Archive for the ‘bangalore’ Category

Well, that’s not a bird. Yes, we sighted a Jackal on the way to Nandi hills. Saw a few swallows collecting mud for nesting, and stopped the car. But, those birds are calm and patient until they see a photographer. Just then, I saw something get into a field and thought it was a mongoose. Alerted Vineet and Yashpal to watch out for a mongoose. Got ready to photograph as it emerged from the other end of the field as a Jackal!

A fantastic start for the day. Many warblers, and misty covered hilltop crowded with weekend junkies. Didn’t start birding until about 9am. The beautiful Indian Blue Robin made few appearances, but cloudy day and slow shutter speeds got only blurry images. Search for Indian Pitta went in vain.

Caught a surprisingly co-operative Blue Rock Thrush (female) perched on a branch. Few other photographers with 500mm, 400mm and 300mm + 1.4x TC lenses were there. So many photographers didn’t deter the bird. She perched there without a care for the world. But she was not in good light and we faced her back. Meanwhile, few were trying to shoot a Puff Throated Babbler. I joined them. The bird came out and perched on a branch so close that it was closer than the minimum focus distance of my 100-400mm! I missed what would be an excellent image, and realized it i had set MFD to 6.5m.

But the rock thrush had turned around, and make my day.

Ok, you’ve waited enough – click away to glory

Preening herself

On the rocky side we saw Bonelli’s Eagle, Steppe Eagle, and Shaheen Falcon. It was a treat to watch the falcon dive. The Sunday crowd on the hills strengthend towards afternoon, and we left the place.

Caught a juvenile Shikra on the way back, perched on a electric wire. I didn’t complain of un-natural perch bird photographers hate. Made this images with lovely blue winter skies, over head Sun and the partial shadow in the bird’s eye as it looked up.

This trip was on November 24th 2009.

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The biannual flower show at Lalbagh botanical gardens started on 7th August. I did a quick visit today morning. The focus was bird waching and hence reached there by about 6:30am. Walked around the lotus pond, and lake till about 9:30am. Then, went to the glass house.

Crowd had gathered near the Glass house, and barged in as soon as they opened it. Apart from the usual varieties, few exotic species are also at display.

Mermaid, beautifully decorated with orchids, isĀ  impressive


Dinosaurs crafted out of 50000 flowers (see aircrafts in the background)


I was keen on spotting owls, but i couldn’t find. A pelican was lazing around in the lake and got to play around with exposure.

Spot-Billed Pelican


A Spotted dove near the Glass house


Flower show is the main crowd puller. Except for the attractions such as Dinosaurs and Mermaids, nothing changes year on year. Read about last year’s flower show here.

Prem wished he would rather go to Valley school. Prinias, Kites, Mynas, Crows, Cormorants, Pelican, Grebe, Doves, and Moorhen. Where does one find the wood owls and spotted owlets?! Deepa, any inputs?

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I joined Shreeram, Vineet, and Gopal from NTP for a quick trip to GKVK campus for bird watching today morning. Prem also accompanied us. It turned out to be a great outing with some excellent sightings.


I reached the GKVK/UAS campus by 6:30am, parked my car near Ganesha temple and started looking for birds. All i could hear was the squirrels. I looked around for about half an hour without any good luck, and i was disappointed. Called Vineet and joined them near the Eucalyptus tree patch, and there we saw a Shikra family. Soon, Gopal joined us.

We walked to the uncultivated/forest land hoping for better sightings. We sighted lots of Barbets along the way. A Copper-Smith Barbett was feeding its chick and i could manage to get this shot:


There was a patch next to the road, and a faint trail. I walked into that and sat down to check the undergrowth wishing for a Pitta to hop by. I was scanning the undergrowth, with squirrels about 2-3ft from me and few Ashy Prinias hopping around, and suddenly a heard a galloping burst and saw some dark thing run past in front of me. Then i hear Shreeram shouting ‘Wild Boar!‘ Some 10mtr to the right, i would have been run over by a Wild boar.

Saw a nest of Oriental Magpie Robin. Heard close calls of Partridges, which at one point got really loud, and then got faint. They must have walked towards us, and then ran away. On to a more open area further, we sighted two pairs of Yellow-Wattled Lapwings, first time for me. There were chicks i suppose since the birds were calling and flying frequently to threaten us away. We didn’t get sight of the chicks.

As we walked back to the parking lot, we sighted a Common Grey Mongoose go past us across the road. As we walked further down, we heard something in the bush and we turned back to see another Mongoose run across. It was a great to watch them, but couldn’t get a shot.

After breakfast, sponsored by Gopal, Vineet, Shreeram, Prem and I went to Jakkur Lake. The lake was a treat to bird watchers. We weren’t expecting to see so many different species. Spot-Billed Pelicans, three types of Cormorants (including the white headed sub-species of Great Cormorant), Coots, Grebs, Purple Moorhens, and Common Moorhens. We were hearing calls of White-throated Kingfiher for some time and finally spotted it. A Pied Kingfisher came hovering into frame as i was focussing on a Brahminy Kite. I got a hovering shot of Pied Kingfisher here after many failed attempts elsewhere.

List of Birds:

  1. Barbet, Coppersmith
  2. Barbet, White cheeked
  3. Bulbul, Red Whiskered
  4. Bulbul, White browed
  5. Coot, Common
  6. Cormorant, Greater
  7. Cormorant, Indian
  8. Cormorant, Little
  9. Coucal, Greater
  10. Crow, House
  11. Crow, Jungle
  12. Dove, Laughing
  13. Dove, Spotted
  14. Drongo, Black
  15. Egret, Little
  16. Egret, Median
  17. Flowerpecker, Pale billed
  18. Flowerpecker, Tickell’s
  19. Grebe, Little
  20. Heron, Grey
  21. Heron, Pond
  22. Heron, Purple
  23. Hoppoe
  24. Iora, Common (heard)
  25. Kingfisher, Pied
  26. Kingfisher, White breasted
  27. Kite, Black
  28. Kite, Brahminy
  29. Koel, Asian
  30. Lapwing, Yellow wattled
  31. Moorhen, Common
  32. Moorhen, Purple
  33. Myna, Brahminy
  34. Myna, Common
  35. Myna, Jungle
  36. Parakeet, Plumheaded
  37. Parakeet, Rose-ringed
  38. Partridge, Grey (heard) (?)
  39. Pelican, Spotbilled
  40. Pigeon, Blue rock
  41. Prinia. Ashy
  42. Robin, Magpie
  43. Shikra
  44. Sunbird, Purple rumped
  45. Tailorbird, Common (heard)
  46. Tit, Grey
  47. White-eye, Oriental

Route to GKVK/UAS campus (courtesy Gopal):

a.. On Bellary road, NH-7, go past Mekhir circle to Hebbal flyover
b.. Go on the flyover without taking any deviations.
c.. 3kms from the flyover you will find L&T Komatsu office on your left, take the service road.
d.. GKVK/UAS campus is next to L&T Komatsu, and has a Mahatma Gandhi statue at the entrance.

Get inside the campus, going past two big playgrounds and a basket ball court to your left. Ample parking space is available. Walk some distance on the right side, going past student hostels, to reach uncultivated land for good bird sightings.

Route to Jakkur Lake:

– Take a right turn on Bellary Road, NH-7, just before Jakkur flying school.

– Go along the fencing of the flying school. Down the road, take the road which takes a natural right. Furthur down, take a left turn. Take right on a small Circle. 1km from there you will see the lake on your left.

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Sunfeast 10k marathon on Sunday morning meant, all roads around Cubbon Park, and MG road blocked for vehicular movement. I had registered for Kalyan Varma‘s workshop in association with National geographic channel at the British Council. Took an auto till Minsk Square and started walking a distance of 2km from Minsk square to British Library. Shot a few images of marathoners on Cubbon road and Kasturba road.

Tabebuia Rosea was on bloom, though not fully, and the clear blue sky provided a nice opportunity to take this image:


The enthusiasm of the runners was really exciting. Though many were tired and were just strolling, there were enough people to encourage the runners. There were many groups and organizations running for fun and some causes. There were disabled people, and many who supported their cause for equal opportunity for disabled. There were people running to save trees. There were few who ran to save the Sparrows. :)

It was an exhilarating experience for me as i walked on those roads i’ve traveled million times. I had never seen those roads without motor vehicles.

At Minsk square, i shot this image hand held at 1/6s shutter speed. Did selective coloring on Photoshop to get the image below. I feel, just the desaturated image would have been better after seeing on the blog.


As huge fan and admirer of Kalyan’s work, i was a little disappointed with the workshop. I think it would have been lot better if it wasn’t for so much stress on National Geographic photographs, which undoubtedly are top class. Anyway, it was a great opportunity to meet guys like Kalyan, who provide immense inspiration to many aspiring wildlife photographers.

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Caught this lovely kid at Aero show 2009 on Valentine’s Day.


Hope you had a happy Valentine’s day!

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I visited Canon Image Lounge on Monday evening. This lounge showcases all Canon products for the prospective customers to try a hand before they buy.

This is an excellent initiative from Canon. One can try the latest products from Canon, from Cameras to Scanners and all other accessories. This kind of a concept is for the first time in India, and i was really impressed by the service they offered.

I wanted to try 400mm f/5.6L lens. They were more than happy to let me try the lens with any specific camera body i want. I took multiple shots, with and without a 1.4x teleconverter, with and without a tripod. The lens itself is light enough to work hand held without any issues, but adding a teleconverter makes it hard to use hand held, for two reasons. One, it gets heavier and two, manual focus becomes much harder. But the speed of focus is excellent. You’d miss IS if you are used to it, like me.

I also tried the ‘dream lens’, 500mm f/4L. It is huge, and it’s really hard for me to try hand held. The lens is incredible. There’s no need to write more about that lens.

Sudhir Shivram is giving a small presentation on digital photography at the Canon Image Lounge this Sunday (15th Jan) at 3pm. Read about it here. I plan to go there. The Aero show plan looks bleak. Will catch up if any of you are there. Btw, Canon image lounge is at Brigade towers on Brigade road, towards residence road (after eva mall).

That’s all folks!

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I covered the event for Citizen Matters. You can have a look at the brief article with few images here:

Watch out my flickr photostream for more images.

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