Sunday, February 24, 2008


What do you do when you’ve had too much action last weekend? You rest yourself.
But he bad thing about resting is that you get bored sometimes.. and worse still, you run out of fresh pictures.
This shoot came as a surprise – of the good kind, though.
A friend had once mentioned that one of her friends would like to have me shooting her at her mehndi, but like everything else, I had forgotten this as well.
So this evening (after being reminded and surprised the previous day), I quietly slip out of work for a rendezvous with the bride for some green room action.
Considering that I had no strobes, softboxes or diffusers, and was shooting out of the equipment in my office backpack, I am pretty happy with the way the pictures turned out.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Gentle giant, and the 100th post

shy giant

In the moist evergreen forests of Kerala, it is an overwhelming feeling just to be – you do not necessarily have to see it all to believe it : the fact is that you couldn’t, even if you wanted to.
The air is always heavy with the sounds and smells of what is on the other side – of a tree trunk or the thick undergrowth - of creatures watching your every move.
There is a rhythm ( I’d even go as far as calling it silence) to the noises of the jungle; for when there is a crackle of branches and a rustle of leaves, you will turn and look, and you will probably spot this colorful bundle of fur on a leap that is nothing less than unbelievable.

The giant Malabar squirrel is quite huge as the name suggests. What is unlike how the name sounds though, is that he is a particularly cute fellow.
It builds nests on intricately branched heights of trees, and hardly ever comes down : a reason why the creature cannot be spotted very easily.
The natural predators of this threatened species are leopards and large birds, but the real threat is from the two-legged cousins that live on the other side of the tree line.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Don't expect a loner to behave.


At first light, we still had a few minute’s drive ahead of us before we reached the first check-post into the jungles. Force of habit is an incredible thing to be working against - the otherwise interesting discussions on quantum physics and philosophy do not really work while your body keeps repeating just one word : “Sleep”.

And then our senses were yanked wake by a sight least expected. We were taking a turn when we saw a young bull elephant around the corner – a shy loner with piercing eyes.

The place was an isolated patch of wilderness – not inhabited, but with a lot of human activity along the road. There was no food in sight, and this was no known migration route. The herd was nowhere to be seen: this guy was danger.

The engine was turned off, and for a longer-than-usual minute, we waited as he surveyed the scene, and then slowly crossed the road to disappear into the bush alongside.

The opportunity was too good to be let to pass – a few cameras exited the car, and the men behind them inched forward slow as snails, trying not to infuriate the tusker. The car’s engine went on, ready for action if the need arose.

Amidst the clickety-clack of shutters the elephant turned around, and that is when I noticed the smudged swelling on the side of his head – This was a loner in musth.

Musth (or, alternately spelled, must) is a periodic condition in bull elephants, characterized by a thick, tar-like secretion called temporin from the temporal ducts and, far more notably, by highly aggressive behaviour. …

…scientific investigation of musth is greatly hindered by the fact that, once under the influence of musth, even the most otherwise placid of elephants may actively try to kill any and all humans.