August 17, 2015

Stroll by the River @ 2 AM

The Perseid meteor shower, is associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle and appears to streak out of Perseus constellation. Perseids usually is visible around 2nd week of Aug. With little or no moon to ruin the show, this was a great year for watching the Perseid meteor shower.

Every time the comet dives in towards the sun, it leaves a trail of rocky icy bits along its path like a cosmic, frozen Hansel and Gretel trail. This trail can remain intact for decades after the fact and gets refreshed with each new pass (the last of which was in 1992 and the next one is 2126). As the Earth barrels through the debris field, all the little bits in it’s way burn up in the atmosphere, creating brilliant streaks across the sky. Even particles the size of the sand can create some lovely views like this.

 

2 AM in the Morning, Watching the milky-way, Sipping a cup of hot tea – is an experience unto itself. Add a shooting star and what more can u ask for :)

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

Buy Print    Perseids Meteor (08.15.2015)
Blue River, Wisconsin, USA
August 7, 2015

Let Nature be, it will heal itself …

Recently reading about the forest fire in the west coast was heavy in my heart. The dry weather and drought was definitely fuelling the same. But reading about the options of ‘clear cutting’ or ‘thinning’ to reduce forest fire did not help either. Only we, humans, could come up with such options. Too much of our scientific thinking and that we could control things without messing others. Initially this may sound like a good counter intuitive plan, but just thinking thru it, will help realize the long term impacts. If wolfs could change the course of rivers, we ought to respect and agree that the butterfly effect would have drastic impacts in future on these kind of actions.

Let nature be. It will heal itself.

Reading all this, reminded me of the feeling I had when I shot this, couple of years back. I had gone out to enjoy the fall colors. The morning was crisp, the air was cool, there was mist settling over the distant trees. There was even a sprinkle of snow. Even with all this, it was kind of a eerie feeling to witness these chopped trees. It felt almost alien, as if they were trying to drag themselves to the water to get some relief for their soul.

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 119 mm : f5.6 : 1/60 sec

   N Santiam Hwy
Detroit, Oregon, USA
July 31, 2015

Thunderstorm by the City

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…
It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.
– Vivian Greene

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 400 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 1/15 sec

Buy Print    Brewing Thunderstorm
Wolcott, Indiana, USA
July 27, 2015

The Celestial Alignment

When life knocks you down, just roll over and enjoy the stars :)

This shot is from a few years back, when I was out at Trillium Lake to enjoy the Perseids Meteor Shower. Being my first night-out shooting, I consider myself lucky to have captured the Perseids. It really did not start out that way. The first half of the night was more of hide and seek, as the meteors were adorning the skies, especially where the camera was not pointed at. I was much worried that the possibilities would only go down, as the moon was coming up.

As the night was wading, the moon was coming up the horizon. But only after I decided to stop chasing the Perseids, did I notice that the moon brought in Venues and Jupiter along, in a lovely celestial alignment. As I zoomed in to capture the night sky along with the Moon, Venue & Jupiter – a Perseids – decided to join the show too. I couldn’t be more glad, when all things came in alignment :)

Perseids Meteor Shower is one of the more consistent meteor showers in the northern sky. Its coming up in a few weeks (Aug 12-14, 2015) and the waxing crescent (3%) would not be hindering the same. Have you planned where you would be enjoying the show from for 2015 ?!

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 1600 : 19 mm : f5.6 : 15.0 sec

   Trillium Lake
Mt. Hood, Oregon, USA
July 20, 2015

Moon Rise by Cave Point

Moon rise can be as beautiful and dramatic as a sun rise. And the best part, you don’t need to wake up early ;-) This was from a lovely night at Door County, Wisconsin. The moon rise did kind of mess up with enjoying the  milky way, but the dramatic light, compensated for it.

The moon light was so bright, that it lit up the entire cliff. Had lot of fun with trying out some fun compositions like this. Even a shooting star (Draconid) decided to accompany us.

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 1600 : 20 mm : f3.5 : 30.0 sec

Buy Print    Cave Point County Park
Door County, Wisconsin, USA
July 15, 2015

Rugged Terrain of Mt. St. Helens

The most fertile lands were built by the fires of volcanoes – Andrea Gibson

35 Years later, Mt St Helens is still recovering. It was interesting to read that time of the day (8:32 AM local time) and the season of the event play a lot in its recovery. Many nocturnal animals were already bedded down for the day and so were more likely to have been protected in burrows and to have survived the explosion than their neighbors up and about during the daylight. You just don’t think about that; that’s a chance event – But then nothing else is by chance either :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 12 mm : f22.0 : 30.0 sec

Buy Print    Mt. St Helens
Mt. St Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington, USA
July 10, 2015

Premier Amphitheater of Chicago

Millennium Park might be known for the classic Bean or the Crown Fountain, but come summer – the Jay Pritzker Pavilion comes to life with a slew of events.  This is one of the premier outdoor Amphitheaters in Chicago. The Pavilion itself offers an incredibly unique design, capable of accommodating close to 11,000 people. It provides a great atmosphere to enjoy live shows. If the Jay Pritzker Pavilion is full, don’t worry , just walk up the new BP Pedestrian Bridge, to get your own personal spot to enjoy the music :)

This is definitely not my kind of photography, But when I got a glimpse of the orchestra beautifully framed by the trees, it just begged for it to be captured !

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 800 : 270 mm : f5.6 : 1/30 sec

  Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park
Chicago, Illinois, USA
July 6, 2015

Windmill Wild Flowers

It might be hard to believe, but this was shot just minutes before, on the other side of the road from this thunderstorm. It is indeed amazing, the kind of light that extreme weather brings. To make things interesting, I captured multiple consecutive shots to get the flower effect. Though these windmills were close, their different rotating speeds caused different flowery effects.

Whenever I had come across a windmills, while driving in the past, I had always wanted to get a shot like this. But today, it all came together – the light, the composition, the clouds & even the flowers :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 16 mm : f4.0 : 1/125 sec

Buy Print    Windmill Wild Flowers
Hwy 65, Indiana, USA
June 28, 2015

Thunderstorm, Sunset & a Truck

Last week, as I was driving back from Atlanta to Chicago, I got to encounter a thunderstorm. Driving along the highway, the mobile was going abuzz with warnings. When I pulled over to check the same, it was the weather warnings suggesting to take cover. Luckily there was a rest stop near by to take shelter. In a few minutes, the showers stopped, allowing to capture this. The setting sun added drama to the scene. 

Maybe someday, will make time to plan and chase some storms. Witnessing the power is one, in addition, the light during extreme weather is just magical.

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 : ISO 200 : 18 mm : f3.5 : 1/45 sec

  06.15.2015  7:50 PM CST
Hwy 65, Indiana, USA
June 25, 2015

Road to Aurora, accompanied by Fireflies

Had been missing on sharing posts lately as work is going crazy. On the night of Jun 22, was working thru midnight, but when the Aurora was still going strong and the weather was forecasted to clear up, it was time to take a decision – to snuck under the blanket for a deserved cozy sleep, after a really long day OR miss out on the sleep and drive out couple hours to get a chance of a lifetime. Being a working day did not help either.

Looking back, I definitely would have regretted, if I had not drove out at 1 AM. Ideal time for Aurora viewing is from 10 PM to 2 AM and a location that is potentially dark, away from the pollution of city lights. The weather was starting to clear only around 3 AM. Hence it was all a hit or a miss.

But oh boy – the big dipper, the lovely colors of aurora dancing & the fireflies that decided to accompany the sweet night – it was quiet an encounter :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 1600 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 20 sec

  06.23.2015  3:40 AM CST @ Green River Wildlife Area
Harmon, Illinois, USA
June 21, 2015

Reflection

Every person you meet is only your reflection.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f5.6 : 1/45 sec

   Chicago Botanic Garden
Glencoe, Illinois, USA
June 4, 2015

In search of light

Light can make even the mundane of things magical
– both external and internal.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 22 mm : f4.5 : 1/90 sec

   Queen Annes Lace
Along a hike, Tennessee, USA
May 25, 2015

Upper Mesa Falls from Idaho

The Upper Mesa Falls at 114 feet offer spectacular views in a beautiful forest setting. The Mesa Falls Scenic Byway mesmerizes travelers with a display in the midst of a truly back-country setting. Upper Mesa Falls is part of the Henry Fork of the Snake River and is 114 feet high and 200 feet wide with a flow of around 600 to 1500 cubic feet / second. Of course, it is difficult to think or even plan for these stops when you are headed to the much grandeur Tetons and Yellowstone which are on a totally different scale of awesomeness.  But nevertheless this was a thing of beauty and well worth the stop. Just got to spend an hours or so as the sun was setting down, but we were glad we did stop out there !

Canon S2 : ISO 50 : 6 mm : f8.0 : 1.3 / 5.0 sec

Buy Print    Upper Mesa Falls
Targhee National Forest, Idaho, USA
May 10, 2015

The Last Kiss

This was from the lovely viewpoint at Sandy, Oregon. I love this spot for its accessibility. Just drive, get out of the car, and you are greeted with this view. Jonsurd Viewpoint is a hidden jem in Sandy, Oregon.

This was a incidental shot. It was all about being prepared when the opportunity presents itself. As  I was awaiting for the blue moon to raise from behind that majestic Mt. Hood, the sun was setting behind us. It was such a lovely scene, the shadows running ahead – first over the trees, then over the Sandy river, then the plains and then over Mt. Hood itself.  For a spilt second, the last rays of the sun, kissed the tip of Mt. Hood – creating this surreal scene !

 

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 25 mm : f22 : 4.0 sec

Buy Print   The Last Kiss
Sandy, Oregon, USA
May 4, 2015

Sunset by the Tulip Fields

Wanna enjoy some sunshine
Wanna feel some happiness
Wanna feel vibrant
– Head out to the Tulip fields :)

Out in the west we have Skagit Tulip farms or the well known Woodenshoe Tulip farms (where this was shot). Out in the east the prominent one is at Holland, Michigan. If you love tulips then these places are worth a visit. You have to plan ahead if you want to see the fields in bloom, the tulip season is short, late March to early May. If you have never experienced acres and acres of blooming tulips in every color you can imagine, you should at least go once. It is spectacular !

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f22 : 0.7 sec

Buy Print Sunset by the Tulip Field
Woodburn, Oregon, USA
April 21, 2015

I need a shot of Tranquility

When ever I need a shot of tranquility,
When even I need to rejuvenate,  
When ever I need a kick in the butt,
When even I need to find my self – I get to nature.

This shot is from a lovely night at Mt hood. It is always quiet an experience to be admits nature and once the sun goes down its even more intimate :)

It has been quiet a while – time to make some plans and shake some hands, with nature !

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 : ISO 100 : 18 mm : f3.5 : 301 sec

Buy Print   Reflections by Mt Hood
Trillium Lake, Oregon, USA
April 5, 2015

Lunar Eclipse by the Lighthouse

Witnessing the lunar eclipse was magical. Planning and shooting the same was a lot of fun. Out here, in the north east of US, the lunar eclipse was not total, so missed out on the blood moon, but it was still a scintillating experience. As the moon was getting into total eclipse, it set over the horizon. But at the same time it created for some interesting photographing options.

This involved a lot more planning than it meets the eye (and a bit of luck, as there were too many variables from the weather, location, time zone, the quality of the air etc. Will share more details on the planning and tools  in a separate article, for my geek friends out there later this week.

Additionally, this is something new I had tried. Had always wanted to shoot a scene around sunset and into the night and highlight the same in a single frame as time-slice [A time slice is depicting a time range in a single frame]. When I learnt about the lunar eclipse, this past week, thought it might be a good candidate for time slice. This shot is a mix of landscape and time slice – in an attempt to highlight the lunar eclipse in the context of the surrounding landscape. These shots were taken from 4:45AM EST thru 6:25 AM EST (one of the shortest lunar eclipse of this century). This was a panorama made out of a composite. Though it does not look like a wide view, that is what helped capture the moon and the lighthouse in context (all 12 images [10 for the moon and 2 for the lighthouse] used to create the same, were shot at the extreme end of my long zoom lens). The long zoom helped actuate the size of the moon to some extent due to the much debated perspective compression effect.

Driving for couple of hours, setting out with the camera in the biting cold,  witnessing moving ice by the lake, the planning, the execution and the processing – it all culminated in the below shot :)

Panorama Time slice made with 13 shots

Buy Print   Time Slice of Lunar Eclipse 04.04.2015
South Haven, Michigan, USA
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

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