Monochrome Contemplation

artsy3-duttagupta35504-GS04-UPLOADED

Two students meditate at a kungfu school in Qufu, China.

Waders Dressed in White

EgretsHeron_ProcessedLogo

Two Little Egrets and a lone Grey Heron stalk the shallow waters of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, just a few hundred meters from Malaysia.

Coup d’Oeil

HouseMountains_ProcessedLogo

Car-window glimpses –

hints at something beyond

the fingerprinted glass

and constant humming

of movement and silence

in their endless dance,

because you love like this –

bittersweet heart-in-mouth.

You cannot do anything else;

no space forms for anything else

in disappearing tarmac behind

and knowledge of the gap between

possibility and reality.

In the Spanish, or possible French Pyrenees, this house up on a hill, the snow-capped mountains behind, presented an unimaginably picturesque site. It looked as if a postcard had been pasted over the car window.

You get the most peculiar sense of deja-vu sometimes when you’re travelling, especially when driving and there isn’t time to examine the feeling further – perhaps it’s a result of our constant exposure to information, so we see much more, but I’d like to think it’s just a connection to a landscape, to a place – like it’s ok to leave your heart there, half-way across the world.

Out of Frame, Out of Mind

EagleDrongoFight_ProcessedLogo

While I wasn’t planning on posting today, apparently it is World Photography Day, and what is a blog for if not to honor obscure days named in celebration of hobbies, often with even more obscure purpose.

This is a (somewhat accidentally) experimental photograph – it is a fight between a drongo and a black kite, albeit a rather one-sided one. (Hint: the drongo’s winning.) Whether it is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ I am ambivalent; but photography is as much about the glorious duds as it is about the heart-dropping shots. At least, today I can say it is.

And So The River Rushes

LongExposureRiver_Processed

and so the river rushes

and so the dark descends

and so each breathless

eternity is hummed into

the next. one by one by

tumbling one.

and so the moments

f a l l.

This image is really one from the archives, dating back all the way to last October’s trip to Kullu, in Himachal Pradesh – the result of experimentation with long exposures, makeshift tripods composed of stray pebbles, and cameras dangerously close to the fast, fast river. Timing, too, was an issue – it had to be when it was getting dark, because neural density filters are a bit of a dream, but not too dark. Still, I’m happy with the result, as first attempts go.

Please note that for the next week-ish I will be travelling, again, hopefully to return with lots of lovely stories to share.

What You Leave Behind

Hills_ProcessedThese are the Anamalais – the Western Ghats, the cradle of Indian biodiversity, and essentially distilled beauty. I am at somewhat of a loss for words to describe them further – rest assured, you will get looks at the parts of this magnificent whole as the days and weeks roll on.

The Long and Winding Road

WomanWalking_ProcessedBW

I’m usually immensely uncomfortable photographing people, usually because I feel overly self-conscious. From the back, however, the problem disappears – no figure is visible, no face to identify with, and instead I can focus on composing the image properly, though usually not well. This coffee plantation worker was heading home after a long day in Coorg, Karantaka.

Note: this post is scheduled.

The Stillness of Egrets

EgretSBWR_ProcessedLogo

Despite an overabundance of them – well, everywhere – the grace of egrets cannot be denied. Their pure white forms, lithe bodies, and delicate feeding methods (as compared to those of say, a woodpecker) conspire to create a bird of – dare I say it? – beauty. At a recent visit to Sungei Buloh, this Great Egret seemed surrounded by quiet – in the reflections in the water, the serene landscape surrounding. Not another bird was in sight or in ear.

Journal Journeys: Face of the Maasai

MasaiFace_Processed

An excerpt from the journal of my cousin, Preetu (a fantastic writer who gives herself far less credit than she deserves*), about her experience in the Maasai village we visited in Africa to accompany rare evidence of my forays into portraiture.

“I remember, as a child, opening up on of those massive geography encyclopaedia things. On that page was a picture and a few words about a tribe called the Maasai. They were wrapped in bright red shawls and wore layers and layers of beaded jewellery. One can’t help but be intrigued by them.

I read what was written on the page, thought – Oh wow! –  and then shut the book and went on with my life.  Little did I know ten years later I’d actually be in their village singing along with them!

The sun beating down on our backs as we stepped out of our jeeps onto arid land.  The glint from this woman’s necklace caught my eye. Strange faces surrounded us. Unfamiliarity and curiosity painted on their faces, as was on ours. We scanned the milieu and found about ten to fifteen small huts arranged in a badly shaped circle and dung.  We manoeuvred skilfully past all the dung as the vibrantly dressed woman led us to centre of the circle and their little settlement. The head of the tribe saw our discomfort as we walked on the cattle excrement and tried to put us at ease by telling us that stepping in cow poo – to put it plainly – was good luck. Not that that really changed much.

We were told that this was where all the cattle was kept. The cattle were now out grazing with most of the men as well. Soon our family was divided into smaller groups and each group was escorted into a hut. The smell of smoke stung as we walk through the narrow passageway. It led to a rather small unassuming room, the only one in the hut. With our heads bent we looked around, bewildered yet amazed at the dark cramped room. This was the residence of four people and two goats. The darkness was attributed to the one hole of a window that might as well have been absent.  One thought that was on everyone’s mind was – How?! The sunlight blinded us as we re-entered the central area.

On our way back to the camp my mind was filled with smiles on the children’s face as we spoke to them and shook their hands, the sound of their voices as they chanted in unison, and the quiet jingle of the beads they wore with so much pride.

The book hadn’t even come close to explaining what they really were.”

Serrated

MontserratHills_ProcessedLogo

No… I’m not done with Montserrat yet. This time, I present to you the big picture, quite literally: these are the hills home to the famed church, and if you squint you can see it, about in the center (the jumble of [straighter] lines than the rest). The scenery of Spain is just so absolutely breathtaking and I really wish I could pay justice to it, in words or pixels.