Archive for ‘India’

April 11, 2022

Venus ascending

Morice Dera beach is a lovely rustic beach located adjacent to the Andaman Trunk Road – just after Rangat. The twin rock at Morice Dera is unique. The walkway in between these rocks leads toward an eye-catching horizon viewpoint. Both the beach and the viewpoint were ideal to sit, fall back and contemplate. It was a great place to just be and do nothing. Being bortle 1 skies, zillion of stars, viewpoints like this, and the stupendous views – Morice Dera topped our list from the Andaman trip, especially for chasing the stars.
Venturing in the dark, stumbling by rocks, splashing in the water, beyond the viewpoint, definitely turned out to be worthwhile. The clouds were quickly closing in, but for a brief moment this scene of Venus ascending was indeed stunning!

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 4000: 16 mm : f2.8 : 20.0 sec

Venus ascending
Morice Dera, The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India

April 1, 2022

An alternate dimension @ Andaman

A flight out, a bumpy drive, a quick ferry, a speed boat via hidden mangroves, then a hike thru a magical little village takes you to this mystic caves in Andaman. If you plan meticulously and await for all the stars to align – you could witness the mystical caves opening up the portal to an alternate dimension.

Or may be it was just a couple of crazy folks playing with the darks and lights – deep in the caves of Andaman :)

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 100: 16 mm : f2.8 : 30.0 sec

Orb in Limestone Caves
Baratang, The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India

March 26, 2022

Fantas(y)tic twilight from Wandoor beach

After landing in Andaman by late afternoon, realized the weather was not much different from Chennai. Very tropical, humid, and hot. Trying to get a feeling of the place, we decided to catch up the sunset. Andaman, by way of it’s location, and single time zone – have both the sunrise and sunset quite early.

Luckily, our partners in crime had already sorted out a location for potential sunset – Wandoor beach. With a bit of working out on the ride, we left around 4:30 PM. Given the time, we were sure to miss the sunset, but still decided to head out. After an uneventful drive through the town, the urban view gave way to some forests, the forests then opened up to some backwaters. After some lovely views by the side of the road, we headed to the beach. Some interesting conversations, some new connections, a leisurely stroll by the beach – and then things started to unfold.

The sun had just sunk by the horizon. The quarter moon, though small, was blanketing the entire landscape. Slowly, the twilight was starting to weave its golden magic. And just when ‘I’ was thinking that the scene could not be any more beautiful, the stars decided to adorn & twinkled – one by one by one.

Awestruck, the ‘I’ just dissolved into the abyss and became part of it. Here is a slice from that magical evening :)

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 200: 16 mm : f2.8 : 15.0 sec

Wandoor Beach
Port Blair, The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India

February 24, 2022

Stars by a tranquil night

tranquil night
under a blanket of stars –
sleep gone, again :)

This shot is from a lovely spot is nestled less than 100 kms away from the bustling Bangalore, by the forests of Kanakapura (or whatever is left of it). Stay late, it is great to spend time with the stars :)

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 3200: 16 mm : f2.8 : 20.0 sec

Stars by the lake
Kanakapura, Karnataka, India

February 10, 2022

Hike more, worry less

while one with nature
i find a tranquil ledge
– above the waterfall of my thoughts

During a hike, deep in the forests of Kemmangundi – amidst the verdant greenery and tall indigenous trees harboring some amazing birds, stumbled across this gurgling stream. As if these weren’t enough, my flying friend helped get a view that is probably not seen by (m)any. Grateful to have witnessed the stream flow onto a graceful waterfalls.

p.s : yeah that is me by the ledge, trying to enjoy the view that was normally not visible otherwise :)

DJI Mavic Pro : ISO 100 : 4.73 mm : f2.2 : 1/25 sec

Somewhere in the forests of Kemmangundi
Chikkamagaluru, Karnataka, India

January 31, 2022

Believe in your wings

The bird is never afraid of the twig breaking, because its trust is not on the twig but on its own wings.

Canon 7D : Tamron 150-600 mm : ISO 5000 : 600 mm : f6.3 : 1/1000 sec

Purple Sunbird
Nandi Hills, Bangalore, India

January 24, 2022

Pattadakal by Moonrise

Pattadakal – literally know as ‘coronation stone’ – is a small rustic town in the Bagalkot district of north Karnataka. This UNESCO world heritage site hosts 7th and 8th century collection of nine Hindu and one Jain temple built by the Chalukya dynasty. As we were exploring, witnessed the Galaganath Temple, adorned by the Malaprabha River, lit by moonlight & blanketed by the twinkle of stars.

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 1000 : 18 mm : f2.8 : 20 sec

By the banks of Malaprabha
Bagalkot, Karnataka, India

January 20, 2022

Sun kissed misty morning

Solitude amidst wild,
calming waterfalls,
fall colors,
misty morning – all kissed by the rising sun !

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 100 : 16 mm : f19 : 1/3 sec

Somewhere on earth

January 10, 2022

Kolli Malai Sunset

Kolli Malai or Kolli Hills is one of the beautiful places, situated in Namakkal District of the state of Tamil Nadu. The hills are covered with evergreen forests and are actually the part of discontinuous Eastern Ghats. Furthermore it is comprised of three reserve forests namely Ariyur Solai, Kundur Nadu, Pulianjolai.

In recent times, increasing areas of forests are being cleared for farming black pepper, jackfruit, banana, pineapple, Oranges, Tapioca, and other spices. Still, the area is home to a wide variety of medicinal plants and herbs used in Ayurveda and Siddha and Unani. Here is a wonderful sunset from the treasured Kolli Malai.

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 100 : 16 mm : f4.0 : 1/20 sec

Forests of Kolli Malai
Namakkal, Tamil Nadu, India

January 7, 2022

A pristine beauty – Hebbe Waterfalls

Alluring, exotic, immaculate … words don’t come close to describe this place. In the forests of deep interior Karnataka, by the district of Chikkamagaluru lies this pristine beauty. 13 kms of thrilling & bone rattling 4×4 ride, thru the secluded tiger reserve gets you here. They say – it’s not about the designation but about the journey. But in case of Hebbe – it is as much about the journey, as about the falls. The effort is totally worth it as you witness the waterfalls rumble thru the forest.

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 100 : 16 mm : f22.0 : 2.0 sec

Hebbe Waterfalls
Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India

January 1, 2022

Hiatus, Looking back & Looking forward

What a year it had been – Covid, revival, promise of hope, again lock downs … Beginning of 2021 felt like a deja vu. Now it seems like the deja vu is repeating itself again. But still, a lots happened this past year as well. Let us drop the prejudice of 2021 (as we did for 2020 as well). Given the situation it indeed was a great year. Experienced some amazing night skies, made some wonderful connections, got to capture views that only a few witness and some lovely experiences along the way.

Took an intentional hiatus from social media for the past 8 months, as I felt it was influencing a lot on the kind of shots I make and the experiences that I attracted. But I do see that it is for me to be aware of the influences. Sharing opens up conversations and connections that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. I knew it was not you (social media), but me. Nevertheless, it was a lesson that I have to pick up as my own.

On a different note, I had never been a birder, I did occasionally capture a few flying beauties from my travel. But as the year wrapped up, tried to play around in this new genre as well. Trying to capture the birdies, especially the tiny ones, calls for a different level of patience and perseverance. Keen to see how this unfolds and eager for the new learning opportunities that it brings.

Here is to 2022 – to more learning, more travel, more connections & enriched experiences. Focus, enjoy and equip for the journey forward :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 150-600 mm : ISO 5000 : 600 mm : f5.6 : 1/400 sec

Loten’s Sunbird
Nandi Hills, Bangalore, India

May 2, 2021

Throne of Thirumalai Nayakar

Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal built (in 1636) by Thirumalai Nayakar at Madurai, intended this palace to be one of the grandest in South India. The design and architecture is a blend of Dravidian and Rajasthani styles. The interior is richly decorated whilst the exterior is treated in a more austere style. This palace is situated 2 km south east of the Meenakshi Amman Temple. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure.

The steps leading up to the central hall were formerly flanked by two equestrian statues of excellent workmanship. As you can witness, part of this is still standing the test of time and various historical events & wars. The throne in the center was incidentally lit by the ambient light from the stained glass windows by the dome. The palace constructed using foliated brickwork was finished in exquisite stucco called chunnam (shell lime) mixed with egg white to obtain a smooth and glossy texture. This probably inspired the Natukottai Chettiars, 200 years later in their own construction.

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 800 : 16 mm : f8.0 : 1/1000 sec

Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal
Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

April 22, 2021

Kere Basadi (Lake Temple)

Kere Basadi in a literal sense means the Lake Temple. Somewhere in the Udupi district is a small native village of Varanga. Located here and surrounded by lush nature, this is a place where the architecture imbibes the way of lifestyle and sustenance. Access to the temple takes one thru meandering roads thru serene nature. Once there (white vehicle parked :)), one needs to take a boat to the temple. Loved how the temple was architectured around the lake which in turn was supporting the local sustenance. The journey helps soothe the mind and creates an intent of travel, rather than being just a passing insta photo op :)

DJI Mavic Pro : ISO 100 : 4.73 mm : f2.2 : 1/500 sec

Kare Basadi
Varanga, Karnataka, India

April 14, 2021

John Deere & Milky Way

Tractors (in this case a John Deere or JD) initially were a little more than a replacement for farm animals. All they could do was probably pull things. The modern tractors (with the power take-off motors and the front/back hitches) evolved to do much more – They became a staple of any typical farm and became adept in supporting plowing, planting, cultivating, fertilizing, and harvesting crops. Besides, they also came in handy for hauling materials and personal transportation. The rustic & rugged tractor always invokes a feeling of all the hard work that goes behind the scenes. Hence when I came across this, could not help but frame it under the starry night sky.

As for the lighting, thanks to the handkerchief that helped diffuse the strong beam from my trusted HP7 coastline flashlight. To get the Milky Way core aligned was clambering on the ground to get the composition tick. In the end, it all came together. Hope it is an apt ode to JD under Milky Way :)

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 2000 : 16 mm : f2.8 : 20 sec

Forest Hills Estate
Denkanikottai, Tamil Nadu, India

April 6, 2021

Hemakuta Hill @ twilight

Hemakuta Hill located adjacent to Virupaksha temple is sprinkled generously with a large number of shrines, archways, and pavilions. These temples form one of the earliest groups of structures at Hampi and are dated to be from about the 9th to 14th century.

It is also one among the best places in Hampi to witness the sunrise/sunset and quiet an easy climb (about 10-15 mins and not as tedious as say, the Matanga Hill). Though an easy walk, the afternoon sun can make the boulders scorching hot. But take a stroll by twilight and you sure can experience all the hues from blues to reds being splashed across the whole wide canvas of the sky.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 320 : 13 mm : f9.0 : 1/50 sec

Hemakuta Hill
Hampi, Karnataka, India

March 31, 2021

Magical Meghalaya

While nature leaves us spellbound each time, some places are so magical that even after a single visit it never leaves you. Meghalaya is one such place. It is one of the 7 sister states of North East India and is a mountainous region with many rivers, which keep flowing due to the constant rainfall. It is indeed the wettest place on earth. But if planned accordingly, one could witness terrain that is generally submerged by raging rivers.

This particular spot is from a hike to the mouth of Nohkalikai falls, from up the hill. This rugged terrain is carved day in and out by the forces of nature. Over the years the constant flow of water through the gaps on the river bed has created a number of pools and waterfalls which eventually plunge down the gorge to make the Nohkalikai falls. Walking by the same felt so alien and pristine at the same time.

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 100: 16 mm : f22 : 0.5 sec

Enroute to mount of Nohkalikai Falls
East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya, India

March 27, 2021

Mysterious with Milky Way

Just 50 km from the busy bustle of Bangalore, nestled within the forests of Kanakapura is this classified spot. When the time is right and the stars align, I mean literally – one could witness the magic. Out here, in the darkness of the night – the lava flows and portals to the parallel universe open up. Just witnessing the same under the glow the of Milky Way elicits mysticism beyond belief …

Or maybe it was just a few friends, toying with the laser light by a meek rock, in the mango groves that lies by the edge of the Kanakapura forest :)

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 2500 : 16 mm : f2.8 : 20 sec

Kanakapura Forest
Kanakapura, Karnataka, India

March 20, 2021

Hunt for the Milky Way

In the southern part of India, the monsoon season & the Milky Way season greatly overlap. Hence the window to witness & capture the Milky Way is quite small. Add to it the alignment of the same over weekends and access to decent night skies. The probability goes down even further.

After keeping a close eye on the conditions, decided to head towards Coorg with friends for some Milky Way hunting. Though the spot was a Bortle 2, the elevation of the location brought in rolling clouds, fog, and morning mist. After 1 1/2 days of waiting, the weather Gods decided to give a glimpse of the Milky Way, just for us :)

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 5000 : 16 mm : f/2.8 : 20 sec

Balyabane
Coorg, Karnataka, India

March 8, 2021

Intricate architecture @ Mysore palace

The Mysore palace constructed around 1897, was conceived as a residence befitting the monarch of the majestic state. Mysore, which was laid out as the capital of the princely state, now part of Karnataka, retains a very strong connection with its royal past. The palace was constructed using fine grey granite and features beautiful domes that are made of deep pink-colored marbles. Every wall, pillar, ceiling, and doom is filled with such intricate work of art that one is struck by awe, just being there.

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 2000 : 16 mm : f/4.0 : 1/50 sec

Mysore Palace
Mysore, Karnataka, India

February 20, 2021

Sunrise by Shivalaya Temple

The city of Badami in Northern Karnataka, also called Vatapi, was the capital of one of the most enduring dynasties in Southern India – the Chalukyas. Nestled by a ravine that cuts through the sandstone landscape the site is graced by some beautiful temples – rock-cut and otherwise.

One of the prominent temple that I loved from my visit is the upper Shivalaya Temple. It had quiet ornamantal windows. It might have held equally ornate sculptures too within and probably was deprived of the same as time passed. The majestic mandapa stands as remnants of a bygone era, but still loaded with such grace and grandeur. It takes some effort to get up the hill. But the view is worth all the effort, especially around sunrise.

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 250: 16 mm : f2.8 : 1/200 sec

Upper Shivalaya Temple
Badami, Karnataka, India

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