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
September 17, 2014

Good Evening from the Bean

Cloud gate, also affectionately called by the locals as bean is a lovely spot amidst downtown Chicago to spend an evening. As if the bean by itself is not interesting enough, there are numerous areas of interest near by, all walk able. Be it the amazing architecture or the beautiful fountains or interesting shows at Jay Pritzker Pavilion (mostly free) or the lovely lake – this spot has got it all !!!

Canon 7D : Canon 10-24 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f8.0 : 30 sec 

  Cloud Gate
Chicago, Illinois, USA
September 1, 2014

A Mid Summer Afternoon …

Don’t wait
all week for Friday
all year for Summer
and all lifetime for happiness …

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

Buy Print Harris county forest preserve
Yorkville, Illinois, USA
August 25, 2014

Cascade Falls – framed

Matthiessen State Park is an Illinois state park located a few miles south of the more famous Starved Rock State Park. The main entrances to both parks are located on Illinois State Route 178. The park is centered around a stream that flows from Matthiessen Lake to the Vermilion River. This smaller park is often overlooked, being in the vicinity of the larger Starved Rock park.

But the Cascade falls is nevertheless pretty scenic. The hike to the falls itself, is interesting as it meanders thru bushes, bridges and couple of streams. Spending the afternoon proved worth while, as I incidentally found this cave, with a lovely framed view of the falls. Look close and you would get to realize the size of the falls :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 22 mm : f27 : 6 sec

Buy Print   Cascade Waterfalls
North Utica, Illinois, USA
August 17, 2014

Sea horse, Skyline and some stars …

Buckingham Fountain at Chicago, is seriously beautiful.  A favorite spot in the city, one can literally spend hours hours watching the fountain.  The backdrop of Chicago or the lake, behind the fountain make it even more gorgeous.

With 134 jets and a fountain water capacity of 1.5 million gallons, it roughly pumps 14,100 gallons of water per minute. Water is re-circulated from the base pool after the basins are filled and not drawn from the outside except to replace losses from wind and evaporation. Some amazing engineering – be it the stupendous architecture or the the lighting at the dusk or the synchronous music that goes along with the lighting. The fountain located in the shores of Lake Michigan also symbolizes the lake itself, with four pairs of sea horses representing the four states that border its shoreline.

It was really lovely to see the Cassiopeia (Constellation) shining atop, even amidst all that man made city light. By the by, that lovely blue building, that u see there – that is where I work out of, lucky me … or not  ;-)

I present to you Sea horse, Skyline and some stars at Buckingham Fountain, Chicago. Definitely well worth checking out in large. How do u like it ?

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 13 mm : f8.0 : 10 sec 

Buy Print   Buckingham Fountain 
Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois, USA
August 5, 2014

Volcanic Fall Colors

The Volcanic scenic byway – It is one of the strangest places where I have seen some amazing fall colors. The Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway skirts lakes, diverse wetlands, and scenic ranches, all against a stunning backdrop of volcanic landscapes. On second look, it felt like the lava was out flowing again :)

In the making for several thousand years, how do u like the fall colors juxtaposed amidst the rocky volcanic remains ?

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 130 mm : f5.6 : 1/60 sec 

Buy Print   Fall Colors by Volcanic remains
Enroute to Mt Bachelor, Bend, Oregon, USA
July 17, 2014

Let yourself be …

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray – Rumi

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f22 : 1 sec 

Sunrise by Michigan Lake
Alder Planetarium, Chicago, Illinois, USA
July 13, 2014

Life is all about the journey …

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

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 200 : 22 mm : f4.5 : 1/30 sec 

Buy Print Countryside Sunset
Enroute Green Riven, Illinois, USA
June 30, 2014

Vivekananda Memorial Rock, Kanyakumari

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

Canon XSi : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 46 mm : f4.0 : 30 sec 

Buy Print Vivekananda & Thiruvalluvar Memorial
Kanyakumari, TamilNadu, India
June 26, 2014

Be Silent & Listen

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

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 130 mm : f5.6 : 1/30 sec 

Countryside
Franklin Grove, Illinois, USA
June 20, 2014

Baha’i Temple of worship

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 :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f5.6 : 6 sec 

Buy Print Baha’I Temple of Worship
Wilmette, Illinois, USA
June 15, 2014

Kennecott Copper Mine

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
June 5, 2014

Come let us light up Chicago !!!

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.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f4.5 / 6 sec : f3.5 / 30 sec 

  Milky Way Chicago Skyline
Chicago, Illinois, USA
June 1, 2014

Sunset – by the Tulips

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 …

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f22 : 6 sec 

Buy Print   Chicago Botanic Garden
Glencoe, Illinois, USA
May 24, 2014

209P/LINEAR’s handshake with earth – Camelopardalis

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 !

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

Buy Print Camelopardalis Meteor (05.24.2014) Green River Wildlife Area
Harmon, Illinois, USA
May 21, 2014

Majestic Milky way @ Bond Falls

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 !

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

Buy Print   Perseids & Milky Way Over Bond Falls
Trout Creek, Michigan, USA
May 18, 2014

Rockefeller Chapel @ UOC

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.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30 sec 

Buy Print   Rockefeller Chapel
Chicago, Illinois, USA
April 30, 2014

Jewel of the Karnataka–Belur & Halebid

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
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