Rather than go to a specific location for a typical landscape shoot, I set out to find photo opportunities with no set agenda. My thought was to travel west on I-40 and explore as much of Route 66 (which parallels it mostly) with my cameras as I could. One of the best photo journeys in a long time. I was traveling late morning through early evening – generally considered the worst time of day to take pics. I was taking a number of pictures along the way, Route 66 has such a storied history, that it is full of opportunity with old buildings, tourist traps, picturesque landscapes, and everything in between. I came into Grants, NM from the east on old Route 66 and saw this old automobile graveyard. It was around 2:30 in the afternoon, with substantial cloud cover which helped minimize the harsh sun.
These pictures were taken between 1:00 pm and 7:30 pm in July. New Mexico is given to sudden storms, high winds, and the hot sun. A heavy duty tripod is a must if you are taking landscapes. Unseasonably large volumes of rain this year have made the desert fairly green, something that is very uncommon for this time of the year. The impact of the rain has made the New Mexico landscape less harsh, although that also provides great opportunity for high contrast and excellent compositions.
The incredibly popular Shenandoah National Park. If you’re just driving through, Skyline Drive has many outlooks where you can pull over and marvel at the wonders of the Appalachian Mountains. If you’re hiking, there are many trails for both novices and the experienced. And of course lots of opportunity to take pictures.
While it is impossible to give the exact coordinates of where this picture was taken, the South Luangwa National park is home to these beautiful cats – as indeed it is to a huge variety of fauna and flora. This picture was taken in the month of March. The weather was cool and dry. Safari vehicles are best suited to the use of beanbags rather than tripods, though we did take them along too.
The Damaraland Camp in the Torro Conservancy is an absolutely outstanding camp as well as being the perfect base to photograph beautiful landscapes. For those who are interested in astrophotograpy, it offers inky black skies and rock formations that are perfect foregrounds. Sunrises and sunsets are stunning. And for those interested in wildlife, here is the perfect place for you to seek the elusive and vulnerable desert elephants. And this, apart from beautiful and specialized flora endemic to the region.
We had to try astrophotography is this land of a zillion stars. And so we set up our tripods and remotes and walked away to have our dinner. All the while silently praying that a wandering herd of oryx would not trample over all our gear! About an hour later we returned to collect our cameras and found this…
With a sprained ankle, I found it well worth the trek – carrying cameras, lenses and tripods. And Dead Vlei is a place of magic. Watching the sun rise from behind the dunes and the completely flat and deadly dull landscape suddenly erupt into brilliant rust dunes, blue sky, black skeletal trees and white clay pan is an experience that is completely beyond verbal description.
Amboseli is famous for its elephants. Its famous among wildlife photographers for the iconic images of a huge tusker poised magnificently in front of Mount Kilimanjaro. While this is every visitors dream sighting, the mountain is mostly shy and hides behind clouds. And when the peak is clearly visible, you need the incredible good fortune to not just have an elephant in front of you but also the right angle to get the perfect picture. This one does not qualify as iconic, but its the closest to the required combination of circumstances I have managed in multiple visits!
For the local residents of Dodhara-Chandani, the 1.60 m wide and 1452.96 m long pedestrian bridge is the only link to the remaining landmass of their district across the Mahakali. Before construction of the bridge, the folks of Dodhara and Chandani had to travel all the way to Khatima in India and cross the Sarada Barrage to reach Mahendranagar, the district headquarter.
The newly completed highway offers an interesting and enticing drive with beautiful and picturesque bends. You have to be careful on your drive as the road with sharp bends is narrow and at few points it hardly accommodates two crossing vehicles. You can start from the either end of the highway (i.e. either from Dhulikhel or from Bardibas) and start early in the morning so that you reach the points before the sun is too harsh. Altogether the drive would be of around 4 hours (considering no stoppage time). You can enjoy good local food with fresh water fish curries on the road side joints at numerous locations across the highway.