March 29, 2015

Falling Star … Falling Star …!!!

This was from the night, few moons ago, when I was shooting the camelopardalis meteor shower. Clear nights are nice to shoot the milky way. But a little bit if mist, actuates and gives a good nice glow to the stars. I love the Green River Wildlife Area for the night sky watching. It provides ample dirt roads and parking spots where you could set up base ! For this shot I set up the camera and decided to drive around and the set the car, so the head lights could light up the trees :)

It is fun to shoot the milky way. It is even more enjoyable when my family joins in the party. My son (8 yrs) is equally intrigued by the night sky. Along with the shot, just wanted to share something he wrote during one of our trips to catch a glimpse of a meteor shower.

Falling star Falling Star
Sliding down the Sky
I will catch You when I fly.

Falling star Falling Star
You have a Shiny light,
Which makes you very Bright
You go swiftly
– My Dad takes snaps of U quickly.

Falling Star Falling Star
We see U barely,
So come out early
We see U in dark starlit midnight
Hoping to see U tonight. – Pranav :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-24 mm : ISO 2500 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30 sec

Camelopardalis Meteor, Green River Wildlife Area
Harmon, Illinois, USA
March 22, 2015

By the base of Proxy Falls, Oregon

Proxy Falls is one of the most frequently photographed waterfalls in Oregon. It most certainly is once of the most photogenic waterfalls. But being surrounded by the lush forest and given its height, it is a bit tricky to photograph the same. As most of the PNW, getting to the spot is a major part of the experience. The trail goes over an old lava flow, then entering a mixed confer forest.  From the end of the trail, the falls are viewed through a natural channel in the thick surrounding forest.

Proxy Falls is created as the Proxy Creek breaks over a high wall of basalt, which is adorned by mosses. At a height of 226 feet, the two streams that flow down is a sight to behold. This is my attempt to capture the falls with all its surroundings and the majestic mood !

Canon 7D : Canon 10-24 mm : ISO 100 : 16 mm : f27.0 : 30 sec

  Proxy Falls, Three Sisters Wilderness 
Willamette, Oregon, USA
March 14, 2015

Elements of Nature

ExploreTheElements Explore the Elements – is a Travel Photoblogging Challenge run by the good folks at Thomas Cook. Photography and Travel, by themselves compliment each other pretty well. A Travel Photoblogging Contest, with such a theme, then is a match made in heaven :) It is similar to the the earlier contest – ‘Capture the Color’ from few years back – just with a nice twist in the theme. For me, the contest was definitely intriguing because of the theme. It is all about identifying the shot that signifies the meaning of each of the Elements in Nature – Earth, Water, Fire & Air. Personally, it had lot of connection with my pursuits – seeking new experience, capturing the same and sharing with you all – by way of Travel and Photography.

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more.

Short-listing the potential entries, I was kind of surprised. It gave a significant insight into the kind of shots I had captured. Noticed, it was easier to pick a lot of shots for one category, while being nearly bankrupt on another :). Additionally it was a welcoming challenge, in itself, to identify that single shot for each Element of Nature. There were a lot of shots with expansive views and to my liking, but I zeroed down on ones that stuck a cord with the theme – #Elements of Nature. I wanted to showcase the shots that were in synergy, with my soul searching, experience and mood from my travels.

We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

Hope you enjoy viewing them, as much as I did in capturing and sharing them :)

Earth  

earth-icon-grey Bryce Canyon is not much of a canyon. One could visit the place umpteen number of times, but still be awed. It is just magical. The hoodoos change with time – due to the forces of wind, water and snow. The colors are amazing and different, depending on the time of the day. Heading out at 4 AM was well worth it, as the early morning with the dawn’s first light, is probably the best times to enjoy this view. The hoodoos look so delicate, yet at the same time stubborn – that result in this beautiful formation.

I love this shot for the flow it has – from the skies to the mountains, from the mountains to the plains, form the plains to the forest and eventually to the canyons. It is as if you get a glimpse into dissected view of mother earth, evolving over 1000s of years !

Morning Glow @ Bryce, Utah

Water 

water-icon-grey

Thor’s Well at the rugged Oregon coast is well, just a pit – 10 feet wide and 15 feet deep. But when the tide is high, the play of water makes this place so out of the world. It literally feels like Thor’s well, aptly popularized by one of the photographer around 2006.  Standing there, dodging each wave, witnessing the power of the ocean – is quiet intimidating. It gives such a humble feeling and at the same time a sense of being part of the something much bigger !

Getting this shot involved a lot of pre-planning and then some more. The preplanning involved – locating the spot and planning to get there when the tide was high enough during a sunset. It took additional scouting and caution to get to the actual spot. Getting this shot was all based on the rhythm of the waves and timing. I had wanted a long exposure on the foreground, but had wanted the sprouts of the waves in the back to have some structure. After shooting for almost an hour, it all came together, with a bit of luck. A huge double wave hit the coast as my exposure was closing out, resulting in this frozen moment !

Thor’s Well, Oregon Coast

Fire 

fire-icon-grey  I could not think of anything better to represent energy, than the creation of Earth itself. Witnessing the beautiful synergy of the energetic forces of nature, catalyzed by the lava is a lifetime experience.

It is an adventure just to even witness the lava flow, but it is all the more intriguing and intimate to follow the lava from the crater to the ocean entry. They make the way thru the lava tubes and eventually culminate at the ocean.  The lava flow, when it happens, is mostly over multiple days. But to get this shot, I planned for the morning twilight, when there is enough light to lit the water and the sun is not yet out, so the lava can be captured in its beauty.  Sleeping in the car at the parking lot, helped, but still had to plan for the time to actually get to the spot. Personally for me, it was such a intimate experience, shooting from the water and witnessing the raw beauty of earth being created.

Fire and Ice, Ocean Entry Kilauea

Air 

air-icon-greyStanding at the foot of a majestic 250ft waterfalls does something to your self. The cool breeze thru the hair, the spray of the falls on the face – opens up your senses. You kind of realize that you are not bound to this body and could just fly if you wanted to. It just nudges you to connect with nature.

It had been almost a decade, from when this was captured, but I could still sense that feeling of belonging, as I just stood there enjoying the grandeur of the falls. Some of life’s best moments are not planned , but instinctive.

P.S: This symbolizes my feeling when am out there in nature and I love the shot so much, that it had been my online profile avatar for years :)

At the Foot of Latourell Falls, Oregon

Being driven by Photography for the past couple of years, I decided to share the same via this blog. This and the online community paved way to know, meet and shoot with some great folks. As part of this contest, I would like to nominate the few of my friends whose work I admire a lot. I know, this greatly reduce my chances at the contest, when I pull in these guys. But it is all about getting the best of the shots right ;-) These are some amazing photographers, do check out their work too.

Through Strange Lenses – Jimmy McIntyre

The Star Trail – Ben Canales

Out of Chicago – Chris Smith

Aaron Priest

ShreeniClix – Shreenivasan Manievannan

March 9, 2015

Contemplating by the Skyline

When ever I watch the skyscrapers of Chicago, I am reminded of the movie The Matrix. It definitely was a movie with deeply profound and meaningful threads of truth, at intense philosophical and spiritual levels. Reality in some sense is dictated by our beliefs and our environment. Truth then is a matter of becoming aware of what is and what is not. This for one went beyond just being a movie – to build the base from scriptures and different religions and cultures. It makes one wonder – at the end science and spiritually are just different ways to the same destination.

Do not try and bend the spoon, that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth … there is no spoon. Then you will see, it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

As for this shot, it was a pleasant evening by the lake – cool breeze, majestic building, clear skies, some stars at a distance – but my mind kept coming back to how we are stuck with or sometimes within the system. It is all an illusion :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 33 mm : f9.5.0 : 30 sec

Buy Print   By the Lake, Shedd Aquarium
Chicago, Illinois, USA
March 2, 2015

Sacred Architecture of Baha’i

Baha’i Temple carries an architecture that successfully incorporates spiritual, artistic, and cultural influences. This architecture aims to unify the people of many different backgrounds and religions & beliefs into one. People of different cultures and traditions can come here to pray, meditate or simply enjoy the tranquility and artistry.

From the first time I visited this place, I had always imagined how divine this place would be with a delicate white blanket of snow. With all the snow lately, the weather was in favor. Though the day was a bit overcast, decided to head up as we just have some good snow showers. I had wanted to capture the mood – the white blanket of snow everywhere – making sure not to blow out the intricate designs on the walls – while still highlighting everything from the symmetry of the temple to the texture of the snow. It was quiet a challenge, but a fun challenge that I sure enjoyed :)

This is my first attempt at black & white. How do u like it ? If you prefer color, check this out for the visual treat from previous spring !

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f16.0 : 4 sec

Buy Print   Baha’i Temple of Worship
Wilmette, Illinois, USA
February 22, 2015

Sunset Glow by the Snow

The winter brought loads of snow !!! It is always fun to walk in the snow. If you are dressed appropriately and do not mind the cold, the winter can add so much beauty to even the regular neighborhood, that you are familiar with. This is from one such drive from within the city @ Schaumburg :)

There is something incredibly honest about trees in winter; They are experts in letting things go.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f22.0 : 0.5 sec 

Buy Print   Busse Woods
Elk Grove Village, Illinois, USA
February 19, 2015

Refuse to be ordinary

Bandipur National Park is an established Tiger Reserve, but it is also an amazing place to watch birds. This particular day as we were eagerly trying to locate some big cats, this beauty decided to get our attention. He was just still and serene, while the slow breeze was making the leaves around dance. After leisurely posing for this shot, he decided to show his flying skills too. It was quiet a sight to watch the him glide – oh, so majestically.

 

Canon XSi : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 1600 : 168 mm : f6.7 : 1/180 sec 

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change

Peacock
Bandipur National Park, Karnataka, USA
February 16, 2015

Sunset by the Lake, Michigan Wilderness

Though Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, you could get a flavor for the same in the neighboring upper peninsula of northern Michigan too.

This shot was from the day when I drove up to Bond falls, to capture the Perseids. After initial scouting, realized the back drop of the falls was not conducive for sunset. Hence decided to fire up Google maps and started driving towards a water body with a west side view. After a couple of miles and a few lakes, ended up at this lovely view. The banks of the lake was laden with mosquitoes and a bit swampy – but the view from behind the grass, the colors from the setting sun and the crescent moon – made up for it :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 19 mm : f8.0 : 1/10 sec 

Buy Print Sunset by the Lake
Land O’ Lakes, Michigan, USA
January 26, 2015

Magical Sunset by Mount St. Helens

Getting to Mt St Helens by itself is fun. The Highway 504 enroute is just perfect – be it bicycle, motorcycle or a casual car drive. It has some sweeping turns and plenty of turn offs at viewpoints to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Pacific North West. The drive up takes you to the Johnston Ridge Observatory. A little rustic building filled with history and even more adored with a picture perfect view of the Mt. St. Helens.

The volcanic eruption of the 1980 created a huge crater, losing almost 14% of its elevation and resulting in the flattened top. The debris spurred around for ~250 miles, impacting the entire ecosystem. Even today, after decades, one could still witness the ashes on some part of the wilderness trees. Each element around – the landscape, the deteriorating but majestic trees, the mountain, the fissures of lava – each remind us of the power of nature.

The sun actually sets behind you as you enjoy the mountain view. But this particular evening the light was just magical and it was fire across the sky. Given the vicinity to the visitor center and the concrete paved walkway, it lends itself well for night photography, especially if ur worried to hike up in the dark. It is amazing to view the milky way above St. Helens. Additionally the expansive view also opens up possibilities for some creative panoramas too :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 13 mm : f22.0 : 20 sec 

Buy Print   Sunset by Mt. St. Helens
Mt. St Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington, USA
January 18, 2015

Punchbowl at Eagle Creek Trail

Eagle Creek Trail is just gorgeous and magical. The round trip hike to Tunnel Falls is 12 miles, but it is definitely worth even to hike up just to Punch Bowl (round trip ~ 3.4 miles). A stop off at 1.5 miles let you get a peek at the lovely Metlako Falls too. There are a few narrow sections with 500 foot plus drop offs. If you are worried about the height, several have a cable to hold onto on the uphill side.

Punchbowl Falls can be enjoyed from above or down below. When you finally get down to Punch Bowl Falls, the only way to see it, is to walk across the vast rocky stream and bingo – she is straight ahead with amazing view. Definitely plan on wearing waterproof boots or waders ! I was there around June and decided to venture into the water with bare foot. The water was still cold and the rocks slippery. It is not a pleasant feeling to hike back 2 miles in wet shoes either :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 33 mm : f22 : 8.0 sec 

 





If you are in sync with nature, there is beauty, even when things come crashing down, like the waterfall :)

Punchbowl Falls
Eagle Creek Wilderness, Oregon, USA
January 11, 2015

Hail the New Dawn

Cave Point is a little park – off the beaten track with beautiful views of the rock ledges along Lake Michigan. This probably is the most beautiful areas in Door County, WI. The hiking was fabulous and allows to enjoy the thrill of climbing down the rocks to get close to the waves crashing against them. Make sure you wear good shoes as the rocks can be a bit tricky especially if you want to climb down towards the water. The effects of water and wind erosion on these cliffs is very prominent, leading to the creation of carved pools and caves (hence the name).

Witnessing a lovely sunrise from one of these caves, as the high waves and the cold water was splashing across, along with the early morning breeze caressing the face – It was just serene & breathtakingly beautiful.

I strongly believe, what we feel while looking at a photograph is proportional to what the photographer felt when making it :) the idea is that connection transcends the photograph.

Looking forward to witness, capture and share many beautiful sunrises and more in 2015 !!!

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 1/350 sec

Buy Print Sunrise @ Cave Point
Door County, Wisconsin, USA
December 28, 2014

Purple Flowers by the Waterfall

Waterfalls are raging in terms of natural energy that can either carve through solid rock or smash huge logs. At the same time they’re also incredibly soothing to be around, sometimes even peaceful. As with everything in nature its the duality in play, may be :)

Meenmutty Falls at 300 meters is a sight to behold ! At the same time, looking closer, revels the age, power of the flowing water and the intricacies & beauty that is visible only up-close. Weather you want to enjoy the thunderous roaring of the falls or the soothing flowers by the falls – this is the spot to be !!!

Canon XSi : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 70 mm : f32 : 2 sec 

  Meenmutty Falls
Wayanad, Kerala, India
December 16, 2014

Let it be

Just, Let it be …

Canon XSi : Tamron 10-270 mm : ISO 400 : 270 mm : f5.6 : 1/500 sec 

Buy Print   Sunset by a Coconut Groove
Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
November 30, 2014

Storm in the Skies

After driving for 14 hours straight, I thought, all I would want was to get some break and sleep. But I was wrong ! As we reached the Smoky Mountain National Park and set the tent well into the darkness, the conditions were just ripe to explore some stars and was too tempting to miss ! The moon was not up, it was one of the darkest skies that I had seen in a while. It took a while to drive around and identify a spot, safe enough to shoot shoot the stars with some interesting foreground. Being new to the place, the mystery of the night and the sound of the rushing stream near by, added to the experience. The clouds were moving pretty fast, and helped set the mood of this shot to a great extent.

As for the processing of this shot : it was aided by the nifty Photoshop script(s) – Creative Trails UI & Creative Effects UI. I wrote a whole article about these scripts over the weekend. You can download the scripts here (for free, of course !) . If you are into photography do take some time to check it out.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 2500 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30 sec 

Great Smoky Mountain National Park
Elkmont Road, Tennessee, USA
November 13, 2014

Star Lit Orb at Cave Point

The trip to Wisconsin was awesome this past season. Not only was the falls colors great at door county, but got a chance to hike along the cliffs, capture a shooting star, shoot a moon rise, some star trails and opened some portals too :)

The Gibbous moon lit the cliffs from behind the bushes !

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 1600 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30 sec 

  Cave Point County Park
Door County, Wisconsin, USA
October 29, 2014

Fireworks at Buckingham Fountain

Screenshot_2014-10-29-20-56-52Buckingham fountain, in the middle of Chicago downtown, had become a favorite spot for me when it operated during summer. It was amazing watching the water and light show. Lining up the fireworks was an added bonus.

In Chicago – Navy Pier the fireworks go off pretty much twice a week (Wednesdays / Saturdays) in summers and for additional preplanned events. I am always on the lookout of interesting foreground for fireworks like this at Seattle or this one from St. Louis (my favorite).

TPE helped with the initial planning. But with just a tentative navy pier area for fireworks, it was a hit or miss. To add to it, that was one of the last weekend of regular firework show for this season (the next one for the year being on Halloween). After quiet a bit of planning and lot of uncertainty, decided to try out the shot I had in mind. The distance between the foreground and the actual firework show was not advantageous, but the grand bursts from the finale just made up for it !

At the end, it all came together. I love it, when a plan comes together – or may be I was just lucky ;-)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 20 mm : f11.0 : 15 sec 

Buy Print Fireworks @ Buckingham Fountain
Chicago, Illinois, USA
October 26, 2014

Autumn Harvest

Before the 16th century, harvest was the term usually used to refer to the fall season. As people gradually moved from working the land to living in cities, the word harvest lost its reference to the time of year and came to refer only to the actual activity of reaping, and autumn, as well as fall, began to replace it as a reference to the season.

This scene from a Wisconsin county road seems to capture Harvest and Fall in a single frame. What do u think ?!

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 400 : 17 mm : f4.0 : 1/750 sec 

Buy Print   Country Road, Hwy 57 
Door County, Wisconsin, USA
October 20, 2014

Through the Looking Glass

Life is truly a reflection of what we allow ourselves to See & Be !

Wisconsin Dells might be know as the Waterpark Capitol of the World, but it also very close to several state parks, know for its fall colors. Mirror Lake State Park is only a few miles from Devil’s Lake State Park and is often thought of as the “Overflow” park for campers who can’t fit in at Devil’s Lake.  However, just visit once and you would realize that Mirror Lake State Park has a special beauty of it’s own. Though this is closest to Wisconsin Dells, it feels so far away from civilization.

At the heart of the Mirror Lake State Park is a beautiful lake … It is a great place to swim and paddle in. The evening was chill and the water was still. I just decided to stay out and enjoy the reflection, with just occasional birds accompanying me. The twilight from setting sun, the fall colors and the reflections were just complimenting each other. It turned out to be an amazing evening ! Now this is worth calling a Mirror Lake, right ;-)

P.S : The entire dynamic range was possible with 7 exposure, thanks to Magic Lantern !

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 13 mm : f13.0 : 30 sec 

Buy Print   Mirror Lake State Park
Baraboo, Wisconsin, USA
October 16, 2014

Draconid over Cave Point

After a long planning decided to head to Door County for capturing the palette of fall colors. As I was scouting the locations online, read about Cave Point to be a prominent spot. Being close to the the place where we stayed, decided to head there first thing in the evening to capture some stars. Reaching the spot after sunset did not help navigating in the dark. With the moon scheduled to come up, did not have much time either.

The water, aided by the wind was crashing against the cliffs and caves. This bellowing of waves helped traverse to the edge of the cliff. But by the time my eyes got used to the darkness, the moon decided to come out. It indeed was a lovely moon rise across the Michigan lake. But the best was yet to come …

I decided to use the moon light to capture the rugged cliff from below. The cool breeze, the sounds of the water crashing against the walls, the night sky … and just as I was exposing for the same, this lively meteor decided to adorn the sky. It took around 12 – 15 seconds to span across the sky before burning off.

Given the waxing gibbous moon, I was not even expecting a meteor sighting. I could only imagine how bright it would have been, if not for the moon :) With my wife and kid atop the cliff (look keen), this definitely was a treasure of a moment captured !

Once I came back from the trip. looked up online and identified this as Draconids based on the date and direction. The Draconids owe their name to the constellation Draco the Dragon, and are created when the Earth passes through the dust debris left by comet 21 P/ Giacobini-Zinner.

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 18 mm : f8.0 : 1/90 sec 

Buy Print   Draconid Meteor (10.11.2014) @ Cave Point County Park
Door County, Wisconsin, USA
September 24, 2014

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning

The perks of shooting out the whole night is that you don’t need to wake up early to catch the sunrise ! After chasing the perseids over the night, it was well worth stopping by at Jonsrud Viewpoint. With a view like this, just a few steps from the parking, this spot never disappoints !

It was quiet cold for a summer morning, the sun was coming up in the horizon and kissing the valley with its golden light. And as if to respond the blanket of fog started rolling, without haste to reveal the Sandy river below. As I walked out that mid summer early morning, this is what I saw !!!

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 13 mm : f4.5 : 1/750 sec 

Buy Print Jonsrud Viewpoint
Mt. Hood Scenic Byway, Oregon, USA
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