November 6, 2017

Magic of Fall

The raging winds of Irma, Jose & Nate (2017 hurricane) took down most of the leaves this season, especially in higher elevation. The sporadic temperature swings did not help much with the colors either.

But this hidden treasure by the corner of Blue Ridge Parkway, had protected the beauty of the season. With a slight drizzle, rolling fog along the sparkling creek – the colors of the fall were just a magic to be witnessed.

Magic & Magical places do exist. You just need to believe !

 

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 20 mm : f16 : 30 sec

Buy Print  Jones Gap State Park
Marietta, South Carolina, USA
October 31, 2017

The Lone Kayaker

It is a general perception that the quality of light moves toward harsh, as the sun moves up the sky, and not ideal for photography. But all rules are eventually meant to be broken :)

This particular hot afternoon I was driving around scouting for a potential sunset location. Glad the car in front of me slowed down, I applied the breaks and was treated to this view thru the window. It was only for a brief moment – the moving clouds diffused the harsh sunlight. And just a little bit gleamed thru, to light up the kayaker and part of the hill.

Always be prepared … it helps with photography too :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 50 mm : f4.5 : 1/500 sec

     Devils Lake State Park
Baraboo, Wisconsin, USA
October 29, 2017

A beauty called Linville Gorge

The Linville Gorge Wilderness Area lies entirely within the Pisgah National Forest. Sometimes referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East”, it is one of the wildest, most rugged gorges in the eastern United States. Given the terrain, it is also an outdoor paradise.

This is from the Chimney view overlook that provides a glimpse of Linville falls. The falls view is good, but one can’t miss this lovely view behind, especially with the lovely fall colors. Standing at the edge, the sheer depth of the Gorge was scary and at the same time exhilarating :)

 

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 500 : 25 mm : f11.0 : 15 sec

 Chimney View, Linville Falls Trail
Marion, North Carolina, USA
October 23, 2017

Fall Colors by Linn Cove Viaduct

The Blue Ridge Parkway experience is unlike any other. It provides a slow-paced and relaxing drive revealing stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands. The Parkway meanders for 469 miles, protecting a diversity of plants and animals, and providing opportunities for enjoying all that makes this region one of a kind.

Among the uncountable vistas and views, this iconic view of the bridge also stands out, more so after learning about the engineering behind it (below is from the Linn Cove Viaduct Visitor Center).

A viaduct is a long bridge with a series of spans supported on piers. The Linn Cove Viaduct is 1243 feet long and 35 feet wide. This signature view of “S” curve rests upon seven vertical piers spaced at 180 feet.

Linn Cove Viaduct is the first in the US to incorporate progressive placement of sections (each of the 153 precast sessions weighing 10,000 lbs). What this means is that the bridge is built upon itself. Workmen, materials and machines move back and fourth on the completed bridge to places each successive section. Little or no damage is caused to the landscape over which the viaduct is being constructed.

Grandfather Mountain is rugged and unyielding with active plant and animal communities throughout. Traditional road and bridge construction involving heavy equipment, earth moving, access roads and large construction crews would have adversely affected this fragile eco system for years to  come.

 

Interestingly the lead designer of the roadway, Stanley Abbott, was a landscape architect, not an engineer and it shows. This signature view of the Linn Cove Viaduct was shot from a not so prominent spot. The early morning sun lit up the fall foliage ablaze. The biker racing up the parkway added to the shot :) 

 

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 30 mm : f4.0 : 1/180 sec

Buy Print    Linn Cove Viaduct
Newland, North Carolina, USA
October 21, 2017

Orionids on a Chilly Night

A Sip of a hot chai
Gentle breeze of the cold night
Shimmering of the twinkling stars
A blazing streak of a meteor
– few experiences are worth skipping the cozy sleep :)

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

   Orionid Meteor Shower (10.21.2017)
Whitmire, South Carolina, USA
August 23, 2017

The Sun, Moon & Regulus

Watching the Solar Eclipse was quiet an experience. Witnessing the totality was even more personal.

In the peak of the afternoon – the scorching summer sun became so pleasant ; the temperature dropped ; the crickets became exuberant ; there was sunset all around and quiet an excitement permeated in the air. It was a surreal experience to witness a 360° sunset and right in the middle of the afternoon.

High above, as the moon obscured the Sun, it was a sight to behold ! Totality is the only time during solar eclipse that can be enjoyed with out any additional protection to the eyes. The Sun’s corona extends millions of miles into space and is most prominently visible during a total solar eclipse. Regulus, a bright star in the constellation Leo and among the brightest in Earth’s night sky. Due to its extreme brightness, Regulus can be spotted next to the sun’s corona, though its 79 Light years away.

The photos / videos do no justice to the experience, but here is an attempt to freeze that moment – for my friends who were not able to experience this in person. Do check out full screen at higher resolution – definitely worth it :)

 

Moon 1,079 Mile Radius 238,900 Miles Away
Sun 432,288 Mile Radius 92,960,000 Miles Away
Regulus 1,296,864 Mile Radius 458,500,000,000,000 Miles Away

Canon 7D : Sigma 150-600 mm : ISO 320 : 600 mm : f5.6 : 1/6 sec

   Solar Eclipse Totality
Whitmire, South Carolina, USA
July 27, 2017

Misty Morning by Mississippi River

This is from one of my Aurora chasing trips. After the long drive, the forecasted Northern lights never showed up. Decided to sleep in the car and was treated to this magical sunrise the next morning – I would still call it a win :)

Be Still and You will see.

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 21 mm : f22 : 1/4 sec

   Mississippi River
Savanna, Illinois, USA
July 24, 2017

Living under the stars

It is not a magical myth. There still exist places where the entire night is blanketed in the glow of the milky way. It is up to us all to make sure it stays that way :)

Went out along with my son for a night under the stars. After the long drive, at 5 minutes past 11, the planned spot at a State park did not work out – they just closed the gates prior to our arrival. This led to a drive around the unknown rural roads. After some scintillating conversations, light painting and trying out some Milky way shots, came across this lovely spot.

It was quiet a place to take a walk. Unlike city, there were no harsh lights to showcase the stone road, just the light of the stars and the sounds of the night. On the left were close to a hundred cows, casually mowing the grass. Only after we crossed the field, were we able to see the light, at the front yard of this house. Just enough for them and not polluting the night sky. It was quiet a scene, literally !

We talked about light pollution, rural life, dark skies, stars and soaked in the night :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 800 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30 sec

   Living by the Stars 
Elberton, Georgia, USA
July 12, 2017

In the eyes of a child

There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child.
There are seven million. everything is a wonder :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 110 mm : f5.6 : 1/500 sec

   Sunset by the bay
Cedar Key, Florida, USA
July 6, 2017

Happy ID4

The crowds were crazy, but u can’t beat the fun and family time.

Shooting fireworks is fun. But including a sense of surrounding and the mood really makes it even more interesting. The crazy laser show and the pyro works was nice touch ! Here is my take and hope u like the same :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f8.0 : 20 sec

   Stone Mountain Park
Stone Mountain, Georgia, USA
June 18, 2017

Symphony of Light

Dying daylight & rising twilight,
Kindles the tiny angels of the endless night.
It is quiet a sight
Witnessing the symphony of light.

Specks of light, Shining bright,
Weaving a silent song by moon’s light,
So nimble & ever in flight –
To watch them twinkle, is always a delight :)

 

If you are interested with how this was shot & processed, check out this article.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 400 – 3200 : 10 mm : f8.0 : 30 sec ; 245 Shots

     Elkmont
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA
June 6, 2017

Falls by the backyard

Not everyone is lucky to have a lovely waterfall in their backyard (literally),
And only some are magnanimous to open their home and lawns (again literally) to allow strangers to come in and enjoy the same.
As for myself, am just grateful to be able to visit / capture such spots and share with u all :)

 

This beautiful waterfalls – Eastatoe – is from the backyard of a lovely neighborhood, by the border of South & North Carolina. Although there are no signs along the road, the owners do welcome visitors, to share their treasure. The drizzling rain and floating fog, added a magical mood to the scene.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f8.0 : 20 sec

Buy Print    Eastatoe Falls
Eastatoe, North Carolina, USA
May 24, 2017

Just by the Roadside

You can make all the plans, but you never know what is in store.

After a lot of deliberate planning, decided to head out to the Jumping Off Rock. Starting off with delayed rental, to the not so dynamic sunset after the long and bumpy drive, the day just fizzled out. The next day when trying to chase waterfalls, the rain decided to chase us. But luckily along with rain – the mist, rolling fog and views like this – just by the road saved the day. Here it is – a view just by the roadside, from Carolina Mountains :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 160 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 1/90 sec

   By Hwy NC-28
Highlands, North Carolina, USA
May 2, 2017

Yellow Branch Falls

Google Maps, you need to step up. Occasionally navigating me to the back side of Walmart is manageable, but putting me on a spot (Rich Mountain Road : F744), back side of the water falls, where there is no potential trail and telling me to walk the reminder of the way, not cool :) Luckily, I was able to assess and get to the Hwy 28S and located the trail head.

I generally love waterfalls, but some are just really enchanting. This is one of them – Yellow Branch Falls ! The hike to Yellow Branch Falls is a backtrack hike over moderate terrain that ends at a beautiful waterfall with many individual cascades. Give enough time to get to the falls with regular breaks and u can call this an easy & fun hike.

On the route you pass through groves of dignified hardwood and meander across a number of streams. But the highlight of the hike is the 50 foot multi tier cascade, that awaits you at the end :)

 

When​ you are treated with views like this, all the huffs & puffs from the strenuous hike magically disappears :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 22 mm : f4.0 : 8 sec

   Yellow Branch Falls
Walhalla, South Carolina, USA
April 24, 2017

See you at Sunset

“See you at Sunset !” – This iconic phrase has embodied the spirit and history of Key West since the event took off in the late 1960s ! The “Key West Sunset Celebration” is a nightly festival @ Mallory Square. It hosts visitors from all over the world, to take part along side with local magicians, jugglers, clowns, psychics, local musicians, artists and food vendors, that combine for an incredible cultural experience.

But for me the sunset itself was iconic enough. I preferred the nearby Fort Zachary Taylor State Park (which probably is the true south most point in continental US, as opposed to the one commercialized at Whitehead street ). It too was a bit crowded, but much less touristy than Mallory Square.

There is something magical about Key West Sunsets, wouldn’t you agree :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 22 mm : f4.5 : 1/10 sec

   Fort Zachary Taylor Park Beach
Key West, Florida, USA
April 21, 2017

Pineapple Fountain with Sun Cherry topping

When I heard about the pineapple fountain, I was pretty exited. As per the name, it was quiet a fountain. Arrived before sunrise to shoot. Unfortunately the fountain was not turned on. It was surprising that the near by spider fountain was operational.

As I  was walking by the gardens and enjoying the twilight, found a building opposite to the fountain. The high vintage from the steps gave a nice perspective. As I set the camera for the first rays, the fountain sprung to life !

Here is a Pineapple fountain, with sun cherry topping, for you :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 85 mm : f27 : 1/125 sec

   Pineapple Fountain
Charleston, South Carolina, USA
April 12, 2017

The Pier of Clearwater

A trip to Clearwater, FL would not be complete without a visit to Pier 60, especially during sunset. It is as if the pier was put here, just for the sunsets! It was a bit touristy for my liking. But still, it was one of the best spots to enjoy a sunset by the Gulf Coast.

In addition to being a great place to relax during the day on Clearwater Beach, Pier 60 turns into a daily festival of sorts two hours before sunset and two hours after.

It is easy to believe we are each waves and forget we are also the ocean.

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

   Sunset by Pier60
Clearwater, Florida, USA
April 6, 2017

The Long White Bridge

Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy — Guillaume Apollinaire

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 18 mm : f3.5 : 1/10 sec

Buy Print    Magnolia Plantation
Charleston, South Carolina, USA
March 22, 2017

By the Falls – Looking Glass

Looking Glass Waterfall is one of the best and easiest accessible waterfall in Pisgah Forest. And did I say there is no admission fee and its always open. The name "Looking Glass" comes from Looking Glass Rock, where water freezes on its sides in the winter and then glistens in the sunlight like a mirror or looking glass. Looking Glass Creek, which flows past the rock, is also named for the impressive natural structure.

With a roadside pull off, an overlook and steps to the bottom, this is definitely a great place to stop and enjoy nature’s power. The falls cascade into a river below.  Steps lead down to the falls for a close-up view. Once you are there, definitely venture onto the rocks by the side of the stream. On a warm day, some wading and swim underneath the falling water would be great.

 

If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them? – Chief Seattle

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100: 18 mm : f8.0 : 10 sec

   Looking Glass Waterfall, Pisgah Forest
Brevard, North Carolina, USA
March 8, 2017

Be Still

Once, while driving to Atlanta, the evening sky was so dramatic, that it would have been a sin not to stop. Luckily, Maps showed a blue patch near by, indicating a water body. But only in a crunch, you realize how much time it takes to drive up, even a few miles, when it is not the highway :) Shot this literally scrambling to find a spot, from where I had parked …

The light was fading down quickly and there was not enough time, but was real glad I had pulled over !!!

 

In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you. – Deepak Chopra

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 160: 10 mm : f3.5 : 1/60 sec

   Lake Hartwell State Park
Fair Play, South Carolina, USA
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