After having procured a new wide angle lens (Sigma 20mm f/1.4) recently, I have taken to carrying it around with me as much as possible. Ability to capture night scenes in broad perspectives has suddenly broken me out of my usual field of view, and I can feel my vision and imagination expanding in reach. Here are some shots I took in Amsterdam on my way home after my Swimming and Rowing workouts last week.
I procured a new gadget to make some real strong coffee. It has been a delightful morning ritual over the last few mornings.
A conversation about having horses as pets reminded me of the magnificent beasts I saw in Iceland where it is also commonplace. It occurred to me that I never posted pictures of the actual trip, and so here is an abridged recollection of the adventure and pictures.
A few years ago (August 2015) along with some close friends, I headed to Iceland. We rented a 4×4 for a week and mapped ourselves 2000 kilometres of travel, over a terrain ranging from comfortable roads, to hazardous mountain slopes and to paths barely resembling civilisation’s footprint, while I was the sole driver.
We started driving in the northwesterly direction with the hope of circling back from Snæfellsjökull National Park in a day. We passed via Arnarstapi making a stopover at the little harbour town.
Landscapes reflecting perfectly in lakes around was a surreal sight.
So was the golden sun in the backdrop against cotton buds ready for plucking.
The next day marked the beginning our longest leg of the 3 days journey to cover the most ground. We stopped occasionally to marvel at the majestic horses and the magnificent mountain backdrops.
The sight of Eyjafjallajökull was undoubtedly goosebump evoking.
As the roads twisted and turned, we suddenly found ourselves on a different planet which was covered in black sand fields announcing our approach towards Jökulsárlón.
The slow drifts of icebergs in Jökulsárlón’s glacial ice fields were a soothing sight.
As dusk rapidly fell, we scrambled to find accommodation for the night while hunting for the cellular network to make reservations, battling hunger and grumpiness.
On our way back, we spent leisurely amount of time at the gigantic Skógafoss and few other waterfalls of less notable sizes
Occasionally we hit patches of sun which lit up the landscape in contrasting shades of green, brown, black and blue.
The last day of the trip was spent recovering in Reykjavik. We headed to the coast to enjoy the last glimpses as the sun set.
For Christmas, a friend and I decided that it might be fun to visit the Eltz Castle in Germany. This was the second time I was the shotgun to the driver, and unlike the first, it was entirely uneventful.
Our trip started quite late, so we decided to first take a detour to Frankfurt with the intention to arrive at Eltz the next day. In hindsight, it was the right decision as its a rare treat to witness a city as big as Frankfurt be entirely calm and devoid of any traffic – vehicular or pedestrian. It reminded me of a trip I made to Hamburg during Christmas a few years ago
After a leisurely all-you-can-eat breakfast the next morning, we started driving. And within the hour, this sight was bearing down us.
Few hours of later, we began our return journey through the spectacular countryside of Germany. The rolling hills and sprawling greens had the classic WindowsXP look.
Soon we were passing through several towns. The decision to stick to secondary and tertiary roads as much as possible, did not
And just like that we were out on the highway and on our way home.
Desert plains and scorching sun; Endless hills and reddish glum; Dried up shrubs and flowing sand; Hundreds of miles and no waters in sight. Death Valley almost lives up to its name, and it ultimately misses on expressing the incredible beauty that’s hidden behind the veils of prejudice set by itself.
For almost half a decade, I have been yearning to visit Death Valley, ever since somebody that I used to know planted that idea. It now feels like life has come a full circle. The visit through the valley was part of a much larger road trip beginning in San Francisco, through Sequoia National Park, Death Valley, Las Vegas and ultimately culminating at the Grand Canyon.
Following a visit to Sequoia National Park, I made a stopover at in a little town called Inyokern in California. The motel owner suggested two routes towards Death Valley, one through the well maintained Hw-395 and another more dangerous route via Hw-178. Of course, I ended up taking the later. It was desolated, deserted and deathly and I loved it.
At the first sign of gas station, I made a pitstop for refuelling. There was not going to be any more of such stops for the next several hundreds of miles.
Some ice cream to beat the heat.
I stared at the road, and the road stared back at me. How the distance passed and the time flew was lost on me. I think my mind was numb and lost in the beauty that was racing against me.
Apocalyptically appearing dead trees marked the approach towards the great Mesquite Sand Dunes.
No sonner than I reached, I took off hiking into the sand dunes, with camera gear under the blazing sun. After a never ending trek through the valleys of the dunes and over the sand tops, I waited to take some pictures
A few unsettling moments of Deja Vu later, I concluded that perhaps this is what Arrakis looks like.
On the road again
Gazing at the sprawling lands with sparsely spaced shrubs and lit under blue-yellow sky, from hill-top view points was amazing.
Artist’s Palette, a natural and colourful hill formation, resulting due to the occurrence of various mineral deposits in the valley. I was quite amused to hear fellow tourists tout amongst themselves that it was due to elements such as mercury.
Watching two travellers camp up with portable chairs was envied by many including me.
As the sun began setting, I began making my way out
Not before stopping near Badwater Basin to make long exposures and some classic desert shots