There used to be a time when it was good fun to shoot within Bangalore. But the city has grown and there are very few opportunities to shoot natural scenes now. As you go away from the city, there are still a few places where you can use your wide angle lens. One such place is Nelligudde lake in Bidadi. It is surprising close to the highway, but yet in a very natural setting. That morning, a friend a I had motorcycled down to Nelligudde to catch the sunrise. It was a pleasant ride, and the weather, though overcast, cleared up for a magnificent sunrise. The colors were the best I had witnessed in 2017. Though it lasted only for a few minutes, I managed to get a few frames in spite of having a brain-freeze thanks to the overwhelming display of colors.
And if the sunrise wasn’t memorable enough, a rainbow appeared on the western side of the lake. It was by chance that I turned around to see it. My friend Srinivasa managed to capture it. Do watch the short video of our ride on his blog as well.
Shirley Falls near the town of Yellapura in North Karnataka is an enchanting place to visit in the monsoon. The cascading water falling from a height of about 15 feet looks extremely graceful and makes for gorgeous photographs. It takes a bit of walking to reach the waterfall, so you can expect the place to be relatively less crowded than other popular destinations in that area. I photographed this with a Sony A7rII and a Irix 15mm f2.5mm lens.
If you’d like to make photographs like this, join me on the Waterfalls of the Western Ghats photography tour.
Whilst Bangalore is known as the Garden City, a short drive away from the city center will put you directly in touch with nature. Nandi Hills, popular with all sections of society for its therapeutic beauty, is one such location. Unfortunately it can become very crowded during weekends. For a landscape photographer, people in natural places is a problem. So how did I overcome this?
There are areas of Nandi which are unknown to the general public. If you pick the right time of the day and use the right mode of transport, a visit to Nandi hills can be extremely rewarding. Here is one such photo that I made on a Sunday from Nandi. The mountain to the left, which is covered in mist, is Skandagiri. Tall green grass covered the slopes of the hill, fresh after being watered by rain. Dark clouds hung low, threatening to empty themselves. A cool breeze forced us to wear our jackets. Weekends like this make me smile.
Nandi hills is a popular drive from Bangalore. Situation on the outskirts, it is on the highway to Hyderabad. But did you know that if you drove further towards the border between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh there is a place called Lepakshi? Here you will find the beautiful black Lingam, with a seven headed serpent shading it, both carved out of stone.
Situated in the Anantpur district, the Veerabhadra Temple is where you will find the 12 feet Nagalinga. Another popular structure nearby is the Nandi (divine Bull). 4.5m high and 8.23m long, it is one of the largest in India. The drive to Lepakshi would take around 2 hours from Bangalore. The highway is generally empty and the roads are great.
We spent a night at a Boat House in Umiam lake which is a large reservoir just outside Shillong. It was a unique experience to have an island to ourselves. Apart from a few fishermen who were going about their daily job, we did not see too many other people. This particular boat was by the shore near our boat house all evening. The boatman or fisherman who owned it had probably taken the day off. Reminded me a song by David Gilmour…..”A Boat Lies Waiting.” The first few lines go like this:
Something I never knew
In silence I’d hear you
And a boat lies waiting
Still your clouds all flaming
That old time easy feeling
You can listen to it here.
A full moon can be hauntingly beautiful. But it is also very difficult to capture in a photograph. Yesterday, when I saw the moon rise from behind hillocks, I couldn’t help but gaze in wonder at how beautiful nature can arrange elements. Sigh, if only we choose to see.
At a location just 90 km from home, this not-so secluded water body drew a few of us like-minded nature lovers for an evening of photography. As we wandered in search of vantage points, I came across this lone tree which stood silently, as if waiting for something or someone to strike it so it may fall down, decay and mix with the earth. But who would cry over a dead tree? People were either busy drinking, shouting and making merry like a bunch of boys nearby, or trying to create art from whatever is left of nature, like us photographers.
This composition is to thank the tree for its contribution. Indeed, we humans have an intimate connection with trees. Maybe the tree will not be there when the full moon rises again, or maybe it will find new life when monsoon comes. I wish I could see the forest for the trees.
In the December of 2016 I spent some time relaxing in the upper regions of the Himalayas. The Goat Village, where I stayed, had no neighbors for about a kilometer. I was at the edge of a jungle. But what lay ahead of my cottage was truly incredibly.
The sun rose late, because it had to rise above tall Himalyan peaks. After a cold winter night, the first rays of the sun is truly soothing. Sunrise at 8 am also meant that this was the perfect setting for slow travel. A sight like this is something that gets imprinted in the mind.
To read more about my Goat Village experiences, click here.
You know you have reached Chitradurga while traveling on NH 13when you see windmills. These windmills have always fascinated me, but I never found time to shoot them. So one weekend, a few friends and I, made time to visit Chitradurga just to shoot around there. We did not get anything worthwhile due to lousy weather, except for a few cool shots of the windmills. This is a long exposure shot after dark. The slow shutter speed has nicely blurred the rotating blades of the windmills. Pretty cool effect, eh?
Bangalore is as much the city of lakes as it is a garden city. Madiwala lake near BTM is a large waterbody which the locals have been using for ages. Now, as the city has expanded, concrete buildings surround the lake, but beautiful scenes such as the one shot in this photo still exist.
Note that there is a charge of Rs 100 to take photos at Madiwala lake. If you are a birder, then this place is heaven. If you are a landscape photographer like me, then you must visit this place in the morning for sunrise, or late evening to capture the city lights.
Shea Goru is a place where we camped after crossing Hampta Pass. I shot this photo when I trekked to Hampta Pass in August 2016. It was raining on all days of our trek which made it very difficult for us to walk. The gloomy weather also meant that I did not shoot a lot of photos. However, upon reaching the Shea Goru campsite, we saw sunshine for the first time after 3 days. Although this lasted only for a short while, Shea Goru is where I shot a lot of photos. This was also a very pretty camp site beside a river. Situated in a valley, from our tents we could see tall snow clad mountains as well as wild flowers strewn all across.
To see more photos from my Hampta Pass trek, click here.