Why was I away!

Not always in life, that you are super motivated or charged up and that ‘not always’ gets longer when you don’t find a reason to rejuvenate your mind or your thought process to be precise. I hate myself for being lazy and pretending to be busy , just so that I can get away from what I used to make time for, earlier. To be honest, I was trying to ignore what I like to do the most and kind of accepted the failure. And why or how is that? I will tell you. There is a thing called “approval”. Getting approved or accepted by the society and the world around you is a very keen need people seek for, and so did I. Call me immature but we all go through it someday. But does it all that matters? Does getting recognized for what you do is everything for you? Cant you just do anything for your own-self and not for the sake of how the world will take it, or if the world will ever absorb it? If you like it, you would do it. Not for the acceptance from people you don’t know , but for it satisfies your soul, for it gives you peace of mind and for it gives you a better sleep at night.

There was a time in my life not too long ago, when I believed in doing it all. May be it was a very small span of time in this long life of mine, but it was there. I would cook, do house chores besides a full time job along with weekend birding, blogging about them, recording husband’s guitar videos and spending hours in editing them. I thought this is the best version of me and this is the best my life can offer so I pour it all, I pour it all ,just except the soul.

” Don’t gain the world & lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold”. -Bob Marley

When you don’t feel it from inside, that will to push your limits, when you start getting thoughts like ‘its not worth it’ or ‘I cant do it anymore’, that’s exactly when you start to getting ‘depressed’ without realizing it. I am not going to bore you on ‘in and out about depression’ now, (or should I? OKAY! may be some other time) not today. When your brain stops pulling the positive strings and starts working on the weak ones, you surely know that its not the best of your time. But if you have HOPE, you will make it. You will definitely get out of it, just like how you get over after loosing a very old friend of yours, who used to share every little secret over lunch break, but now won’t even aid in your life’s hardest time. Yes, you will get over it, if you are willing to praise yourself. If you think, you are capable of more. Yes, you will get to the bright side, if you have the strength of letting go, if you believe in ..

‘ There is a sunrise after every darkness’.

I did what I thought I need to do then but somewhere deep inside , I knew I am doing it all just for the sake of doing it,for getting that one praise or for the welfare of getting all the credit. Not getting the credit that I thought I deserve would make me sad.Just like any other human being not getting praises for baking a beautiful chocolate cake that he/she put so much effort in. I would get sad, I would get annoyed and I would get furious at times. It was just beginning of the worst for the impatient person that I was. It could be anything, but definitely not the best of I.

I was not low on my will power that is what I realize now. It took time, it definitely did but what is more important is that it happened. Giving up on something ‘you may be good at’ can never be a solution of your frustrations. Time lets you realize a lot of things. And CHANGE is one big thing that helps in CHANGing you, positively. When the forwarding time fails to claim, sometime in your own company does the job.

Now that I don’t seek for the fake praise or the unrealistic credit for everything, now that I don’t look up to the numbers but the value of the precious,I have decided to come back here, to write my heart out, to create a space for each and every bit of emotion that I or you have. Because now is the best we have known,

‘Time and tide waits for none. And if you keep waiting for it, believe me , its never gonna come.’

You take charge on life before it does. You be the warrior of your own fights. You be the light to your own darkness. And you be the HOPE to your own sadness. Lets have a great time here sharing some optimism with lots and lots of love and laughter.

Cheers, Riya ❤

Beautiful frames to make in OMH

Bird photography at Old magazine house forest resort

In two of my earlier blogs, I have talked a lot about this birder’s den that belongs to karnataka forest department situated in the beautiful location near to Dandeli, i.e Ganeshgudi. If you haven’t go through them, here are the links to them.

Old Magazine House, Ganeshgudi

Ganeshgudi~ A birder’s paradise

In today’s blog, I will be more talking about the beautiful photographs that you can make in their birder’s hide organised by the OMH team just for watching and taking snaps of the birds that come to take a dip in the fresh water and perch on the little branches above them. So lets get into the frames that I created and decide whether they are worth the word ” beautiful” or not.

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Old magazine House bird hide

When in the wild, its quite difficult to first spot the bird, then wait for it to come and take an open perch and then take the perfect shot with correct exposure. But, when you are birding from a hide out, the difficulty level goes down a bit and chances of getting more perfect shots increases quite a bit. So I was quite excited about the idea when i booked my room in OMH. And nevertheless to say I had an amazing first time experience. So lets jump in to the shots that I have selected here to just show you the kind of frames that one can imagine getting here.

PS: Here in this blog, you wont see all the bird species or all the frames that I have made, but a very few of my favorites I recently processed. Others are there in my other posts,the links to which are above 🙂 

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White Rumped Shama

White Rumped Shama was one of the birds that was on my mind when I planned for OMH in the first place.Its probably because of its beautiful pictures that I have seen in my instagram feed. Hence I waited for it to find its way to the bird bath for the two days I have booked room for. But it only arrived an hour before I was about to leave on the third day early morning. My happiness had no boundaries and I clicked the individual in all possible manners. Here it is when it sat on the bird bath for a quick fresh dip. The sun was beautifully lighting up his eyes. I loved capturing it.

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White rumped shama

This was my very first glimpse of the beauty. Stunning ..Isnt it?

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White rumped shama taking bath

And this was the kind of shot I thought of taking. Splashes of water everywhere. What a marvelous bird it is to photograph. Its delighted to see it bath .

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Orange headed thrush

One of the most common birds you will see foraging on the ground around this place or any other wildlife sanctuaries in Goa/karnataka is an orange headed thrush. Still this was one of the positions that I loved taking shots. Eye level shots when you don’t need to lie down on ground on your tummy. The beautiful close up with my 150-600mm creating a lovely bokeish background, nietherless to say about my happiness.

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Dark fronted babbler

Hey, have you seen my tail? Asking the dark fronted babbler 😀 When babblers take bath in low light, you get frames like these. A very low key image making an almost dark background.

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Dark fronted babblers

Discussing about global warming here 😀 They are adorable to watch and even more adorable with their cunning stare. Light was okayish on them as I shoot.

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Oriental white eyes

Talking of adorable birds, there has to be place for oriental white eyes. The spectacled birds come in bunch to play in water and gives you ample opportunities to make frames. I saw them each time I was at the hide.

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Oriental white eyes

This was the number of white eyes that perched on this beautiful branch for me. Isn’t it making an adorable frame? Though it was taken at really low light and edited henceforth to make it bright and more eye catching.

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Black naped monarch

You cannot miss clicking a black naped monarch when in old magazine house. They may seem common there but don’t get misguided by ignoring them. They never disappoint you, so click them each time they show up. Look at the background I have got here. Different and very pretty.

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Oriental white eye & Black naped monarch

Another amazing thing to do in here is to make frames of different birds on a single perch. I have photographed bulbuls, white eyes, monarchs, yellow tits, like this. Sometime, some where they do show up together. Hence an mesmerizing opportunity you should definitely grab.Always look for up the perches and not the bath tubs. My personal preference is to watch them while bathing and click them while drying up.

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White bellied blue flycatcher -male

Here is a close up of this beautiful flycatcher just after the shower. I have had more beautiful pictures of these beauties in here : Ganeshgudi~ A birder’s paradise

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White bellied blue flycatcher-female

Another definition of cuteness is the female counterpart of the white bellied blue flycatcher. Such a poser it is. Look at the cleanness it provides . Just beautiful to capture and calm to eyes.

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Spiderhunter

Another close up shot of the stunning spider hunter who did not plan to give us much time to click him on any perch.Takes a quick dip and leave. I missed photographing it on natural perch, you may not.

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Another old world babbler giving a striking pose in between the branch bend.

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Blyth’s reed wabbler

Frames like this are so satisfying to make with winter migratory birds like this blyth’s reed wabbler here who loves to spend winter in India, sri lanka and bangladesh.

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Indian Paradise flycatcher

Who doesn’t love a paradise flycatcher.. everyone does. I saw all sort of paradise flycatchers here but unfortunately shareable images I could only make of this female one. I saw white and Rufus morphed males quite a few times. Using a tripod helps you getting this bokeh.

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Tickells blue flycatcher

Tickells blue is another common flycatcher of western ghats, but perches like this aren’t just everywhere to be found. Look out for them as well. I love this shot 🙂

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Rusty tailed flycatcher

Such a beautiful frame for this cutie. If you are lucky , you can see a lots of migratory flycatchers in winter and obviously make amazing frames.

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Rusty tailed flycatcher

The same bird showing its back asking me to stop for today now 😛

These are just a few example from my recent collection of favorite frames from this particular bird hide. Other beautiful birds that I shot at this particular hide were : Emerald dove ( 4 of them at once), taiga flycatcher, yellow browed bulbul, flame throated bulbul ( giving enormous poses and frames to create), brown fulvettas, jerdon’s leafbird, indian black bird, indian yellow tit, and many more. watch out at this section of my website for more 🙂

Many more to come… See ya there.

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at OMH hide out

Olds:

Ganeshgudi~ A birder’s paradise

Detailed information about the resort :

Old Magazine House, Ganeshgudi

Other bird photographing activities:

Zuari river ride ~ Birding in Goa

Migratory Bird Area, North Goa

Birding in Pilerne lake, North Goa

Any question or suggestion are most welcome in the comments. Would love to response  all of them 🙂

Connect to me on instagram @riya_wingstofly

Until next time,

Keep clicking, keep sharing love and awareness.  Know birds, Know life ❤

Much love,

Riya

 

 

 

 

 

Zuari river ride ~ Birding in Goa

A warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrate animal distinguished by the possession of feathers, wings, a beak and typically by being able to fly“- that is how a ‘bird’ has been defined in dictionary. And when you want to photograph these splendiferous creatures, you have to be a part of the silence. You have to be voiceless and blend in with the nature’s quietness. Whenever I am out there in nature, I automatically hush myself no matter how much I
want to shout with excitement when I get to see a lifer or a very beautiful perch or some behavioral enactment by the birds.

Kamat crocodile station

And if you want to experience silence with fresh earthy feeling and chirps falling on your eardrums, a river cannot be the last place you think off . One such tranquilizing experience one can get at this beautiful river boat ride. This
experience is exlusively provided by ‘Kamat Crocodile Station’ below the zuari river bridge in south Goa,India by Dr. Varsha Kamat, A very heart warming lady who has two very talented boat riders and bird guides Frankie and Royson working with her helping out tourists and photographers (mainly bird enthusiasts) taking beautiful photographs of the rare birds that can hardly be seen with normal people with their naked eyes. Both of them are gifted with bird spotting eyes with amazing skills to get close to the birds without disturbing them at all.

Zuari river

Starting our journey from north Goa, we had plans to reach Agonda beach which was our stay for two days to cover Netravali Wildlife sanctuary , Cotigao WLS and few very less visited and less crowded beaches of south Goa in the first week of February 2019. I thought of giving zuari river boat ride (of which I heard a lot about) a try which was on the way to Agonda on this beautiful Saturday morning. I already had a talk with Mrs.Kamat the previous day and she provided me with all the details and when we reached there at around 7am , we found out that we get the 10-12 seater boat all by ourselves as there were no more participants that morning.. yee lottery 😀

As we sat on the boat, I got my gear ready to shoot with probable useful settings. I usually don’t carry tripod on-the-go trips for more flexibility and less hastle. Mr. husband was taking out his binoculars (that’s what he is best at ) while I was a bit conscious/witty and talking to Royson about getting the birds that were on the top of my list for that day. And those were 2-3 types kingfishers (that I havn’t seen yet then), peregrine falcon, sea eagle and other raptors.
And our journey on the Zuari river started..

We were not much far that we spotted a western reef heron. Got pretty good pictures when the heron was waiting on the bottom of one of the pillars of the huge bridge.

Western Reef Heron

We moved a bit and Royson spotted the bird I was waiting for, the peregrine falcon from a good distance. I never knew the fastest bird in the whole wide world is that small for a raptor. We went as close as possible and took some shots but was not amazingly satisfied as it didn’t decide to move from the nut-bolts of the bridge. Wish to get this awing raptor in its wild habitat sometimes.

Peregrine falcon

A big size for a wader was our next sighting. A very pretty Eurasian curlew with a long beak.

Eurasian curlew

The western reef heron was again spotted fishing along with a grey heron , a sandpiper ,a few more water birds and some egrets of course.

Western reef heron

A bold and beautiful brahminy kite roosting here.

Brahminy KIte

 

Time for kingfishers 😀 . A common kingfisher decided to be alone and sat on the wooden stick in the middle of nowhere, all by itself.

Common kingfisher

Next was the time for the very eye catching bright blue colored bird waiting for us from a very far distance. The Black capped kingfisher was spotted and we get nearer to it safely as it changed its perch quite a few times. Finally it was closer sitting idle on the fishing net for a few seconds for me to make images before it flew away in the dense marshlands along with a white throated kingfisher.

black capped kingfisher

A black crowned night heron was spotted from a close distance as our boat moved close to the mangroves. So I took the opportunity to click some closeups of the large beauty.

Black crowned night heron

It was again time for the some kingfishers and this time it was one of my best sighting of any bird in its own personal habitat for a good long time. Can say about 10 mins, that a very very bold and majestically beautiful Collared kingfisher showed off its white collar to us changing just 2-3 perches before it vanished in the marshes. More than just taking shots, I thoroughly enjoyed watching it calling for its mate not annoyed with us being around. That is where you actually listen to the silence.

Collared kingfisher

After spending the good time that we could with the white collared gentleman ,we moved on to see a beautiful couple absolutely blending in with the environment.Unfortunately, I couldn’t capture the female one . So here is a very pretty Orange breasted green pigeon beautifully camouflaging with the tree leaves.

Orange breasted green pigeon

A flock of rosy starlings caught my attention while the bird eyers were looking for some unusual birds.

Rosy starlings

Talking of unusual , here comes the first one. Obviously my lifer and a hard to photograph bird with astonishing features. The blue faced malkoha. I had a hard time while getting to see it only. So only this shot was possible
from the position on the boat. I was happy to at least see the beauty which was not in my expectations list.

Blue faced malkoha

After we struggled with taking pictures of the malkoha was waiting for us the the bird of the day,which absolutely took my heart. A bird of prey- OSPREY. It was visible in the open on the river from quite a long distance. I just hoped it stays put till we reach closer. And it did. It absolutely did and I would thank Frankie for the beautiful 180 degree view of the bird that I am in awe with still, before it took off gracefully right infront of us.

Osprey

Osprey taking off

But with osprey , my hopes for seeing a sea eagle on perch and other eagles flew away too as we couldn’t spot a single one. So we turned our boat to return back to the riverside. As the name of the ride organizers suggest “The Kamat crocodile station”, the tour couldn’t complete without a crocodile right? So here is the one I forgot to talk about all this while.. The Indian mugger or marsh crocodile

Marsh crocodile

I enjoyed watching a lot of herons and egrets along the sides while our boat reached from where we started.

Indian cormorant

After this beautiful memorable river ride ,we took off for our next destination towards South Goa. Lets keep it until next time.

At kamat crocodile station, Zuari

Thanks for reading.

Other bird watching activities :

Ganeshgudi~ A birder’s paradise

Migratory Bird Area, North Goa

Birding in Pilerne lake, North Goa

An evening with Asian openbill

Stay happy , stay beautiful , keep birding. 🙂

Until next time

Much love,

Riya ❤

Ganeshgudi~ A birder’s paradise

What Can I say more about Old Magazine House that hasn’t been already said by the bird
watchers since ages. A birder’s paradise is what we all know this place being called. And its true to its word. You will loose your mind to reach up little close to your soul in the nature that this resort provides. I had very high expectations (I know one shouldn’t have when it comes to our avian friends who have full freedom to fly away wherever they want) when I booked room in here and let me tell you, I wasn’t at all disappointed even for a minute, not only because it was my first birding trip outside Goa but also because you will be so busy listening to the chirps and watching their tantrums on the bird bathes, that you will be forced to forget everything else in the world and just live in the moment. And these moments aren’t limited there. You just need to grab your camera or binoculars(if) and jump into the moment.
In my last post I have already discussed every keen details about the resort including stay options, activities, staff, food etc. You can always go through it from here– Old Magazine House, Ganeshgudi

In today’s session I would be concentrating on the variety of birds that I got to see in the first day of my 2 day trip, mainly that is what we want to know right? Lets jump in then.


We left Goa early in the morning but it took time on the way due to deforestation after entering Karnataka. When we reached at around 1pm, we checked in within minutes, settled in for a few minutes, freshened up took my camera ,binocular, tripod and went straight to explore the place. Just outside our building with rooms, a few old people from England were having their silent time watching birds sitting on the edge on chairs, with whom later I made good of friends and shared some nice evening time. I felt calm looking at this view. Moving on amidst the beautiful jungle resort, we reached where we needed to be. The hide and the food court. As soon as I set up my tripod and camera, it was time to feed our starved stomachs.

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Malabar giant squirrel

By the time I went to have lunch, we had an awesome session by two Malabar giant squirrels. I was immensely happy looking at their activities. They are so naughty and cute that I wanted to bring one of them home 😀

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After having an amazing home cooked veg/non-veg buffet, we were back to the hide by
2.30pm that is when the most activities can be seen. If your are there, don’t miss the evening birding session in the hide between 2.30pm to 5pm or till dusk. There were just a few other birders beside me as it was mid week that we went to avoid the weekend rush, who waited patiently for the birds to come and take bath one by one or all at once sometimes 😀

The first bird that came for me was a yellow browed bulbul and a few oriental white eyes. White eyes are quite common there and gives you poses every now and than. The maximum number I could capture in one frame is 6.

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yellow browed bulbul

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The next bird I would like to talk about is a stunning yellow body with black head and red throat is the flame throated bulbul,the state bird of Goa that I saw for the first time in Ganeshgudi. It was quite the show stopper for the day that I personally loved capturing.

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Flame throated bulbul

The Indian yellow tits were also there peeping once in a while on the bird baths along with other yellow feathered species.

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Indian yellow tit

The dark fronted babblers took their positions on the perches to stare at us and giving angry looks. I say this because whenever I go through the images I clicked of this babbler are all with the almost the same look. They depicts the perfect ‘angry bird image’.

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Dark fronted babbler

Another stunning bird that caught everyones attention was the Indian black bird. It should be named as the ‘Indian black beauty’ with its sharp features and eyes. Here is the image of one such rare moments where the Indian black bird is posing for me on the bath while the background was being designed by the very beautiful and colorful Emerald dove.

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Indian black bird

Here is the close up of Indian black bird after a quick bath.

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Indian black bird

How can I miss the color popping bird out of all. The definition of cuteness Black naped
Monarch who is also a known attraction of OMH.

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Black naped monarch

The monarch came quite a many times to attract our attention but failed to when the majestic Emerald doves arrived. It is said that a maximum of 4 emerald doves come there and I was lucky enough to witness them all together.

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Emerald dove

Now its time for some very pretty flycatchers as they are the highlights this season. The white bellied blue flycatcher to get started with. Here is one pretty male.

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White bellied blue flycatcher-male

Here comes the female with no blue patches on it. She became quite common in sometime for the next two days just like the flame throated bulbul.

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White bellied blue flycatcher-female

When we get to click frames like this with 3 species on a single perch 🙂

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Oriental white eye, black naped monarch,Yellow browed bulbul

Another stunning bird without which  my OMH would not have been accomplished. When I planned for this trip,this bird was on the top of my list which I only got to see in the 3rd day morning before leaving that amazing stay. White rumped shama for you all. I will talk to you about the next two days in my upcoming blogs. So stay connected. Lots of beautiful bird images on the way 🙂

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White rumped shama

We were talking about flycathers, so here is one cute migratory flycatcher. Taiga flycatcher

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Taiga or red breasted flycatcher-female

Other birds that we got to see in the campus but did not give us a perch in light were, racket tailed drongo, leafbirds,munias, a few more flycatchers and the great of all- the trogan couple.( wait for my next post )

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One or many, A dandeli related blog cannot end wihout a hornbill photograph. So here is one Malabar Pied hornbill couple roosting under the sun.

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Malabar Pied horbill couple

A few more images from the same hornbill sighting that we got to witness when we were taken on the jeep by the OMH bird guide to the exact place-the bridge where they come to roost everyday after taking dips in the river kali.

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Malabar Pied hornbill pair

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Malabar pied hornbill in flight (low light evening shot)

So, this was almost all about my first day in Old Magazine house. Hope you have enjoyed reading the blog as much I have while curating . Stay connected. Be healthy. Spread love and happiness 🙂

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Me with husband on the River kali bridge after hornbill session

Tell me in comments if you would like to know details of any particular photograph and I would be happy to share 🙂

Until next time

Much love

Riya ❤

 

Old Magazine House, Ganeshgudi

“And into the forest I go, to loose my mind and find my soul”

                                                                            – Charles Baudelaire

Said so beautifully and rightfully by Charles Baudelaire. Forest makes you feel viable, forest let you listen to your heartbeat, forest let you comprehend your existence, forest lets you find your soul. To find my soul a little more, I headed towards this amazing forest resort situated in a small place called Ganeshgudi in Karnataka State of India. As I am bird-o-holic in nature, I cant stay away from forest, desert, wetland for longer. So to make the new year most special, I chose to visit and stay in Old Magazine House in the month of January itself. Being around a handful of bird lovers, I have heard enough about this paradise that fall in Ganeshgudi. Dandeli is another place in Karnataka around 20km away from Ganeshgudi. You may hear people saying that they visited Old magazine house in Dandeli or they have visited dandeli for birding when they have actually just stayed in OMH.But that is geographically incorrect. OMH (Old Magazine House) is in Ganeshgudi and not in Dandeli and is one of the BEST places to be.

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I have not been to too many places to be honest, but this surely was the best experience till date. It made a little place in my heart that is going to be like that for long, if not ever….

If I go on and on about this place, this blog will never end and you will feel exaggerated when it is actually not. So not stretching it too much, I will come straight to the point.
We started our journey from North Goa to ganeshgudi via chorla ghat road. It was an amazing  journey till we entered karnataka. We had witnessed that the karnataka government is doing a mass deforestation on the connecting highway to make the lane  much bigger., which is obviously against our eco system. Lots of wild animals and birds are loosing their habitat. And by seeing at it helplessly, my heart ached. Crossing too many road blocks, we reached our destination, OMH, Ganeshgudi on the londa-dandeli road. Old Magazine house is a property owned by Jungle lodges and resorts ltd, govt of karnataka.

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Not a very large area, but this resort is a simple paradise of avian-lovers. They offer one
forest-wodden hut, a few rooms and a dormitory as stay options. We took one of the rooms as the wooden house was not-available, which by-the-way was our first preference. The rooms are real big, clean and well maintained by a superbly friendly and helpful staff.
Manager- Mohan sir
Bird guide- Vinay (bhaiya)
coracle ride bird guide- Pundalik (bhaiya)
Cook- Manju
Jeep driver- Gururaj

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These are the people we conversed with, in our 2 day stay and can’t thank them enough for their cordial and homely service. The whole team of OMH is just awe-inspiring. As I said the rooms are spacious with double beds, sofa with center table, one work table, electric jugs and tea/coffee essentials. A television in the common hall room is also available. They provide buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dinner hall along with morning tea and evening snacks, all included in the room rent that you have already paid. Dormitory is just below the dining hall with bunk beds (mostly preferred by single guys who travel just for birding and photographing).

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There is no wi-fi connection and you will hardly be getting network on your phone too and moreover you are there to connect with forest, so you don’t need one. In simple words, forget about your phone and wallet and enjoy your time in peace and bird chirps. I being a talkative person besides an avid birder, I made quite a few friends from different parts of the world. Some were there to bird like me, and some were just having
a day away from city chaos.

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Once upon a time, someone put a tub of water for the birds to quest their thirst in hot and humid weather. He never knew it would grow into OMH one day. There is this mind blowing hide organized by the property for the birders to set up their tripods and take photographs of birds taking bath and drying up in little branches, just beside the dormitory building where they would organize a bonfire every evening with snacks and soup bowls.

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Timings:
7-7.30 Am- tea biscuit
8.30am onwards-breakfast
1.30pm onwards- lunch
6.30pm- snacks/soup with bonfire
8.30pm onwards- dinner
The food team are cordial enough to call you from your room each time when the food is
ready to be served. The other services that they provide are:
1) Nature walk: After having your morning tea, You can accompany Mr. Vinay, the bird guide for a nature walk just outside the resort, where he would spot birds for you.

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2) Coracle ride: After having your breakfast, you can go for a coracle ride on the kali river, where Mr. pundalik, the bird guide will join you for riding the coracle as well as spotting birds and the Muger.. Coracle is a small, rounded, lightweight boat that floats on water and quite difficult to ride comparing a regular boat.

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3) An evening trek for a sunset view form some point up hill which non of us were interested in as we were all busy birding till late evening until it was completely dark.
Overall the stay is just amazing with delicious home cooked recipes by Mr. Manju.

Overall Highly recommended!! I loved it.

Make your bookings before hand and be ready to loose yourself in nature in order to getting closer to your soul..The only thing that will keep you up is the bird chips-day and night.

Don’t forget to pack your warm clothes along with photography gears and binoculars 🙂
You can book your rooms in http://www.junglelodges.com

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Stay put for my incoming blogs where you will get to see the amazing photograph of the lifers (birds) that I got there in my two-day stay in the Old Magazine House, Ganeshgudi.
Till then, hog on to my other birding blogs:

Migratory Bird Area, North Goa

Birding in Pilerne lake, North Goa

An evening with Asian openbill

Parra – A birding hour

Until next time
Much love,

Riya

Unusual aspects of being a banker… (let’s talk tuesday)

Yesterday, an often regular old lady entered the bank and the first thing she uttered was “Hey you are wearing a beautiful top that makes you look pretty”. I smiled and only smiled. I could hardly respond to her. Instead of feeling nice and happy about it, I slightly panicked inside. What I was taken aback with that she has grown old , we had some good moments and one day she will leave us all . I know this sounds weird to our ears when everyone knows its a fact, and still doesn’t like to be reminded . What this very little incident reminded me of that “There was this really really really nice lady customer who use to come to my  bank branch quite often , who had a loooong name . I called her Maria ma’am ( which was neither her first or last name, I liked it that way ) .She was  around 85 to 86 years old and had super glow with calmness on her face . Her personality somewhat personified my character( I think) . She seemed to be a satisfied person with children and grandchildren settled in country and abroad. She walked nice and tall for her age and took care of every banking need mostly on her own. She was too polite in nature. But why am I talking about her all this while ? Read on  ……

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The thing with her was that i really liked whenever she came . No matter what the situation i am in she made me feel calm with just her presence . And the most significant thing was that she liked me the exact way back . Her job was mostly done by the branch manager but without fail , she came to me every time to talk to me for a few moments , while we looked at each other with Awe.

She was a real fan of the constant smile on my face and my cheerful attitude . Every time we talked , she cued me how delightful it is to feel the positivism and calmness when in the same room as me . Irrespective of the crowd handling and the other work pressures, I spread laughter that help her relax and vice versa. And I used to reply her with ” Your presence is the reason behind my smile and it usually broadens when you are around ” . She was really a nice lady with a warm cozy heart , I could feel that through the glass shield  between us.

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A few days went by , I didn’t see her . One day one of her grandson came to deposit some cheque , I have seen him with her earlier, so I asked him about why isn’t she coming on her own , if she was okay due to her old age ?  What he replied was really hard for me to digest and I knew , maybe I would never see her again . She had throat cancer, last stage and due to the old age she couldn’t tolerate the chemotherapies as well . I showed my helpless concern and he left. A few weeks later he came again and this time before leaving the premises he came to my counter to forward the good wishes that directly came from Maria ma’am . He said that she was happy to hear from me .That was the very last time I heard anything from her. She couldn’t survive to see the new year calender of 2019 . She left us . What she left with me was her optimism towards life and the temperament that we shared .. I will always remember her.

And then comes the most sad part of being the banker , no matter how much you are emotionally attached to the person or how awful you feel , you have to do the banker’s job.We settled her death claim towards her children . I have always been this emotional kid , but only did I realize after joining a PSU , Where we directly connect to public and their almost personal lives. I had this type of connection with people in Kolkata before , but I had hardly imagined this would happen in a state where the language is also unfamiliar to me . I guess that sums up to just being me all the time .Its just me !!!!!

 

Birding in Pilerne lake, North Goa

With a hope of not having a too hot day, I pulled up my camo pants , hung up my gear bag on shoulders, started my Activa and followed the lady on google maps towards Pilerne lake in Penha de Franca , Alto Porvorim which is hardly 9km from my place in Mapusa but sadly, I had never been there before. But as its said, its never too late. Pilerne lake was my kickoff start to birding this very season after a gap of months. And I am determined this time to not get loose on it. So it was beautiful Sunday morning when I reached this lake at around 7.15am. It has a ‘Bird watching Point board’ showing a few bird images with a small sitting area with 2 benches making it a quite place to sit and relax overlooking the big,beautiful pilerne lake. I parked my Caty ( that’s what I call my Activa 😉 ) beside a bench and stood for a minute. As soon as my eyes struck to a waterhen besides the white flowers I quickly unzip my bag to bring out already set camera and went down the stairs only to never find that waterhen again throughout the morning. Waterhen didn’t show up, no issues, I had my other lifers for the day.

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Pilerne lake, North Goa

To start the day, I had this close encounter with the little blue kingfisher or the common kingfisher which is actually not very common anywhere in Goa. It perched for me on tree branch ,then on the stair railing and then on this beautiful stone with background full of flowers.

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Common kingfisher or river kingfisher

 

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Common kingfisher in pilerne lake

Pond herons are everywhere near any kind of water stream in the konkan state. I quickly made a few frames as nothing is more natural and beautiful than the combination of flower,water and wader.

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Indian Pond Heron

Then I turned my camera towards a non-water tree branch where two red whiskered bulbuls came to have breakfast. It is one of the most common birds in the area but I still don’t miss a chance to capture them feeding. They appear very pretty with the crown.

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Red whiskered bulbul

And there comes my first lifer of the day. White browed bulbul. Supposedly it replaced the red whiskered bulbuls and took the perch. It quite gave me a few moments to capture him satisfying myself. Aah, it is a pretty bulbul.

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White browed bulbul

There were this couple on a scooter that disturbed me while clicking this beauty to
show me a bird taking a high perch across the lake. I quickly told them, its a white throated kingfisher and way too far and turned to found out the bulbul was gone. I was quite okay as I had already made my shots.

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White browed bulbul

Talking of WTKF ( white throated kingfisher), there has to be atleast one WTKF for me everywhere I go. My kingo never leaves my back :D. Here I got this individual on natural perch with a fresh seafood for breakfast.

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White throated kingfisher with fish kill

Again I made a few more captures on this one. As close I go to them, I feel delighted with their details.. Sparkling feathers I say..

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white breasted kingfisher

My next target was to capture the snake birds (Oriental darter) that were flying in a circular manner over the lake for some time. It was my bad day for flight shots and I got a good shot only in water.

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Oriental darter

I waited for them to feed but they weren’t hungry I guess.
Made a few take off shots I wanted to share with you people.

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Oriental darter taking off

While the beautiful butterflies surrounded me as I sat on the lowest stair to get the water level shots of the darter, my eyes got glued to a very pretty duck who seemed alone on the whole water body. I zoomed in to 600mm, make my mind to have a reflection shot as it came a little closer. It was a stunning “Little Grebe”. My first of its kind. I was greatly pleased from inside to have captured my another very beautiful lifer of the day.

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Little grebe , pilerne lake

Also happen to spot a group of lesser whistling ducks moving away from my side of the lake. One leading the others way. Love to watch their landings all together.

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Lesser whistling ducks

There was this constant bird call that I couldn’t recognize coming from within the marshlands that made me try to look and overhear. But alas I had to satisfy myself with a female Asian koel playing hide and seek with the sun-rays.

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female asian koel

As it was more than 2 hours then, the couple on the scooty had come back to find me in the same state and get amazed 😀 Aah, it was a beautiful morning to start the day off. An absolutely stunning place for a morning birding session.

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Butterflies in pilerne lake

The only thing that bite me a little is that, this lake being a bird watching location also served as Ganesha idol visarjan ( immersion) place, that is in process of making the beautiful lake dirty in coming days. If people in the area can understand the importance of the place in our eco-system and stop throwing puja garbage,plastic bags and immersion of idols by making eco-friendly idols in festivals, then the nature can be remained as it is for coming lots and lots of years.

Well, it was my time to go back home and make some sunday breakfast, I again spotted the WTKF with a kill that made me unbag my gear again and take a shot. 😀

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White throated kingfisher

Pilerne lake is a strong recommendation to bird watchers and photo fanatics like me.

Gears I use :

Canon 80D with Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary OS lens.

Tell me which image is your favorite among these and I will be happy to share the Camera settings (EXIF) details.

Also find me on Instagram as @riya_wingstofly for regular updates.

Until next time

Much love,

Riya

Prey Prey everyday!

When I write this, consider me in that mode, where your eyes are open but all you can see are some random faded lines and lights that cannot form a shape, when you can’t hear to the person speaking right beside you, but all you can hear is your inner voice, talking to yourself in your own world of thoughts…

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White throated kingfisher

When I think of birds, all I can think about them is their simplicity towards life. Might not be easy but such a simple life they have. They have their goals fixed and they need to accomplish  them before the end of the day. To feed themselves and their young ones. Unlike us, with so many duties and responsibilities to carry on your shoulders with mind being visiting some other world.

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Green bee eater with fly kill

Life can be easy if we want it to be. But no! we are human, we have an intelligent brain and a stupid heart. Most of the time what we do is, listen to our brain and think with heart. I call us stupid as we are not satisfied with tonight’s meal, we are hoping better in tomorrow’s breakfast.

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White cheeked barbet with preying mantis kill

Like birds, we don’t leave our children to choose their own prey and live on their own after a certain while. But unlike birds, we make noise in the night and sleep in the early morning. The day we all start waking up with birds and sleep with them, our lives will be half sorted. (oh ya, without a materialistic alarm clock)

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Greater coucal with snake kill.  (such a grainy picture, very late evening high ISO image. I didn’t want to miss out on my early prey shots. )

We all nature loving people love to watch birds. But whats more exciting is to watch them in their original form without any kind of disturbance to them in their habitat. Birds perch, they preen, they call, they sing, they mate, they kill, they feed just like humans. But we humans are civilized and we usually don’t have to find and kill prey to feed ourselves. But they need to maintain the cycle and be alive. And by now you all must be guessing my new obsession which is watching and capturing predators and prey. Yum 😛

 

 

 

 

 

 

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White throated kingfisher tossing its meal. Timing matters

I will keep this post really short with the pictures I could manage to click of birds hunting and having their meal. Basically, when I go out for birding and I get to capture any with prey in their beak, its a trophy for me. I get super excited and it just makes my day. Though I have not got enough opportunities to click a lot of different species with prey but I am optimistic about my future endeavors. 🙂 Hope you enjoy too 🙂

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Baya weaver- female (All they like are high perches when it comes to having meal and having a prey is a delight to watch)

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Black headed Ibis with snake kill. ( This shot was taken from a wetland near the road and it was impossible for me to go any lower, hence the output)

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Indian pond heron catching pair of fishes in a pretty wetland.

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The heron and I ,both were settled with one fish by the time.

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My first kingo prey shot, that too with a lizard. My happiness had no boundaries, only didn’t I know was that it was just the beginning.

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Kingo (White throated kingfisher) with cockroach kill ,one evening.

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Another day, another kill. Kingo again with fly

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From my very recent captures. Kingo never disappoints me when I want a good click.

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With a bug this time 🙂

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Indian lored tit with its big meal. We were in mahabaleshwar park roaming with a 18-135mm in hand. This tit took all its time kill and finish its meal in one of the high branches of a tree. Though I couldn’t get a better zoom but I was a little satisfied watching it.

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Green bee eater. One of my favorite birds when it comes to prey. Such a delight they are to watch. All their activities are pretty to my eyes.  This particular view made my very morning the other day after having a very unsatisfying birding out.

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I am not perfect but may I will be someday.

Hope you have enjoyed my predator-prey sum up. I will keep on updating as I get more opportunities and learn in the process. There is no end to learning as I always say.

My other birding posts:

Monsoon vibes with birdies

An evening with Asian openbill

Parra – A birding hour

Birding in Chopdem,Goa

etc.etc.

Keep birding, keep spreading love 🙂

Much love

RIYA.

 

 

Monsoon vibes with birdies

Monsoon vibes

Being lived half my age in cities where people crib about rains due to their inconvenience in transportation,etc. I never felt a dime of difficulty in my life due to rainfall. In cities like Kolkata and Mumbai, where monsoon comes as an alert to buy and keep groceries packed at home and be ready to reach office/college late or even skip sometimes. Well, the reason being of course non-maintenance of roads and overflowing of rainwater from every corner possible. But I grew up in a city where I hardly faced any such issues, though the roads are hardly maintained there too :P. I remember pulling my ‘way back from school friend’ to jump on the rainwater stacks again and again getting ourselves wet and dirty while we also prepare ourselves for a mumma’s scolding. 😀 Though my mom is a sweetheart in these cases. She will take the badla (revenge) in some other mean situations :P. Childhood and its memories has no comparison at all.

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Ashy prinia enjoying rain droplets.

Another drenchful memory from my childhood was when I went to a friend’s house on my favorite ladybird cycle. There were no cell phones back then. It was almost time for me to return home and it was raining heavily. Mother at home, sat at the main door worried. I on the other hand, was pulling my cycle hard to reach covering the upward slanting road when there were hardly anything visible. Anyhow I reached home as quickly as possible, completely drenched (like I was inside a pool for many hours). Seeing mom was the best thing that day as she smiled and took me in with all the pampering. Moms are the best you see.

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Greater coucal enjoying a shower.

Now-a-days I don’t  crib about rainfalls at all when I am living in the state with 2nd largest rainfall in the county, not that I have done that before. I always liked rains. Specially after the sweaty summer, when monsoon arrives with the wet sand smell and flower buds. My favorite part had to be the special hot-khichdi that mummy dear used to make for lunch on a special rainy day .And for now,  I love it, I love everything that rains bring with it. The cold breeze, the water droplets on the wires and leaves, the wet sand smell, the washed roads, the farms, happiness on farmer’s faces, the bird calls which are more audible in monsoon as its the breeding season for many Indian birds, the cute insects, snakes, toads,colorful flowers, too many butterflies and above all the greenery everywhere. I have certainly stopped saying that winter is my favorite season anymore. Though spring can be comparable with rains. But monsoon is love.

 

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Rose ringed parakeet here looks worried though! 😀

Birds also love rains as much I do I guess, otherwise why would they call me so much to get to the balcony and watch them every now and then 😛 . Watching birds perched on the top of a branch calling for its mate just before the shower hits, is one of its kind of pleasure that only a bird lover can understand. And afterwards when they decide to get with the flow and get wet in the rain. Aah.. I can watch them all day.

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Cute little tailorbird taking a leaf shelter.:)

They are in their own world without any knowledge of being watched by us, is a power they hold that makes them fearless. Plus obviously they don’t have to worry about changing clothes or going to a doctor to feel better. And that is what I call nature. Earth belongs to them. Nature is their home and we are just the watchers in this world.

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Black hooded oriole after a fresh shower.

Also minding our own business is the best thing we humans can learn from them. Isn’t it? Preying, eating, sleeping, mating and living a life making it a worth. Why can’t we do the same. Well we all know the answer for that. We have brains… just too much of it..For giving it a rest,let’s just enjoy the showers as they do.

 

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Oriental magpie robin calling for its mate to join him 🙂

In some of the occasions while observing them, I managed to click them enjoying rains as this would be the best thing I can do. Well obviously I just cant mind my own business but interfere into theirs.. Actually it has become a part of my daily life. The most beautiful part.

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A group of most loved birds.

Usually when it rains, I can’t get out to photograph much and it stretches for months in this state. Hence the best I could do is to watch the visitors and taking some habitat shot (okay from a long distance but I wouldn’t mind that too till they are birds and they are visible.:)) All the photographs you see here today are taken from my bedroom balcony.

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cute little white rumped munias. Count the number for me 😀

Now its almost time for bidding the monsoon until next year. Oh ya, by now you all must be knowing that I missed mom a lot this season, as always though.:) 😦

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My absolute favorite feeling. And this is the branch that gets clicked the most 😀

Other birds that are common in rains here are Asian koel, scaly breasted munia, red whiskered bulbul, red vented bulbul, white cheecked barbet, greater flameback woodpecker,etc.

That is it for today’s post guys. And my apologies for not absent all this while.

Until next time, keep spreading love and laughter 🙂

Much love,

Riya.

 

 

Cat series continues….

Hey people, this is Riya and welcome back to my space. I had been busy the whole last week showing around my parents who are here in a trip for 10days. As our Goa darshan is almost over for now, I am here with my new post. You all must have seen one of my earlier post on Wild catyso this is in continuation to it. It will be less on the features of cat but mainly focused on how I photographed him (Musshy).

Musshy is a cat that lives in the building where we stay. He is no one’s pet yet everyone loves feeding him and playing with him. I named him musshy out of nothing. I just love calling him that. He will respond to me someday I hope 😀

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Cute.   EXIF: f/6.3  ss:1/50  iso:100 @135mm

That’s him! Isn’t he cute? Of course he is and naughty too. It was one of those nights when he decides to sit at out doorstep (basically he does that when he is hungry). It was night time and high ISO didn’t work well,hence I used flash (camera in-built flash) to capture his insanely glory eyes, which I guess he didn’t like much. 😀 Ground is the best place to click images from eye level and this was the closest My zoom went from a distance. I love how adorable he looked in here.

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Look at that glow. Rubbing against stair railing, I didn’t  miss the shot this time.  Camera settings: aperture: f/6.3 shutter speed: 1/250 (can’t go below that with flash) ISO: 100 taken at 124mm with my Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens attatched with Canon 80D.

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Since I had to use the built in flash at this place, I tried increasing the aperture a bit (which is usually the least that I prefer for my bird photography) here since background is not an issue here at all. This was the result. Colorful eyes with a bit more details. Aperture used here was f/8.0.

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EXIF: f/6.3 ss:1/250sec  ISO:100  @110mm

As he barked and gets ready to take a step closer. He seemed really hungry and won’t settle anything less than milk. He surely isn’t lactose intolerant.

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This is an unedited jpeg image straight from the camera. I wanted to click the way he is, like a real cat (tiger). I was sitting inside the door and he was waiting outside waiting for the opportunity to come in.. Settings – f/8 ,shutter  speed:1/250sec with ISO at 100.

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Exif: f/6.3  ss:1/200  ISO:125

Okay! so being rubbed himself in my dad’s legs way too much. We finally let him in. I was lying down to get this shot with my zoom when he decided to move towards me.With my eyes inside the viewfinder, I found it way too closer ,I shouted and jumped. Everybody laughed 😦 But I still love being on the floor rather than sitting. The focal length was 96mm. See, he was close 😀

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Exif:  f/6.3  ss:1/250   iso:125   @100mm

A quick close-up and a perfect cat portrait.

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EXIF: f/9.0 ss:1/50  ISO:100 @35mm  in built flash fired

While he posed for me here and there, I got this great idea of floor reflection. He was sitting where the led light sprayed directly making the floor and reflection more on the white side. So I waited for him to move around and I get the one I wanted. The below image is the result of my wait and I am satisfied with it this time.

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perfect reflection. EXIF: f/5.6  Speed:1/10sec  ISO:1000 @103mm

Also I did not fire flash for this image,instead decreased the shutter speed and turned the ISO wheel above. I made this one completely lying on the floor while he sat in front of the blue wooden door giving me a perfect view.. This made my evening. He was full by now and ready to leave. Happy he, happy us.

To know your cats better. Click here

I will see you all in my next post. Till then keep smiling and sharing love.

Much love

Riya