Posts tagged ‘Travel’

May 27, 2021

Sunset by Rough Ridge

Rough Ridge is one of the popular hikes with a road side parking in the beautiful Blue Ridge parkway (Milepost 302.8 in North Carolina). The boardwalk (to protect the fragile vegetation) to the top crosses several large boulders that enable one to fall back and relax. The walk up (480 ft elevation from parking) provides spectacular views of Grandfather Mountain and Linn Cove Viaduct, with distant views into the Piedmont.

This is a great spot to be during fall – when the colors burst afar or in spring – when the rhododendrons bloom abound or just anytime of the year to laze around and soak in the view :)

Watercolor on Cold Pressed Paper

Rough Ridge Trail
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina, USA

May 2, 2021

Throne of Thirumalai Nayakar

Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal built (in 1636) by Thirumalai Nayakar at Madurai, intended this palace to be one of the grandest in South India. The design and architecture is a blend of Dravidian and Rajasthani styles. The interior is richly decorated whilst the exterior is treated in a more austere style. This palace is situated 2 km south east of the Meenakshi Amman Temple. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure.

The steps leading up to the central hall were formerly flanked by two equestrian statues of excellent workmanship. As you can witness, part of this is still standing the test of time and various historical events & wars. The throne in the center was incidentally lit by the ambient light from the stained glass windows by the dome. The palace constructed using foliated brickwork was finished in exquisite stucco called chunnam (shell lime) mixed with egg white to obtain a smooth and glossy texture. This probably inspired the Natukottai Chettiars, 200 years later in their own construction.

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 800 : 16 mm : f8.0 : 1/1000 sec

Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal
Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

April 6, 2021

Hemakuta Hill @ twilight

Hemakuta Hill located adjacent to Virupaksha temple is sprinkled generously with a large number of shrines, archways, and pavilions. These temples form one of the earliest groups of structures at Hampi and are dated to be from about the 9th to 14th century.

It is also one among the best places in Hampi to witness the sunrise/sunset and quiet an easy climb (about 10-15 mins and not as tedious as say, the Matanga Hill). Though an easy walk, the afternoon sun can make the boulders scorching hot. But take a stroll by twilight and you sure can experience all the hues from blues to reds being splashed across the whole wide canvas of the sky.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 320 : 13 mm : f9.0 : 1/50 sec

Hemakuta Hill
Hampi, Karnataka, India

March 31, 2021

Magical Meghalaya

While nature leaves us spellbound each time, some places are so magical that even after a single visit it never leaves you. Meghalaya is one such place. It is one of the 7 sister states of North East India and is a mountainous region with many rivers, which keep flowing due to the constant rainfall. It is indeed the wettest place on earth. But if planned accordingly, one could witness terrain that is generally submerged by raging rivers.

This particular spot is from a hike to the mouth of Nohkalikai falls, from up the hill. This rugged terrain is carved day in and out by the forces of nature. Over the years the constant flow of water through the gaps on the river bed has created a number of pools and waterfalls which eventually plunge down the gorge to make the Nohkalikai falls. Walking by the same felt so alien and pristine at the same time.

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

Enroute to mount of Nohkalikai Falls
East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya, India

March 8, 2021

Intricate architecture @ Mysore palace

The Mysore palace constructed around 1897, was conceived as a residence befitting the monarch of the majestic state. Mysore, which was laid out as the capital of the princely state, now part of Karnataka, retains a very strong connection with its royal past. The palace was constructed using fine grey granite and features beautiful domes that are made of deep pink-colored marbles. Every wall, pillar, ceiling, and doom is filled with such intricate work of art that one is struck by awe, just being there.

Sony A7III : Sony 16-35 mm : ISO 2000 : 16 mm : f/4.0 : 1/50 sec

Mysore Palace
Mysore, Karnataka, India

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

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