Satoddi falls

Some of the most beautiful places are the ones which have least access to human population. Sathodi falls is a prime example of this. Sathodi (Satoddi) falls is a picturesque waterfall situated near Yellapur in north Karnataka. The access to the waterfalls is via rough roads cutting through thick vegetation, the last few kilometers of which are unmetalled and bumpy. After this, one has to walk a good kilometer or so through muddy walkways surrounded by lush greenery. Having visited this just after monsoons, the whole surroundings were damp and the greens looked at their saturated best. Once we get through all the bad roads and the long walk, its like a wonderland out there. We visited the waterfall a day after some heavy rains (mostly thanks to the cyclone Hudhud – the effects of which were seen here too), the water had a muddy look to it. This was different from some of the images we had seen earlier on the internet. The green surroundings and the brown water presented a pretty compelling picture in front of us. While no amount of words or images would do justice to the pristine beauty of this place, I present two images below.   This image brings out a sense of serenity and calmness of the surroundings. One cannot fathom the roar of the falling waters in this image. I used a wide-angle lens with a 10-stop ND filter and an exposure of 25 seconds to achieve this look. I also used a vertical portrait orientation for this image to use the rocks leading up to the waterfall as a foreground.   This image though, shows a more ferocious side of the waterfall. The surroundings are haphazard and the water behind them is ferocious. I used a telephoto lens and a faster shutter speed for this. The image tries to convey this idea I had – but I could have had a better composition than...

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Madagadakere, Chikmagalur

Madagadakere is a large lake situated about 35KMs from Chikmagalur in Karnataka. This beautiful lake, is not frequented by tourists and hence the surroundings are clean and pristine. Visit to this lake early in the morning and you’ll have a chance to view a large variety of birds. The lake itself is surrounded by hills on 3 of its sides and makes for a pretty spectacular sight. The lake is situated pretty close to Ayyana kere, which is more popular. Just to give you an idea of the scale of this lake, here’s an image of the lake with people walking nearby. This gives a sense of how big the lake is. We parked cars on lush green grass fields beside the lake. I was told that all these fields get filled with water during the monsoons. Boy, wouldn’t that be a sight to behold… 🙂...

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Short trip to Shimoga

Last week, I did a short trip to Shimoga and surrounding areas. The outing was planned rather late and did not have much planning behind it. The idea was to make Shimoga the base and visit nearby areas. We reached Shimoga by noon on the first day. We took the longer route of (Bangalore – Tumkur – Chitradurga (NH-4) – Channagiri – Holehonnur – Shimoga (NH-13)) – Longer by about 30KMs, still takes as much time or lesser than the usual NH-206 route. After lunch and some rest, we headed towards Tirthahalli (NH-13). We went through a patch of Shettihalli forest reserve en route. There suddenly was a thick canopy of trees which blocked much of the harsh mid-afternoon sunlight that was beating down upon us. Made a note to stop along this stretch on the way back when the light would be more ideal. After this, we crossed Tunga upper level dam project – this was blocked for visitors – one could just look at the dam in a distance. Nonetheless, we continued on. We eventually crossed Tirthahalli and reached Kavishaila – the rock monument erected near the erstwhile home of Rashtrakavi Kuvempu. The sun was still harsh, and even in peak winter, the heat was discouraging. We spent some time exploring around the place before we headed back. We needed to be near the forest reserve by sunset and before it got dark. On the way back, we stopped at several places. The road was smooth but curvy, and along the way, tightly hugs the small villages, lakes, trees, right beside it. To the people living here, these are mundane being ever-present so near to them. For us nature loving city-dwellers, these prove to be places so serene and calm that we easily get excited. While I had stopped beside a small lake near a village and taking photographs of the same, I overheard 2 boys passing us on bicycles talking in Kannada – “Kasa tumbiro nam oor keryaag yen ayte anta ivru photo tegitavre!” (“What’s there in this waste-filled lake of our village that these people are taking photos of it!”). All I could do was to turn back at them and grin widely 🙂 We saw a lot of destroyed...

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Desktop Wallpaper – January 2014

A very happy new year – wishing you all the best for 2014. Here’s the first wallpaper for the new year. I tweaked the layout a bit. Hope you like it. This is a long exposure shot from Lalbagh on a cold winter morning.

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Experiments with 10-stop ND filter – Part 1

The blog title seems as though I’m starting a series of blog posts – well, I hope to. For now, this was the first time I took my B+W 10-stop ND filter out for a spin. Having never used such a filter, it was purely an experimental outing to Lalbagh to try and learn to use the filter well. Using a filter this dark means you cannot put the filter on and then start to compose and focus. So, each shot involves the following (at least, this is what I followed): Compose and focus the shot without the filter on (need a tripod), in Aperture or Shutter-Priority mode – note down the aperture and shutter speed. Put filter on, Turn off auto-focus on lens/camera, Switch to manual mode. Set aperture to what you noted above. Use an app like Nd-Calc, input the shutter speed noted above to derive the shutter speed necessary with the 10-stop filter on – typically you’ll need the “bulb” mode. Use a shutter-release cable/IR remote to expose the shot for the necessary time duration. For a new shot, one would need to remove the filter and repeat the steps above. With so much involved for each shot, it kinda forces me to think and plan my shots more. Its good to slow down now and then. The long exposures needed with the filter on, gives you an opportunity to actually look at your surroundings and enjoy them better than if you’d gone on a shooting spree 🙂 Here are a few images from today morning. With winter at its peak, the skies were very clear with no clouds whatsoever. ND filters are better used when there are dynamic elements in an image – moving clouds, streaming water, etc. In this sense, today (this season) was not an ideal outing – hence the hope for better representative images in the next part(s) 🙂...

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Avani, Kolar – Gaya of South India

Avani, Kolar – A slice of mythology and architecture, Gaya of South India Avani is a small village situated about 30 kms from Kolar, Karnataka (Map link). It is known for the Sita temple atop a boulder-ed hillock, but is not a place frequented by tourists. This makes it a nice offbeat location, close to Bangalore, ideal for a day outing. Those who are interested in exploring a historical place seeped in mythology and architecture will not be disappointed. Avani is also known as the “Gaya of south India” and has a big temple complex with ancient temples of “Ramalingeshwara”,”Lakshmanalingeshwara”, “Bharatalingeshwara” and “Shatrughnalingeshwara”, dating back to the period of the Nolambas and Cholas. Local mythology has it that Sita gave birth to Lava and Kusha in this region. Also, its said that Sita eventually entered mother earth as she was said to be the daughter of mother earth. The temple complex is well maintained and is one of the protected monuments under Archeological Survey of India. There are boards containing information at each of the temples within the complex. Here are a few images from the temple complex.     A little further down the road from the temple, you’ll come across a Sringeri matha. Further down is the path to climb the hillock that takes you to the Sita temple. The initial look at the hillock looks imposing and daunting, but the path is rough-paved with rock-cut steps and at places is marked with helpful direction marks. Along the way, one can see stacks of rocks clumped together in places. There is a belief that unmarried women wishing for a good husband, married women wishing for a baby, if they make a stack of rocks for worship, their wishes come true. At the top of the hillock is the Sita temple. Here are a few images from the climb I did.        ...

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Laksha Deepotsava

Laksha Deepotsava – Lamps, Decorations and Festivities at Jayarama Seva Mandali, Jayanagar, Bangalore Laksha Deepotsava is celebrated on the last new moon day (Amavasya) of Karthika maasa of the Hindu calendar. Laksha means lakh(s). Lakhs of oil lamps (Deepas) are lit on this evening around temple premises. Following are a few images taken near the premises of Sri Jayarama Seva Mandali temple at Jayanagar, Bangalore during Laksha Deepotsava, 2013.     This guy drew this amazing Rangoli art in under 5 minutes! Hats off. Sadly, as can be seen from his appeal below his art, these guys do not seem to get the encouragement they deserve 🙁 Spoke to him for a while – a humble, down-to-earth person – his name is Jogi Nagappa. And art is his passion and livelihood. He can be found at the NR Colony Raghavendra math in Bangalore.  ...

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Desktop Wallpaper – December 2013

I digged up this image from my trip to Ladakh last year. This is the river Shyok, flowing through the Nubra valley. The typical desert climate of Ladakh region is evident in the image. The blue river flowing through the arid high altitude desert makes for a unique scene that is quite common in the Ladakh region elsewhere too – Rivers Indus and Zanskar, for instance. Click on the image for a larger resolution that could be saved as a desktop...

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Nature and Nirvana at Chikmagalur

It was a short family trip to Chikmagalur, we were a big group of 30 and were to stay at a homestay called “Nature Nirvana”. I was a bit skeptical about the homestay itself after a recent bad experience at a Madikeri homestay (Honeypot – DO NOT venture here!). But, being located almost 35km away from Chikmagalur, this place was literally in the midst of nowhere and it indeed was nirvana amidst nature! The place was awesome, and so were the caretakers – super nice and accommodating. I did not expect to spend much time on photography on this trip, but the place seemed to have a wide variety of photo opportunities. Though I did spend most of the time with family people – chatting, playing, etc – I did take my camera out on a few occasions and here are a few images. Yeah – so that is where we stayed. Very pristine location indeed. The view behind the homestay was stunning....

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Desktop Wallpaper – October 2013

A very lean month this, photography-wise – bogged down with work and personal commitments. Here’s an image of a young hand trying to learn the wares of pottery.

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Desktop Wallpaper – September 2013

The foggy Point Reyes national seashore,...

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Gorur Hemavathi Reservoir

A short visit to the Gorur Hemavathi Reservoir After a couple of photos of the Gorur Hemavathi reservoir being full and the splendid view of water gushing out from the dam’s crest gates made appearance in newspapers last week, I decided to pay a visit. But, to my misfortune, rains had decreased over the past week and the dam’s crest gates remained shut. But I was lucky enough to get a chance to visit the upper-level of the dam and have a look at the other side of the reservoir filled to the brim ( with more rains expected next week! Too bad, I do not have time off to visit the place again anytime soon 🙁 ).   Backing up a little bit, I took help of Google to guide me to the Gorur Hemavathi Reservoir. It took me via Channarayapatna, Hole Narsipura, which was supposedly shorter (instead of via Hassan). There were a lot of bad patches along this stretch, but the surroundings more than made up for the bad roads. Lush green fields, some ripe with fresh crops, some still being ploughed and seeds sown.   In one particular village near Hole Narsipura, we saw a field with Shavantige flowers (Chrysanthemum). These flowers were is several colors – Yellow, Lavender, White – but the yellow ones were the most in number.   On reaching Gorur, we were first met with disappointment seeing no water coming out of the dam’s crest gates. But, the trip to the upper level of the dam made up for...

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Lalbagh Flower Show, 2013

Lalbagh Flower Show, 2013 This time, during the Independence Day flower show at Lalbagh, Bangalore, the central theme was the Kerala-style houseboat decorated with roses of various colors. It was a riot of colors at the Lalbagh glass house, and having gone on a weekday, the crowd was sparse. Many people taking pictures of the flowers, some having pictures of themselves taken against the backdrop of the flowers, etc. While wandering around the glass house, I found a person diligently arranging different colored pebbles and a few small flowers in the shape of Lord Ganesha. When I requested him to look up for me to take a photo of him at work, he was overjoyed and immediately obliged. I guess not many people would have asked him to pose for a photo. Here are a few more images at the flower show. If you are yet to visit the flower show, please do make some time and head over to Lalbagh within the end of this week....

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Desktop Wallpaper – August 2013

The corridors of the Queen’s bath at Hampi. Click below for a high-resolution...

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Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal

A trip to heritage towns of Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal Badami, (and the surrounding Aihole and Pattadkal,) are well-known for the historic Chalukya dynasty rule between 6th and 10th century. The places have almost equal doses of history and mythology behind them. Boasting of several UNESCO world heritage sites, Badami is famous for its rock-cut temples made right out of huge monolithic red sandstone boulders. This and several other historic remains that were left behind during the Chalukyas rule, beckons all avid travelers towards Badami. When Darter announced a travel photography workshop at this destination, I had no hesitation in signing up immediately. The idea of traveling with a group of like-minded individuals, focused on photography is a novel one. And add to that, a chance to meet and interact with people from potentially diverse backgrounds is intellectually stimulating. Having traveled and enjoyed a similar travel photography workshop at Hampi with Darter’s Arun Bhat last year, with his experience in travel and photography, one could be sure that this would be a fruitful travel opportunity photography-wise and one is sure to be at the right place at the right time to create good photographs. The tour started with us checking-in to the Heritage Resort on Jul 5. We had a leisurely session on photography and some basic guidelines on making good images from Arun. More than concentrating on the technicalities of the image-making, emphasis was given to the creative part of the process. Armed with some new-found knowledge, we headed out to put them to effective use – at Aihole. Aihole was the first capital of the Chalukyas. They built several temples here and have experimented with various styles of  temple-building. The experience gained from building temples here would help them build the grand temples that now adorn Pattadakal. Here are a few images from Aihole. After finishing up at the temple complex, we stopped at a nearby village and tried to capture the scenes from a typical village life. I don’t have images ready yet – perhaps I’ll post them separately, recording my attempt at capturing people and their lives in a village. We reached our hotel around 8pm, had a modest dinner and retired for the day. We had an early start...

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Desktop Wallpaper – June 2013

A breezy morning atop the himavad Gopalaswamy hills,...

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