December 13, 2016
For most people, we often marvel at the beauty of a sunrise or the magnificence of a full moon, but it is impossible to fathom the magnitude of the universe that surrounds us :)
– Richard H. Baker
The last quarter of 2016 had been treating us with Super Moons. To the casual watcher it does not make much of a difference in size, but it does give an excuse to go out, shoot and enjoy.
All the planning did not come together during Oct and Nov, as the weather Gods had other plans. The third and final installment of this supermoon trifecta adored the sky earlier this evening (Dec. 13, 2016). And Oh boy, was it awesome !
This is not a composite (not that there is anything wrong with composites). But it was much more fun and challenging to plan and get it all together, restricting to a single focal length.
As I came to the spot shortly before the moon rise, was worried the anchored boat would be a hindrance. But once I walked around, the composition fell in place – and in this case, I feel it adds to the scale of the shot :)
Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 320: 270 mm : f5.6 : 1/8 sec
|| Moon Rise 12.13.2016
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
November 15, 2016
Fall colors do happen in Florida, it just happens in the sky and all around the year :)
The name Sunshine State might bring in memories of crisp & sunny days at beach, but Florida also is the home of some amazing & best sunsets. This was shot at a secluded spot, from a not very well know local beach. The low tide enabled the kids (look close, there are two of them) to play and venture out for shell combing. As the sun was fading behind the horizon, the entire sky burst in million shades of twilight colors. It was just magical :)
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100: 10 mm : f22 : 6.0 sec
Tarpon Springs, Florida, USA
October 26, 2016
Door County by Hwy 42 in Wisconsin is one of the premier spots for enjoying fall colors. During the peak fall season, any of the country back roads will treat you with a palette of colors, but this crooked road definitely takes the crown.
It really is a neat road, connecting the village of Gills Rock, Wisconsin with the Washington Island Ferry dock at Northport. At the right time, this winding stretch of road is encapsulated by a burst of fall colors. Thanks to the ongoing road work during my visit, it added a rustic feel to the shot !!!
There is no path to happiness
Happiness is the path :) – Buddha
Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100: 119 mm : f5.6 : 1/45 sec
||That Crooked Road
Gills Rock, Wisconsin, USA
October 19, 2016
Just because you
didn’t see me
Doesn’t mean that
I wasn’t there
Did u know that on average there are 25 Million cloud-to-ground lighting hits per year or ~48 strikes per second … and that is only counting continental US. Still I had managed to capture only a very few till date, this being the first strike ;-)
Being one of the most unpredictable forces of nature, lightning storms present unique challenges in photographing them. Lightning is probably happening all thru the day, but is more rewarding to photograph them once it is dark or during twilight, when the foreground accentuates the composition. I had been trying to capture lighting for a while now, but it all came together only this particular evening at Everglades National Park. How do u like it !
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100: 15 mm : f5.6 : 4 sec
Pine Glades Lake
Everglades Wilderness, Florida, USA
September 22, 2016
Almost always, things happen for a reason.
For the remaining times, it still happens for a reason, but we just don’t know it :)
This particular evening, planning for a full moon shoot, I headed to Fort de Soto Park. But since it turned out to be pretty overcast by the horizon, decided to head to the other side of the island for the sunset. Turned out to be a great evening.
It was a nice walk by the waves, enjoying the sunset. As the sun was going down the horizon, there were these two White Ibis playing by the coast. Watching these guys was fun and in the end, it was just a matter of waiting for things to align. Glad it all came together !
Eventually, on the way back, we got to see the full moon in its glory too. After all, things happen for a reason :)
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100: 10 mm : f3.5 : 1/350 sec
|| Guardians of the Sunset
Fort De Soto, Florida, USA
July 17, 2016
Driving this past weekend was like a theme park ride. During thru the afternoon thunderstorms, the rain was lashing quiet heavily. All that was visible were the blinkers from the car ahead. Even with that visibility the traffic was flowing at 70 mph & there was no way to slow down. Once in a while, the lighting would remind and highlight miles of everglade wilderness on the right. Listening to beats of the AR Rehman , interrupted by the far thunders – it all was like a adventure theme park ride :)
Was planning for the sunset, but driving for hours with out knowing, if the clouds would indeed open up, in quiet daunting :) Racing with time, arrived at the pristine lake just in time. But the horizon was still cloudy.
As the sun started going down, the sky towards southwest cleared & the colors started to bleed. Then something peculiar happened, the break of clouds, around the horizon added the much needed depth and the clouds were backlit with subtle shades of the pink. It was interesting to watch the sun set in a veil of clouds.
Finally, as I was trying out a time-lapse, the lightning from the distant storm made it for one Striking Sunset, with some pristine reflections :)
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100: 15 mm : f22 : 1.5 sec
|| Pine Glades Lake
Everglades Wilderness, Florida, USA
June 13, 2016
For two weeks, each year, the secluded forests of Elkmont is converted into a magical wonderland.
Words can’t describe the experience, but let me try. As we venture into the forests, a light drizzle along with the cool breeze accompanies. Smokies as the name has it, brings in a rolling fog as the dusk sets in. After finding a remote spot by the trees and set the camera for a composition I liked, it was time to wait. Not long before the horizon begins to darken and the first of the fireflies beings to twinkle. Here a twinkle, there a twinkle and before you know it – everywhere a twinkle twinkle. The entire forest begins to glow, and then as if all lights are off, becomes pitch dark. After couple of seconds, the entire place is lit up once again. There fireflies surround you in its mythical glow. The thousands of lightning bugs gather in swarms and flash in harmony as the entire forest alternates between light and darkness. It truly becomes a magical wonderland.
The show is all made possible – thanks to Photinus carolinus – or more commonly known as Synchronous fireflies. Unlike other fireflies, this species uses the synchronicity of the flashing, probably to attract it’s mate. Synchronous species of fireflies are very special—and they exist only in a handful of places throughout the world. Elkmont @ Smokies is one such place. Fireflies combine the chemical luciferin and oxygen with the enzyme luciferase in their lanterns (part of their abdomens) to make light. The light produced is referred to as a “cold” light, with nearly 100% of the energy given off as light. In contrast, the energy produced by an incandescent light bulb is approximately 10% light and 90% heat. So much for our human invention !
No one is sure why the fireflies flash synchronously. Competition between males might be one reason: they all want to be the first to flash. Or perhaps if the males all flash together so they have a better chance of being noticed. What ever be the reason – it indeed is magical & Here is my take on that magical experience. Hope you like the same as much as I enjoyed capturing it.
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 640 -5000: 10 mm : f3.5 : 15-30 sec ; 100 shots
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA
Tips to get your way to Elkmont
- Elkmont is Part of the Smoky National Park.
- Lottery : Starting this year (2016), NPS has introduces Lottery. You need to be on the look out @ the NPS Website and apply during registration period. If you are lucky and get selected, you would need to drive up to Sugarlands Visiter Center on the allocated date. Around 6:30 PM local time the trolley takes to the viewing area. The Trolley / shuttle runs thru 11:30 PM so you will have ample time to experience the fireflies. You can read more about the lottery here.
- Campground : Don’t lose heart , if you do not get the lottery. The next best thing (or actually an even better option) is to get a camp site at the Elkmont Campground. This gets you within a mile of the Elkmont Viewing area. Additionaly learnt, one more huge advantage is the you 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.
- But you are warned, Elkmont campground is one of the most famous ones, thought it has only the basic facilities. You need to book a spot months before, or need to keep check every other for a cancellation to pop up, like it did :)
- Be sure to follow the Fireflies Etiquette.
- Do remember you are visiting them in their natural habitat, not the other way around. Take every step need to ensure they are not disturbed.
June 8, 2016
This past weekend, got a chance to drive by Smokies. As with last minute plans, needed a few creative ideas to make it happen. One of them was to just drive around and sleep in the car as needed. One of the huge advantage of car camping, is that you are always just a door away from a night full of stars or floating in a mystic fog or waking up to lovely view like this.
After trying out some fun light experiments at the Clingmans dome, we decided to head out to NewFound Gap to catch some sleep. The intent was to be able to crash till twilight and be able to enjoy the sunrise from near a view point. But as it is aptly called – Smokies – the view was pretty covered with fog and overcast.
After some quick gamble, decided to see if we would have a better luck driving around. As we pulled out of the parking lot and within the next turns, we were greeted with this scene. The sun was just rising behind the mountains lighting up the horizon :)
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 250: 10 mm : f3.5 : 1/30 sec
|| NewFound Gap Road
Bryson City, North Carolina, USA
May 9, 2016
Shooting Star …
now what would U wish for :)
This past weekend the weather was pretty warm and the skies clear providing a right mix for some star gazing. Being around new moon and the Eta Aquarids Meteor at peak was an added bonus.
Apart from the over hyped theme parks, Florida has much to offer. Despite what you may know, there are still some spots so remote and light stricken that on a clear summer night like this, the Milky Way glows, like a low lying cloud. Cedar Key, Florida is one of those places nestled on the Gulf of Mexico and provides a truly “Old Florida” rustic experience. I have a feeling this was just first of the many more night trips to come :)
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30.0
|| Eta Aquarids Meteor (05.08.2016)
Cedar Key, Florida, USA
May 2, 2016
Who said nights were for sleep – Marilyn Manroe
Tampa River walk is a phased open space and pedestrian trail along the Hillsborough River in Tampa FL, for about 2.3 miles, from Waterworks Park to Channelside. The river walk offers for a variant of activities from food to parks to walks on the land side and boats to kayaks to water bike rentals on the water. It provides for a fun walk taking you past many restaurants and parks that often have outdoor music and activities going on throughout the day and night. If the views aren’t enough to keep you interested, there are little historical and informative landmarks along the way. Just don’t forget to Wear sunscreen and/or a hat and bring water bottles. Or better at night come in at dusk to enjoy the season colors which is simply beautiful along the walk at night.
This was one among my many favorite views, highlighting the futuristic River walk along with the University of Tampa on the backdrop :)
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 400 : 22 mm : f5.6 : 8.0
|| Tampa Riverwalk
Tampa, Florida, USA
April 25, 2016
Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon ?
Great food, but no atmosphere …
I wonder how come its still full ;-)
After a couple of months, decided to plan for a full moon shoot for this year ! After scouting couple of locations, decided the Sunshine Skyway bridge would provide a nice backdrop. May be, without realizing, I was trying to mimic the mountains with this urban set up :). Anyway, weather had different things in store for the evening. It was so cloudy by the horizon, that the supposedly big moon, was not even visible during the rise. Then began a game of hide and seek. Eventually, she peaked out for a while, giving just enough time to capture this scene !
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 320 / 125: 169 mm : f5.6 : 8.0 / 1/15 sec
|| Sunshine Skyway Bridge
St Petersburg, Florida, USA
April 11, 2016
For a minute,
look up at the sky,
how amazing life is :)
A night under the stars always brings in thoughts of contemplation :) This was shot by the Wisconsin river late last year while chasing the Perseids. I love how a distant car left a trail over the distant bridge.
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 2500 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30.0 sec
|| Wisconsin River
Blue River, Wisconsin, USA
April 5, 2016
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. ― Rumi
Excessive judgments weigh you down and make you feel heavy-hearted and unsatisfied. While we are judging and discerning, sometimes it is just wonderful to allow the radiance of the universe to permeate and just be, and let go. We are always making distinctions and labeling things as right and wrong, good or bad, true or untrue … Sometimes it is exhausting to carry all the burden of excessive judgment.
Just be :)
This shot is from an early morning by the countryside of Wisconsin, as I was returning back from shooting the Milky Way & Perseids. It is always fun to shoot thru the night and into the light !
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f4.5 : 1/60 sec
|| Countryside Corn Fields
Blue River, Wisconsin, USA
March 31, 2016
The tide recedes, but leaves behind
bright shells on the sand.
The sun goes down, but gentle warmth
still lingers on the land.
The music stops, yet echoes on
in sweet and soulful refrains.
For every moment that passes,
something beautiful remains.
Met this guy during the stroll by the beach. He too was taking the time to enjoy the sunset and strolling even more leisurely to get a dip in the warm waters. If you look close, you could see his legs as he is dragging lazily towards the sea :)
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 500 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 1/20 sec
|| Sand Key Park
Clearwater, Florida, USA
March 27, 2016
Somewhere, Something incredible is waiting to be known. – Carl Sagan
As Spring comes up, so does the galactic arm of the milky way. Due to the curvature and constant movement of the earth, the Milky Way is below the horizon during the months of November to February, and can be enjoyed with the galactic center from March to October (if you live in the northern hemisphere).
This shot is from the one of the most known Perseids meteor shower from the past year. We drove around the Green river state wildlife area and luckily chanced upon a remote road. As I light painted the foreground with Coast HP7, the meteor sparkled across the night sky. One of the stars even decided to play the head of the comet.
Looking forward to more adventurous nights this year :)
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30 sec
|| Perseids (08.13.2015) @ Green River State Wildlife Area
Harmon, Illinois, USA
March 20, 2016
Now that is a reason to call Florida – the sunshine state ! And Tampa, FL seems to be one of heck of a place to enjoy sunsets. This particular evening, as I was strolling on the beach of Sand Key Park, just off of Clearwater, was treated with a lovely sunset. The pop corn clouds were making their journey across the sky, the sun was about to hide behind the ocean, the Caribbean blue waters were frolicking the shore and a distant pirate ship was heading back with the loot.
As I later found, the pirate turned out to be Captain Memo, jaunting across the horizon. But nevertheless, it did not take away any of the magic from the evening … After all not all treasures are Silver and Gold , right :)
Not all treasure is Silver and Gold.
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 1/125 sec
|| Sand Key Park
Clearwater, Florida, USA
March 6, 2016
Everyone eventually dies,
But only a few make sure they lived.
Canon 7D : Tamron 10-270 mm : ISO 100 : 169 mm : f5.6 : 1/10 sec
||Chicago Botanic Garden
Glencoe, Illinois, USA
February 21, 2016
Moving from salting side walks to salting Margaritas, hopefully ;-)
Read somewhere that not everything can be bought, but looks like even Sunshine can be :)
Looking forward to what Life & Sunshine State has in store …
Adios Chicago !!!
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 13 mm : f8 : 30.0 sec
|| Buckingham Fountain
Chicago, Illinois, USA
February 5, 2016
A little further from the Devils Churn, there is a parking pull out for this ocean anomaly – Spouting Horn. One could hike down to the view point to enjoy the same. Just make sure to watch ur steps. Spouting horn is kind of an Ocean Geyser. It was interesting to reflect how this is evolving. Over time the pounding waves gradually widened a fracture in the rocks forming Cook’s Chasm. The edge of the Chasm was undercut, forming a cave. Eventually a crack on the top of the cave created a perfect setting for the Spouting horn.
Canon 7D: Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 200 : 18 mm : f22 : 1/45 sec
Always do what you are afraid to do – Ralph Waldo
Cape Perpetua, Oregon, USA
January 24, 2016
Japanese Garden also called as The Garden of Three Islands is one of the many gardens within the Chicago Botanical Gardens. Here it is indeed easy to overlook how the Japanese respect for nature and age are revealed. If you look closely, though, the effect is evocative, as seamless as a traditional haiku. The larger rocks are partially buried, as if they have been in place forever. Flowering plants have a short bloom time, reflecting the yin-yang balance between the ephemeral existence of human life and the timelessness of nature. Many of the trees are pruned and trained to give the illusion of age.
This 17-acre lakeside garden includes three islands. Only two (Island of Clear, Pure Breezes & Island of the Auspicious Cloud) are open to the public. Across the lake, the inaccessible island (Island of Everlasting Happiness) is symbolic of paradise—in sight yet elusive.
Sunset is particularly an awesome time to take a walk by the lake around these islands :)
Deep within each one of us lies a garden – Julie Moir Messervy
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f22 : 8.0 sec
|| Chicago Botanical Gardens
Glencoe, Illinois, USA