Text copyright Ashwini Kumar Bhat. Image copyright participants of Landscape Wizards Magic of monsoons workshop
It all started on a Friday morning when all the participants assembled in Sirsi, Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. Post breakfast, adventure of walking the jungles of the western ghats had finally begun. The entire team of nature photography enthusiasts started towards Unchalli falls. We all could feel the wetness of the monsoons all around. Heavy downpour the previous night had soaked the land completely. Crystal clear rainwater dribbled through the fresh green leaves.
The wild flowers had bathed completely, Malabar Whistling Thrush was busy composing some morning tunes and the regular chirps of other forest birds made the jungles around – Alive. Cicada’s modulating sounds was still omnipresent coupled with the chorus of innumerable critters making their presence felt. The ambiance was wet and pristine! It was monsoon and there is nothing like being in the middle of the western ghats! The mood was set for a great trip. Every moment, the feel of the monsoon was very much evident.
Unchalli was misty. Unchalli is nestled between hillocks that houses impenetrable evergreen forest. Magnificent falls is sandwiched between the jungles and constantly rising thick mist was giving me an impression as if it was playing hide and seek! When ever we got a glimpse of the water falls, it revealed its full glory. It drizzled couple of times when we were shooting but then we were there to capture the mood of rain! The rain didn’t deter the determination of the participants and each one was enjoying the process of image making. Of course none of us got really wet as such since we all took shelter in the tourist watch tower when the rain caught up its strength and we were back to the field when it subsided. It was indeed a pleasure to shoot in totally damp conditions and for all the participants it was a new experience.
It was lunch time and we were back at Sirsi. Post lunch, we headed towards Gudvi birds sanctuary, where the monsoon morphs as the breeding season of thousands of birds. The cacophony of the Ibis and the herons can be heard from kilometers away on a busy feeding day. It is an amazing place to watch the birds from close distance and monsoon is the best season to do that. We spent the entire afternoon in Gudavi. Sun bid adieu to us when we were on the way back to Sirsi.
Yana is a dream place to any landscape photographer and it will be at its best in the monsoon. The road to Yana is another marvel, which offers tremendous opportunities to shoot some unique and lesser-known streams running across the forest. While you travel along this path, your eyes see no other color than green and even the brown rocks would turn green, thanks to moss! This is a place where one’s landscape photography skill is tested to its core. The composition aspect is something we were stressing in each of our workshop sessions and these places offered a fantastic test-bed for the same.
Participants tried various aspects of composition and angles to come up with some very good results. Patience is one thing, that is required the most in the field of photography and indeed the primary ingredient to get the desired results. Patience is tested and developed during these workshops. One has to immerse ones mind, body and soul into the environment and should feel oneness with it. Only then, one starts seeing the frames and will be able to translate the emotions into images. Without being one with the landscape, it is next to impossible to showcase the essence of the place being photographed. In reality, it really takes a long time to master this art.
Participants are taught the same things along with some techniques as to how to approach the image making process and ‘seeing a frame’, when it comes to Landscape Photography. Vibhooti Falls was another beauty of a place where ‘how to photograph a falls’ technique can be practiced very well. The lush greenery around makes the place much more beautiful.
Jenukal paints inexplicably beautiful early mornings during the monsoon. We were there at the right time when the mist had just begun to raise and were slowly drifting!
The valley beneath totally covered and all we could see was a hint of what lies beneath those heavy clouds. It was a mesmerizing experience and all the participants were simply overjoyed. It was a literal “View from the clouds” experience!! The learnings continued at Jenukal as well with tips as to how to make effective panoramas and how to approach grand vistas.
Overall the entire trip was fantastic with some memorable moments for all of us. We are sure that all the participants had also enjoyed it equally and have benefited from the learning and attention that they got ON FIELD all the time.
“Magic of Monsoon” is specially designed Landscape Photography Workshop by Landscape Wizards team. It happens every year at various locations in Westernghats where we focus is on the aesthetic and creative aspect of approaching Landscape photography and also help the participants deal with real-world situation which is un-predictable and cannot be simulated in a class room environment.
We prefer to stimulate the minds for creative thinking, on field, than simulate it with in four walls!
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