Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray – Rumi
|Sunrise by Michigan Lake
Alder Planetarium, Chicago, Illinois, USA
We all choose different journeys to take in life. The choices we make and the experiences of the journey enriches us. But it is never about the destination, it never has been.
Are you trying to convince yourself that life will be better after you complete some thing … or that doing xyz will make you happy or give you a purpose ? Stop worrying, Start living – Happiness is in the now … in this moment … doing what you are doing without worrying !
Encourage others on their journey, and cherish yours. How are you enjoying your current journey !
The journey is what brings us happiness, not the destination. – Dan Milman
|Buy Print||Countryside Sunset
Enroute Green Riven, Illinois, USA
Kanyakumari, the southern-most tip of India, is around 90 km away from Trivandrum and is located in Tamil Nadu. Kanyakumari has now become a famous tourist spot and anyone who goes there does not miss visiting the Vivekananda Rock Memorial.
Swami Vivekananda himself visited Kanyakumari in December 1892. It has been debated that Vivekananda plunged into the roaring waves and swam across to reach those large rocks. People, even today, dare the swim across, hence it definitely was a possibility. He spent three days and three nights on that rock. The roaring ocean was all the company he had. He saw religion to be the life-blood of India’s millions. He realized in the silence of his heart that India shall rise only through a renewal and restoration of that highest spiritual consciousness. He saw her greatness; he saw her weaknesses as well, the central one of which was that the nation lost its individuality.
There was a lot of controversy on the initiation of the memorial at this location, predominantly relating to religious clashes (according to Wikipedia). Though ironical, it is really sad that many a times, we miss the forest for the trees.
Anyway, today you can take a ferry to the rock. It is peaceful, serene and well maintained. It definitely is a place to sit and reflect, if you really want to :) And as you can see, it is a pleasure even watching this rock from the shore, once the sun goes down and it is all lit up. On right is the Thiruvalluvar statue. At 133 feet high, this depicts the 133 chapters of the Thirukural.
You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul. – Swami Vivekananda
|Buy Print||Vivekananda & Thiruvalluvar Memorial
Kanyakumari, TamilNadu, India
I was returning back from shooting stars over the night. Heading right back to office, was treated with this lovely sun rise. How can I avoid pulling over, running across the highway and getting a shot of the same :)
The inspiration you seek is within-
Be Silent & Listen
Franklin Grove, Illinois, USA
An architecture so white, so magnificent, so delicate and so close to Chicago, it has to be the Baha’i temple.
The Baha’i Temple, Chicago is one of only seven Baha’i temples in the world. It is actually the only one in all of North America. The place is enormous and has 9 almost identical entrances symbolizing the 9 major religions of the world and the fact that all are welcome to worship together at the temple. It’s really a pretty fascinating place surrounded by sprawling grounds with manicured symmetrical gardens and fountains.
If you had visited the place, you know that the entire temple is pure white. But the twilight, bought in the golden shade and accentuated the intricate work on the walls. I also loved how the lilies complimented the setting sun :)
|Buy Print||Baha’I Temple of Worship
Wilmette, Illinois, USA
This shot is from my archives, from back in 2008, a massive view of the Kennecott Copper mine from near salt lake city, utah.
Following a massive April 2013, landslide that resulted in about 165 million tons of rock plummeting to the bottom of the Mine, this no longer looks the same. Here is how it looks after the land slides – Detailed Google Maps current view. Photos from when the slide actually happened – courtesy of KSL News.
Luckily no one was injured, accounting to the continuous monitoring that has been set in place for this 107 year old mine. The mine is estimated to produces 25 percent of the copper used in the United States – and they recognized signs of increasing instability in the months before the slide, closing and removing a visitor center on the south edge of the 2.8-mile-wide, 3,182-foot-deep open pit. It is amazing to see how technology and continuous monitoring helped avoid a major mishap, but also resulted is so much of data that helped study the landslides later.
This is probably one of the world’s largest man-made excavation.
|Bingham Copper Mine
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Learnt about a new plan that Mayor @Rahm Emanuel had put forward to make the city of Chicago as "The North American City of Lights". I love night sky, I love watching the stars & milky way. But I would also say I love lights and city skylines. It was a great experience shooting man made skylines like this @ Seattle.
I love lights. Without them, the shadows would not be so beautiful. So I say come let us light up Chicago ! Lighting is not just about adding jarring halogens and LEDs to buildings. It also can be learning and designing a lighting systems at a really grand scale that is functional and beautiful, while keeping the light pollution low. Am sure we do have technology in place to achieve this. So if you are one of them who can make it happen – – do participate in this world wide competition and submit a proposal to light up Chicago – in a way we can all enjoy the milky way that is always there !!!
Come let us light up Chicago – in a way to reduce light pollution & bring out the milky way that had always been there !!!
This shot is a composite of the Chicago skyline from the Alder Planetarium. The milky ways is from Green River Wildlife area – a couple of hours away from Chicago. Hopefully we would be able to enjoy views like this without camera gimmicky or total blackouts.
|Milky Way Chicago Skyline
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Nothing beats a beautiful spring day like a trip to the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Just 30 mins away from downtown – nestled in Mary McDonalds woods – this well kept & curated garden, provides a deserved break to the Urban feel of Chicago. Are u tired of the concrete jungles, wanna breathe some fresh air – not tainted by pollution – just head down to Chicago Botanic Garden. It definitely is a worthwhile place to get ur Zen back :)
And did I say this is a lovely place to enjoy a sunset too …
|Buy Print||Chicago Botanic Garden
Glencoe, Illinois, USA
As you would have read from the news, the new meteor shower – Camelopardalis – was expected to adorn the skies during the early morning of 5.24.2014. When I heard about this meteor shower, I was pretty excited. Time of the event being a weekend – check. Location – northern continental US – favorable. Clear skies – check. May be the stars just aligned for this :)
Camelopardalis – I was wondering about the name, as it has been as long as the giraffe’s neck, when I came across this !
The giraffe’s species name, camelopardalis (camelopard), is derived from its early Roman name where it was thought of as a composite creature, described as having characteristics of both a camel and a leopard.
The forecasted peak time for the meteor shower was from 1 –3 AM CST. It was not as much as hyped (~200 / hr ?), but the night was still clear and Milky way was magnificent. Around 4 AM, took out my flash light and started playing to get a star war style crisscross with the milky way. Just then the celestial gods decided to bless – look – a shooting start in the same direction my camera was positioned, as if to slice the Milky way.This was not one of the shooting star i saw in person. I was busy walking up & down and playing with the flash light. But I will definitely settle for this shot instead :)
Lesson to self : Never given up, just go out and do what you like, you never know when the stars will align :)
Note: Are you just getting started with night photography ? Do check out this article !
|Buy Print||Camelopardalis Meteor (05.24.2014) Green River Wildlife Area
Harmon, Illinois, USA
This is a single RAW shot processed for the milky way. The ambient light bought in the details of the falls and bit of reflections. Shot this while chasing the Perseids last year. I liked this shot for how this brings out the grandeur of the milky way. At the same time, it is amazing how walking couple of steps and lighting the foreground can bring in such a different feel. Here is the shot with a bit of light painting on the foreground.
It is amazing how much camera’s can see these days, but still – far superior is what the eyes can see :)
darkness of the night
stillness of the forest
rumbling of the falls
twinkling of the stars
grandeur of the milky way
- adorned by a shooting star !
|Buy Print||Perseids & Milky Way Over Bond Falls
Trout Creek, Michigan, USA
The Rockefeller Chapel was designed and erected to be the center and dominant feature of the University of Chicago. Located in the University of Chicago, this beautiful building has become an integral part of the campus.
Rockefeller Chapel is an incredible place and don’t let the term "chapel" fool you. It’s huge and simply magnificent, with one of the largest if not the largest pipe organs in the state of IL. During sunset the light shines through the stain glass and lit up the interior. As the sun goes down the exterior too, is equivalently beautiful. It is definitely worth checking out in full screen.
|Buy Print||Rockefeller Chapel
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Located around 140 miles from Bangalore, the temples of Belur and Halebid are one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. These were built by king Vishnuvardhana in commemoration of his victory over the Cholas at Talakad. Legend has it that it took 103 years to complete and Vishnuvardhana’s grandson Veera Ballala II completed the task. Belur is famous for its cluster of temples, the most beautiful being the Chennakeshava Temple. This shot in particular is that of the The Ranganayaki temple, a minor shrine in the Chennakeshava temple complex. I love the afternoon thunderstorms, they bring in such colors and clarity to the architecture. It also helped keep people out of the shot :)
Learnt that this temple along with Hoysaleswara temple in Halebidu and the Jaina monuments at Shravanabelagola are being proposed as UNESCO world heritage sites. But with such a rich history and ornate work, its a surprise that it is not already on the list of world heritage monuments !
|Ranganayaki Shrine, Chennakeshava Temple
Belur, Karnataka, India
u & i are star material, i mean even literally :)
Was watching Cosmos : A space odyssey yesterday, what an amazing journey. Earlier I learnt about Carl Segan for his quotes, specifically from the 1980 TV series – Cosmos. And Neil Tyson definitely raises the bar with this new series. A must watch – if you already have not. The full versions are available online for free (for a limited time). Time well spent and you know, there is an app for that too :)
Watching the series, predictably bought back thoughts of some amazing night photography and a realization of how wonderfully insignificant we are, in the grand scheme of things. It was a lovely night, out at Mt. St. Helens.
|Buy Print||Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Mt. St. Helens, Washington, USA
“They are flying kites” – this was something that intrigued me as a kid at school. The same set of words that can be interpreted so very differently. May it was something to do with just realizing that things do have alternate perspectives. Things may not be always what they seem or hear to be :)
Anyway, this shot is from the Oregon Coast. That sunny afternoon folks were enjoying the kite festival at Lincoln city. I used to think flying a traditional kite was difficult when the wind was not favoring. Imagine this kite being controlled, not one but six (yeah look closely) strings. You really need two hands with orchestrated harmony to get this thing in flight. But once up, it was a thing of beauty, what do u say :)
|Buy Print||Oregon Coast
Lincoln City, Oregon, USA
The trip to India was awesome. It was time well spent with the family and taking a break :)
Though I was not able to shoot as much as I had intended, I was able to sneak in a stop for a sun rise at Mahabs. Am glad I did it :) Mahabalipuram is very famous for the shore temple. My plan was to shoot a silhouette of the shore temple. I had shot the same during twilight blues, but wanted to get the same with some vibrant colors this time.
The plan started to fall apart when the start was delayed and the overcast horizon made the light questionable. And just as I just set up the tripod, realized I had missed the Neutral Density filters at home. I always like shooting a long exposures during twilight, as it gives the dreamy feel to the shot.
Given these, decided to freeze the wave action. The foam was so fresh and the water was inviting. In turn, luck, as if to favor me, decided to help with the light. Just in time, the sun broke out of the overcast horizon, spreading the golden blanket across the sea. When I look at this shot, I was reminded of the below quote by Ansel. It really paid off getting in the water and shooting low :)
A good photograph is knowing where to stand – Ansel Adams
|Buy Print||Bay Of Bengal
Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India
Holi is probably one the most enchanting of the festivals originating from India. It is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month. It has pretty much moved all around the world, across cultures and was celebrated last weekend. Participants traditionally throw bright, vibrant powders at friends and strangers alike, marking the beginning of spring and the triumph of good over evil. Holi is the time to unwind, de-stress and bond with sweets, Thandai and colors. The celebrations at the Greater Hindu temple of Chicago was equally exuberant, very much like last year (you could also read more about the festival here). Below is the Photo Essay of the event from this year ! Happy Holi !!!
Lot of folks were so open to being photographed and even asked where they can get the shots. If you were one of them feel free to get yours here.
Everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you made. If you want a different result, make a different choice …
Shooting reflections is an experience unto itself. There is something mesmerizing about reflections. It is not just about getting the final shot … From the point of scouting a location to waiting for the for the wind to take a break and the light to be just right – it all kind of gets you into a meditative plane ! May be that is what drives me to look out for perfect reflections while I am out shooting ! When things do not line up or, if the location is not very conducive for mirror reflections, occasionally I do try to achieve the same in post processing – like this shot – but the experiences from shooting a original reflections are far more soothing and satisfying :)
This shot is from N Santiam Hwy. I was returning back from a failed attempt to capture some shooting stars. But luckily it was fall season and as the light broke, there was still lot of interesting things to shoot. I was glad that I pulled over the highway to capture this mesmerizing reflection.
|Buy Print||Willamette National Forest, N Santiam Hwy
Detroit, Oregon, USA
Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. ― Rabindranath Tagore
Sunsets are amazing – for there is no two alike. It could either burst into a million colors or turn out to be more subtle – the surprise element, as with life, makes it even more enjoyable. This shot was from a drive to Green river state wildlife area in Illinois. We were headed down there to shoot some stars for the night. As we were driving down the Highway 30, the sky was just lit up with the twilight colors. I just could not help but pull over and run across to capture the scene :)
|Buy Print||Highway 30, Green River Wildlife Area
Harmon, Illinois, USA
All that you see, is a reflections of you !
It always pays to take the road less travelled.
This is from N Santiam Hwy. The route from Stayton to Bend thru Detroit was just ablaze with fall colors. Parked off the highway and wandered into the misty morning without destination. Luckily came across an unmaintained trail path that led me down to this view !!! Some beautiful fall colors, a blanket of mist, some drizzles and an occasional sunshine – it definitely turned out to be a memorable drive.
|Buy Print||Willamette National Forest, N Santiam Hwy
Detroit, Oregon, USA