A new camera and and an advanced learning curve prompted a visit to the Bannerghatta National Park near Bangalore. An unusually mild December day (after 3-4 days of intense winds and chill breeze) was an added bonus. The Canon EOS 7D Mark 2, the latest offering from the Canon stable is a camera so advanced, that an old Canon hand like me, who has been shooting a Canon 40D for more than 6 years (I bought it in March 2008) had to re-learn all the bells and whistles of the new camera.
Bannerghatta as usual did not disappoint. There were wild flowers galore and the first suspects to be shot were them. Although, these flowers are more domesticated these days filling up most gardens in Bangalore than growing in the wild, I was lucky to chance upon a dry lake bed wherein one could get a great variety of these Cosmos flowers.
The whole day was fun and as subsequent posts would show, the new camera did not disappoint. Although, as a photographer, I sucked. Its back to the manual for a while re-learning all the new features
The full moon of the lunar month Phalguna (Phalguna purnima) is celebrated as the end of the Winter season and the beginning of Spring. According to ancient Hindu traditions, it also was the last day of the year and the new year heralding the Vasanta-ritu or Spring, with spring starting from next day. This day is celebrated as the festival of Holi or festival of colours, a festival of merrymaking, announcing the commencement of the spring season.
The name Holi is derived from the name of the Demoness Holika, sister of the demon King Hiranyakaship who won over the kingdom of earth. He was so egoistic that he commanded everybody in his kingdom to worship only him. But to his great disappointment, his son, Prahlad became an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu and refused to worship his father.
Hiranyakashyap tried several ways to kill his son Prahlad but Lord Vishnu saved him every time. Finally, he asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. For, Hiranyakashyap knew that Holika had a boon, whereby, she could enter the fire unscathed.
Treacherously, Holika coaxed young Prahlad to sit in her lap and she herself took her seat in a blazing fire. The legend has it that Holika had to pay the price of her sinister desire by her life. Holika was not aware that the boon worked only when she entered the fire alone.
Prahlad, who kept chanting the name of Lord Vishnu all this while, came out unharmed, as the Lord blessed him for his extreme devotion.
Thus, Holi derives its name from Holika. And, is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil.
This year 2011, the Holi moon coincides with the “Super Moon”, wherein the moon, on its elliptical axis comes closest to the earth after 1993.
One of the most impressive land animals, the Asian elephant is increasingly marginalised by growing populations and in large areas of Karnataka and Kerala, the natural habitats of the elephants are fast eroding and scenes like this are fairly common.
The Tailed Jay (Graphium agamemnon ) butterfly holds a very special place in my heart. It was one of the first butterflies that I used to see after I developed a fascination for these beautiful but fragile creatures.
It used to be fluttering outside my balcony at Bangalore, trying to lay eggs I guess, on the Polyalthia longifolia or Ashoka tree. This butterfly is a very restless one and seldom sits still long enough for anyone to capture it on camera. I was lucky to get a good clear shot of this beautiful butterfly.
It is a predominantly green and black tropical butterfly that belongs to the swallowtail family, and was commonly seen in South India. I am yet to see this butterfly at Delhi, and have been looking for it…..