Archive for ‘photography’

July 22, 2019

Calming the Chaos

Our society thrives on the concept of being busy all the time. The entire system is built around to keep you busy, on the edge, always being bothered, forcing to carry the mountains that aren’t yours to carry.

Photography for me, helps to go within and contemplate what is it I am here to do. Sometimes our life is full of chaos, sometimes the mind is full of chaos. It is all about Calming the Chaos …

Hidden in the chaos, are the treasures of life … Would you agree :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 160: 14 mm : f4.0 : 1/30 sec

Lake Hartwell State Park 
Fair Play, South Carolina, USA

June 30, 2019

The Path of Fireflies

This is not a great shot in technical sense, but the experience was quiet surreal …

I was really lucky : I got to experience the synchronous fireflies at Smokies for two years in a row. For the first year I got the tickets (this was the first year when they introduced the lottery for the viewing). For the second year I was not that lucky – the tickets got sold in minutes, from when it was opened up online.

As I was exploring to see if anyone would share or other alternate options – realized that booking a camp site at Elkmont campground, during the same days – would grant access to the trails. After trying few days, was able to grab a reservation as someone else cancelled. This even had an added advantage – It gets you within a mile of the Elkmont Viewing area. Even more, one could hike up the entire trail to avoid the crowds, much beyond the set area for lottery viewing. Just make sure to carry the campground reservation.

This shot is a composite of 164 shots (22 minutes) and around 8 sec exposure for the foreground. Thanks to the Sony A7S II that I was able to rent. This low light monster was able to capture so much of details even in the faint moon light !

The 70% gibbous moon was not conducive for the fireflies, but that did help light up the nearby stream :)

The hustling stream, chilling breeze, dark of the night, the little bit moon lit forest, walking with my son, by the trail into the Smokies Forest & Fireflies along the path – it was indeed a surreal experience !

Sony A7S II : Sony 28 mm: ISO 12800 : 10 mm : f2.0 : 8.0 sec [164 shots]

Great Smoky Mountains
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA

June 23, 2019

Just show up

It was almost new year’s eve and we were in the process of moving out of Florida. As much as I was excited about the move to the new place, I knew I would miss those lovely florida sunsets.

That particular Friday was pretty darn cloudy. Looking up the forecast via Clear Outside, realized the evening was going to be 99% cloudy. Was debating if it was worth taking the chance. Since there were not many more evenings left in Florida, decided to just drive out.

It was pretty overcast all along and the sun was nowhere to be seen. But the walk by the lake was pretty soothing with the evening breeze. Then the 1% clear sky happened by the horizon. And that was enough for the sun to put up a show …

Sometime, all you got to do is just show up :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm: ISO 200 : 10 mm : f6.7 : 1/350 sec

Fred Howard Park
Tarpon Springs, Florida, USA

June 15, 2019

The Perfect Traveller

Enroute to Smokies we heard about this waterfalls that was tucked away in the mountains. We decided to make the trip to Minnehaha and it was well worth it. Located the trail head with head with help of GPS [34.749633, -83.479083]. There were very few parking spots by the road, but the drive up the winding road and the lake was quick a sight. Once you locate the trail head (with small set up stairs from the road) and get a parking spot, the fun continues. The trail is somewhat uphill, but the few stairs sprinkled along the way helped.

In addition to the trail, the falls itself is incredible. They spill over a cliff in a gorgeous, multi-tiered cascade before continuing downstream to the Lake Rabun. The morning sun, the floating fog, the spray from the falls, the chillness of the water – it all makes it a worthwhile experience.

Water is the most perfect traveller, because when it travels it becomes the path itself !
― Mehmet Murat ildan

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm: ISO 100 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 8.0 sec

Minnehaha Falls
Lakemont, Georgia, USA

June 5, 2019

The Prakaram of Nemam Temple

Nemam Temple near Karikudi is one among the 9 temples connected with the Nagarathar community. The nine temples connected with the Nagarathar or Natukottai chettiyar include: Ilayathakudi, Iluppaikkudi, Iraniyur, Mathur, Nemam, Pillayarpatti, Soorakudi, Vairavan, and Velangudi. Some of these like Pillayarpatti are more prominent than others.

But the intricate work at Nemam temple makes it stand out. Sculptures in the temple are so artistic, minute and sharp. The prakaram around the inner sanctum was definitely an architectural splendor. One could sense how accurate these were laid out. The windows on the top brings in the right amount of sun to light up the prakaram and the beauty of the sculptures.


Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 8.0 sec

Nemam
Karaikudi, TamilNadu, India

June 2, 2019

Soul of Ooty

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

As the summer temperatures were soaring up pretty much everywhere, we decided to head to Ooty – Queen of the Hills – for a short break. Being a impromptu travel, there was not much time for planning or scouting locations.

Being our first trip to Ooty, we made the mistake of booking the last of the rooms by Ooty downtown. Thought it would be good to enjoy a walk by the lake or get to the shops. But, oh boy the traffic was similar to that of Bangalore SilkBoard, if not worse :)

The serene drive to Emerald & Avalanche Lake, next day, balanced it all out. Some spots were indeed blocked or restricted, since it is owned by Electric Board and used for electricity generation. These spots need prior planning and securing permits beforehand. Still the drive is very picturesque and worth even if you were not able to secure the permits.

This weeks shot is a view is from a quick curve by the road side, as we were driving back from Emerald lake to Ooty.

I love this shot – it distills the essence of all that Ooty has to offer – Queen of hills, land of lakes, rolling coffee plantations, distant fog and a bit of human settlement. The sunset colors were a pleasant addition and the afternoon thunderstorms accentuated it. Ooty being cloudy / foggy most of the time, we did not expect this scene. But we gladly enjoyed as it unfolded in all its glory !

Surprises like these and more are what make the impromptu travel so additive :)

Soul of Ooty
Ooty, TamilNadu, India

May 16, 2019

Perspective

Sometime all we need is a new perspective.

Perspective – it changes everything.

One of the amazing things in life – just when we think we have everything figured out & then you stumble upon something new or suddenly see the same things in a different perspective & everything shifts again :)

Today’s shot is that of a top perspective of Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam temple – something that most would never have witnessed, lest be captured in the golden twilight.

Perspective – it changes everything :)

Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam
Madurai, TamilNadu, India

April 30, 2019

Courage

Courage in the path is what makes the path manifest itself

– Paulo Coelho

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 6.0 sec

Appalachian Mountains
Pisgah National Fores, North Carolina, USA

April 12, 2019

Cosmic Unison

Some dreaming, some planning and a lot of waiting was involved for this shot. When I first got to visit this spot, I went crazy with ideas like a kid with cotton candy. Of those, capturing this beauty under the cosmic stars was on top. This past weekend everything came together to make this possible …

The temple was just couple feet away while the milky way was 25,000 light years away. The temple was constructed around 1000 years back while the milky way is from a couple million years back. Separated vastly by space and time, yet in in cosmic unison – it was one beautiful sight to behold !

Being no moon, it was quiet dark. Hence decided to play with light painting to make the temple pop. To make it even sweeter, I had a lovely assistant who diligently worked with me thru the process. Having to accompany my son on his first night out and shooting stars was even a greater experience :)

 

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

    Vijayalaya Choleswaran Temple
Pudukottai, TamilNadu, India
March 19, 2019

Merku Gopuram of Meenakshi Temple

This shot is just part of the base 2 tiers of the 9 tier Merku Gopuram (west tower) of Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai. The temple complex spanning 14 acers – has 4 nine-storey gopurams (outer, raja), 1 seven-storey gopuram (Chittirai), 5 five-storey gopurams, 2 three-storey, and 2 one-storey gold-gilded sanctum towers. Each one compete and excel at being more intricate and detailed as the other.

Though there are references to Meenakshi Amman temple in literature going back to 6th century, these were restored back to its pristine glory in the 16th century, when King Thirumalai Naicker came back to power in Madurai. What awe-inspiring structures, with-standing the test of time. With such intricate work, would you believe this was conceived and constructed centuries ago ?!!!

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 76 mm : f8.0 : 1/125 sec

    Merku Gopuram, Meenakshi Amman Temple 
Madurai, TamilNadu, India
March 15, 2019

Love

Love is the absence of judgment – Dalai lama

 

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 184 mm : f5.6 : 1/10 sec

    Chicago Botanic Garden
Glencoe, Illinois, USA
March 10, 2019

View with a Vertigo

Dubai is known for high rise skyscrapers and its views. But this one is special. This is probably what Tom Cruise would have seen, when maneuvering over Burj Khalifa, if he had done the same stunt by night :)

 

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

    Burj Khalifa
Downtown, Dubai, UAE
March 3, 2019

Kotravaleeswarar Temple of Koviloor

The Koviloor temple of "Sri Kotravaleeswarar" was initially built by the Pandiya King "Veerasekara Pandiyan" – approximately thousand years ago. Legend says that once when King Veerasekaran was on his hunting at this place, he lost his sword and later recovered it. The temple was raised for the lord who helped recover the same. And hence the name Kotrai vaal eeswaran Temple !

The temple tank right in front of the temple called Madhu Puskarani, is one magnificent structure. The pretty mandapam backed by the row of coconut trees, reflected in the sparkling waters is a sight to behold, especially during sunset.

 

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 1/4 sec

    Madhu Puskarani, Kotravaleeswarar Temple
Koviloor, TamilNadu, India
February 18, 2019

Divine Island

Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam (வண்டியூர் மாரியம்மன் தெப்பக்குளம்) is a temple tank located near to Vandiyur Mariamman Temple and situated at a distance of about 4 km from the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai. Teppakulam, literally translates to temple pond and is mainly used for devotional festivals. The tank is connected to Vaigai River through an ingenious system of underground channels. This was constructed by the King Thirumalai Nayak. One of the largest Ganesha, the Mukkuruni Vinayagar in Meenakshi Amman Temple is said to be found when this tank is dug in 1645.

As a kid, I had seen this pond often used as cricket playing field. But when filled with water, the artificial tank makes the temple within – an island and is a sight to behold. An walk around this would take 30 minutes and would be awesome during early morning or evening times. The place is filled up with lot of road side shops to eat and walk with. If the tank is filled with water and the climate is breezy, you definitely would enjoy this spot !

DJI Mavic Pro : ISO 172 : 4.73 mm : f2.2 : 1/50 sec

    Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam
Madurai, TamilNadu, India
February 14, 2019

Find your light

The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows. Find your light and make it shine :)

Canon 7D : ISO 2500 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30.0 sec

Mirror Lake State Park
Baraboo, Wisconsin, USA
January 21, 2019

Ocean Entry @ Hawaii

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover – Mark Twain

The lava flow and the associated ocean entry, when it happens, is a sight to behold. It is, as if the lava flows all the way to jump into the ocean, while the water keeps lashing it back. Together they keep creating earth, one layer at a time !

Canon 7D : ISO 640 : 119 mm : f5.6 : 1.5 sec

    Ocean Entry
Big Island, Hawaii, USA
December 30, 2018

Center of my Universe

You are not at the center of The Universe, but you definitely are center of your universe :)

DJI Mavic Pro : ISO 188 : 5 mm : f2.2 : 1/13 sec

    From Above
Sakleshpur, Karnataka, India
December 23, 2018

Iraniyur

Just a short drive from Karaikudi is lraniyur, which hosts this lovely Aatkondanathar Swami temple. As the first rays of the sun hit, birds chirped all around, accompanied by the cool and pristine breeze – one is just teleported to a different world and time !

The history goes that Lord Narasimha incurred a dosha for killing demon Hiranya. He worshipped Lord Shiva for relief. Lord Shiv granted darshan to Lord Narashima and cleansed him of His dosha.

DJI Mavic Pro : ISO 100 : 5 mm : f2.2 : 1/190 sec

    Iraniyur
Karaikudi, TamilNadu, India
December 11, 2018

Vivekananda Rock by twilight

In a conflict between the heart and the head, follow your heart. – Swami Vivekananda

 

Eight years back, when I visited Kanyakumari, I did not get to actually visit the Vivekananda Rock. Back then, I had to settle for the view from ashore. It brought back memories from my childhood visit – the grandeur mandap, the towering pillars, the roaring waves, the serene & the cool rock – were all etched in my memory.

So this time around, when the chance presented itself, I was more than eager to get out there. But, I was a bit taken aback, on how things had taken a turn. From the confusing ticketing queues (one for the ferry and one for the entry at the rock, makes one wonder why someone would take a ferry and avoid entering the rock) to the huge crowds this place draws, the experience is no longer pristine. It was really sad that sitting in silence or meditation was no longer allowed on the grand hall and the so called meditation hall, set up down below makes one claustrophobic.

Don’t get me wrong, the rock and the mandap is still an awe inspiring structure.  Actually the design of the mandapa incorporates different styles of temple architecture from all over India. You definitely should visit if you are around in Kanyakumari. But at the same time, the experience is no longer as serene as it used to be. For now. given a choice, I’ll settle for the view from ashore and hold on to my memories :)

 

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 125 : 76 mm : f6.7 : 30 sec

    Vivekananda Rock
Kanyakumari, TamilNadu, India
November 22, 2018

Time

The problem is we think we have time.

If Big Bang happened at the first day of the year, the first second of January 1, then : humans didn’t arise until the last day of the year, and modern civilization makes up about the last 14 seconds of the year. – Neil Tyson, Cosmic Calendar.

In large scheme of things, our life is minuscule and insignificant. Yeah your read that right – insignificant, but it is wonderfully insignificant. We often lose track of the time that we have out here and the difference we make.

If the Cosmic Calendar makes you feel insignificant, the Life in Weeks Calendar, can help put things in perspective of how much time we really have, to make a difference. And it is up to us, to make it wonderful.

Its funny how we think we have all the time in the world, yet it is the other way around. But its never too late to become aware of how time and life drifts away, each moment. So, what are you waiting for – build that business, open that school, start that hobby, make that phone call, learn that skill, take that vacation …

Don’t wait, go DO that thing you really wanted to do …

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

By the Stars
Cedar Key, Florida, USA
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