Tuesday, October 12, 2010

driving through the hebridies

most flights to continental europe out of delhi originates at night and everyone is trying to grab some sleep....for the first time, i flew out early in the morning...post breakfast, with nothing else to do (the aircraft's entertainment system was down!!) and seeing our flight path had taken us over afghanistan, i opened the window to peer out into the early morning setting and wow... a mad scramble to get my camera out and i was busy for the next half hour shooting the landscape outside. ladakh has been my most favourite location for a shoot but despite taliban, i will need to get to afghanistan soon.

having deposited son in his univ, drove through the outer hebridies islands. the three hour ferry from the picturesque ullappol in the mainland to stornoway was rough but manageable...the rain dampened my spirits a bit but i was told by my host that it is par for the course around the year...these islands are a dream come true for the landscape photographer. i always thought that arunachal was the land of a million lakes, from the very tiny to the fairly large...but these islands beat arunachal hollow. while i don't have the stats, i can bet that there are more waterbodies than land in these islands. moreover some of the beaches are so so pretty and the water so clean that if it was a tropical island it would have been a beach bum's paradise. more important for me was that the gaelic people are very nice and extra polite and i didn't get screamed at or even get dirty looks when i pulled up completely illegally many times to take a few photographs!!!

My driving maps and tourist guides all mentioned about "end of the road sculptures" as a must see.while my wife liked the sculpture bit, i liked the end of the road bit and we tried our hand at getting to one. as the name suggests it is at the end of a road and a few feet short of the sea. the road that leads to these are off the map and my sat nav had no clue what i was upto. but since they were signposted well, we managed to finally reach one of these. these are sculptures commissioned by the local councils and created by local sculptors to get the tourist to get off the main highway and wander into these tiny villages. while the sculpture itself held no interest to me, the drive and the quaint village we went through made up for the bad drive which i guess was really why the sculpture was created!!!

outer hebridies and cwg

one would wonder what is the connection between the common wealth games and outer hebridies...these islands off the north western coast of scotland are really remote, with few inhabitants spread over a mind blowing set of seascape islands...during our trip there i didn't see even one other indian tourist (and just one indian restaurant in stornoway) which speaks volumes for its remoteness. the gaelic people are very nice but couldn't have known much about india other than the fact that it existed. but the cwg changed all that....

everyday i was there, india and cwg were the main topic of discussion on the telly and the radio. you couldn't have a station on for more than 20 mins before you heard about the "inhuman" condition" of games village, the cobras etc. etc. with a large dollop of sarcasm, derision and condescension. i don't think even santa and banta singh managed to get so many jokes. anyway, the net net is that for good or bad, cwg put india on the map for the people of outer hebridies...a feat achieved by the kcg (kalamadi crony group)...i say poor hard working kalamadi requires at least a bharat ratna for his "inhuman" efforts!!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

did someone say photography is easy?

i love this photograph...not only (a) because it looks like a painting and (b) i love shooting water. It is only because of what i had to go through to get it....we were driving through new zealand on a nice misty morning and came to this narrow bridge which allows only traffic one way at a time. halfway through the bridge and i saw this sight out of my car window. sure enough, i crossed the bridge and pulled up to the side in what was clearly an illegal stop (luckily no one in new zealand seemed to mind these idiosyncrasies of mine and there were plenty of them) and got out. thats when i noticed one minor issue...the footpath over the bridge was on the opposite side and from there i couldn't get a clear view. that just left one choice. the bridge had this narrow six inch ledge outside the railing. i slid along that ledge till i reached the middle of the bridge and it was only my non existent gymnastic ability that got me the photograph and me safely back without a swim in sub zero water fully dressed and with a camera around my neck!!! did i hear someone say photography is easy?

my new site

yipeee...my new site is up and that too with a whole bunch of new photographs! my new and updated site has been in the making for slightly over 2 years!!! either i dont like what the designers come up with or they tell me what i want is not possible...that game never ends...on top of it i need to select photos, resize them, upload them and put captions...whew thats real hard work!! especially so when I dont have a clue what species a particular bird is or i forget where i took that great nature shot!! taking these photos was quite simple...including waiting for over an hour to get that one shot i wanted of the leopard with a kill or when the light reaches a particular angle! now that this is done with, let me get back to what i love...taking more and more photographs...my subjects seem endless!!!

commonwealth games and the poor delhite

yesterday, the delhi and gurgaon police decided to give us a taste of what is in store during the games. a normal 10 minute drive just became 2.5 hrs!!! and the police claim that the exercise was a complete success!!!...ask the poor souls who were caught unaware yesterday on the roads! in our usual style, the police, without informing the public earlier, just decided to block off a few roads...no thoughts on alternate routing or trying at non peak times! shiela dikshit cribs about delhites not feeling proud of the games and planning holidays elsewhere during the games. but if yesterday was a sample, god help us..traveling out of delhi...here i come!