July 6, 2020

Virupaksha Temple @ Hampi

The Virupaksha temple stands unrelenting from around the 7th century. It is one of the most prominent center of pilgrimage at Hampi.

The Vijayanagara rulers, in the middle of the 14th century, initiated the blossoming of native art and culture in the region. Though most of the temple buildings are attributed to the Vijayanagara period, there is ample evidence indicating to additions that were made to the temple in the late Chalukyan and Hoysala periods. When they were defeated by Deccan Sultanate in the 16th century, most of the wonderful decorative structures and creations were systematically destroyed. However they were not able to destroy the religious sect of Virupaksha. Even after the annihilation of the city in 1565, worship of Shiva (Virupaksha) had persisted throughout the years. Today, the temple is still fully intact among the surrounding ruins and is the only active temple in all of Hampi.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 500 : 10 mm : f9.0 : 1/80 sec

Hemakuta Hill
Hampi, Karnataka, India

July 1, 2020

Patience

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are times we race thru things. Actually we are conditioned to race for everything in life – both professional & personal. It takes effort to slow down. Be mindful. Adapt to natures pace. Once you get her secret, life would be much enriched :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 800: 119 mm : f11 : 1/6 sec

The Rise
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

June 29, 2020

Shadows

The shadow is the greatest teacher for how to come to the light. – Ram Dass

Art (be it artography or photography) is as much about capturing the shadows as it is about capturing the light. It is amazing how the depth of what we perceive is solely driven by the darkness of the shadows.

This is the famed Stone Chariot of Hampi as seen from within the near by mandap.

Watercolor on Canvas

Vittala Temple
Hampi, Karnataka, India

June 23, 2020

Winding Road on a Foggy Morning

One of the best spots in the US to witness fall colors is in Door County, Wisconsin. There is this lovely road from Gills rock that is winding and looks magical. The ongoing road work made it rustic. Add to it the fall colors along with the morning fog – it all looked like it was right out of a painting – literally :) Once the fog settled, it looked liked this !

Curious on how this particular art was made ? check out the article –Artography – Photo to Painting.

Watercolor

By the Winding Road
Gills Rock, Wisconsin, USA

June 11, 2020

Painting the Sunrise

A painting to me is primarily a verb, not a noun, an event first and only secondarily an image.

– Elaine de Kooning

This week’s art is from a short lived, but dynamic morning sunrise from Smokies. After checking out the stars, playing with some light painting in the night and getting some sleep in the car, we decided to head out of Smokies early in the morning. As we were driving out, just around the corner, we were treated to a lovely view and below is what it inspired :) How do you like it !?

If you are curious on how this particular art was made, check out the article – Artography – Photo to Painting.

Watercolor on Textured Paper

NewFound Gap Road
Bryson City, North Carolina, USA

June 7, 2020

By the Temple Pond

It is a tough time indeed – for everyone of us with COVID19, Amphan, Nisarga etc. and we have not even crossed the first half of 2020. At least one good thing with the lock-down – mother nature seems to be healing. I can now hear more of birds chirping even in the middle of Marathalli, Bangalore :) For the many lucky folks who are not stranded away from home – the lock-down had brought in a much needed break to reflect and introspect. I had seen people try to pick up new skills, do work out, indulge in cooking etc. As for me – being in IT – my work days had just become longer :( (thanks to remote work). One of the reasons why no updates around here for the past 2 months. But I did get to refine and complete on something that I had been toying around for years – Artography.

This week post is from Kovilur – yeah the same place with the lovely thirukulam (pond). Taking a walk around the thirukulam (திருக்குளம்) is soothing anytime of the day. An evening stroll, cool breeze, sitting by the pond and enjoying as the sun as it was setting behind – it was all an work of art.

If you are curious on how this particular art was made, check out the article – Artography – Photo to Painting. And do share how you like the same in comments …

Watercolor on Textured Paper

By The Pond (பொற்குளம் அருகில்)
Kovilur, TamilNadu, India

April 10, 2020

The Wave

I might have known about this place from Windows 7 stock wallpapers, back in 2007. As I started digging around, realized it was not a walk in, walk out kind of spot. And that made it more enticing :)

The Wave – aptly named for its wave like rock formation – is situated on the Utah-Arizona border, halfway between Page, Arizona and Kanab, Utah in the Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the site and its fragile state, BLM limits foot traffic to 20 people/day. That’s right – only 20 people are allowed access to the site at a time, thus preserving the integrity and beauty of The Wave. 10 spots a day via online lottery and 10 via a walk in lottery at the visitor center. It was a long story on the lottery, but I was fortunate to get selected on the second day.

As for the hike – it was pretty wild, since there are almost no trail signs at all. It was easy to get lost and a bit dangerous in such a wild zone, but that’s part of what made it so fun :) One of the most beautiful and unique places I’ve adventured. My only regret was, I never made the trip back for a night out with starts, that I had wanted at this spot.

Anyway, it has been more than a decade, but the memory is still fresh. These days it isn’t quiet that easy to get the lottery. For this (2020) summer ~500 pitched in for the 10 online lottery spots / day consistently. BLM does a great job of managing the footfall. Given the fragility of the place, these stringent measures are required to ensures it stands for the future generations to experience.

We occasionally do some good work , to protect visually fragile spots. But the current situation around COVID19 is beginning to highlight how much we have messed up with mother earth. We just don’t realize the damage, or we just close our eyes. Couple of weeks lock down for us humans – we are already seeing earth vibrations going down, much cleaner air even in the most polluted cities and the animals enjoying the space :) May be we need to manage our foot fall, give space & learn better to cohabit and live in unison with nature.

Canon XSi : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100: 18 mm : f9.5 : 1/250 sec

The Wave
Grand Staircase-Escalante, Utah, USA

March 30, 2020

Keshava temple of Somanathapura

The Chennakesava temple of Somanathapura stands on a raised platform, in the centre of a spacious enclosure having sixty four cells. This three celled (trikutachala) structure consists of three garbha grihas, three antaralas and a navarang. It has a mahadwara standing on the east. The basement of the outer wall is highly ornamented with friezes of elephants, scrolls, epic & puranic scenes. The lathe turned pillars and delicately carved sixteen different types of ceilings are the characteristic feature of the hoysala art. Inscriptions engraved on a huge slab standing in the mahadwara and on the beams of the navaranga ranging in date from 1269 – 1550 AD, give the details of the construction of the temple.

When we visited, the outer enclosure was being refurbished. That particular afternoon the brewing storm added to mood of the shot. Shortly after this, witnessed quiet a downpour, but we were safe inside the garbha grihas :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100: 12 mm : f13 : 1/3 sec

Keshava Temple
Somanathapura, Karnataka, India

March 23, 2020

Arena of Abiqua

This week shot is from 8 years back, but the experience of Abiqua trail is still so fresh in my mind that I can smell the fragrance of the moss & feel the chinless of the water.

Abiqua Falls is part of the same geological formation as the waterfalls at Silver Falls State Park, and is not far from there as a bird flies (but significantly longer in distance when travelling by road).

As for the hike, one would have to climb over and around rocks and logs, but it can be done. If you are not a big fan of getting messy during hikes – you might not as much enjoy all the sliding, scrambling and wading – but at the end, when you get a glimpse of this view – am sure you would feel it was all well worth it :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100: 12 mm : f13 : 1/3 sec

Abiqua Falls
Marion, Oregon, USA

March 16, 2020

Simple Life

With all the things going around in the world right now, in context of COVID19 – borders being closed, people staying home as much as possible. It is tough times. But nature always has its way of getting things balanced out.

Distance socially, but not from yourself. Slow down, breath, find your zen. Enjoy small things in life. Go for a walk, enjoy the sunset, spend some lone time & rejuvenate. Learn something new. Use the opportunity to connect – with people and nature.

Stay healthy and stay safe.

This scene is from a village in south of India. Just a regular day, a regular guy, spending his morning time in the early morning twilight. Life is simple, the moment we stop making it complex :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 500: 12 mm : f3.5 : 0.5 sec

Simple Life
Some Village, Tamilnadu, India

March 9, 2020

Meghalaya – Land of flying boats

Meghalaya with its magical mist is well known as ‘Land of the Clouds’. The best time to visit the north east is indeed the monsoon season – when the forest is lush and the waterfalls are overflowing.

But if you wanna experience a different kind of magic, you should plan to visit between Oct to Feb. During this season, the Umngot river (traversing thru Dwaki & Shnongpdeng) is so crystal clear that one can see the river bed right till the bottom. During this season at the right time of the day, the shadow of the boats fall on the river bed – the river being so clear. This makes the boats float :)

After witnessing this little gem at Shnongpdeng, I feel it would be apt to call Meghalaya – Land of flying boats. What do you say :)

Sony A7III : Sony 24-105 mm : ISO 200: 61 mm : f4.0 : 1/800 sec

Umngot River
Shnongpdeng, Meghalaya, India

March 2, 2020

Signs of Spring @ Badami

Though Badami is more famous for its cave temples, I liked the visit to the Shivalaya temple better. Situated on the hills on the northern shore of Lake Agasthya, it faces the cave temples on the southern shore. The trek up needs a bit of an effort, but the experience so much makes up for it. This particular early morning, the clouds did not play along for the dramatic sunrise we expected, but the twilight was serene.

The fresh spring leaves felt juxtaposed by the gnarled tree & the rugged landscape, but it indeed had a beauty of its own :)

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 2000: 16 mm : f2.8 : 1.5 sec

Upper Shivalaya Temple
Badami, Karnataka, India

February 24, 2020

Mesmerizing Munnar

Munnar is a mesmerizing hill station located in the Idukki district of Kerala.

Munnar derives its name from the 3 rivers that confluence here. Rolling mountains, moving mists, flying clouds, rich green slopes & trees swaying to the cool mountain breeze – it all transports one to a mesmerizing magical world !

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 160: 18 mm : f3.5 : 1/60 sec

Kannan Devan Hills 
Munnar, Kerala, India

February 17, 2020

King of Pushkarnis

Pushkarni or kalyani – by themselves are a work of art. But this one by Hoysala Kings (in 1163 A.D) – is probably a milestone in the art of constructing Pushkarinis. The details in the work is amazing. This beautiful sacred pool of water is situated in a small village called Hulikere (Huli means tiger and kere refers to a pond), 5 Km from Halebeedu. Surrounded by lush greenery, the water can be reached via the descending stone steps. Locals say that the sanctums and sanctuaries of this pushkarini represent the 12 Zodiac & 27 stellar constellations.

This particular day, there was not much water in the pushkarni, but the golden morning sunlight flooded the place and made it even more magical.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 400 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 1/50 sec

Hulikere Kalyani
Hulikere, Hassan, India

February 10, 2020

Just be happy :)

Be happy for no reason, like a child.  If you are happy for a reason, you’re in trouble, because that reason can be taken from you.

– Deepak Chopra

Sanibel Thriller provides one of kind experience in the in the waters of Gulf of Mexico. The speed ride circumnavigates the shores of Sanibel and Captiva islands. In addition, the dolphins have a unique relationship with the Sanibel Thriller. They chase the waves created by the speed rider and have so much fun & frolic. They are just happy and would do it all day long. It is one treat to watch :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 33 mm : f4.0 : 1/350 sec

The Dolphins
Sanibel, Florida, USA

February 3, 2020

Chettinad Natukottai

The Chettinad region around Sivaganga district is well known for its 19th-century mansions, whose wide courtyards and spacious rooms are embellished with marble and teak – imported from around the world like Italy and Burma. Along with the exotic imports, local legend has it that even things like egg whites were used to get the smooth texture on the walls.

Chettiars were a mercantile community involved with commerce, banking and money lending from as early as Chola and Pandiya kingdom. Much of their profits went into building these grand residences, which used to be called natukottai or regional fort.

Some of the Chettinad homes are so big that their entrance and exits are on parallel streets. The distant door on this shot opens up to the cooking area and the inner courtyards. Can you imagine – what you see below is just one of the several courtyards that spawn up the Natukottai.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f4.5 : 1.5 sec

The Bangala
Karaikudi, TamilNadu, India

January 27, 2020

Standing Out

Fitting in does not mean you belong.
Standing out does not mean you are desolate.

Don’t be afraid to Stand out.
We are born unique, but spend the first couple of decades of our life, learning to confirm. Learn – it is important. But – Learn critical life skills. Learn what helps you to stand out. Learn to differentiate what is being shoved down your throat by so-called society.

Don’t be afraid to Stand out. Don’t lose the uniqueness that is You.

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

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm
Woodburn, Oregon, USA

January 20, 2020

Autumn Glow

How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days. – John Burroughs

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 200 : 10 mm : f/13 : 4.0 sec

Jones Gap State Park
Marietta, South Carolina, USA

January 13, 2020

A Window with a View

The views you get to see, depends on the windows you choose.

If you don’t like where you are (even in life), get up & move. You are the one who can decide what happens to you. Worst case, you can at least decide how to respond, with what happens to you – and that makes a world of difference :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 11 mm : f3.5 : 2.0 sec

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA

January 6, 2020

Cosmic View by Backyard

The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be. – Carl Segan

It is one thing to drive out to the county side in the dark of the night to enjoy the stars. But imagine a world where you could wait for the sun to go down the horizon, grab some coffee and just enjoy this celestial view.

There exists places where, when the sun sets the black curtain rolls up and the sky fills with dazzling stars.

Most of us being urban dwellers, ought to do more to protect the night sky. Not just for the sake of protecting it, but for the sake of amazing views and serene feeling it brings !

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 2500 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 20 sec

Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges
Cedar Key, Florida, USA

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