Wednesday, July 1, 2009

CTC Photography Trip - Yelagiri

Its been more than 6 months joining CTC on a trek/trip. Thanks to Viki who was the master planner for this trip and to Samyak/Ravi for executing it well.

I am not documenting the photography trip report here. check the trip-log at The Chennai Trekking Club , and what you would see here is just a few of my clicks during the trip.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Misson Long-Wait

Its been a long wait that i wanted to climb a small hill ( Skandagiri ) which is 70 kms from Blore. Its around a year since i know a photographer friend of Blore - Sandeep Unnimadhavan. Even thought we met only once on a CTC trek, I felt like as if i know him for years together. Most of the times its all about discussing things thru mails and gtalk.

Finally the day arrived and i headed to blore on 9th Jan 2009 with lots of excitement. I was picked up from the station by Sandeep and Preetha and was meeting them both after 6 months. Went to a near by restuarant for dinner and was narating to Preetha about how me and Sandeep know each other. Reached home at 10 and went to sleep and as usual had a long sleep with the blore chill climate favoured my laziness. Had a good breakfast and went to the terrace to look at the eagles thru Sandeep's 400 mm lens. Preethas amme and acha arrived and was glad to see them. An hour or 2 passed talking with acha and by the time amme finished some delicious kerala dishes. Our actual plan was to leave home by 3 in the afternoon. But the delicious Palak which aunty prepared for lunch made me eat a little more than my actual intake and was a little drowsy and Sandeep was facing trouble in making me get ready.

By 3.30pm or so, we started from home. On our way we had grapes, cucumber and i had to ask Sandeep to stop his car very frequently to try some shots with his 400mm lens. We were able to click Eagles, River terns, a flock of parrots on our way towards skandagiri.

We reached a school where we parked our cars and by that time the sun has almost started to set. We were surrounded by lots of young boys asking for money to accompany us as guides. We refused their offer and in 10 min after starting our trek with a country dog accompanying us. The doggie always made sure it stays either at the front or at the middle leaving me at the last position. We walked a little faster and once we reached the base of the hill, it became completely dark with the moon rising behind us. We were so concerned in clicking atleast the horlzon of sunset, that we missed the way that takes us uphill and took a small divertion to click the sunset. By the time we finished clicking, it was almost completely dark. We started taking a small path and in 20 min the way became more narrow and thorny. We headed the same way and we were actually heading to the other side of the hill. We noticed that we were going round the hill without taking any elevation in our trek.

The adventure part is Sandeeps torch was not that bright and i forgot to take mine along. Ultimately Sandeep was leading the way with a dim pentorch, and me following him with the light from the cell phone display. Within the next half an hour, i slipped 2, 3 times and was about to tumble into the bushes. in a few minutes time, we met a huge rock and that was a dead end.
We decided to call someone and ask whether the way to Skandagiri will be too thorny and dense. We called Sheetal ( The LITTLE-most Organiser ) of Chennai trekkiing club. From the way she explained the way to Skandagiri, We made sure that we took a wrong direction and headed back and by 7.30pm we reached the place from where we clicked the sunset and it was very windy and cold. We were laughing at each other for miss such a broad and clear way that was taking us uphill.

We headed uphill with frequent rests on the way. We reached the peak to see that we were the first ppl to be on top except a few local boys. There was a small hut with a lantern burning inside. When we peaped inside, we were amazed to see that the local ppl has setup a small petty restuarant on the peak serving Bread-omlet for 10 rs. It was very cold and the omlets tasted very delicious. After finishing the dinner, we took our cameras and tripod to an edge to experiment on long exposures. The wind was very heavy that we had to hold the tripod for support from not flying away. After some clickings, we entered the mamtapam and opened our sleeping bags and started to sleep. It was around 2 am that we woke up to realise that many ppl were around and could hear ppl enjoying themselves shouting and singing to counteract the chill weather.
It was very windy which gave me a sign that the heavy breeze would not allow the mist to form clouds. But still was expecting a good sunrise. Sandeep went out of the mantapam at 5.30 and took a place from where he can expect a good sunrise without any disturbances. But the cold weather kept me inside till 6.30 watching thru the entrance for any signs of sunrise. Finally headed outside to see atleast 500+ trekkers have flooded the place. I waited for sometime but somehow made up my mind we cannot see a sunrise

with clouds. Some how we kept us engaged clicking around and by the time the sun was out, We found that a good amount of dew formed on the grasses. We spent around half an hour clicking the dew drops and that came to the end of our skandagiri excitement.

When we packed all our things, we realised tat Sandeeps tripod has been robbed and the food material that was kept in Sandeeps bag at the mantabam is also being robbed. We headed downhill empty stomach and was very thankful to Sandeep for carrying my backpack when my shoulder pain tookover. We reached the base of the hills and had tender-coconut to end our morning fast.
Got into the car and headed towards blore and even now also we stopped the car now and them clicking pictures of everything that came across. Reached home and had a tasty lunch and which made me drowsy and i went to sleep. By the time i woke up, Amme and acha has alreadt left home. but the taste of the Palak tat i had still remains in my taste buds. Awaitng for another opportunity to meet San-pree for the sake of tasting the delicious Palak again.

I am sure the memories of my stay at San-pree's home will remain for long.
I wont thank San-Pree for this [ reason - I want to thank then in person, dont think i am taking this as an opportunity to taste Palak again ;-) ]

As i always say, Its neither the camera nor the lenses are the only deciding factors for your good images, It all lies in the eyes through which you see the world around.

Some more clicks @
Sandeeps blog @