These spontaneous expressions and gestures can make a portrait, just as much as any formal pose, so get your subjects moving and encourage them to let down their hair—literally and figuratively.

Our guides 21 poses to try when photographing men and 16 classic and unique poses for photographing women have sample poses to try on-set; many of them introduce some kind of movement.

Get close

One of the easiest mistakes to make is standing too far from your subject; while this works with some environmental portraits, it can often help to take a step closer. During this time of social distancing, you can use a telephoto lens to get close without doing so physically; an 85mm is a popular choice for portraits, or you can go longer with 100mm or 135mm. Keep in mind that a longer focal length will result in a shallower depth of field.

Lemony by Junior Asiama on

Junior Asiama uses a shallow depth of field to create a soft, blurred background, bringing all of our attention to the model on a sunlit day in Tema, Ghana.

Select the right lens

Speaking of prime lenses, these are usually the way to go with portraits, as they produce sharper photos. Prime lenses also tend to be faster; that is, they have a larger maximum aperture, so you can get that nice shallow depth of field and a creamy background behind your subject. You can do a lot with a 50mm, an 85mm, and a 135mm for variety, but even just one of these is a good place to start.

useful article by NATALIA ZHUKOVA on

Sometimes, those closest to us make for the best portrait subjects. Natalia Zhukova created this picture of her grandmother, who still collects magazine articles, trusting them more than info found on the internet.

Shake up your angles

Most portraits are created at eye-level, but sometimes bending your knees can work wonders. If, for example, you want your subject to look powerful and imposing, you might crouch down so you’re looking up at them. If you want to highlight the contours of the face in silhouette, however, you might place your subject in profile.

Every small change in facial view and camera angle will influence the final image. It can help to ask your models to bring some of their favorite portraits before your shoot, as they will give you a good idea of their strongest angles.

Remember your white balance cards

Skin tones are essential in portraiture, and your camera’s auto white balance won’t always get it right. To be safe, carry a white balance card in your bag for those vivid, true-to-life tones. This step is especially important if you’re working with a mix of natural and artificial lighting.

Laundrette with Raphaela by Lena Steinke on

“This was never a planned shooting,” the photographer Lena Steinke recalls. “We were out for a couple of drinks, and I had my camera with me. So we shot some portraits.” Sometimes the best photos of the day are also the least expected.

Be patient

Richard Avedon created his famous 1957 portrait of Marilyn Monroe after hours in the studio. For most of the session, she sang and danced and—in Avedon’s words—“did Marilyn Monroe.” It was only at the end of the night, when the energy had dropped, that she sat down in the corner and let down her guard. Avedon approached her, and she allowed him to take a rare, unposed picture during that introspective moment.

The best portraits often come at the end of a session, when the model and photographer have both relaxed into the moment. Take a cue from Avedon and wait for those moments where everything else—including any public façade—falls away, allowing genuine, unscripted emotion to come to the fore.

TC At Home by Brianna R on

Brianna R photographed TC at home, using a 50mm lens and natural light, resulting in a series of intimate portraits and raw, unplanned moments.

People watch

This tip usually applies to street photographers, but it can be helpful for portraitists as well. Study how people move and interact in public, and learn to read body language and anticipate expressions or gestures. Look for genuine emotions. You can do this on your way to work, in a restaurant, or while waiting in line; interesting moments you see in “real life” can often serve as the inspiration behind a future shoot. The more sensitive you are to details and emotions, the stronger your portraits will be.

You might also like these articles:

A beginners guide to photography | The essential guide
50 Creative Self Portrait Photography Ideas To Trump All Selfies
21 poses to try when photographing men
16 classic and unique poses for photographing women
35+ Mobile Photography Tips For Taking Incredible Smartphone Photos

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