Posts tagged ‘Travel’

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

February 9, 2021

Arasamara Pillayar / அரசமர பிள்ளையார்

My connection with the peepal started at a very young age. I have vivid memories of that huge peepal tree by our school building. Be it daily prayer / gathering or PT classes – this was the place we used to assemble. Arasamara Pillayar is also a very common scene of any typical south Indian village. Peepal tree is a symbol of the universe’s never-ending expanse. It is amazing how our culture imbibes rituals & lifestyles to live one with nature. If only we take an iota of effort to follow them, without losing their crux :)

For this week would like to share such a village scene captured in digital pencil art. How do you like it ?!

Pencil on Cold Pressed Paper

Arasamara Pillayar
Some Village in South India

January 29, 2021

Cosmic Showers

When it rains, look for rainbows
When it is dark, look for stars
When it rains stars, sit back and enjoy the show :)

Even when we don’t see – the night falls, stars raise and the show continues. Here is a fleeting moment spread across 25 mins, from a random night captured from few years back.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 2500 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30 sec [50 shots]

Cosmic Showers
Harmon, Illinois, USA

January 23, 2021

Life of Lambda

DJI Mavic Pro : ISO 164 : 4.73 mm : f2.2 : 1/25 sec

Lambda
Sakleshpur, Karnataka, India

January 8, 2021

Postcard from the past

As I was enjoying the Virupaksha temple at sunrise, came across this scene. For some reason, the family standing there, resembled the typical tourist – one who does not gel with the surrounding & stands out. May be it was their attire or the posture, but whatever – they felt juxtaposed. Tried processing to elevate and showcase how Hampi still stands the test of time. The final result felt like a postcard from the past :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 500: 10 mm : f9.0 : 1/15 sec

Hemakuta Hill
Hampi, Karnataka, India

January 1, 2021

Reflections & Perspectives

Reflecting back on 2020, it had been a tough year. Travel had been restricted and not great in sense of capturing moments. One good thing with the lockdown – mother nature seem to be healing. We now hear more of birds chirping even in the middle of Marathalli, Bangalore :) For the many lucky folks who are not stranded away from home – the lockdown had brought in a much needed break to reflect and introspect. For me it had been a great year professionally with more reading, new challenges and associated experiences. The ups & downs were like never before but the lessons learned were inevitable.

Let us drop the prejudice of 2020. Focus, enjoy and equip for the journey forward. Here is to 2021 – to more learning, more travel, more connections & enriched experiences :)

This week shot is from Badami (from a pre covid trip). Badami Shivalaya was the regal capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. Most of the visitors miss this as the focus is always on the Badami caves. The fort is quite opposite to the caves on the other side of the lake. Also one needs to trek to the top . The path is quiet defined with steps but is a bit strenuous, especially in hot weather. The massive hillock hosts couple of different levels with – the pillared structures, the lower Shivalayas and the upper Shivalayas. One is treated with  Chalukya architecture and the views are directly propositional to the effort one puts in to climb up :)

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

Upper Shivalaya Temple
Badami, Karnataka, India

December 6, 2020

Days of the Glorious Past

Hampi is one among the most historically and culturally significant sites in India. Stroll through its remote landscape and one is bound to be drowned in its beauty. Achyuta Raya Temple and the ruined market street in front of it sit in a semi-secluded valley created by two hills – the Gandhamadana & Matanga hills. What once was an incredible empire is now in a state of ruin, but that only adds to its beauty and grandeur. The remnants are quite stark and make one wonder how celebrated it would have been in days of its glorious past.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 22 mm : f27 : 6 sec

Achyuta Raya Temple
Hampi, Karnataka, India

November 21, 2020

Somewhere in Islamorada

Bright blue skies, crystal clear water, crispy cool breeze – a typical day in Florida

As we were driving to Keywest, decided to pull over a random turn – hoping to get a view by the water, without all the crowd (yeah this is from few years back before COVID and at the peak season). It did not disappoint. Though this lighthouse was small and all worn out, am sure it would have provided reprieve for sailors during the glorious days of past.

Curious on how this particular art was made ? check out the article – Artography : Digital Painting.

Watercolor

Lighthouse
Islamorada, Florida, USA

October 26, 2020

Life is Inevitable

If dreams were made out of stone, it would be Hampi. Every walk and every turn at Hampi has awe and surprises carved in stone.

This particular morning we were strolling on the hills of Hemakunta. Surrounded by the grand architecture of Hampi, the cool morning breeze, the rising sun, golden light glistening the rocks – the moment was perfect. And then stumbled upon this little guy, growing right thru the stone. He was there for a purpose, yet juxtaposed at the same time. It was as if everything came together to make this moment happen, to make this connect happen.

He was silently showing what life is all about.

What you think as dead, is just dormant. Be aware, take care of such little things that is & constitutes life. Life is just inevitable.

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 500 : 27 mm : f/4.5 : 1/30 sec

Hemakuta Hill
Hampi, Karnataka, India

September 18, 2020

By the Silent night

The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows. – Brene Brown

This shot is from few years back, when we used to do occasional visits between Greenville, SC and Alpharatta,GA. Enroute is the fabulous forests of Tugaloo, right adjacent to lake Hartwell. From one such drive, sunday late into the night, ignoring the imminent monday morning blues – pulled over an arbitrary & craggy road. Decided to take a stroll and it didn’t disappoint.

Set on a timer, this was captured as contiguous 177 shots spread over 45+ minutes. As for the processing ran the 177 shots through the (free) Creative Effects UI Photoshop script with Saucer effect. This could have been shot as a single exposure, but I always prefer smaller multiple exposures. It gives a lot more freedom around the creative processing :) How do u like it !

Forest of Tugaloo
Lavonia, Georgia, USA

September 11, 2020

When birds swim …

When birds swim, they are even more magical :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 150-600 mm : ISO 2000 : 600 mm : f5.6 : 1/60 sec

By Kabini River
Jakkalli, Karnataka, India

August 21, 2020

Absolutely Still

Sometimes – to take in all that life has to give – you just got to be still. Absolutely still.

Stagnation is dying, in many ways. But Stillness is beautiful. Especially when you are so with awareness of each breath & each fleeting moment. Here is one such fleeting moment of stillness from the the land where even the stones sing – Hampi :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 320 : 12 mm : f11 : 1/20 sec

Hemakuta Hill
Hampi, Karnataka, India

August 13, 2020

Rest, Relax, Rejuvenate …

Just like a spring, our body & mind accommodates and carries a lot of load. Few at a time seems manageable, but carry for long & it breaks. Unlike a spring, know when to knock off the load and rebound. Identify rituals that help you revitalize.

Rest, Relax, Rejuvenate & Spring back :)

To rest is not being idle. To lie on the beach or the grass – listening to the murmur of the water or rustling of the trees and to watch life happen – is by no means a waste of time.

Canon XSi : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 32 mm : f13 : 1/350 sec

Hidden Beach
Bogmalo, Goa, India

August 4, 2020

Aihole wrapped in a blanket of stars

Just an hour’s drive from Badami is Aihole – a historic site of ancient & medieval era with Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monuments. There are a variety of temples sprinkled all over this place. With so much variety, Aihole is indeed the cradle of temple architecture. The incredible work here dates from the sixth century through the twelfth century.

This week’s shot is from one such complex which hosts a collection of about 30 temples by the banks of river Malaprabha. The quarter moon was just enough to light the temple complex, while still allowing to enjoy the grandeur of the stars. The trip from earlier this Feb was not conducive to enjoy the Milky Way, but it helped to get an enticing composition around the north star with equally captivating temples in the foreground. How do you like it ?!

PS : This shot was made possible with ~200 shots over 45 mins and composited with the “Creative Effects” Photoshop script. You can download the same for free here :)

By the banks of Malaprabha
Aihole, Karnataka, India

July 30, 2020

Such is Life

Such is Life –
know when to fall, know when to roll
know when to flow & when to calm.

For those not aware – this is Eastatoe falls. This literally sits in the backyard of a lovely little home, bordering South & North Carolina. Grateful for people who share their treasures with one and all. Based on that, I like to go with the name The Backyard falls :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 13 mm : f22 : 3.0 sec

Eastatoe Falls
Eastatoe, North Carolina, USA

July 6, 2020

Virupaksha Temple @ Hampi

The Virupaksha temple stands unrelenting from around the 7th century. It is one of the most prominent center of pilgrimage at Hampi.

The Vijayanagara rulers, in the middle of the 14th century, initiated the blossoming of native art and culture in the region. Though most of the temple buildings are attributed to the Vijayanagara period, there is ample evidence indicating to additions that were made to the temple in the late Chalukyan and Hoysala periods. When they were defeated by Deccan Sultanate in the 16th century, most of the wonderful decorative structures and creations were systematically destroyed. However they were not able to destroy the religious sect of Virupaksha. Even after the annihilation of the city in 1565, worship of Shiva (Virupaksha) had persisted throughout the years. Today, the temple is still fully intact among the surrounding ruins and is the only active temple in all of Hampi.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 500 : 10 mm : f9.0 : 1/80 sec

Hemakuta Hill
Hampi, Karnataka, India

July 1, 2020

Patience

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are times we race thru things. Actually we are conditioned to race for everything in life – both professional & personal. It takes effort to slow down. Be mindful. Adapt to natures pace. Once you get her secret, life would be much enriched :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 800: 119 mm : f11 : 1/6 sec

The Rise
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

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 30, 2020

Keshava temple of Somanathapura

The Chennakesava temple of Somanathapura stands on a raised platform, in the centre of a spacious enclosure having sixty four cells. This three celled (trikutachala) structure consists of three garbha grihas, three antaralas and a navarang. It has a mahadwara standing on the east. The basement of the outer wall is highly ornamented with friezes of elephants, scrolls, epic & puranic scenes. The lathe turned pillars and delicately carved sixteen different types of ceilings are the characteristic feature of the hoysala art. Inscriptions engraved on a huge slab standing in the mahadwara and on the beams of the navaranga ranging in date from 1269 – 1550 AD, give the details of the construction of the temple.

When we visited, the outer enclosure was being refurbished. That particular afternoon the brewing storm added to mood of the shot. Shortly after this, witnessed quiet a downpour, but we were safe inside the garbha grihas :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100: 12 mm : f13 : 1/3 sec

Keshava Temple
Somanathapura, Karnataka, India

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

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