Monday, May 29, 2006

The queen of the jungle

(Canon S2IS, f/3.5 at 1/160 s focal length 1815 mm)

(Canon S2IS, f/3.5 at 1/500 s focal length 454 mm)

(Canon S2IS, f/3.5 at 1/500 s focal length 135 mm)

(Canon S2IS, f/3.5 at 1/160 s focal length 565 mm)

These pics were once again shot on the safari in Bannerghatta Biological park, Bangalore. I hate the caged look provided by the mesh, but these snaps are taken near the entrance of the enclosure and thus give the impression of a cramped place. The lions actually have quite a big enclosure to roam around. Although they do not hunt, they are still pretty aggressive. I didnt spot an adult male, but these lionesses sure made up for it. Their gait demanded fear and awe amongst all of us. I like the pic showing a lioness with a butterfly perched on top...a classic beauty and the beast snap...These pics are not my best , but who cares.. I captured the queen of the jungle!! :)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Feline Glory

(Canon S2IS, f/3.5 at 1/100 s focal length 919 mm)

(Canon S2IS, f/3.5 at 1/400 s focal length 454 mm)

(Canon S2IS, f/3.5 at 1/300 s focal length 400 mm)

(Canon S2IS, f/3.5 at 1/100 s focal length 454 mm)

(Canon S2IS, f/3.5 at 1/300 s focal length 1420 mm)

(Canon S2IS, f/3.5 at 1/300 s focal length 1149 mm)

(Canon S2IS, f/3.5 at 1/300 s focal length 1405 mm)

This was a shoot unlike any other so far. I have never experienced anything remotely close to this exhiliarating experience. This time i was accompanied by my fav cousin Di. Armed with a Canon S2 and a Nikon F65, we set out to the Bannerghatta Biological Park. The drive was pretty uneventful and we reached there in time for the next safari. I wanted to capture lots of pics of animals in the wild. However, I was hugely disappointed when i saw the bus with huge protective mesh. This was not the kind of vehicle i wanted. I could barely see beyond the mesh, leave alone take pictures. But thankfully the mesh had a small opening at each window big enough for me to slip the lens. The safari promised sightings of spotted and sambar deer,black bucks, bears, tigers and lions. And it didnt disappoint..

We reached the tiger enclosure and looked around. At first we didnt spot any. When we finally spotted one, it made the hair on my neck stand! This was one majestic and beautiful creature. Its coat was glistening in the morning sun. Its gait was worthy of a king. The next 5-10 min saw me in a clicking frenzy. After some time , an adult tiger coolly walked up to our bus..My adrenaline was pumping for some reason. The biggest and mightiest predator in the animal kingdom was all but a couple of feet away and staring at me in all its glory. I felt stupid and kept aside the camera. I couldnt help it but this was some sight! God , you have to see the tiger in close range to understand what i am saying. The driver told me that it was lunch time for the tigers and the forest rangers should be coming anytime to feed them. The tiger mustve thought we were lunch!!

This park houses 37 tigers. I couldnt believe that this was just a cool 17 km from my house! We didnt get to see a fully grown tiger, but what we saw was worth every penny! The royal bengal tiger truly rules the jungle!!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The joys of Nature

Azure Damselfly
(Canon S2IS - f/3.5 at 1/400 s focal length 919 mm)

Garden Lizard
(Canon S2IS - f/3.5 at 1/250 s focal length 919 mm)

DragonFly in Flight
(Canon S2IS - f/3.5 at 1/320 s focal length 454 mm)

(Canon S2IS - f/3.5 at 1/200 s focal length 340 mm)

(Canon S2IS - f/3.5 at 1/125 s focal length 919 mm)

DragonFly in Flight
(Canon S2IS - f/3.5 at 1/320 s focal length 575 mm)

I(Canon S2IS - f/3.5 at 1/200 s focal length 1815 mm)

This week's shoot was one of my best so far. I was hoping to capture lots of birds this time, especially after getting inspired by my last shoot at Hebbal. This time around i was accompanied by my good friend Nita. Another photography enthusiast, she is one of the most creative persons i have ever met. We reached the lake at 07:45 hrs. It had rained the previous night and the air smelt fresh. Everything still looked wet. We didnt realise how much it had rained till we got onto the shore of the lake. It looked like a marsh land! After a few steps I suddenly realised i was growing taller!! A fleeting glance at my shoes showed me that i was on 2 inch heels. The mud kept sticking onto my shoe in layers and it grew thicker with every step. I suddenly felt top of the world :)

One thing i immediately realised was to never look for birds immediately after a downpour. I have no clue where they all went. I mean this lake was supposed to house 120 different species of birds and here I was standing tall (literally!) and finding it difficult even to spot my loyal house crows. We managed to find a kingfisher and a barbett somehow but it didnt take us long to realise that this wasnt a birdie day. We shifted our focus to the lower strata of the trees and the marshy floor. We saw an assortment of colour and life , living unperturbed in nature's glory. An amazing variety of dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies, spiders, catterpillars, moths, .... the list goes on. Nita's ability to spot even the tiniest of creatures is truly amazing. Half my shots should be attributed to her spotting abilities. Each creature was more exotic than the other. It will take me ages to identify every species that i captured . But i promise myself that i will do it somehow.

In particular,the dragonflies really amaze me. These guys are the masters of flight. Their bodies are aerodynamically perfect. They are the fastest insects and can travel at speeds of 70 - 130 kmph! Mindboggling or what! Their ability to hover is unparalleled in the insect world. The only other animal with more specialised flight is the humming bird. The dragon fly is not just adept at flight but is a master of attack as well. Being a predator , it feeds on small insects. It attacks its prey head-on. It calculates its angle of attack such that the prey does not realise that it is approaching. After shooting a lot of damselflies and dragonflies perched on leaves and branches, i got a little ambitious and tried to capture one in flight. Crouching on the floor, i waited for one to arrive in my field of view. One such dragonfly came and whizzed past me so fast that i barely had time to click. If getting one of these nimble and agile creatures is hard enough, you can imagine how tough it is to focus on it when it is in the frame. Only after a good twenty minutes of swatting flies and after lots of blank pictures, I kinda got the hang of capturing these guys . How i wished i had a SLR to actually freeze these guys in flight,immortalizing the moment in time... But i have no complaints for,the S2 has this innate knack of surprising me time and again with its capabilities.

Ever since i could remember i hated reptiles. I guess this could be attributed to a small (rather huge) fear deep down of anything which is slithery and poisonous. But my short stint at photography has managed to change most of these feelings. I now know and truly believe that these creatures are mostly harmless and incredibly beautiful. The complexity and uniqueness of these creatures amazes me. I shot a water snake and a garden lizard. God! they are beautiful creatures :)

A nice shot of a spider coming out of its egg and an adult spider feeding on its prey rounded up my weekend shoot. We spent 15 minutes getting the mud cakes off our shoes and then returned home. Although i went back shorter ;) , I was a changed man as far as my perception of reptiles goes.

I am forever grateful to Gul for lending me her camera week after week. I think i have done more mileage on the S2 than her. It takes a lot of trust to lend something that costs 30g. Thanks pal! I dedicate this post to u..

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Pristine Bangalore - part 3

Plain Tiger
(Canon S2IS - f/4.5 at 1/1600 s , 919 mm focal length)

(Canon S2IS - f/7.0 at 1/800 s , 1413 mm focal length)

Crimson Darter Dragonfly(Crocothemis servilia servilia)
(Canon S2IS - f/4.5 at 1/200 s , 735 mm focal length)

Brahmini Kite
(Canon S2IS - f/8.0 at 1/640 s , 1149 mm focal length)

Woolly Bear Caterpillar
(Canon S2IS - f/6.0 at 1/200 s , 1815 mm focal length)

(Canon S2IS - f/7.0 at 1/800 s , 72 mm focal length)

Plain Tiger
(Canon S2IS - f/3.5 at 1/500 s , 1149 mm focal length)