Posts tagged ‘landscape’

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 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 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

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

December 15, 2019

Million shades of green

It is no surprise that Autumn shines with a million colors.
But Spring shines with a million shades of one color – Green :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-280 mm : ISO 250 : 119 mm : f5.6 : 1/60 sec

Anna Ruby Falls
Helen, Georgia, USA

November 26, 2019

An Art called Autumn

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. – Stanley Horowitz

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-280 mm : ISO 250 : 119 mm : f5.6 : 1/60 sec

Rough Ridge
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina, USA

November 5, 2019

That tree in Hampi

Vittala Temple is one of the most extravagant architectural showpiece of Hampi. Words can not depict this spectacle. This temple was built in the form of a sprawling campus with compound wall and gateway towers. There are many halls, pavilions and temples located inside this campus. But this wonderfully shriveled tree, standing tall, just around the corner from the famous Stone Chariot at Vitthala Temple, steals the show.

The temple built around 15th century – is a splendor. But this tree dated back by 150 years – equally matches to its grandeur. The twilight sun – kissing the wizened tree was a sight to behold.

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 17 mm : f6.3 : 1/10 sec

Vittala Temple
Hampi, Karnataka, India

October 31, 2019

Separate yet same

The Oaks of Charleston – at the outset it looks like each one is standing in a line – individually. Look further, and you would realize each one of them is connected at a far deeper level – by the comprehensive root system. But not always the connections manifest at a physical level.

We are connected with each other & everything that surrounds us. Be aware, Breathe, when you get a chance to walk on the grass barefoot, hug that tree, sense the surrounding, feel the connection – with one another & the surroundings :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 119 mm : f11 : 10 sec

Oaks of Charleston
Charleston, South Carolina, USA

October 20, 2019

Sunset, as seen by the falls

Smokies is such a vast place – that you can find an interesting subject to shoot, irrespective of the weather – lovely sunrises, dynamic landscape, long exposure waterfalls, fireflies, dark skies and what not – you get the picture.

This particular afternoon started out as a moody and overcast one. After gambling that the the sunset would not hit the high cord, decided to hike up to the little Gotto Falls.

But as luck would have it – the overcast became cloudy, resulting in a bit of drizzle, eventually clearing up by around sun set. The colors were starting to show up thru the trees, but it was too late to head out. That is when I decided to capture how the falls would witness such a lovely sunset … how do u like it :)

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

Grotto Falls
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA

October 6, 2019

Stillness

The Stillness that you search within, can be initiated with external triggers – that slow music melody, that soothing breeze as you walk by the green fields, that moment when the sunset makes the sky it’s canvas.

If nothing else, just take a deep breath. A conscious breath can do miracles. When you cannot handle the mind directly, it can be handled through breath …

Hope this serene sunset from Hampi, brings you the peace you are looking for :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 10-270 mm : ISO 640 : 18 mm : f3.5 : 0.4 sec

Kamalapur Lake
Hampi, Karnataka, India

September 28, 2019

Shipwreck by Keys

Seeing a place from a different vantage point always makes it stand out. Getting over the keys was one of the best ways to enjoy the view. We even got to see some marine life (sharks and rays, etc.). The different colors in the water helped appreciate & perceive how shallow some places indeed were.

In addition, getting to view the ship wreck made the experience complete :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 10-270 mm : ISO 100 : 85 mm : f5.6 : 1/500 sec

Key West National Wildlife Refuge
Key West, Florida, USA

August 25, 2019

The Hiker in Red Jacket

Dry Falls flows over an overhanging bluff that allows visitors to walk up under the falls and remain relatively dry, hence its name. Unfortunately no one told this is true, only when the flow is low. That particular day we got pretty wet – with the spotty rains and more so from the spray of the falls. Not that we were complaining, but it would have been good to know !

With the rain, I was not shooting much and this particular view felt cliche – but the hiker in the red jacket (yeah that tiny red fleck you can see, in the center of the frame, about to hike behind the falls) made all the difference and I couldn’t resit but go for the click :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f22 : 10 sec

Dry Falls
Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina, USA

August 18, 2019

Magic of Kodai

If Ooty is the “Queen of the hills”, Kodaikanal goes with “Princess of the hills”. Folks also refer to kodaikanal as “Switzerland of the East”, “Set of Southern Emeralds”, “Chilled paradise among the Hills”, “Summer Heaven”.

In Tamil – Kodaikanal has several meanings depending on how you break it up – “A place to see in Summer (kodai kanal)”, “The End of the forest (kO Di kanal)”, “The forest of the Creepers (kodi kanal)”, ” The Gift of the Forest (kOdai kanal)” – (oh the beauty of Tamil)

But what is there in the name … Irrespective of how you call, it is beautiful. The view points, lake and everything else is well developed but the beauty is still kept, atleast in pockets. The floating mist as it sails thru the valley, adds magic to the already beautiful place :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 125 : 35 mm : f5.6 : 1/60 sec

Magical Mist
Kodaikanal, Tamilnadu, India

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

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