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
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 11, 2016
Deep in the forest of Karnataka there are some pristine spots, largely untouched (yet). Jogi Gundi is one such lovely waterfall tucked in the wilderness of Agumbe. The Jogigundi Falls is located around 3 km from Agumbe. Situated on the way to the Barkana Falls, it can be reached by a small trek of around ~500 mts. When the conditions are right, you can also enjoy swimming in the turquoise green water. Even during the monsoon time, water was inviting and pretty refreshing from the afternoon heat.
I was lucky to visit the place, at the right time, when the water was just right to highlight the beautiful structure of the waterfall, while the entire surrounding was still lush green from the rains. Heavier rains would definitely make it more majestic, but also would increase the challenge of accessing the falls. Also heard that the leeches might decide to join the trek, if the rains are continuous :)
Be advised and cautious. This is a rain forest. You are entering the habitat of the wild. Respect their place & space. Leave only foot prints and carry back all that u carry in, along with some lovely pictures & memories!
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100: 10 mm : f22 : 1.0 sec
|| Jogi Gungi Waterfalls
Agumbe, Karnataka, India
September 5, 2016
Generally urban cities each boasts an iconic skyline. But Dubai – it boasts a skyline where ever u look ! From being a dry desert in early 80’s to being the world’s biggest shopping & transient travel hub now – these skyscrapers play a vital role in making Dubai.
The effort to capture the iconic buildings started much before I landed here. Thanks to Google maps & street views, most of the planning was done even before I boarded the plane. After reaching out to couple of friends and scouting the location on street view, it was a matter of getting to the spot at the right time and pray that the visibility was good !
When I got in the cab and asked to dropped on the side of the road @ Palm Jumeirah, the cabbie might have thought I was crazy. He asked several times if there is an restaurant or an hotel I would need to get dropped … Eventually he joined me in enjoying this lovely skyline view and did drop me back at the next stop :)
The Burj Al Arab (Tower of the Arabs) is the world’s only 7 star hotel and designed to resemble a billowing sail . At 1053 feet (321 meters), it dominates the Dubai skyline making it the fourth tallest hotel in the world. Tried getting in, but looks like one cannot even enter without a reservation ! Though the visibility was reduced , Burj Khalifa (Khalifa Tower) adorns the distant skyline. At 2722 feet (837 meters) and being the worlds tallest structure, it houses a combination of residential, commercial & business entities. With both Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa this view definitely makes one iconic Dubai skyline.
Dubai was totally the opposite of what I prefer in travel – simplicity, native, one with nature – but somehow it made me intrigued. Was surprised with how much you can see and do in Dubai even in a short time.
Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100: 59 mm : f5.6 : 30 sec
|| Dubai Skyline
Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE
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 22, 2016
Hampi, a village in northern Karnataka, India, was one of the richest and largest cities in the world during its prime. It is located within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara. The ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A trip to Hampi is incomplete without the trek to Matanga hills. Matunga Hill, being at the center of Hampi, and also the highest point, is the best spot to get an aerial view of Hampi and it’s surroundings. One can experience the true essence of any new place much deeper – in the first few moments leading to the sunrise and a few moments after, when the world around us is waking up from a slumber. And the rooftop of the Veerabhadra Temple at the summit is the ideal place to experience it. Apart from the Veerabhadra temple, there are lovely views sprinkled around, like these.
Canon XSi : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100: 18 mm : f3.5 : 1/90 sec
|| Matunga Hill
Hampi, Karnataka, India
January 3, 2016
If you have read the “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon”, you would known about Minli who sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.
Here is a magical shot from valley of Sandy River, as the full moon dances with the majestic Mount Hood. A big cheers for all the adventures and answers you seek for in the coming new year. A Very Happy New Year – 2016 to my Friends out here. May this new year be beautiful, sweet, creative, and happy one for you.
Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 270 mm : f11 : 1/20 sec
||Jonsrud View Point
Sandy, Oregon, USA
November 15, 2015
Hidden in the north west corner of Washington state is a treasure of a primeval, temperate & enchanted rainforest – Hoh. Walking thru these forests brings in an overwhelming sense of the timelessness. The huge amounts of rainfall and the storm dumps from the near by pacific ocean results in the lush, green canopy of both coniferous and deciduous species. Layers and layers of green, moist moss adorns the whole place, making even the once dead trees & logs of long time, come alive.
Hoh – The place is whimsical and magical, but is still as much real :)
Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 18 mm : f13 : 10 sec
|| Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Forest
Forks, Washington, USA
September 21, 2015
It is good to get lost. It helps to find yourself.
With technology today, one can afford to get lost, without getting lost. It is much easier to take that road not taken, knowing that you have access to GPS and can get back home, if u decide to. I generally plan for location and timing to get the golden light. But once in a while I do enjoy getting around without a destination. Not knowing where the path leads, making the journey even more interesting.
What are you waiting for, just hop in the car and drive to the stars ! I assure, you wouldn’t regret :)
The journey is what brings us happiness, not the destination. – Dan Milman
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 2500 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30.0 sec
|| Green River Wildlife Area
Harmon, Illinois, USA
August 7, 2015
Recently reading about the forest fire in the west coast was heavy in my heart. The dry weather and drought was definitely fuelling the same. But reading about the options of ‘clear cutting’ or ‘thinning’ to reduce forest fire did not help either. Only we, humans, could come up with such options. Too much of our scientific thinking and that we could control things without messing others. Initially this may sound like a good counter intuitive plan, but just thinking thru it, will help realize the long term impacts. If wolfs could change the course of rivers, we ought to respect and agree that the butterfly effect would have drastic impacts in future on these kind of actions.
Let nature be. It will heal itself.
Reading all this, reminded me of the feeling I had when I shot this, couple of years back. I had gone out to enjoy the fall colors. The morning was crisp, the air was cool, there was mist settling over the distant trees. There was even a sprinkle of snow. Even with all this, it was kind of a eerie feeling to witness these chopped trees. It felt almost alien, as if they were trying to drag themselves to the water to get some relief for their soul.
Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 119 mm : f5.6 : 1/60 sec
|| N Santiam Hwy
Detroit, Oregon, USA
July 27, 2015
When life knocks you down, just roll over and enjoy the stars :)
This shot is from a few years back, when I was out at Trillium Lake to enjoy the Perseids Meteor Shower. Being my first night-out shooting, I consider myself lucky to have captured the Perseids. It really did not start out that way. The first half of the night was more of hide and seek, as the meteors were adorning the skies, especially where the camera was not pointed at. I was much worried that the possibilities would only go down, as the moon was coming up.
As the night was wading, the moon was coming up the horizon. But only after I decided to stop chasing the Perseids, did I notice that the moon brought in Venues and Jupiter along, in a lovely celestial alignment. As I zoomed in to capture the night sky along with the Moon, Venue & Jupiter – a Perseids – decided to join the show too. I couldn’t be more glad, when all things came in alignment :)
Perseids Meteor Shower is one of the more consistent meteor showers in the northern sky. Its coming up in a few weeks (Aug 12-14, 2015) and the waxing crescent (3%) would not be hindering the same. Have you planned where you would be enjoying the show from for 2015 ?!
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 1600 : 19 mm : f5.6 : 15.0 sec
|| Trillium Lake
Mt. Hood, Oregon, USA
July 15, 2015
The most fertile lands were built by the fires of volcanoes – Andrea Gibson
35 Years later, Mt St Helens is still recovering. It was interesting to read that time of the day (8:32 AM local time) and the season of the event play a lot in its recovery. Many nocturnal animals were already bedded down for the day and so were more likely to have been protected in burrows and to have survived the explosion than their neighbors up and about during the daylight. You just don’t think about that; that’s a chance event – But then nothing else is by chance either :)
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 12 mm : f22.0 : 30.0 sec
|| Mt. St Helens
Mt. St Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington, USA
May 10, 2015
This was from the lovely viewpoint at Sandy, Oregon. I love this spot for its accessibility. Just drive, get out of the car, and you are greeted with this view. Jonsurd Viewpoint is a hidden jem in Sandy, Oregon.
This was a incidental shot. It was all about being prepared when the opportunity presents itself. As I was awaiting for the blue moon to raise from behind that majestic Mt. Hood, the sun was setting behind us. It was such a lovely scene, the shadows running ahead – first over the trees, then over the Sandy river, then the plains and then over Mt. Hood itself. For a spilt second, the last rays of the sun, kissed the tip of Mt. Hood – creating this surreal scene !
Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 25 mm : f22 : 4.0 sec
March 29, 2015
This was from the night, few moons ago, when I was shooting the camelopardalis meteor shower. Clear nights are nice to shoot the milky way. But a little bit if mist, actuates and gives a good nice glow to the stars. I love the Green River Wildlife Area for the night sky watching. It provides ample dirt roads and parking spots where you could set up base ! For this shot I set up the camera and decided to drive around and the set the car, so the head lights could light up the trees :)
It is fun to shoot the milky way. It is even more enjoyable when my family joins in the party. My son (8 yrs) is equally intrigued by the night sky. Along with the shot, just wanted to share something he wrote during one of our trips to catch a glimpse of a meteor shower.
Falling star Falling Star
Sliding down the Sky
I will catch You when I fly.
Falling star Falling Star
You have a Shiny light,
Which makes you very Bright
You go swiftly
– My Dad takes snaps of U quickly.
Falling Star Falling Star
We see U barely,
So come out early
We see U in dark starlit midnight
Hoping to see U tonight. – Pranav :)
Canon 7D : Canon 10-24 mm : ISO 2500 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30 sec
||Camelopardalis Meteor, Green River Wildlife Area
Harmon, Illinois, USA
January 26, 2015
Getting to Mt St Helens by itself is fun. The Highway 504 enroute is just perfect – be it bicycle, motorcycle or a casual car drive. It has some sweeping turns and plenty of turn offs at viewpoints to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Pacific North West. The drive up takes you to the Johnston Ridge Observatory. A little rustic building filled with history and even more adored with a picture perfect view of the Mt. St. Helens.
The volcanic eruption of the 1980 created a huge crater, losing almost 14% of its elevation and resulting in the flattened top. The debris spurred around for ~250 miles, impacting the entire ecosystem. Even today, after decades, one could still witness the ashes on some part of the wilderness trees. Each element around – the landscape, the deteriorating but majestic trees, the mountain, the fissures of lava – each remind us of the power of nature.
The sun actually sets behind you as you enjoy the mountain view. But this particular evening the light was just magical and it was fire across the sky. Given the vicinity to the visitor center and the concrete paved walkway, it lends itself well for night photography, especially if ur worried to hike up in the dark. It is amazing to view the milky way above St. Helens. Additionally the expansive view also opens up possibilities for some creative panoramas too :)
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 13 mm : f22.0 : 20 sec
||Sunset by Mt. St. Helens
Mt. St Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington, USA
January 11, 2015
Cave Point is a little park – off the beaten track with beautiful views of the rock ledges along Lake Michigan. This probably is the most beautiful areas in Door County, WI. The hiking was fabulous and allows to enjoy the thrill of climbing down the rocks to get close to the waves crashing against them. Make sure you wear good shoes as the rocks can be a bit tricky especially if you want to climb down towards the water. The effects of water and wind erosion on these cliffs is very prominent, leading to the creation of carved pools and caves (hence the name).
Witnessing a lovely sunrise from one of these caves, as the high waves and the cold water was splashing across, along with the early morning breeze caressing the face – It was just serene & breathtakingly beautiful.
I strongly believe, what we feel while looking at a photograph is proportional to what the photographer felt when making it :) the idea is that connection transcends the photograph.
Looking forward to witness, capture and share many beautiful sunrises and more in 2015 !!!
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 1/350 sec
||Sunrise @ Cave Point
Door County, Wisconsin, USA
September 24, 2014
The perks of shooting out the whole night is that you don’t need to wake up early to catch the sunrise ! After chasing the perseids over the night, it was well worth stopping by at Jonsrud Viewpoint. With a view like this, just a few steps from the parking, this spot never disappoints !
It was quiet cold for a summer morning, the sun was coming up in the horizon and kissing the valley with its golden light. And as if to respond the blanket of fog started rolling, without haste to reveal the Sandy river below. As I walked out that mid summer early morning, this is what I saw !!!
Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 13 mm : f4.5 : 1/750 sec
Mt. Hood Scenic Byway, Oregon, USA
August 25, 2014
Matthiessen State Park is an Illinois state park located a few miles south of the more famous Starved Rock State Park. The main entrances to both parks are located on Illinois State Route 178. The park is centered around a stream that flows from Matthiessen Lake to the Vermilion River. This smaller park is often overlooked, being in the vicinity of the larger Starved Rock park.
But the Cascade falls is nevertheless pretty scenic. The hike to the falls itself, is interesting as it meanders thru bushes, bridges and couple of streams. Spending the afternoon proved worth while, as I incidentally found this cave, with a lovely framed view of the falls. Look close and you would get to realize the size of the falls :)
Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 22 mm : f27 : 6 sec
North Utica, Illinois, USA